Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Nirvana is here and its Mobile

Is it really NOW?!?!?

My acquaintance and fellow Amsterdammer, Reiner Evers, has reported in his successful www.trendwatching.com that the MOBILE MOMENT HAS ARRIVED.

For years now, all of our 'future watchers', and of course the entire European Telecoms sector, have promised us ubiquitous nirvana via our phones, and many of us have gone broke trying to serve that elusive promise.

According to Reiner, THE TIME HAS COME:

"OK, it’s really happening now. For years and years, futurists, cyber-gurus, trend watchers and other overly-optimistic gadget-fetishists have been predicting the glorious coming of the mobile web. Never mind that the lack of wireless broadband combined with archaic and money-grabbing mobile operators turned that dream into a sustained mobile nightmare.

But. The clowds are parting. 3G, 4G, even 5G are coming to the rescue, and of course (dare we say it) the iPhone! You can spend the next few weeks poring over the countless research docs on mobile-finally-meets-web currently being released (here, here and here, for a start), but they all show the same thing: owners of iPhones and smartphones and tablets and nano-notebooks are embracing an improved online-on-the-go experience.

But please forget proprietary portals or paying by the byte: all consumers ever wanted to do on-the-go was whatever they were already doing on clunky computers, and then some. Read: diving into the online world fast and without limits, on whatever gadget offers the best marriage between size, apps and portability. With some serious GPS action thrown in, too.

Which means that cyberspace as we know it (read: a wonderous world of control and make-believe restricted to desktops at home or in poorly-lit offices, and laptops that don’t venture too far from spotty hotspots) is about to vanish, and will be replaced by something that is everywhere, enabling consumers if not enticing* them to actually venture out into the—you guessed it—real world.
Though when that happens, what will constitute the real world will be up for debate. Anyway. Get ready for a generation that is (finally) always online while offline. And vice versa."

* Helped by thousands of GPS-aided apps, refinded local search tools and other PLANNED SPONTANEITY services, being online-on-the go will mean more offline adventures and experiences than ever before.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Emotionally Vague – Color Coding emotions

Emotionally Vague is a research project about emotion, sensation and feelings. In order to produce the study, the researcher interviewed 250 people from 35 countries, between the ages of 6 and 75. Each final survey contained five sheets of A4 paper, one reusable colour swatch board, a red marker pen and a memento card. The result is a multi layered map of emotions and how people reflect them in their bodies. The color coding looks like a DNA sequence with the different tones that people chose associated with each emotion.

“Emotions can be overwhelming. But not always so. They affect our thoughts and perceptions far more than we realise. It is well established that we are subliminally affected by visual media, and particularly in terms of unconscious emotions, drives and feelings.

I wanted to question how feeling can be experienced in the body, not simply in mind. I believe that we can use familiar tools to express understanding of experience, and not be restricted to the use of photographic stereotypes.

Can people describe their visceral feelings of emotion visually, and if so, would any patterns arise? In order to answer this, I had to develop some way of asking people to reflect on and describe their private feelings in a simple, repeatable manner, the results of which could be correlated visually and demographically.

By gathering concepts of feeling by word, colour and line and creating visual languages for anger, joy, fear, sadness and love - a kind of democratic visual language is created - a backwards-brand”.

Found via information aesthetics.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Eye Candy

It's Friday, let's have some candy:

Museum of Art for the Arts

I want MORE...

Wallpaper Selects

Manifesta (@ we make money not art)

3 Days, 3038 photos - 1 amazing short film (@Laughing Squid)

Proposal 2.0

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

20 Free eBooks About Social Media

Chris Brogan has compiled a list with some remarkable free ebooks on social media. Many (if not all) of the books are excellent and great starting points for anyone who would like to be introduced to the concepts and acquire know-how on the subject.

A must read for any beginner is iCrossing's "What is Social Media". It takes the reader on a comprehensive trip through the many applications available and makes a case for each of them. This is probably the one I would recommend for the total neophyte trying to get a crash course on social media. From blogs to wikis to podcasts, it contains all the key elements to understand and get started.

Monday, August 25, 2008


There is an interesting talk by Clay Shirky on the new edition of Edge. Some highlights from the talk:

Tim O'Reilly and his initial skepticism on "Social Software":
"In November 2002, Clay Shirky organized a "social software summit," based on the premise that we were entering a "golden age of social software... greatly extending the ability of groups to self-organize."
I was skeptical of the term "social software" at the time. The explicit social software of the day, applications like friendster and meetup, were interesting, but didn't seem likely to be the seed of the next big Silicon Valley revolution".
And of course, this being Tim O'Reilly, an extremely intelligent guy, he is not afraid to admit he was short sighted and that, indeed, Social Software did change the internet landscape for good:
"Now, five years after Clay's social software summit, Facebook, an application that explicitly explores the notion of the social network, has captured the imagination of those looking for the next internet frontier. I find myself ruefully remembering my skeptical comments to Clay after the summit, and wondering if he's saying "I told you so.""
Shirky elaborates on what he calls "the cognitive surplus", or the power of individuals and crowds to create new applications or find new uses for existing ones:
"So how big is that surplus? If you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project—every page, every edit, every line of code, in every language Wikipedia exists in—that represents something like the cumulation of 98 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it's a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it's the right order of magnitude, about 98 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that's 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 98 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus. People asking, "Where do they find the time?" when they're looking at things like Wikipedia don't understand how tiny that entire project is, as a carve-out of the cognitive surplus that's finally being dragged into what Tim O'Reilly calls an architecture of participation.

Now, the interesting thing about a surplus like that is that society doesn't know what to do with it at first—hence the gin, hence the sitcoms. Because if people knew what to do with a surplus with reference to the existing social institutions, it wouldn't be a surplus, would it? It's precisely when no one has any idea how to deploy something that people have to start experimenting with it, in order for the surplus to get integrated, and the course of that integration can transform society".
Much to think about in terms of how to get people interested in changing the way they spend that cognitive surplus. For us working in creative fields, it is always a matter of how to get people engaged and involved. How do we better give everyone the tools to take advantage of that cognitive surplus?

Museums hosting Meetups

(Crossposted @ Hyperkinesis Blog)

I recently wrote on the subject of Museums and the communities they serve and, coincidentally, today, I found an extremely interesting article on this same subject on the excellent blog Museum 2.0.

This is a must read for cultural enterprises that would like to start taking steps in the social media arena.

From the article:

If you get people in a museum (or library) for WHATEVER reason, chances are they’re going to notice the exhibits sometime. And hopefully, start to value them”.


The key to these benefits is not the volume of online content produced but its reach. Don’t look at the number of videos, photos, or reviews. Look at the number of views (how many times each has been accessed). The Ontario Science Center YouTube meetup didn’t just spawn hundreds of videos before, during, and after the event. Each of those videos has hundreds or thousands of viewers. Some of the videos have as many as 35,000 views. And while not all of the videos mention their host by name (in fact, few do), the museum venue is frequently present in related text and links. Plus, folks who attended the event link to other videos shot at the museum, such as this “888 favorite” (shot in 2006) of someone using an exhibit. Number of views? 170,000 and counting.”.

This is, in my opinion, the future of any cultural institution that wants to be part of a community. Art should not about some detached view from the outside, it should be part of our lives, a fundamental component of our social interactions. For me, art is about the aesthetics that shape our world view and make us richer as a result. I might be a Utopian, but if art is worth anything, it should be for its power to change lives. Once someone has been exposed to the beauty of human creativity in any of its forms, they cannot go back to ignoring that side of humanity, and if we are lucky, they might start exploring their own creative sides as well.