Monday, June 30, 2008

Organic prosthesis

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Grow On You by LucyandBart.

LucyandBart is a collaboration between Lucy McRae and Bart Hess described as an instinctual stalking of fashion, architecture, performance and the body. They share a fascination with genetic manipulation and beauty expression. Unconsciously their work touches upon these themes, however it is not their intention to communicate this. They work in a primitive and limitless way creating future human shapes, blindly discovering low – tech prosthetic ways for human enhancement.

Playing with suggestive photography for high impact, they seem obsessed with the body metamorphosis. I call their work organic prosthesis, because they mainly use organic material in their body extension. For instance, they grow seeds on a fabric, which gives the impression of a body grown of grass and soil. The following pictures show the germination from day one to day eight.

germination_day_one.jpgGermination

I love their work with foam. The foam transforms the body in a gentle way. Here the artists embrace the prosthetic impulse ...

Body and foam


Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The future of lasers

A laser, acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, emits a sharp light source. We find lasers now everywhere from optical storage, printers (2D printers), to cut & print in metal; they can be pretty dangerous so have to be handled carefully! The light is emitted in a narrow, low-divergence beam, with a narrow wavelength spectrum (usually monochromatic).



Jean Michel Jarre playing the laser harp, harp designed by Bernard Szajner in 1980.

This invention by Theodore Maiman in 1960 allows many applications. Designers integrate it widely, and now it become very common and unimpressive to use a laser as a mean of interaction. The laser has more interestingly leaded to some copy-cat applications. Getting the sense that a sharp light can easily be distinguished within the wavelength spectrum, designers use it as a tracking device. In the military, sophisticated lasers are used for range finding. In medicine for internal surgery. You can find sophisticated Green Laser Pointer through specialized companies. The usual 15mW laser is the one used to accompany a slide presentation, but lasers can remain portable while keeping intense power up to 500mW (thanks to heat sinking! ).

Wikipedia offers an extensive explanation on the differences between the continuous wave operation and the pulsed operation of a laser, thus offering quite a different use for the laser. Here we are working with visible wavelength, but creative applications using invisible wavelength are quite unexplored and are endless! As part of my PhD general exams, I am currently researching on how to use electro magnetic field and modulated light in background signals for adding context or helping localization in smart systems. More about this soon!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My contribution in the field of fashionable technology!

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I had previously mentioned the book Fashionable Technology, edited by Sabine Seymour in which I present my work on fashion garments designed in the context of technology -including the Touch Sensitive apparel developed with Yasmine Abbas. The book is available on Amazon and I recently received my copy!

Here are the pages of my contribution and the book itself features outstanding designers. I will try to report about them soon !!!

Fashion Technology by Cati VaucelleFashion Technology by Cati Vaucelle in the book of Sabien Seymour


Abstract: The interplay of electronic textiles and wearable technology, wearables for short, and fashion, design and science is a highly promising and topical subject. Offered here is a compact survey of the theory involved and an explanation of the role technology plays in a fabric or article of clothing. The practical application is explained in detail and numerous illustrations serve as clarification. Over 50 well-known designers, research institutes, companies and artists, among them Philips, Burton, MIT Media Lab, XS Labs, New York University, Hussein Chalayan, Cute Circuit or International Fashion Machines are introduced by means of their latest, often still unpublished, project, and a survey of their work to date. Given for the first time is a list of all the relevant information on research institutes, materials, publications etc. A must for all those wishing to know everything about fashionable technology.

->Buy the book<-

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Friday, June 20, 2008

Media fabrics for media makers

Talk in Bartos by Glorianna


Glorianna Davenport
is currently giving a fabulous talk at Media Lab on her interactive media, story networks and media fabrics research! She is bringing along researchers who share the passion of realizing an expressive landscape for digital dialogues. I worked with Glorianna from 2002-2004 and her vision shaped my research since then ...

Live webcast of the talk->here<-

Glorianna Davenport is a filmmaker and technology innovator who has spent three decades at MIT, exploring the fundamental issues of digital media experiences, collaborative co-construction, and the role of the machine for documentary and entertainment forms.

Nicholas Negroponte

One of her guest speaker, Nicholas Negroponte updated us with the status of the one laptop per child initiative. I must admit: I love the new laptop design: for its fantastic idea of prioritizing the laptop as a book, then a laptop as a shared device in a co-located space, then a laptop as a laptop. Offering this double metaphor is extremely powerful, unique and also daring. Most probably children will not use the laptop as a book, but the fact that the laptop can be handled as such is very sweet. It offers flexibility and connects with a culture, for instance in Brazil, where there is a govermental budget for books.

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The laptop can also be handled as a shared device. This resonates particularly well with my own research on the sharing of media and the creating of ideas in co-located space.

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The laptop that becomes a platform for co-located collaboration

More soon ...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A journey for the foreigner

All foreigners who have made a choice add to their passion for indifference a fervent extremism that reveals the origin of their exile – Julia Kristeva


I recently read a book, depressing and fascinating, Strangers to Ourselves, by Julia Kristerva.
This book is a journey through the notion of the stranger (the foreigner, outsider or alien in a country and society), and explores the idea of strangeness within the self (a person’s deep sense of being). In this book Julia Kristeva distinguishes the inside from the outside appearance and the conscious idea of self. She explains mostly the point of view of the foreigner, how he feels and perceives others in his welcoming foreign country. She attempts to analyze him and shows how this exile is nurtured by a deep inside exile. I share my notes because I know many foreigners who will resonate with this book.

Strangers to ourselves

In the first chapter, “Tocata and Fugue for the Foreigner”, the author explains her attempt to not turn the foreigner into a thing, but rather to “brush it” with no permanent structure. She presents a happy foreigner to the eyes of others, while the foreigner is actually away from his homeland because most probably he has lost his mother. As in Camus, his Stranger reveals himself at the time of his mother’s death: “One has not much noticed that this cold orphan, whose indifference can become criminal, is a fanatic of absence”. The foreigner is a devotee of solitude.

In the eyes of the foreigner those who are not foreign have no life at all: barely do they exist, haughty or mediocre. In contrast, the space of the foreigner is a moving train! As for confidence, the foreigner has no self. An empty confidence, valueless, which focuses his possibilities of being constantly other: “I do what they want me to, but it is not me. Me is elsewhere, me belongs to no one, me does not belong to me, … does me exist?”. Julia Kristeva concludes that the foreigner is a dreamer making love with absence, one exquisitely depressed. Happy? No one knows better than the foreigner the passion for solitude. “The paradox is that the foreigner wishes to be alone but with partners, and yet none is willing to join him in the torrid space of his uniqueness”.

The author proposes two categories of foreigner. The one who agonizes between what is no longer and what will never be, the advocate of emptiness, usually the best ironist, and the one who transcends, living neither before nor now but beyond, a believer and sometimes ripens into a skeptic! She explains how meeting balances wandering for the foreigner. The banquet of hospitality is the foreigner’s utopia with the brotherhood of guests who soothe and forget their differences … the banquet is outside of time!

The author shows how the foreigner constantly feels the hatred of others and how living with the foreigner (with the other) confronts people with the possibility or not of being an other, as in being in his place. Rimbaud’s psychotic ghost Je est un autre (I is an other) is the acknowledgment of this exile: to be foreign and live in a foreign country.
“Being alienated from myself, as painful as that may be, provides me with that exquisite distance within which perverse pleasure begins, as well as the possibility of my imagining and thinking, the impetus of my culture.” Split identity? Should we recognize that one becomes a foreigner in another country because he is already a foreigner from within?
How strange is Camus’ Meursault (The Stranger, 1942), so anesthetized, lacking emotions, all passion having been eradicated, and not a scratch to show for it. One could easily take him for a borderline case, or a fasle self, in short for a quasi-psychotic, rather than for a prototype of the foreigner.

