[iDC] Towards designerly agency in a ubicomp world

Christiane Robbins at Jetztzeit cpr at mindspring.com
Tue Jul 4 03:20:46 EDT 2006

In keeping with the transfer of information, I am contributing this review of a New Cities/New Media conference organized by Amy Murphy ( School of Architecture,) held at USC in January, 2003.  I trust that it will  be of some interest to this discussion:



Flying High in the City of Angels 

New Cities: New Media -- An Interdisciplinary Conference and Media Exhibition, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, January 17-19, 2003. 

A Report by Christina I. Wilson, University of Southern California, USA. 

The organizers of this cross-disciplinary conference, Amy Murphy (USC, School of Architecture) and Eric Gordon (USC, School of Cinema and Television) set for themselves and the participants the lofty goal not just of understanding urban space in terms of technological advance or, in cinema, how urban experience is represented, but also the altogether more provocative and difficult task of thinking about the city itself as a kind of mediation of experience; that is, theorizing a relation between cities and media that does not exclude the possibility of their identity. Los Angeles would seem an ideal locale for this radical approach to conceiving of the image of the city and modes of representation, and indeed, the combined promise of midwinter fair-weather (met) and the opportunity to rigorously interrogate the possibilities fomented by the triad "new" "cities" and "media" (also met) drew an international mix of scholars, visual artists, writers and architects. The roundtable discussion which opened the conference on Friday afternoon reflected the interdisciplinary stakes of the conference. Moderated by Amy Murphy, a lively discussion among USC luminaries Nancy Lutkehaus (Anthropology), Dowell Myers (Policy Planning and Development), Michael Renov (Cinema/TV) and Christiane Robbins (Fine Arts) put into play a host of questions that would frame the terrain of the three-day investigation. By Sunday, many questions were broached and even more were asked from multiple perspectives and methodologies in two keynote addresses, twenty-seven papers, four "Media Works" experimental audio-visual presentations, twelve short documentary films, and two interactive CD-ROM projects. 

Lev Manovich (www.manovich.net), Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego, delivered Friday's keynote address suggestively entitled, "Metadata, Mon Amour." Referring to his own database of stored .jpeg images, the loosely conceived talk went on perhaps too long elaborating its rather simple thesis that the proliferation of digitized information demands to be organized systematically and may be efficiently accessed only by assigning individual quanta of information (images, documents, sound files) to specific categories of metadata which allows users to navigate the sea of information stored in computer databases. Manovich insisted new ways of organizing information (what he termed "metadata-ing" the image) itself gives rise to new images and opens up creative opportunities. Manovich posited that this task of "metadata-ing" be not only the obligation of the computer engineer, but also an opportunity for artists to expand the field of representation, citing the work of visual artists Luc Courchesne and Jeffrey Shaw as well as the SIMS (social simulator) phenomenon as expressions of metadata aesthetics. In the Q&A session following the lecture, Manovich was asked to elaborate on the provocative title whose reference to Alain Resnais's 1959 film, Hiroshima, Mon Amour , raises questions about materialism and the limits of memory and image-making. The audience, hugely generous during the bumpy talk, lost all patience with Manovich when he admitted he had not heard of the film and had only chosen the title based on other articles he had read that employed the "X, Mon Amour" format. 

Manovich's keynote address in no way augured the thoughtfulness, beauty and innovation of the CD-ROM projects presented by The Labyrinth Project, a research initiative on interactive narrative at the Annenberg Center for Communication at USC. Labyrinth's director, renowned cultural theorist on popular culture and chair of USC's Division of Critical Studies in the Cinema School, Marsha Kinder introduced the team responsible for designing "Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles 1920-1986" created with cultural critic, historian and novelist Norman Klein and "Tracing the Decay of Fiction: Encounters with a Film by Pat O'Neill" created with Los Angeles native, visual artist Pat O'Neill. Summoning Peter Brooks to conceive of the "cityscape as an expanded middle in the narrative of desire," both projects focus on a network of interrelated stories plucked from a wide narrative field whose elements are combined to produce films that call into question the boundary strict between fact and fiction in the relation between subjectivity and experience. 

