New BDes(Hons) Interaction Design

Fingers and Pies: BERG’s Mag+

This great concept video has been doing the rounds in the last couple of days, showing work by BERG London on an e-magazine prototype for Bonnier R&D. More on the BERG blog.

Featuring a very nicely implemented Pie Menu, and a “rubbing” gesture to “heat up” areas of interest in the e-magazine. Great work guys!

Are You Ready for the Internet of Things?


I recently joined a bunch of really interesting colleagues as a member of Council, a “thinktank for the Internet of Things”. Many thanks to founder Rob van Kranenburg for inviting me.

Council’s first event, organised in association with and LIFT@HOME, will be happening in Brussels on 4th December:

Are You Ready for the Internet of Things? (register via LIFT site)

4th December 2009, 0930-2200
IMAL, Brussels.

Should be a great day — I’m looking forward to it. Maybe see you there.

The Power of 8: Launch

My friend and colleague Anab Jain has just launched a new project, funded by Arts Council England and Watermans gallery.

In this collaborative project, 8 people from different walks of life work together to build a public conversation about their individual aspirations for a desirable future.

If you’re interested in taking part, or know someone who might be, please watch the video, read more about the project, and get in touch.

inter_multi_trans_actions, the book

At the risk of this sounding like a gratuitous plug for my colleagues Paul Rodgers and Michael Smyth, I’m very pleased to see that the book based on last year’s excellent inter_multi_trans_actions event is well on its way to publication (I saw the proofs today in fact).

[ update: the title has now changed to “Digital Blur: Stories from the Edge of Creative Design Practice”. John Marshall managed to steal some proofs if you want a preview. ]

Extract from the publisher’s blurb:

This book brings together ten of the world’s leading practitioners and thinkers from the fields of art, architecture and design who all share a common desire to exploit the latest computing technologies in their creative practice. The book reveals, for the first time, the working processes of these major practitioners’ work that breaks down traditional creative disciplinary boundaries.

Inter_multi_trans_actions provides a rich picture, both visually and textually, of the following ten leaders in the field – Jason Bruges Studio, Lucy Bullivant, Greyworld, HeHe, Crispin Jones, the Owl Project, the Pooch, Bengt Sjölén, Troika and Moritz Waldemeyer.

Official publication date is 1st September, but it’s available to pre-order on Amazon now.

Auld Reekie vs The Big Smoke (emerging trends in post-disciplinary creative practice)

I’ve been back in Edinburgh for almost a year following my 2 years in London, and while I’m missing London stuff like This Happened and the very active Dorkbot, I’m also not missing all the predictable stuff like pollution, commuting and the cost of housing… (I could actually rent a 2-bed flat here on the harbour-front with a balcony and sea views for less than I was paying for a bedsit in Paddington.)

Anyway, coming back after being away has made me realise just how much creative activity there is here. Apart from all the new media startups and digital agencies, there are also heavyweights like Navyblue and Rockstar Games. Plus more festivals than you can shake a stick at — including the excellent film festival, now in its 62nd (!) year and moved to June, and at the other end of the scale the fledgling Edinburgh Interactive Festival. We also have four universities and an art college. All of this in a city only a sixth the size of Berlin.

To get to the point, I was recently very excited to hear about the forthcoming symposium being organised by my Napier colleagues Paul Rodgers and Michael Smyth — not only because it includes some of the most talented and interesting hybrid design/art practitioners based in the UK, but also because it’s happening two minutes walk from my office.

The official website is currently down due to a hardware failure, so I may as well give the full details here. (There’s also a facebook page.)

Apparently there are a few places left although they’re going fast. Registration is a mere 20 pounds. Please contact P DOT Rodgers AT if you want to register, and I’ll see you there (here).


emerging trends in post-disciplinary creative practice

Thursday 26 June, 2008
Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries
Napier University
Merchiston Campus
10 Colinton Road
Edinburgh EH10 5DT

This one day symposium will bring together a number of leading practitioners from the fields of architecture, art, and design who each share a common desire to exploit the latest computing technologies in their creative practice. The invited speakers will reveal their cutting edge work that blurs the traditional boundaries of the creative disciplines.

Emerging trends in post-disciplinary creative practice highlight the interplay of conventional boundaries.

“New hybrids of design are emerging. People don’t fit in neat categories; they’re a mixture of artists, engineers, designers, thinkers. They’re in that fuzzy space and might be finding it quite tough, but the results are really exciting.”
[Tony Dunne quoted in West, D., Digital Poets, Icon, 2007, 43 (January), pp. 56 – 64]

The aim of this event is to inspire and inform the symposium delegates of the significance of this trans-disciplinary research and its impact for creative practice in the UK. This event will appeal to a wide audience including practitioners, researchers, educators, industrialists and stakeholders involved in the creative industries.

[ Update: programme below is now updated, plus Paul sent me a PDF of the Flyer with biogs and stuff. Usman Haque was also mentioned in the initial announcement, but unfortunately he’s had to cancel. ]

Thursday 26 June, 2008
Programme (draft)

09.00 – 09.30 Registration, tea and coffee
09.30 – 09.40 Introduction
09.40 – 10:10 Bengt Sjölén
10:10 – 10:40 Greyworld
10:40 – 11:00 Tea and Coffee Break
11:00 – 11:30 Moritz Waldemeyer
11.30 – 12.00 Crispin Jones
12.00 – 12.30 TROIKA

12.30 – 13.30 Lunch

13.30 – 14.00 the POOCH
14.00 – 14.30 HeHe
14.30 – 14.50 Tea and Coffee break
14.50 – 15.20 Jason Bruges Studio
15.20 – 15.50 The Owl Project
15.50 – 16.30 Discussion Session (chaired by Lucy Bullivant)

17.00 – 18.30 Evening Reception

Interactions, Born Again

ACM Interactions has been born again with new editors-in-chief Richard Anderson and Jon Kolko, a new mission promising to cater for practitioners, and a new design.

Experientia’s anonymous blogger (Jan-Christoph perhaps?) Mark Vanderbeeken (thanks, Steve) seems to like the paper version, although I’ve not seen that. The web presence is a bit of a disappointment however — it feels clunky, flattened and shallow both in terms of IA/layout and in terms of content you can access without a paid-for ACM digital library login. (And when you do, the typeface they’ve used in the PDFs is really hard to read on-screen, unless there’s just something wrong with my eyes today.)

Picture 1.png

The home page currently features no less than six “click here” hyperlinks, including one for the table of contents which is in the bottom right of the page. It’s probably more than 10 years since I complained about such laziness, but I see that Nielsen was still rapping knuckles over it in 2005. Let’s see if they’ve changed this by the time the next web usability special issue comes up…

The site has comments and stuff, but you can’t help but feel that this was a missed opportunity to do something brave and innovative and push some boundaries in terms of what on-line discourse about research and practice might be like.