Julia Kristeva brings language into this exile. The foreigner does not speak his mother tongue nor he is filled with resonance from the body’s memory! The resurrection through a new language slowly appears superficial and meaningless. This new language appears like a prosthesis, it is superficial.

Apparently, nobody listens to the foreigner, because the foreigner is only tolerated. As the author explains: “Those who have never lost the slightest root seem unable to understand any word liable to temper their point of view”. And the foreigner’s friends, aside from bleeding hearts who feel obliged to do good, could only be those who feel foreign to themselves.

Nowhere does one find better somatization than among foreigners, so much can linguistic and passional expression find itself inhibited

The realm of the foreigner slowly becomes silence. “It is the silence that empties the mind and fills the brain with despondency, like the gaze of sorrowful women coiled up in some nonexistent eternity.” Instead of approximating words, the foreigner no longer says them. The foreigner has lost his own language in a foreign land …

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Web 2.0 for the gambling community


My new summer game: the backgammon

Web 2.0 keeps surprising me: we share information, create content, collaborate through communities, social networking sites, wikis and blogs. This production of content, for the most part decentralized, strongly impact our economy. Each area of the web is growing, borrowing open-source tools and peer production of content.

One area that keeps massively imposing itself but misses the point and annoys internet users, is the online casino and game communities. Not only these sites do usually not offer anything interesting, except low quality games, but they do not make use of existing tools that could truly enhanced the “casino player” experience.

Yet, I found a complete platform for the online game and gamblers community. It works as an online gambling guide. It makes use of web 2.0 technologies and provides, for instance, weekly news and tips in rich video format along with interviews of specialists. The site uses algorithms that scan the web to find the highest jackpots. They offer a community based website that includes personal blogs of players, discussions, and sharing options. Not only the design is clean and inviting (you will not find banners with glitters that pops up every two seconds), but also the site is useful for anyone who wants to learn about games: it will lead the future (or current) players from the beginner to the pro difficulty level. It is a self contained environment for the gambler and the player. Even though I am not a gambler, I am a dedicated game player and my current summer game is the super fun Backgammon and the tips I read about it are really exciting!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Animating magnetic fields!

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Nasa uses 3D composing with sound-controlled CGI to make magnetic fields visible. A literal visualization of what surrounds us but that we are unaware of! Via

Video


Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Monday, June 16, 2008

A century of evolution between La Guerre des Boutons and Harry Potter

I'd like to share the notes I wrote about a fascinating French book:
De la Guerre des Boutons à Harry Pottter by Jean-Marie Gauthier and Roger Moukakou.

In this book, two psychiatrists connect the novel of Louis Pergaud, La Guerre des boutons (English: "War of the Buttons") written in 1906 with the best seller of Joanne K Rowling (1997-), Harry Potter. The authors present a century of evolution in the teenagers’ life: their space/time structure, their relationship to a group of peers, and their appropriation of the land. The authors analyze the progression from developing concrete skills (close to the ones of adults) to an imaginary virtual world. Based on these two influential novels, a repository for this evolution, they illustrate their clinical analysis with real life scenarios of teenagers.

La Guerre des Boutons VS Harry Potter, The Order of the Phoenix movie


You can read on La Guerre des Boutons flyer: “Il y a des guerres qui durent des années, celle-ci doit se terminer avant le diner” which stands for “There are wars that last for years, this one needs to be over before diner”. For the ones who do not know this French novel, I am posting some screenshots from a movie interpretation of La Guerre des boutons made in 1962 by Yves Robert.

An excerpt from the movie can be found ->here<-

La Guerre des Boutons


Notes from: De la Guerre des Boutons à Harry Pottter by Jean-Marie Gauthier and Roger Moukakou.

Essais anthropologiques

The authors observed that the ones who usually have difficulties to talk and show some reserve towards socialization, tends to spend a long period of time on internet for remote communication. With the computer, the relationship between distance and proximity, direct communication, corporeal and indirect, mediated is transformed. It is as if these teenagers privilege a communication in which the body is absent. The authors propose that this transformation induces difficulties in sharing and exchanging across generations and difficulties in the position that parents take place in the growth of their children.

The relationship to the body
- Rhythm of lives is different. We neglect the sun’s motion in our lives! Before the industrial revolution, a rhythmic life was imposed due to the constraints of working in the field, outside! Now we eat at unstable hours, find abnormal quantity of food anytime of the day, forgetting that meals can have a social function. The social function of meals is replaced by their nutritional function.

- The physical constraints related to transportation have been transformed. We walk less, thus transforming our relationship to time and space as well as our relationship to the body: feelings, feeling tired, cold/heat or being well.
At the time of “la guerre des boutons”, children were progressively learning how to build toys, hunting equipment, using the wheelbarrow under the grand father’s supervision! Now we can be a champion in Karate without moving a finger! The measure of each gesture (cause and effect) goes through an iterative process usually explored by gathering in locations & spaces.

La Guerre des Boutons

The Land
Play is key for social & individual development, a way to measure personal skills in comparison to others at the same time than measuring one’s body, a necessary step imposed by the life as an adult.

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Harry Potter, The Order of the Phoenix movie

Urban concentration has reduced the children’s possibility to gather outside. The space for play and collective experience is disappearing. Not only that but the parents themselves lost their everyday corporeal connection, their craftsmanship and their personal space. These transformations impact our ability to measure the consequences of our actions; this can explain a come back of the magical thought in a world where the relationship between causes and effects is more and more uncertain. Not only the quantity of available land has changed but also its quality has decreased. Before one could close his house with doors and windows, now it is completely impossible. The house walls not only did become porous, but the family remains in communication with the entire world through telecommunication, TV, internet, mobile phone… thus interrupting the paternal order of things!
Distinguishing between the inside and the outside world is harder (this relationship becomes more and more ambiguous). Distinguishing between private, individual, internal and external realities becomes very hard.

The Group
Children have a predisposition to form groups in which learning by imitation is very important. This helps children leave the exclusive parental relationship to enter a more complex form of socialization: creating an identity and functional skills. In La Guerre des Boutons one practices his skills by crating weapons for hunting while in Harry Potter to compete with one another the children use magical formulas.
In psychoanalysis, authors such as Leroi-Gourhan, Winnicott, Mendal, Montagner, Gibbs show the importance of a psychic construction that needs to connect to the outside world, necessarily going through gesture and object manipulation. Playing without using the body, without manipulating objects is very different.

La Guerre des Boutons

Harry Potter, The Order of the Phoenix movie

Creating relationships between children is a considerable advantage as it allows children to realize early on the human’s fundamental destiny: a social being (De Waal, F. 2005). It also allows kids to find modes of learning outside of the parental relationship. The authors remark that we need to think of this child’s pleasure to group and learn in a group and reevaluate the quality of learning that can happen within the group. It is not impossible that behind this pleasure of the group, kids can rediscover values of solidarity probably essential to our humanity and that were still very present at the beginning of industrialization but that are disappearing.

With La Guerre des Boutons one would constitute a group that opposes itself to another one, but today individuals are pushed towards being identical. Solidarity as a value is the most compromised, while individuation is assimilated to the general identical. Consumer society can only live if it destroys values of sharing and solidarity benefiting individualization ...

Time and space
Important for rational thinking, time and space are constituted and function via intuition. These intuitive forms of representation are constructed progressively while the child uses his corporeal skills. Corporeal exercise has a direct influence on the essential cognitive functions (Gibs, Gauthier, Montagner).
With a computer, one can be in contact with the entire world without having moved from the parent's house. The computer is the perfect compromise between the teenager’s necessity to go outside to become independent and the necessity to keep the protection and security of the parent’s house.

