[iDC] More on symposium

Matthew Waxman waxman.matt at gmail.com
Wed Oct 25 02:13:18 EDT 2006

Hi Orkan,

An aside to the discussion--
I see a parallel between your point about needing to understand the
technology we use (flash drive example is great) and a need to understand
the science behind our relationship to climate change.  Maybe these two
needs for understanding (and their current timing) are related in some way?


On 10/23/06, Orkan Telhan <orkan at media.mit.edu> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> Following Jessica and Dave's review, I also would like to comment on
> the 'Architecture and  Situated Technologies'. I only attended the
> symposium on Thursday and Friday, but generally had a good time in
> these quite intense sessions.
> A couple of things I found interesting:
> Desire for the underspecified (e.g., interaction models, buildings).
> Desire for transparency.
> Desire for quantitative research without abandoning qualitative methods.
> Metrics of evaluation (how do I know if this art project or this
> building is good?).
> Ability to understand and simulate while being able to observe what
> is left behind in "universal" models.
> The immanent and complex relationship among of economy, power,
> control, ideology and technology.
> I think we observed many concerns raised by cross-disciplinary
> people.  It is becoming more and more clear that we are moving beyond
> the traditional debates among technophiles and cynics. The producers
> of technologies vs. their consumers. The audience and the speakers
> were broad and people were wearing multiple hats as opposed to their
> traditional labels: architect, media artist, designer, scientist,
> theorist... etc.
> However, while the culture of debate was intense and improving, I am
> not sure how informed people are about each others field.  For
> example, while we all are striving for transparency in technology, I
> am wondering how many of us are ready to handle the extra burden of
> choice and information overload. And more important than that, how
> are we going to tell what kind of transparency we really want from
> technology?
> If I am going to copy my 'word' file from my flash drive to my
> desktop, how much do I need to know about the code exchange between
> the drive and the computer? In a glimpse of a second these devices
> run thousands of lines of code and other than a blinking green light
> at the end of your drive, you almost see nothing about this very
> complicated process.
> Perhaps this is an extreme case and yes, transparency is still good.
> But while we are proceeding to the next stages of these debates, I
> feel like we also need to learn and understand more about the
> technologies we are talking about. At least to inform each other
> about what we really want to extend the scope of these discussions.
> Thanks again to Omar, Trebor and Mark for the organization. The
> symposium was quite stimulating.
> cheers,
> Orkan Telhan
> --
> Sociable Media Group
> MIT Media Lab
> web.media.mit.edu/~orkan
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