Both of these "interactive documentaries" experiment with non-linear forms of narration and digital media, incorporating in the case of O'Neill absolutely stunning photography of the now abandoned Roosevelt Hotel, dialogue from film noir scripts, press clippings and news reel footage, and in the case of Klein, his story about a fictional character named Molly alongside more typical historical archive material to constellate a sense of the city from a variety of sources. Both projects were available throughout the weekend for participants to interact with on large eight- by six-foot screens. More information about The Labyrinth Project is available at http://www.annenberg.edu/labyrinth where both of these titles will be available for purchase in March 2003. The evening concluded with an outdoor buffet in a courtyard surrounded by large screen digital video projections of Prof. Robert Flick's (USC, Fine Arts) "Central Avenue: 2000-2003" and accompanied by the sounds of resident DJ artist Bjorn Palmer spinning urban-electronica in the warm night air. 

Perhaps the greatest drawback of the well-run conference was that panels were always scheduled two at a time, often with a documentary short running in yet a third venue, making it frustratingly impossible to experience all the conference had to offer. Over the course of the three days, I was able to attend four of the eight panel sessions. For a complete list of panels, paper titles and speakers and their affiliations, please refer to: http://www.usc.edu/architecture/newcities 

Panel One, entitled "History, Imagery and Urbanism" featured three papers moderated by Prof. Nancy Lutkehaus. The stand-out paper of the session, "From Los Angeles to Athens, Return," was presented by Romaric Vinet-Kammerer (Doctoral Candidate, Université de Paris, Sorbonne) who traced the relationship between narrative and place -- interrogating the problematics of geographic specificity, monumentality and dislocation -- in the films Alphaville (Godard, 1965), Bye Bye Monkey (Ferreri, 1977) and Law and Disorder (Passer, 1974). 

Panel Three, "Body, Form and the Virtual" and moderated by Eric Gordon, was the best panel session of the four that I heard. Galia Solomonoff (Princeton University) in her cautionary paper entitled, "Carnal and Virtual: Cities and Media" discussed the anxieties of the technologically savvy city-dweller alert to the possibility of fantasy (not function) as the driving force behind a vision of architecture that, like our personalized windows to cyber-space, might become more and more transitory as they become more personalized. 

Brian Cavanaugh (L.A. based architect) followed up with a more optimistic take on the intersection between the real and the virtual with his discussion of telekinetics' and telerobotics' impact on the design of our cities. He posits an "aesthetic of disappearing" in the transitional zone between the material and virtual where a new middle landscape, dislodged from any fixed place in space and time, opens up new possibilities. He cites the first transatlantic major surgery performed on September 19, 2001 as an instance of what he calls a "transformational landscape." In the final paper of the panel, "Seamlessness, Continuity and Simultaneity: Topology and the Production of New Space," Mark Donahue (California College of Arts and Crafts) persuasively traced the relationship between postmodern architecture, film and interesting topological forms linking (1) Mulholland Dr. (Lynch, 2001) and Von Burkle and Bosst's "Möbius House" with the möbius band, (2) Pulp Fiction (Tarrantino, 1995) and Rem Koolhaus' structure that is a cross between a sphere and a cone with the Klein Bottle, and (3) The Matrix (Wachowski, 1999) and the new Reichstag in Berlin with the projected plane. These three provocative and philosophically challenging papers engendered a lively discussion session which centered around questions of utopian and dystopian visions of the city in relation to technology and "impossible" material spaces. 

Panel Five: "Urban Re-Readings" was another fine panel moderated by Greg Hise (USC, School of Planning, Policy and Development). Sabine Hanni's (Cornell) somewhat disjointed argument in her paper "The Aesthetics of Decline: Urban Crisis and Hollywood Renaissance of the 1970s" used the films of Martin Scorsese to trace the evolution of masculine identity within the changing New York urban landscape in Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), After Hours (1985). On the same panel, Andrew Herscher (Dartmouth College) delivered an astute re-reading of the term "collage" in his paper, "Montage and Metropolis: On the Prehistory of the Collage City." His argument interrogates the appropriation by architectural historians of the term "collage" from the 1920s avant-garde and brings out the political / philosophical incongruity of Roe and Koder's use of Modern French architect Le Corbusier to explify a style they call the "Collage City." Instead, Herscher turns to inter-war Czech architecture in Prague as a more appropriate example of the political ideals and aesthetics evoked by the early-twentieth century use of the term "collage." In another stand-out paper, "Old Cities, Old Media, New Story: On Aldo Rossi's Scientificity," Brendan D. Moran (Harvard University) is interested in tracing the resonances between architect Aldo Rossi and poet Raymond Roussell. By excavating the influence of Roussell's writing, specifically his metagrams, on the architectural designs of Rossi, he finds strongest evidence for his argument in the notion that Rossi's design theory relies on a linguistic theory of semiotics shared by Roussell. An added delight of the panel was the insightful response to the papers written up by Prof. Hise, though it did unfortunately leave no time at all for questions from the audience for speakers. 

Prof. Michael Renov moderated Panel Seven: "The City as Subject," which featured a lyrical discussion of the works of Julio Cortazar and their relationship to the politics of memory and public space / identity between Buenos Aires and Paris in "Writing on the Walls: Exploring Julio Cortazar's Textual Cities" by Dan Russek (University of Chicago). Where Russek employed the tropes of collage and graffiti to make sense of Cortazar's relationship to the city in his writings, David Devin (Bartlett School, London) emphasized the dramatic perspectival shift brought about by aerial photography in the wake of WWI on the modern conception and visualization of the urban landscape in his paper entitled "Cities from Aloft." In another photography-based presentation, Steven Jacobs (Ghent Urban Studies Team) perhaps over-eagerly posited the center-periphery dichotomy no longer appropriate to the investigation of the postmodern European city in "Urban Photography in an Age of Urban Simulations." 

Interspersed between panel sessions and breaks were four "Media Works" presentations curated by Holly Willis. These programs featured short, experimental, live action and animated films combined with contemporary electronic soundtracks that offered political critiques and aesthetic visions of life in the city. Exemplary pieces included "Salaryman 6" (UK, 2002), "Whizeewhig" (US, 2002) by Chih-Cheng Peng, "This Guy is Falling" (US, 2000) by Michael Horowitz and Gareth Smith and "Destiny -- (Zero 7)" (US, 2002) by Tommy Pallotta. The mesmerizing visual artistry and ambient lyrical sounds combined for a totally enthralling experience of urban artistry. 

Perhaps the highlight of the entire conference was Saturday night's keynote address from pop cultural critic and film scholar Scott Bukatman who teaches in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University. He opened his talk entitled "Kaleidoscopic Perception" with Spike Jonez's video of Fat Boy Slim's "Weapon of Choice," which features an unlikely Christopher Walken released from the strictures of dull monotony by the undeniable beats of the tune, dancing and eventually flying through a corporate hotel, "freed from banality and gravity's determinism." In a single-bound, Bukatman segued from this provocative piece into his argument which employed the rapid montage and bodily address of kaleidoscopic vision to refigure the city as playground in the realm of Hollywood musicals and superhero comics. Bukatman elucidated a throughway between the city symphony films of Busby Berkeley (e.g. 42nd Street ) and the cityscape of major metropolises in the Superman, Batman and Spider-Man comics via his notion of "kaleidoscopic vision" which seeks a redemptive middle ground between the oppressive Foucauldian discourse of the panopticon and the overly optimistic realm of the Bakhtinian carnivalesque. The superhero -- characterized as the ultimate city dweller whose pure pleasure in movement (called to mind by Walken's dance routine) -- offers to readers and fans a unique way of being in the city and suggests performative bodies we ourselves might inhabit that "make and remake themselves at will in the city." 

-----Original Message-----
>From: Rob van Kranenburg <kranenbu at xs4all.nl>
>Sent: Jul 3, 2006 11:32 AM
>To: trebor at thing.net
>Cc: IDC list <idc at bbs.thing.net>
>Subject: [iDC] Towards designerly agency in a ubicomp world
>Hi Trebor,
>I take the liberty to post my text
>Towards Designerly Agency in a Ubicomp World, In: Tales of the  
>Disappearing Computer, Kameas A., Streitz, N. (eds), CTI Press, 2003,  
>pp. 119-127.
>Greetings from tropical Ghent (heatwave! and loving every minute of it)
>Towards designerly agency in a ubicomp world
>Rob van Kranenburg
>Antwerp Performance Theatricality/ Education Dep, Ghent University/  
>Resonance Design /
>Lucas Munichstraat 13 , 9000 Gent, Belgium
>In A future world of supersenses, Martin Rantzer of Ericsson  
>Foresight claims: "Newcommunication senses will be needed in the  
>future to enable people to absorb the enormous mass of information  
>with which they are confronted." According to him the user interfaces  
>we use today to transmit information to our brains threaten to create  
>a real bottleneck for new broadband services. The bottleneck is thus  
>our embodied brain, not our capacity to boost cable or wireless  
>connectivity. The design challenge in implementing digital  
>connecitivity in an analogue environment lies in creating a working  
>concept of corporal literacy that will inform a design for all the  
>senses. In a ubiquitous computing environment the new intelligence is  
>extelligence, "knowledge and tools that are outside people's  
>heads" (Stewart and Cohen, 1997) In such an environment the user  
>needs textual, visual and corporal literacy, that is an awareness of  
>extelligence and a working knowledge of all the senses. How can we  
>create educational scenarios that allow for these multi-literacies to  
>be recognized, facilitated, documented, and shaped into working  
>methodologies for designers?
>Keywords:  Design Education Multi-literacies Performance Ubicomp  
>applications, Radio Frequency Tags Extelligence
>When Captain Cook sailed into an Australian shore for the first time,  
>on April 22 1770 the Aborigines who sat fishing in their boats, did  
>not look up. The Haitians and Maori had responded immediately. Only  
>until Cook lowered a small boat did the Aborigines react. Cook?s ship  
>the Endeavour was too unlike a boat, too big to be seen as a ship.  
>The Aborigines thought it was an island, and when you see an island  
>you do not have to look up. It will pass.
>We find ourselves today in a similar situation. Our Endeauvour is the  
>merging of digital and analogue connectivity as described by Mark  
>Weiser and Eberhardt?s and Gershenfeld?s announcement in Febuary 1999  
>that the Radio Frequency Tag had dropped under the pennycost. For  
>most common users the ubicomp revolution will be too fundamental to  
>be perceived as such. Some professional users believe in smooth  
>transitions, as Tesco's UK IT director Colin Cobain, who says that  
>RFID tags will be used on 'lots of products' within five years - and  
>perhaps sooner for higher value goods;  'RFID will help us understand  
>more about our products, he claims.[i]  Some professionals believe  
>?that what we call ubiquitous computing will gradually emerge as the  
>dominant mode of computer access over the next twenty years.  Like  
>the personal computer, ubiquitous computing will enable nothing  
>fundamentally new, but by making everything faster and easier to do,  
>with less strain and mental gymnastics, it will transform what is  
>apparently possible.?[ii] Intriguingly it is Mark Weiser himself who  
>claims that ?ubiquitous computing will enable nothing fundamentally  
>new?. In this Weiser will be proven wrong: ubiquitous computing will  
>enable something fundamentally new, and the main question is : to  
>what extent does it have designerly agency? In places where  
>computational processes have disappeared into the background, into  
>everyday objects - both the real and the subject become contested in  
>concrete daily situations and activities. The environment becomes the  
>interface.  What is the role and place of design in these information  
>spaces that are mediated with computational processes that generate  
>not data (linked to other data) ? the kind of communicative process  
>that we are familiar with - but information (linked to other  
>information)? The main challenge in design education lies in  
>confronting this move from interaction as a key term to resonance.  
>That refers most aptly to the way we relate to things, people, ideas  
