This free monthly newsletter starts conversations on issues to do with design for resilience — and thereby reveals opportunities for action. It also brings you news of Doors of Perception events and encounters. Back issues are now archived on Design Observer. To subscribe to future newletters by John Thackara click here.
DOORS 7 ON FLOW (1): SPEAKER NEWS - FROM PORTS TO PORTALS
We are delighted that the following people have confirmed their participation as speaker in Doors 7: Bruce Sterling, leader of the Viridians; Stefano Boeri, architect and urban planner involved in the transformation of port areas in the Mediterranean (Genoa, Naples, Mytilene, Salerno, Trieste); Ole Bouman, editor of Archis magazine (who are publishing a special issue on Flow for the conference); Franziska Nori, curator of the I love you virus exhibition at Frankfurt's MAK; Marco Susani, Director of the Advanced Concepts Group at Motorola Consumer Experience Design in the USA; Felice Frankel, Research Scientist at MIT; and Ton van Asseldonk, advisor about change to large Dutch enterprises. Doors of Perception 7 takes place 14, 15, 16 November 2002 in Amsterdam. Registration and the conference website are now open at:
FLOW (2): WHO IS THE HARRY POTTER OF PERVASIVE COMPUTING?
Pervasive computing will change our world, but we lack imaginative ways to use it. Refrigerators that order milk? Surely there's more to look forward to than that: where's the magical new idea? We need your suggestions of real or near-real design cases for possible inclusion in the November conference.
TIME IN DESIGN
What is the proper relationship between time and design? In a search for answers, the Eternally Yours Foundation is organizing a conference in October 2003, "Time in design." The event will last exactly 24 hours, explains its joint organiser, Arnoud Odding; "between formal lectures there'll be acts, performances, mini-exhibitions, and discussion - all in one-hour time slots."
CYBORG ACCESSORY WINS BUSINESS WEEK GOLD
BodyMedia's SenseWear Armband and software won a Gold from Business Week and the Industrial Designers Society of America. BodyMedia (whose Chris Pacione spoke at Doors 6 on Lightness) makes wearable body monitors and software that collect, store, process, and represent body data such as energy expenditure, activity levels, and sleep states, and send physiological records of their wearer to a website which supports self-care weight management, sleep management and performance sports software applications. The company recently announced the completion of $6.5 Million Series B financing.
THINGS THAT LINK?
Pure play, or pure pain? This question launched a workshop on new business models for interactive services at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (Doors of Perception helped to organise it). A report now online includes Ezio Manzini on "enabling" versus "disabling" services; Heath Row, social capitalist at Fast Company, on the myth of "designing" communities; Chris Pacione, from Bodymedia (see above) on how much it hurts to launch a wellness service; Thomas Fellger of MetaDesign on designing for iMode in Europe; David Rose, of Ambient Devices, on "things that link"; Alan Wexler of Sapient on success factors for mobile services; and Scott Elias, of Elias Arts, on "servant leadership" in the design of sound-based services.
Here at Doors we call the phenomenon "Borg Drift": the almost casual penetration of all things tech and digital onto - and into - our bodies. Thousands of prosthetic devices, plus services connecting our bodies to networks, are in development. We say drift because so few people look at all these developments as a whole and think about their aggregate significance. One group that does is Richard Saul Wurman's TedMed conference; TedMed covers everything from computer graphics & imaging of the human body, through micro lozenges that record their journey through the body, wearables of all kinds, visualization of blood, urine, DNA & genomics, robotics & nano technology, plus myriad information services designed to assist us in the planning of a healthy life. Borg and humans can both save $1,000 on the $4,000 fee by booking this year (the next edition is in 2003).
DISABILITY AND VIRTUALITY
The often grim after-effects of stroke are a present risk to millions of people - but most of us tend not to dwell on the fact. It's lucky for us that researchers are investigating ways to harness virtual reality technologies to alleviate our situation if disaster strikes: they meet at the International Conference on Disability, Virtual Reality and Associated Technologies (ICDVRAT 2002) in Veszprem, Hungary 18-20 Sept 2002.
FLOW (3): INTERACTION DESIGN COURSE LEADERS MEETING
The day after Doors 7, on Sunday 17 November, a meeting will take place in Amsterdam for people leading or setting up graduate interaction design courses and research programmes. The meeting is to explore how best to exchange experiences and share best practices. If you are interested in participating contact Rob van Kranenburg.
SHOP TILL YOU DROP?
We are increasingly political in our purchases, and think about the quality, cost, production methods and origin of the materials in the things we buy. Can consumption be sustainable, or ethical? A "sustainable consumption masterclass" takes place in Helsingor, Denmark, from September 1-7 2002. It is led by David Gee from the European Environment Agency; Kalle Lasn, Director of Adbusters, Canada; and John Wood, Reader in Design at Goldsmiths College, London. The website was down as we went to press, so the email address is:
HOW TO BE HUMAN
Paul Hawken, who is one of the keynote speakers at Bioneers, in October, says "Bioneers is central to the re-imagination of what it means to be human." Other environmental visionaries on the bill include Fritjof Capra, no-logo-ist Naomi Klein, ecological designer John Todd, and photographer Sebastiano Salgado. 18-20 October 2002, San Rafael, California.
TESTING TIMES FOR TEACHERS
Teach yourself! This seems to be the advice of governments everywhere as they encourage more young people to enrol in higher education while freezing the resources available to teach them. It is small surprise that self-assessment by students is on the agenda.Doors is organizing Q-conf, for the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, on 26 September to explore the wider implications of testing and assessment in an era of network intelligence. Among the invited guests is Bill Wetzel, a leader of Students Against Testing in the USA, and Carla Rinaldi, pioneer of the internationally celebrated Reggio Emilia schools project in Italy.
HONG KONG DESIGN TASK FORCE
"Everyone thinks of design as a process that adds value; we want to re-position design as a process that creates new value." So explains Victor Lo, the Hong Kong industrialist, of the remit he has given to Hong Kong's new design task force, which he chairs. John Thackara from Doors of Perception is an advisor to the task force. Lo, together with John Frazer from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is looking for ways to keep Hong Kong design education ahead of the game in the face of stiff competition: some 400-plus design courses have been started recently in mainland China, and South Korea has 95,000 design students - and 66 post-graduate graduate design programmes - for a population of 45 million people.
RUST-BELTS RE-LIT BY SPARK!
Five European districts, struggling to re-invent themselves after the loss of old-economy industry, will develop next-generation services and urban infrastructures in a project called Spark! Spark! involves teams of young European designers and small towns in Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Italy and the UK. The project is an initiative of Cumulus, the network of leading European design schools led by Yrjo Sotamaa at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. Doors of Perception is an advisor to Spark! which runs for three years from October 2002; it's part-funded by the European Commission.
Convivio, a network of research and design organisations concerned with the people-centered design of new communication services, has been established in Europe. The European Commission's Future and Emerging Technologies Programme is funding the network for the period 2002-2005. (Doors of Perception is a founding member of Convivio, and will lead the network's vision building process).Other founding organizations include Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Inria in France, Xerox Europe, Kings College London and the Institute of Education in the UK, the Royal Institute of technology inSweden, Philips, and the Fraunhofer Institute. Convivio's co-ordinator, Giorgio de Michelis, explains that "we chose the word Convivio, which was first used as the title of a book by Dante, for its association with the enjoyment of the company of others." More details to follow in September.
Interaction designer Peter Groenewegen writes to scold us for our tasteless joke about the designers of MSWord. "I don't find the death-wishing of hundreds of people very funny; however bad or user-unfriendly the software may or may not be, there is no need to (characterise) the people behind Microsoft as abstract monstrous beings that would be better off dead." Peter, you're absolutely right, and we apologise.
SIMULATION AND GAMING AS DESIGN
Jan Klabbers in Norway invites your article for an upcoming issue of the journal Simulation and Gaming on the art & science of design. "Gaming and simulation can be courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones", says Klabbers. For more information on the special issue, contact Klabbers at the Department of Information Science, University of Bergen, Norway.
URBAN MOBILITY RESEARCH
The Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF) has announced substantial grants for projects to do with future urban transport. The next FUT conference takes place September 21-24, 2003, Goteborg, Sweden.
RHIZOME RESCUES KOREAN CURATOR
Rhizome.org, the online new media art community, has re-designed its website. Mark Tribe, Rhizome's founder, explained its potential: "for example, a Korean museum curator could use our existing ArtBase to find Spanish artists for an exhibition in Seoul, look up the artists' email addresses in the Community Directory, and announce the opening reception in the Calendar." So all that work was worth it! Rhizome.org takes its name from the botanical term for an underground stem that connects plants into living networks, a metaphor for the organization's non-hierarchical structure.
ONLINE DEMOCRACY ONLINE
Do-wire is a useful portal to what's important and happening with the convergence of democracy and the Internet around the world. The email list connects over 2,500 experts, practitioners, journalists, and citizens. Useful if you are interested in democracy or politics online, new media, e-governance, e-government, online advocacy, citizen interaction.
MANAGING FLUX AMID URBAN DRIFT
Francesca Ferguson is an organiser of Urban Drift, 10-12 October in Berlin. "We are looking at flux management - that is, process-driven design and architectural practice", she writes. Urban drift will examine new urban strategies, and the fundamental changes taking place in design processes as a result of mobile telecommunications technologies, interactive and embedded technologies. Entries are invited for posters that will be shown open workspaces around Berlin: statements, slogans, images, impressions.
A mini-conference on "Community Informatics and Community Networking Research" takes place in Montreal, Canada, starting October 8 2002. It's organised in conjunction with the World Forum on Community Networks, October 7-12. Proposals should be sent to Susana Finquelievich, Universidad de Buenos Aires
GOT THEM BY THE OEKONUX
Project Oekonux deals with the question, whether and to what extent the principles of the development of Free Software - valuelessness, individual self-unfolding, collective self-organization, and global networking - can give crucial impulses for a new society based on voluntary and self-organized cooperation.
YES, OUR DESIGN RESEARCH TEXT DOES EXIST
In last month's newsletter we asked: "does a web page that is never accessed really exist?" - and then forgot to post the text concerned on our website, causing confusion all round. It's online now at:
SUPPORT A GOOD CAUSE AND MAKE MILLIONS OF FRIENDS
Sixty-five per cent of Americans would switch to a brand associated with a good cause, according to the Cone-Roper Cause Trends Report.
This is great news for readers of this email, because few causes are better than the Doors of Perception conference: we bring innovative people together around an agenda for design transformation and sustainability. This year, for a maximum of 5,000 euros, we will name you a supporter of one of these conference special features: Club Room, Conference Reception, Flow Breakfast, Open Doors Evening, Conference Party, or Scholarship.