La Guerre des Boutons

Harry Potter, The Order of the Phoenix movie

While in the 20th century, kids were riskily gathering outside, creating groups, risking their identity confronting others, now kids can just stay home while contacting the external world, protected by their parents. According to the Oedipian complex, teenagers have to develop their personal lives outside of the family environment [Winnicott & Mendel], the computer seem to be the perfect compromise as children avoid the risks of the foreign while being closely connected to this outside world. The teenagers can also escape their fears related to their own body in comparison to the severe criticisms induced by co-located peers! The narcissistic image remains idealized. The teenagers will not quit their bedrooms and will remain dependent on their parents, because this context does not offer a way to move physically away from the family house.

Speech
Communication technologies modified our relationship to space and time and this cannot be left without consequences on the development of thoughts. Instead of confronting peers using a verbal exchange, communication is now guided with icons that one needs to only “clic” in order to be projected in the other side of the globe. The relationship to speech in which the exchange is contrary to the magical icon formula, is a relationship of time.
This modification of the general relationship to space/time can explain the modification of our potential to take time to share thoughts. Language is more and more stereotypical and univocal (close to the marketing discourse) which appears in the political speech today (Chomsky, 1986, 1998).
The dialog with the computer is a series of keywords and reveal the transformation of the structure and use of language in our occidental society. Harry Potter is truly a hero of our time!

Transmission
To separate themselves from their parents, children need to be a minimum aggressive to distant themselves. At the same time, children need to identify to their parents.
However, parents are questioning their role models and hesitate to propose them as references to their children. So the entire reproduction of behavior and models is questioned. Speed, technological progress and the fact that children possess higher skills in tech fields such as IT, all contributed to this change in the parental role. Harry Potter and his adventures confront us to tendencies and forces, that are modified both in the parental and social space.

The hunting land and the exploration space are restricted. It is now rather difficult to find resources outside of the parental home, parental home from which one of the two parent is usually absent. Grand parents are usually distant geographically. Living conditions have changed so much that there is an unbalanced between our human potentials and the environment in which we evolve. This can explain largely the developmental difficulties of the children. The authors question how socially we can address the educational needs of children considering that we cannot go back in time!
The conditions for education have changed because parents have changed. It happened before, but this time it happened extremely rapidly and the educational methods have not evolved as much. Harry Potter raises interesting questions on how the individual maturation of a teenager is a complex and uncertain process, because of the uncertainties that rest on the transmission mechanism across generations.
Most probably the teenagers need to rediscover the joy of living in a group, the values of solidarity and the belonging to a group of peers. Wouldn’t that be what these novels of youth are demanding from adults?

La Guerre des Boutons


Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Friday, June 13, 2008

Blogging in Motion

I met Diana Eng at the seamless fashion show in 2006 when my team and I presented Taptap: the scarf that hugs you back! She was showing an impressive inflatable dress, a gown that fits the body to later inflates ...

Photos from the rehearsal & Photos from the show that I took during the event.

One of her newest project, Blogging in motion, is a purse which involuntarily blogs your day. Each time the wearer walks 30 steps, the purse takes a photograph and automatically uploads it to a blog online. Time and GPS location for each photo can also be added to the blog. At the end of the day, blog readers can trace back through the wearer's footsteps by viewing the photographs taken during the day.

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Project by Diana Eng, Emily Albinski, Audrey Roy, Jeannie Yang and Yahoo Research Berkley.

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The secrets of syrian seduction

Ayah Bdeir examines the role technology plays in cross cultural communication and attempts to create technologies that promote human rights. One of her latest work "Teta Haniya's secrets" is one of the most hilarious one -> pics here <-

After decades of running her kinky Syrian lingerie store in the Hamidiya souk of Damascus, Teta Haniya has arrived in America bearing gifts. Drawing on more than 60 years of Islamic teachings on seduction, and updating it using her arsenal of kitschy technology, Teta Haniya hijacks the Western panty, triggering the sexual liberation of American women.


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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure