Archive for the ‘place’ Category

Creativity and Cognition 2011

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Just back from Creativity and Cognition 2011, which was truly ace. I gave the paper I wrote with my co-supervisor, Prof. Ernest Edmonds, which people seemed to like. Saw some thought-provoking presentations and met a number of inspiring and wonderful people. Everything one could wish for in a conference, really.

Guy Claxton gave a truly thoughtful keynote. Creative-Mindedness: When Technology Helps and When It Hinders. He pointed out that formal education as it’s currently instituted systematically destroys the creative habits of mind. In response to a question on how precisely it does this, he referred to his chart of those habits. For example, one creative habit is inquisitiveness, which is damaged by the focus in structured curricula on requiring students to study questions they have not asked. Another is creative stamina & resilience (exemplified by Einstein, who said that it was not so much that he was especially clever, but more that he stayed with problems for longer). This is damaged by the scheduling of classes that require every problem to be solved in an hour.

The papers continued through the next few days – but there were also a  lot of excellent posters. Apparently as there was only a single track for papers, the organisers could not accept some submissions that were actually very good, so those people were encouraged to resubmit as posters. Which meant that the quality of work in the posters was pretty impressive.

Of course, it’s Creativity and Cognition so there was also room for art – my favourite works were Matt Ruby’s Sympathy for Pacman and Jack Stenner & Patrick LeMieux’s Open House: Interaction as Critical Reflection. To top it off, the conference was held at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, and we were permitted an after-hours tour. As well as some tragically unmoving Calder mobiles (which really don’t belong in temperature controlled rooms), there on a wall was perhaps my favourite artwork of all time: Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. Shaved. Yes, you have to know the story for this one to work properly.

So finally: a few people asked for my slides, so after the break I’ll embed a Quicktime movie of them. Thank you everyone at C&C 2011, and especially the erstwhile organisers for providing such a great atmosphere for collaboration and creativity.

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Gerhard Fischer at CCS

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

To our great delight Professor Gerhard Fischer is visiting my research group, the Creativity and Cognition Studios this afternoon, at the invitation of our own Professor Ernest Edmonds.

Earlier this morning Prof. Fischer delivered this HAIL lecture on Meta-Design and Social Creativity at the CSIRO. And as social creativity is a central research concern for many of us here, we’re quite excited to have him here.

Personally I’m hoping to talk about mixed reality and tabletop systems as opposed to immersive virtual environments for collaborative creativity at a distance. Or the role of Collaborative Place. Or whatever comes up ^_^

Location and the iPad

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Location is not Place, but the two concepts do intervolve. Or perhaps (when I’m feeling well-disposed to the world) they intertwingle.

So I’m interested in location, and for this reason will be buying the wifi+3G iPad, which has a comprehensive suite of location-awareness technologies, rather than the wifi iPad, which is also location-aware but less comprehensively so.

I keep seeing absurd fallacies being promulgated about the iPad and Assisted GPS. I think “promulgated” is a word that is now entirely reserved for absurd fallacies. Do you think anyone is out there promulgating enlightenment? If they are, they’re not posting to the Wired Gadget Lab weblog comment threads, anyway.

So here for your edification is the truth about A-GPS vs. GPS vs. wi-fi triangulation.

Note: this is dull, don’t bother reading it. I just had to get this rant down to stop me boring people with it in person.
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SIGGRAPH 2009

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Despite United “Airlines” best efforts to prevent my attendance I’m at SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans, and twittering about it. And I just ran into the inimitable Ian Bogost, who was just visiting us in Sydney. Now try to tell me that geography still means what it used to mean.