>in a connected environment. Interaction presupposes an ideal setting,  
>agency and response. But mediation (the core business of interaction)  
>is no longer a relationship. It has become the default position.
>Architecture again as the core of design education
>The ultimate aim of all creativity is the building! And the italics  
>are original to Walter Gropius Manifesto of the Bahaus (April 1919):  
>?Let us together desire, conceive and create the new building of the  
>future, which will combine everything ? architecture and sculpture  
>and painting ? in  a single form?.? Building will become once again  
>the core unit of design. For something has fundamentally changed; the  
>very nature of information itself, no longer analogue, no longer  
>digital, and not hybrid neither: buildings, cars and people can now  
>be defined as information spaces. Anthony Townsend, from Taub Urban  
>Research Center, has been asked by the South Korean government to  
>?turn an undeveloped parcel of land on the outskirts of Seoul into a  
>city whose raison d'etre will be to produce and consume products and  
>services based on new digital technologies. ? The main challenge lies  
>in the realization that ?half of designing a city is going to be  
>information spaces that accompany it because lots of people will use  
>this to navigate around.?  Waiting rooms, he claims,  become  
>something of an anachronism because no one really waits anymore.  
>Townsend claims that telecommunications in a city in 2012 is going to  
>be a lot more complex: ?The most interesting thing about it will be  
>that you won't be able to see it all at once because all these data  
>structures, computational devices, digital networks and cyberspaces  
>that are built upon those components will be invisible unless you  
>have the password or unless you are a member of the group that is  
>permitted to see them?.[iii] In such an environment, - a truly magic  
>one - people themselves  become information spaces.
>Building, cars and people become information spaces
>In an attempt to achieve a harmony between a town center and a  
>distribution network, officials of the Wal-Mart Corporation announced  
>in March 2003 the opening of Walton Township, guaranteeing its  
>residents a literally bottomless supply of consumer goods, for a flat  
>all-in monthly fee.  According to Valerie Femble-Grieg, who designed  
>it, the key to Walton is ?a literal superimposition of municipal and  
>retail channels."  In an effort to control 'leakage,' the export of  
>flat-fee goods outside the Township by community subscribers, Wal- 
>Mart plans to institute a pervasive inventory control system  
>consisting of miniature radio-frequency tags broadcasting unique  
>product and batch ID numbers.?[iv] The tree major U.S. car  
>manufacturers plan to install rfd tags in ? every tire sold in the  
>nation?. The tags can be read on vehicles going as fast as 160  
>kilometers per hour from a distance of 4.5 meters.[v] In January  
>2003, Gillette began attaching rfd tags to 500 million of its Mach 3  
>Turbo razors. Smart shelves at Wal-Mart stores ?will record the  
>removal of razors by shoppers, thereby alerting stock clerks whenever  
>shelves need to be refilled?and effectively transforming Gillette  
>customers into walking radio beacons.?[vi] London Underground will in  
>all probality have about 10.000 CCTV?s  by 2004 (it now has 5000).  
>The systems architecture - MIPSA , Modular Intelligent Pedestrian  
>Surveillance Architecture - is programmed with scenarios ? ?such as  
>unattended objects, too much congestion, or people loitering - and  
>when it detects one of those, it alerts the operator through a series  
>of flashing lights and messages.?
>?To determine what is suspect, the system memorizes the features of  
>an image that are constant, and then subtracts those to figure out  
>what is happening. It looks at patterns of motion and their  
>intensity. Things that are stationary for too long in a busy  
>environment raise alarms..?[vii]
>When computational processes disappear, the environment becomes the  
>interface. In such an environment - where the computer has  
>disappeared as visible technology - and human beings have become  
>designable and designerly information spaces - design decisions  
>inevitably become process decisions. Are our current designers  
>equipped to deal with these fundamental issues and dilemma?s, where  
>what used to be media ethics has now become building ethics itself?
>In the November 2002 Proposal for a School of Design at the  
>University of California, Irvine it is recognized that design  
