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do it yourself media April 4, 2006

Posted by reto wettach in exhibitions, media art, physical interaction design, social computing.
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Some observations from theTAKEAWAY festival in London. Topic of this year’s festival was “DO IT YOURSELF MEDIA”, which I think is quite interesting, but which still needs more development. Or – as Armin Medosh – the opening speaker said: We need to work on the manual for DIY media. (This was based on the observation that open source only works on the following principle: “Read the fucking manual – and only then steal somebody’s time).

Karel Dudesek showed – as announced in the program – “The design of conflicts in the era of political correctness.” Karel quoted only examples from the real world, which I very much enjoyed. As the first example came from architecture – even though Karel “hates architecture”: The group SITE from NY designed a couple of projects, which are very surprising:

siteenvirodesign.jpg

In this building for example, the broken corner is actually the door and slides out, when open…

Karel’s talk ended with the claim: Go There – Be There – PERSONALLY! To show, what he means by that, Karel showed some projects from his past, e.g. the “Kultur Polizei”, where they went to the documenta and arrested the director in public (actually he was quite proud to be arrested!) What a wild past…

Michael Breidenbruecker, who planned to talk on “Mainstream of Minorities”, changed his plans and talked instead about his experience building up (and selling his shares of) the company LAST FM. LAST FM is a community website based around music. Businesswise LAST FM is build on the philosophy of the “long tail” by Chris Anderson (WIRED): The theory of the Long Tail is that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. And of course there is good money being made at the end of the tail…

So, with LAST FM Michael managed to build up such a service, which helps people finding music in this long end.

The experience Michael made were quite interesting, but even more interesting was his basic philosophy, which he was once teaching (he was Karel’s predessesor) and which he then put into reality: We are designing media, not for media!

neighborhoods.jpg

One of LAST FM information designer, Dirk Waldik, was teaching a workshop on information mapping. He developed visualizations of the community of LAST FM and invented the term “neighborhoods” for people with similar taste. Quite interesting: he has the same academic background (Kartography) as my colleague at the FHP, Prof. Frank Heidmann. There seems to be a lot, which can be learned from maps for information visualization…Dirk shows an impressive selection of work on his website.

blogospheremap.jpg

Talking about Information Visualization: Dr. Gernot Tscherteu is developing a tool, which shows how information is flowing through the web. He uses the blog-world to visualize the ways of information. What I found interesting in his talk, was that not only the web is mostly self-referrencial, but also our brain: for every brain-cell receiving information, there are more than 100.000 cells, which work with this information.

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