Slide decks – Second Life in Context / Responsive Environments for INteractive Arts

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

A couple of slide decks for talks I gave recently: last Wednesday a guest lecture for the Interactive Arts class on Responsive Environments as an art form.
Then the previous Wednesday, a presentation to UTS staff on Second Life, in the context of other available metaverses and with some focus on its uses in education.
My slides tend to be all pictures – there’s enough text with me talking over them without writing it all out again so you can read what I’m saying. It does mean though that they don’t stand alone when I stick ’em on the web. You’ll just have to look at the pretty examples :)

Mondrian’s Atelier and the 場 (ba) Principle

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Mondrian's AtelierIn this precis of Mondrian’s work, amongst the paintings is an image of this most personal creation; his atelier. A useful word to think about; an artist or designer’s studio or workshop, from the middle french astelier (woodpile). Images of this place are preserved: it has been reconstructed as well. With the reconstruction perhaps a little neater than the original – no loose parts there. This brings to mind my own virtual reconstruction of Utzon’s studio – with a similar result. The reconstruction is interesting, but sterile. It historicises its subject; you can’t inhabit it. And without an inhabitant it cannot be a 場 (ba).

Consider: if I had all the resources in the world, and could create a perfect reconstruction of Mondrian’s atelier in which to work, I would not want to. Nor Utzon’s, Hundertwasser’s, Tufte’s. They all produce wonderful work, and their studios are surely part of the process of its production; but these things are intensely personal. Once again: it’s not the result, it’s the principles that matter.

Magic Hopscotch

Monday, July 7th, 2008

We’re live! Just in time for the start of the school holidays, Magic Hopscotch is up and running and open to the public at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. The timing is important because this is a prototype of an interactive artwork designed for children. Doreen Ee, my collaborating technologist, put in a magnificent effort to reconfigure the code for the floor pads that control the piece, after we were compelled to rewire them last week. Shan Weiley, my partner and constant collaborator, has started participant observations and we are already getting some wonderful insights. More later, because i’m writing on my phone and more than a few words is painful :) The launch is on thursday the 10th of July from 2-4 pm, email me if you’d like an invitation. Heartfelt thanks also to Deborah Turnbull our erstwhile beta space curator and Matthew Connell at the phm.

Update: now tracking this project at Sky Blue.

Structures of Participation in Digital Culture – online for free

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Or they’ll print and bind you one for twenty bucks, pretty good deal. lots of goodness here though including Game Engines as Open Networks and History, Memory, Place, and Technology: Plato’s Phaedrus Online.

Virtual Gardens for Prototyping

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

While looking for images of Donkey Kong (historical research for the UTS Games Studio, dontcha know) I stumbled across this gem:

Prototyping for Game Feel (v.2)

Including the faboulous step 3:

• Be Shigeru Miyamoto

There’s a nice thoughtful post here (and the rest of the site looks worth a read as well). What caught my eye was the description of Miyamoto’s virtual garden:

“Before any of the levels had been created Mr. Miyamoto had Mario running around and picking up objects in a small ‘garden’ which he uses in all his games to test gameplay elements.”

Miyamoto is noted for finding inspiration for his game designs from his other interests: playing the guitar and gardening. The gamecube game “Pimkin” was based directly on Miyamoto’s actual garden. So for him, it seems that the virtual and real garden are his ba – his own place, a creative source.

Design Transformations at CHI 2008

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

I arrived in Florence last week fairly alert, considering the time difference from Sydney. I’d done the right thing and stayed awake for the last 20 hours of the flight, crashed at my hotel on arrival in the evening and got a good 10 hours sleep before the opening plenary.

It was worth it. I hadn’t heard of Irene McAra-McWilliam (Head of the School of Design at the Glasgow School of Art) before but I’m a fan now. Her speech was uplifting. She wove a tapestry of design history and theory, to come elegantly to the conclusion that designers in a connected world have a responsibility to enable others; to come to some problems not with a solution but with a box of tools.

This is just what I hope to do with my research into creativity support tools, and it’s what I’m seeing in my studies of creative place. I don’t need to design the perfect virtual studio; I need to design an environment with the right parts and the right affordances, to enable inhabitants to configure the perfect studio for their task.