In the last two weeks I’ve seen three documentaries dealing with communication and networks.
Firstly, a broad and ambitious film from Ericsson, taking on the ‘networked society’ including interviews with David Weinberger, Catarina Fake and Eric Wahlforss.
Each of the interviewees discusses the emerging opportunities being enabled by technology as we enter the Networked Society. Concepts such as borderless opportunities and creativity, new open business models, and today’s ‘dumb society’ are brought up and discussed.
The next film from Nokia brings daily life around networked communication technologies to the forefront, and does it through lovely experiential sequences. However it does come across much more as a branding exercise or promotional piece, and doesn’t offer to explain or explore the practices it shows.
Third is a film by Ben Mendelsohn and Alex Chohlas-Wood about the physical, geographic and material infrastructure that goes into running the internet.
Lower Manhattan’s 60 Hudson Street is one of the world’s most concentrated hubs of Internet connectivity. This short documentary peeks inside, offering a glimpse of the massive material infrastructure that makes the Internet possible.
There is clearly a need to unpack the increasingly technology-inflected geography, and social and cultural practices of the world we inhabit, so it is good to see films like this being made.
I have written more about the exhibition and the works at the Touch and BERG weblogs. The exhibition has also been reviewed by CNN, the New York Times, Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal amongst others.
I’ve been quite taken with the films of Adam Lisagor for a while.
I make small, palatable videos, like commercials, for companies involved in tech, to figure out how to convey the essence of their products in concise, accessible ways.
I like to think that I’m able to do this because I think slowly enough to notice the exact points while using a product at which I respond with the most delight. And if I can reproduce those moments on-screen, without explicitly saying that they’re delightful, an audience will intuitively understand the delight they might feel themselves.
He’s good at surfacing the joy and pleasure in some of the smallest interactions, particularly evident in this ad for the Jambox by Jawbone.
A truth that releases a waterfall of emotion. It is this energy that propels us through The Tree of Life. A voluptuous, bulging energy shaped and encouraged by sweeping camera movement, ultra wide lenses, lyrical blocking, the safe-harbor of Jessica Chastain’s face, and the vacillation in Hunter McCracken’s. These combine to create scenes that perfectly capture the rapturous feelings of childhood. Sensations evoked when light & dark entwine, and our instinctual knowledge that these things are the same.
And on how to approach the film:
A moment long enough for me to relax, and I was suddenly taken by a feeling of great tenderness and calm. I don’t completely understand why I felt this, but the inclusion of these CGI dinosaurs struck me as an particularly affectionate and loving decision. Terrence Malick believes in his audiences, and has faith that we also can believe. It’s the feeling of your mother brushing the hair off your forehead as she tells you a bedtime story. You protest because she’s changed a part of the usual tale, or it’s not the way you want it to be, but smiling, she says “Shhh shhh. Just listen.”
From the brilliant Kartina Richardson.
A film with one compelling relationship at its center might not survive the bombardments of the action formula its script demands, and that’s another reason “Midnight Run” is so special. There are at least half a dozen relationships throughout the film surrounding Grodin and De Niro that ring true in their entirety. A phone call between an angry mob boss and his bumbling enforcer, for example, could very easily be made into a transitional scene devoid of intrinsic value, but this film does something different on those occasions: it utilizes shards of moments as points of insight and endows them with authenticity largely nonessential to the plot.
Microsoft has two new ads, anticipating their upcoming Windows Phone 7 launch. The first is an almost post-apocalyptic vision of humanity stuck with their heads in their mobile devices:
Here’s David Webster, chief strategy officer in Microsoft’s central marketing group, explaining their anti-screen strategy:
“Our sentiment was that if we could have an insight to drive the campaign that flipped the category on its head, then all the dollars that other people are spending glorifying becoming lost in your screen or melding with your phone are actually making our point for us.”
I think Microsoft & Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s advertising strategy stands out in a world full of slick floaty media. The only problem is that without any strategy towards tangible interaction, I’m not sure the ‘tiles’ interaction concept is strong enough to actually take people’s attention out of the glass.
A lovely piece of work by Lars M. Vedeler and Ola Vågsholm from the Tangible Interactions course at The Oslo School of Architecture & Design:
Olars is an electronic interactive toy inspired by Karl Sims’ evolved virtual creatures. Having thousands of varieties in movement and behaviour by attaching different geometrical limbs, modifying the angle of these, twisting the body itself, and by adjusting the deflection of the motorised joints, results in both familiar and strange motion patterns.
Swiss Design Network Conference 2010:
Designers see the world not simply as it is, but rather as it could be. In this perspective, the world is a laboratory to explore the contingency of the existing and the thinking in options. Imaginations of the contra factual are a key source for the creation of alternative political, technological, social, or economic constellations of artefacts, interfaces, signs, actors, and spaces. At the same time, strategies of materialization are pivotal to shift the boundary between the fictional and the real and to finally bring possible new realities into being. The conference addresses the questions of how fictions are designed and how the multiplicity of possible new futures is negotiated and realized.
Design Fiction, Negotiating Futures October 28-30, 2010.
The latter half of the 20th century saw the built environment merged with media space, and architecture taking on new roles related to branding, image and consumerism. Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.
A film produced for my final year Masters in Architecture, part of a larger project about the social and architectural consequences of new media and augmented reality.
A competent visualisation of an undesirable future.