>education has to confront a fundamentally changed situation of  
>design: ?To be effective, designers can no longer focus simply on the  
>narrow domains of specific applications. They must increasingly reach  
>deeper and more broadly into the foundations of design, and they must  
>understand more about the cultural contexts in which their designs  
>are created and used. They are now called upon not only to produce  
>new products but also to manage the processes by which the products  
>are produced. They must also understand more about the ways products  
>are used and the people who use them, about how to involve users in a  
>design process, and about how to evaluate designs based upon  
>usage.?[viii] Design decisions have become process decisions.
>Design education means confronting multiple literacies: textual,  
>visual, and corporal
>?As thousands of ordinary people buy monitoring devices and services,  
>the unplanned result will be an immense, overlapping grid of  
>surveillance systems, created unintentionally by the same ad-hocracy  
>that caused the Internet to explode. Meanwhile, the computer networks  
>on which monitoring data are stored and manipulated continue to grow  
>faster, cheaper, smarter, and able to store information in greater  
>volume for longer times. Ubiquitous digital surveillance will marry  
>widespread computational power?with startling results.?[ix]
>Every new set of techniques brings forth its own literacy: The  
>Aristotelian protests against introducing pencil writing, may seem  
>rather incredible now, at the time it meant nothing less than a  
>radical change in the structures of power distribution. Overnight, a  
>system of thought and set of grammar; an oral literacy dependant on a  
>functionality of internal information visualization techniques and  
>recall, was made redundant because the techniques could be  
>externalised. Throughout Western civilization the history of memory  
>externalisation runs parallel with the experienced disappearance of  
>its artificial, man made, character. An accidental disappearance,  
>however much intrinsic to our experience, that up till now has not  
>been deliberate. This then is the fundamental change and challenge  
>that we are facing in ubicomp; the deliberate attempt of a technology  
>to disappear as technology.
>Rethinking skills, literacies and research
>The main question from a design educational point of view concerns  
>the kind of skills and kind of literacies that a designer needs to  
>function. And these turn out to be those that are most foreign to an  
>educational practice today, as this new situation needs designers  
>that can assess emergent literacies, unforeseen uses, unintended use,  
>and resonance ? not interaction ? as the key producer of causalities.  
>For such a designer the default position is one of uncertainty, of  
>being able to cope with a continuous delaying of the act of closure,  
>of an ?end?.
>In the new 754i BMW sedan the iDrive, also known as the miracle knob   
>?is designed, through a computerized console, to replace more than  
>200 that control everything from the position of seats to aspects of  
>the navigation of the car itself to climate, communications and  
>entertainment systems.? In May 2002 15,000 7-series were recalled.  
>"BMW tried to do too many things at once with this car, and they  
>underestimated the software problem," says Conley, ex-CEO of EPRO  
>Corp." Only two-thirds of hardware has been unleashed by software.  
>There are so many predecessors and dependencies within software that  
>it's like spaghetti-ware. It's not that easy to get all these little  
>components to plug and play." [x]
>Bemoaning the loss of old skills is probably not the most productive  
>way to critique the new technologies.  The greater need is to  
>recognize that, precisely *because* of the labor-saving capabilities  
>of our high-tech tools, the art of mastery demands greater skills and  
>more arduous discipline than ever before.[xi]
>Rethinking research
>The editors of the first volume of Visual Communication, claim that:  
>?at the same time as the study of language and communication has  
>become more openly oriented towards practical problems, the practice  
>of designing visual communications has become more openly allied to  
>research.?[xii] The working notion of research, however in current  
>academies is deeply infested with a sterile theory-practice dichotomy  
>that functioned in a mechanistic worldview, but is hardly productive  
>in a ubicomp world. We face the challenge of rethinking research as a  
