frank's blog

“Creativity, Collaboration and Hacking” – Thoughts Shared by Caterina Fake

Posted in art, conference, design, inspiration, Media, pioneers by aldorf on June 2, 2011

This was her intro to 7 on 7 – Connectin Art & Technology. Make sure to check out their event website 

(by Caterina Fake)

When I was in college, I wrote a paper about a poem, “The Book of Ephraim”, that was about a couple that spent years talking to spirits on a Ouija board, communing with the shades of poets, emperors, and friends. I’d never tried a Ouija board before, but I drew one on a piece of paper and used an overturned teacup to try it out with my friends. Amazing things happened as a result: we recorded conversations with dead army generals from Prussia who’d climbed Kilimanjaro, and conjured a mysterious spirit who spoke only in riddles. It was an addictive activity. Hours would go by, story after story would be told, and eventually the candle, set up for atmosphere, would gutter out, or we had to stop and eat, or pee, or write another paper, or go to sleep.

I didn’t believe (and I don’t think my friends believed) that we were actually talking to spirits, but something much more interesting has happening: my subconscious and the subconscious of my friend were working together to tell a story, a story we couldn’t have made up on our own, but which we were both contributing to.

If you’ve ever been in a band, or played a sport, or danced, or done anything with other people — even started a company! — you’ll know what I’m talking about. You make up a riff, and then the bass player picks up the riff, and then the drummer makes a variation on the theme, reversing it, and you jam on it and make sweet, sweet music together. Hours go by, you are lost in the flow, or the zone, or the jam, or whatever you want to call it. You know when this is happening with your hockey team, when you’re reaching a sublime level of banter at the dinner table, even when your flirting is really hitting the mark. Your subconscious is working together with someone else’s, time vanishes, peace prevails on earth, and everyone is dissolved together into the great, unimpeachable and omnipotent Is.

Hacking and art-making are like this, especially when done together — an artist-hacker matched with a hacker-artist for the day — to jam, invent, make things, do stuff, and have ideas. Both technology and art are about making things new and seeing things new, and the way to arrive at the new is a collaborative, mysterious and Ouija-like process.

This is what Seven on Seven is, and what Rhizome has created for us, here, today. It’s a risky undertaking because you pretty much have to go with your first idea. And your partner — maybe you know her, maybe you don’t. What if you are unable to get in the groove? What if you’re classical and she’s jazz? He’s Rails and She’s Python?

What’s fun about this project, this format and this day is we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. It’s a lark, a plunge. We’re in the middle of the creative process, not the end. It’s a leap-of-faith, seed-stage, put good people together and see what happens day. The seven technologists and the seven artists here today are the top of their respective fields, and they’ve hacked and improv’d their way through the past day.

The assembled awesomeness is inspiring and Lauren has set the scene, a locus for scenius. What do we have? A blank sheet of paper, a Ouija board, an overturned teacup, two people and their imaginations. Or an iPad, a keyboard, Ruby on Rails, some wires, two people and their imaginations.

And our own curiosity, amazement and surprise.

Advertisements

Big Idea! Event-driven Programming For The Masses – ifttt.com

Posted in design, internet, quality by aldorf on May 11, 2011

ifttt – Short for “if this then that”.
New Service with the potential to make a significant impact.

In today’s time-pressured world, people are constantly looking for ways to speed up their daily tasks. Hoping to help towards that end, we recently came across ifttt — an application that allows users to exercise their creativity in automating certain online activities. Ifttt hopes to automate digital tasks so that they can trigger a function for which they were not originally designed. This is made possible through a “trigger” and “action” model. For example, a trigger could be “If I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook”. When this occurs, it will automatically execute an action, such as “create a tweet on twitter”. Tibbets gives another example: “For instance, you can use Google reader starred items to share images on your Tumblr blog, or customize how and which photos from your Flickr stream show up on your Facebook wall.” These tasks can be turned on and off, with a maximum of ten being turned on at once. Ifttt ultimately relies on the creativity of its users to effectively automate their online activities. However, by making this a simple and intuitive process, Ifttt has the potential to make a significant impact.

Getting Good Recommendations Is Difficult – Hunch.com Is Trying To Help You

Posted in ideas by aldorf on September 22, 2010
Official seal of City of New York

Image via Wikipedia

Getting good recommendations is difficult, yet most of us rely on recommendations to guide us.

Started by clever folks (Chris Dixon previously SiteAdvisor and Caterina Fake of Flickr and YahooAnswers) who were exploring how machine learning could be used to guide practical, smart, and highly-customized recommendations.

Hunch is located in New York City.

%d bloggers like this: