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Comments Posted 10.01.02 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Thackara

Oil As Yuppy Crack [October 2002]


This free monthly newsletter starts conversations on issues to do with design for resilience — and thereby reveals opportunities for action. It also brings you news of Doors of Perception events and encounters. Back issues are now archived on Design Observer. To subscribe to future newletters by John Thackara click here.

DOORS OF PERCEPTION 7 ON FLOW: NEW SPEAKERS
The following new speakers are announced for Doors of Perception 7 on flow, the design challenge of pervasive computing, 14-16 November 2002, Amsterdam:
- Michael Awad and David Rokeby from Canada collaborated in a project called Next Memory City at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Rokeby also won the 2002 Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica, the most prestigious international award for interactive art.
- Neil Gershenfeld directs the Center for Bits and Atoms at the MIT Media Laboratory. Professor Gershenfeld's unique research group investigates the relationship between the content of information and its physical representation, from molecular quantum computers to virtuosic musical instruments.
- Lars Erik Holmquist leads the Future Applications Lab at the Viktoria Institute in Goteborg, Sweden, and chairs UbiComp, the premier event in ubiquitous computing.
- Roland Lahti is environmental manager at Telia, Sweden, and the initiator of a radical mobility reduction programme on the outskirts of Stockholm.
- Michael Schmidt & Toke Nygaard are the award-winning Danish designers of k10k.org, one of the world's largest design portals.
- Jakub Wejchert is the coordinator of the EU's Disappearing Computer project. For the full speakers list for Doors 7, and to book online, go to:
http://flow.doorsofperception.com/

INTERNATIONAL EDITORS TO JUDGE OPEN DOORS
Five eminent editors have agreed to judge the Open Doors Design Grand Prix on 15 November during Doors 7 on "flow". They are: Ole Bouman (Archis), Sascha Kosch (deBug), Chee Pearlman (correspondent of Wired and New York Times), Petra Schmidt (Form)and Deyan Sudjic (Domus, The Observer). We have organised Open Doors is to find out who has the most exciting, innovative and meaningful project for the future use of pervasive computing. In quick-fire, five-minute presentations, 20 finalists - selected by our advisors from around the world - will present proposals for design scenario projects to a jury of experts. If you would like to be considered, send a 150 word (max) email to:
doors7editor@doorsofperception.com

DOORS CONFERENCE (CONT.) WHO ELSE IS ATTENDING?
With six weeks to go people have registered from these companies: BBC, KPN, Sony Ericsson Mobile, Meru, TBWA, Heineken, Lego, Icatt, Tinlab, Philips, Tarantell, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Orange, Microsoft, Motorola, Be9, Endemol, BTexact, Danfoss, TNO, Diesel Marketing, Appliancestudio. Among research labs to have booked are: MediaLabEurope, Ultralab, Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Glasgow Lighthouse, Design Council. And these universities will be represented: TU Delft, Princeton, Erasmus, Columbia, Nijenrode, Malmo, Musashino, TU Eindhoven, Sorbonne, UIAH Helsinki, Copenhagen, London School of Economics, Art Center, Westminster. That's the start: 75% of people register for Doors during the last six weeks before Doors starting in early October.

DOORS CONFERENCE (LAST BIT): WOULD YOU SEND A VIRUS TO YOUR FRIEND?
We are strong believers in viral marketing: more than half the people who come to our conference hear about it from a friend or colleague. Will you please help us spread the word? Tell two friends to join you at Doors - or, better still, invite your most valued client to come with you.
http://flow.doorsofperception.com/

OIL AS YUPPY CRACK
"On a recent visit to Teluride, in Colorado, I was terrified to see a huge black Humvee draw up at the gates of a kindergarten. At the time, American newspapers were full of stories about a gun-toting maniac who had attacked a school, so I flashed to the image of a re-run. My heart raced as out of the Humvee hopped ... a blond-haired, seven-year-old girl. Fear turned to indignation: who the hell takes a 30 kilogram child to school in a 3.5 ton, eight feet wide vehicle that does eight miles to the gallon?"

DEEP IMPACT IMMINENT?
What 'deep impact' changes have yet to be caused by information technology? A Who's Who of the dot. left in Britain discuss these issues in London on 7 November: Will Hutton (The Work Foundation), Charles Leadbeater (Living On Thin Air), Jonathon Porritt (Forum For The Future), Tom Bentley (Demos), William Dutton (Oxford Internet Institute), Geoff Mulgan (Cabinet Office), Martha Lane Fox (LastMinute.com). Contact: c.bower@forumforthefuture.org.uk or visit:
http://www.forumforthefuture.org.uk/

TRACKING ISSUES ON THE WEB
The Web Issue Index of Civil Society sounds like a consumer price index for memes. Says its developer Dr Richard Rogers at the University of Amsterdam, "a consumer price index watches price fluctuations in a stable set of goods for indications of inflation. The Web Issue Index watches the campaigning behaviour of non-governmental organisations ,and the organizations they monitor, for indications of attention to social issues."
http://www.govcom.org/web_index.html

SPACE INVADERS: BRITS WHO BUILD
This international touring exhibition touches down at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, 12 October to 22 December. Its co-curators are: architecture critic Lucy Bullivant, architect Pedro Gadanho, Sean Griffiths of FAT, and Emily Campbell of The British Council. They speak at a panel discussion on Friday 11 October.
http://www.artcenter.edu/williamson/press/spaceinvaders

ROLL OVER EINDHOVEN
Describing itself optimistically as a "design region",the Dutch city of Eindhoven has organized a week of exhibitions, seminars, workshops and lectures between October 16-22. Excursions to local companies are also planned.
http://www.weekvanhetontwerp.nl/

BORG DRIFT (ONGOING): MEDICA-MENT
Good news: trauma researchers have developed a "smart" urinary catheter to provide clinicians with immediate information about the amount of oxygen organs are receiving. The bad news: Microsoft developed its navigational software. (Just kidding: we have no idea who designed the software). Find out more, if you dare, at one of the world's biggest medical-everything trade fairs, MEDICA, which takes place in Dusseldorf 20-23 November.
http://www5.medica.de/

DESIGNING DESIGN EDUCATION
Overview of Design Schools is based on a conference at Milan Politechnic in 2001. The publication contains reports,from colleges and universities on four continents , about new and emerging teaching and working methods. Order from:
rele@mail.polimi.it

SMART MOBS
Web guru Howard Rheingold has published a new book called Smart Mobs; its website contains interaction and commentaries, mostly from the San Francisco digital crowd.
http://www.smartmobs.com/

DESIGN FOR PRIVACY
"Many people are deeply concerned about their privacy, and are quite adept at defining limits and maintaining barriers in the physical world. Yet in the digital world the systems we use strip us of the power to become effective privacy managers. Often these failures are attributable to us as designers and developers." This workshop addresses the privacy needs and concerns of users in the design of digital environments.
http://smg.media.mit.edu/cscw2002-privacy/

SPAM WARS (CONTINUED)
"Very sorry about that bounce... it happened because your SMTP server (the one that sends your outgoing mail) was on a blacklist." So explains Jan Jaap Spreij our tech boss, to correspondents whose emails to Doors bounce. In case this happened to you, JJ explains what's going on: "These blacklists are realtime databases containing 'open-relay' mailservers that are being abused by spammers, or other mailservers known to send large amounts of spam. Our own mailserver checks each mailserver contacting it against these RBL's (Realtime Black List) to see if the other mailserver can be trusted. As our bounce message explains, your sending mailserver must have been (temporarily, at least) blacklisted. We do not control these RBL databases, we only use them." Find more at:
http://www.spamhaus.org/
http://relays.osirusoft.com/

GETTING IT UP AT DIGRA
Frans Mayra and colleagues are setting up an international association of games research. Inspired by this year's conferences Playing with the Future' in Manchester and Computer Games and Digital Cultures' in Tampere, the initiative is described further at:
http://www.digra.org/
frans.mayra@uta.fi

ABOUT, WITH, and FOR
This one day conference, hosted by the Institute of Design at IIT in Chicago, on 19 October, is "to share methods, processes and tools, with professionals from many fields ,who want to further the practice of understanding people." Simple stuff: they should have that wrapped up by lunchtime.
http://www.id.iit.edu/conferences/aboutwithandfor

KNOWLEDGE MEDIA DESIGN
The University of Toronto's Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI)is hosting an international public lecture series to celebrate its move to the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. The series will be webcast using ePresence, the interactive webcasting system designed and developed in KMDI's lab.
http://www.kmdi.utoronto.ca/events.htm

SITUATIONIST BRANDING
Urban Drift is a conference on "transformational urbanism"with the sub-title: From Formalism to Flux - mobility and new urban strategies . Themes include the potential of urban voids, the economy of scarcity, mobility versus place, and an analysis of Nike's situationist branding. 9-13 October at Cafe Moskau, Karl-MarxAllee 34, Berlin/Friedrichshain,and in workspaces throughout Berlin.
http://www.urbandrift.org/

JUNK WORSE THAN SPAM
Thanks to VNU-net for this one: Every week employees receive up to 30 chain letters, jokes, video clips or similar junk email messages from people they know, blocking up their corporate networks and slowing them to a halt, according to a survey. According to the survey, workers deal with more than 1,500 pieces of junk email each year from friends, family and colleagues. Spam, the much-reviled (by us, among others) commercial email sent by strangers, is not set to reach the proportion of 'friendly' junk email until 2006." Internet research firm Jupiter Media Metrix predicts that by 2006 consumers will be receiving an average of 1,400 pieces of commercial spam each year, or about 26 per week.
http://nl2.vnunet.com/News/1134911

EPHEMERAL MASTERPIECES BOUGHT BY FEDS
North American children spend 1,900 hours a year watching television - compared to 900 hours they spend in school. Lest we forget what it was that addled our minds, Rick Prelinger (a regular speaker at Doors) has spent years building an amazing collection of 48,000 so-called ephemeral films advertising, educational, industrial, amateur, and documentary films depicting everyday life, culture, and industry in America throughout the 20th century. The Library of Congress has announced its acquisition of the Prelinger Collection.
http://www.archive.org/movies
http://www.gettyimages.com/

DUTCH DESIGN POLICY - SOFTLY INTO THE LIGHT
Can an organization without a website be said to exist? With discretion amounting almost to stealth, the Dutch government has set up a new platform for design policy, Stichting (Foundation) Premsela. Named after Benno Premsela, the much-venerated post-war designer, the new entity has a budget to spend on projects - but, as yet, no website.
http://www.designlink.nl/

MOVING EXPERIENCE IN ROTTERDAM
An ambitious new Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam will take place in May and June 2003. The biennial will be directed by Francine Houben, founder of Mecano and professor of mobility aesthetics (sic) at Delft University.Houben will have to move fast: she's is not due to start work until next March."The Biennial will bring together architects, planners, designers and general public to experience, discuss and propose structures for a world in continual motion", says the website.
http://www.1ab-rotterdam.nl/

INTERACTING WITH ROYALTY
The Duke of Edinburgh is among the speakers at Interface: user and machine which takes place in London at the Royal Society of Arts on 7 November.
http://www.theRSA.org/

FRESH FACED IN VENICE
Congratulations to Fresh Faces - the Dutch national pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Aaron Betsky, which won best-in-show.But is the era of 'trophy buildings' coming to an end? To find out what 20 critics thought about it all, adrift in the SS Archis on the Venice lagoon, go to:
http://www.archined.nl/oem/reportages/roemer/h8.html
http://www.nai.nl/

ANTWERP'S FASHION MUSEUM
Antwerp is worth a visit just for the shopping and food. But if you need cultural camouflage, the city's new fashion museum, MoMu, opened last weekend - as did a new design centre, de Winkelhaak.
http://www.momu.be/
http://www.winkelhaak.be/

PROZAC HOUSE IS DISAPPOINTED
The City Council of Amsterdam has decided not to pay for an extension to the Stedelijk Museum. Although the Stedelijk is supposed to be a centre for groovy modern art, it's so dozy that we call it Prozac House.The Amsterdam City archive, which is far groovier than Prozac House, is staging an exhibition of maps of Amsterdam between 1866 and 2000. Until 1 December.
http://www.gemeentearchief.amsterdam.nl/

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John Thackara is a writer, speaker and design producer, and director of Doors of Perception. In addition to this blog, he is the author of twelve books including In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World and Wouldn't It Be Great If….
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