>performative practice based on creating applications for societal  
>benefit. There are very few ubicomp applications at the moment that  
>do not focus on control or surveillance issues. That there is a great  
>need for applications that empower users in dealing with uncertain  
>situations is witnessed by the fact that Pervasive Computing  
>published my work-in-progress in the Jan-March 2003 issue.
>Rob van Kranenburg ? Resonance Design
>Roger was a successful vice president of a bank, unremarkable in  
>every respect, except one. Before starting a task, he had to pull his  
>socks up and down five times. Exactly five. Roger (not his real name)  
>had obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like a skipping record, OCD  
>patients repeat an act or repeatedly think about a phrase, number, or  
>concept. "Most of us are able to switch things off," says Hopkins  
>professor of psychiatry Rudolf Hoehn-Saric. "In obsessive-compulsive  
>disorder, the person can't." (M. Hendricks, "The Man Who Couldn't  
>Stop Adjusting His Socks," Johns Hopkins Magazine, June 1995;  
>In the US and Netherlands, one in 50 adults currently has OCD, and  
>twice as many have had it at some point in their lives. OCD is a  
>medical brain disorder that causes problems in information  
>processing, creating a loop in the feedback procedure so that people  
>miss the "ka-chung" that closes a car door or the click that shuts  
>down the television. According to the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation,
>Worries, doubts, and superstitious beliefs all are common in everyday  
>life. However, when they become so excessive, such as hours of hand  
>washing, or make no sense at all, such as driving around and around  
>the block to check that an accident didn't occur, then a diagnosis of  
>OCD is made. In OCD, it is as though the brain gets stuck on a  
>particular thought or urge and just can't let go. People with OCD  
>often say the symptoms feel like a case of mental hiccups that won't  
>go away. OCD is a medical brain disorder that causes problems in  
>information processing. It is not your fault or the result of a  
>"weak" or unstable personality. (The Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation,  
>How could ubicomp be instrumental here? Phase 1 is researching if  
>ubicomp applications can assess if a person has a tendency for audio,  
>visual, tactile, or other kinds of feedback that would signal the  
>task scenario's closure. In Phase 2, we would have to access, for  
>example, if visual feedback on clothing or another appliance could  
>break the chain of repetition for a person who functions on visual  
>feedback but is dealing with an apparatus that does not provide such  
>feedback. Working closely with psychiatrists and OCD patients, in  
>Phase 3 we could test whether such ubiquitous computing applications  
>could break the loop of repetition, assuming that it is the kind of  
>feedback that is responsible for the taskloop's nonclosure.
>A group of researchers performed experiments and concluded that "the  
>OCD group performed significantly worse than controls in the temporal  
>ordering task despite showing normal recognition memory. Patients  
>were also impaired in ?feeling-of-doing' judgments, suggesting they  
>have a lack of self-awareness of their performance" (M.A. Jurado et  
>al., "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Patients are Impaired in  
>Remembering Temporal Order and in Judging Their Own Performance," J.  
>Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, vol. 24, no. 3, 2002, pp.  
>Based on these findings, research into ubicomp applications could  
>focus on temporal markers and serendipitous feedback scripting into  
>various scenarios to raise self-awareness.
>The three phases just discussed are being developed within the  
>framework of contemporary performance and theatrical practice. There  
>we find an actualization of (and ways of dealing with) the bottleneck  
>scenarios that information experts envision.
>In the framework of theatrical practice we can create authentic  
>educational scenarios that allow the research of  multi-literacies to  
>be shaped into working methodologies on information overload (here on  
>?feedback?) for designers. The educational design challenge in  
>implementing digital connectivity in an analogue environment lies in  
>creating a working concept of corporal literacy that will inform a  
>design for all the senses. There is more information available at our  
>fingertips during a walk in the woods, says Mark Weiser, than in any  
>computer system, ?yet people find a walk among trees relaxing and  
>computers frustrating. Machines that fit the human environment,  
>instead of forcing humans to enter theirs, will make using a computer  
>as refreshing as taking a walk in the woods.?[xiii]
>One of the most intriguing aspects of Bauhaus is that the most  
>successful unit, ? the unit coming ?closest to Bauhaus intentions?,  
>as Gropius stated, the pottery workshop ? was located 25 kilometers  
>from Weimar, in Dornburg. It was hard to reach by train, and hard to  
>reach by car. The workshop master Max Krehan owned the workshop, so  
>there was a business interest from the start. The relationship with  
>Marcks , the Master of Form, was not contaminated with formalized  
>roundtable discussions, but was a productive twoway (abstract- 
>concrete) interrelationship.
>?More important still, in terms of what Gropius hoped for the entire  
>Bauhaus, was the way in which the pottery workshop operated in close  
>co-operation with the local community in which it found itself. It  
>made pots for the community and the town of Dornburg leased the  
>workshop a plot of land which the students used for vegetables and on  
>which, it was hoped, they would build.?[xiv]
>So what can we learn from this? That we must not aim to define, alter  
>or transform practices, processes, places or people. The aim should  
>be to define a vision. A vision that should be able to inspire and  
>empower designers in their concrete experience of agency in this  
>seemingly undesignerly new world, towards a humanistic and optimistic  
>positive attitude in the role, function and leadership of the  
>designer in his and her capability to make sense, to work within an  
>uncertain framework of unforeseen consequences, unintended uses, and  
>procedural breakdown.
>Three basic ideas underlie this vision: a concept of life and living  
>as slow becoming, as in Eugène Minkowsky?s idea that the essence of  
>life is not ? a feeling of being, of existence, but a feeling of  
>participation in a flowing onward, necessarily expressed in terms of  
>time, and secondarily expressed in terms of space.?[xv], a concept of  
>slow money, to focus on the design process and sustainability of  
>design products, and a working concept of our notion of control, as  
>slow resonance.
>[i] Ranger, Steve. Shops reveal plans to replace barcodes. Vnut,  
>04-09-2002. http://www.vnunet.com/News/1134796
>[ii] Weiser,  Mark "The Computer for the Twenty-First Century,"  
>Scientific American, pp. 94-10, September 1991
>[iii] Junnarkar, Sandeep. Designing the century's first digital city.  
>CNET News.com, September 18, 2002, 12:00 PM PT http://news.com.com/ 
>[iv] Futurefeedforward" fff at futurefeedforward.com Date: Sun Mar 23,  
>2003, By Bruce Sterling
>[v] Farmer, Dan and Mann, Charles C. Surveillance Nation, Technology  
>Review, April 2003
>[vi] Farmer, Dan and Mann, Charles C. Surveillance Nation, Technology  
>Review, April 2003
>[vii] Campbell, Kim. Stand still too long and you'll be watched New  
>imaging software alerts surveillance-camera operators to suspect  
>situations by monitoring patterns of motion .Christian Science  
>Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1107/p17s01-stct.htm
>[viii] University of California, Irvine. Proposal for a School of  
>Design at the University of California, Irvine November 2002, http:// 
>[ix] Farmer,  Dan and Mann, Charles C. Surveillance Nation,  
>Technology Review, April 2003
>[x] Gage, Debbie. Consumer Products: When Software Bugs Bite, January  
>16, 2003 http://www.baselinemag.com/print_article/0,3668,a=35839,00.asp>
>[xi]  Talbott, Steve. Subject: NetFuture #141 Issue #141. A  
>Publication of The Nature Institute, January 28, 2003.
>[xii]  Editorial, Visual Communication, volume 1, number 1, February  
>2OO2 ISSN 1470-3572
>[xiii] Weiser, Mark "The Computer for the Twenty-First Century,"  
>Scientific American, pp. 94-10, September 1991
>[xiv] Whitford, Frank, Bauhaus, Thames & Hudson, 1984, p. 73-4
>[xv] Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Foreword by Etienne  
>Gilson, Beacon, 1969, p. xii in the Introduction.
>> What opportunities and dilemmas does a world of networked objects  
>> and spaces
>> pose for architecture, art, and computing? How might this evolving  
>> relation
>> between people and "things" alter the way we occupy, navigate, and  
>> inhabit the
>> built environment?

" ... the space between zero and one ... "
                  Walter Benjamin

         Los Angeles  .  San Francisco

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