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The studio blog is a place to show our thinking in public, sharing the inspirations and processes that get us to the end of a project.

August 23rd, 2010

We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Tessy Britton's lovely book: HandMade: Portraits of Emergent New Community Culture.


Part of the Social Spaces Project: "HandMade is a result of two years research into new types of community projects.( kudos to Tessy for all the hard work! )The twenty-eight authors have contributed perspectives and stories on how ideas of participating and initiating within communities is changing. These innovative views are largely informed through experiences gained creating fresh and imaginative opportunities for people to come together positively in their communities to learn, share and make." Tessy was a collaborator on the Power of 8 project, and we are pleased to have contributed an essay about the project for the book.  Order your own copy here!

August 20th, 2010

The floods in Pakistan are being described as a slow Tsunami, sweeping across the length of the country, raising further fears of epidemics. It is a heart wrenching situation, but is only the taste of things to come, as this article puts it. Everyone who can is helping out, in whatever way possible. From a distance, one of the best possible ways of contributing is by donating money, as global health expert Alana Shaikh has said before.


Senior TED Fellow, Faisal Chohan has built as a platform for reporting and mapping incidents, directing relief to areas that need it most. As the TED Fellows blog describes it: "With over 20 million people affected by the floods, Faisal’s is expected to be the biggest usage yet of the crowdsourcing tool Ushahidi. The platform collects eyewitness accounts of flood-related incidents via SMS, email and the web. It then verifies them for accuracy and plots the data points on a map, providing up-to-date information to aid workers — an invaluable service when conventional media outlets and communication lines are down." To contribute to accurate mapping of the crisis, people can text their eyewitness accounts of the flood to 3441 with the location of the incident. The message should begin “FL,” followed by a space and then the observation. There is a lot of confusion about which is the right charity, and whom to donate. Here are a few recommended ones: UNICEF, DEC, THE BIG GIVE and OXFAM.

August 6th, 2010
Last month I gave a keynote talk at LIFT 10, France in Marseilles, following a lovely invitation by Nicolas Nova, who wanted me to open with a 'broader, inspirational talk about design and how different approaches to prototype near-futures are important'. (No pressure!) Well, Jon and I worked to create a presentation that would not only set the premise around this sort of thinking, but also develop our own position further. Here's the video from the talk: And here are my slides: And here's the blurb I sent to Nicolas and then to the translators who did a fantastic job! "Climate change and economic instability have induced an ambient sense of urgency. What is the evolving role of design in such uncertain times? Nassim Taleb, the author of Black Swan, coined the term 'Ludic Fallacy' to describe our human desire to understand what is visible, known, narrated or tangible, and how it becomes difficult to imagine the invisible or the unknown. But as we move towards a difficult, volatile future, it is important to try and prototype different possible unknown and invisible worlds. And this is where the designer can come in, giving form and making tangible many possible futures we might find ourselves in. Through a series of examples of different projects which exemplify the use of such design methods to visualise near future worlds, I'd like to show how this can create new relationships and dialogues between science, emerging technologies and the wider public.  By working closely with collaborators from other disciplines (like futurists, technologists, scientists) and addressing some of our key societal concerns, the hope is to find new opportunity spaces for exciting possibilities for business and social enterprise. Finally I'll present the recently released wishlist from the 1660s of the famous British Scientist Robert Boyle, showing how we find ourselves living with many of his wishlist predictions today, hundreds of years later. Some of the things on his list included 'The Art of Flying' and the 'Prolongation of Life'. If we had to create a wishlist today, what might that have? And how might we create something like that in our current participatory culture of the web? Could that help us move into a more desirable future? If nothing else, it might create new hubs of dynamic, collaborative activity, and give humanity a new voice."
August 3rd, 2010
We are pleased to have two lovely, talented designers join us for this summer. Meet Mark and Zahra! me3 Hello! I'm Mark, a designer and PhD student at Nottingham University's Horizon, and Mixed Reality Lab. I’m also a co-founder of LAB, a Nottingham based collective for open, collaborative creative practice. Previously I studied on the MA Design – Critical Practice course at Goldsmiths, and have worked for a number of design studios in a variety of roles from hand-making bespoke products to web usability. More recently I worked with Microsoft Research on the Technology Heirlooms project. It's fair to say I'm interested in memory - most of my work focuses on how emerging and future technologies might mediate our perceptions of the world, our experiences within it, and our encounters with the artefacts of personal memory. At Superflux, I am excited to be able to get my hands dirty working on a cool product prototype, while also having the opportunity to work on two lab projects which critically explore the societal implications of cutting edge scientific and technological research. Working with them is a great opportunity to get to grips with the process of designing outcomes that respond to contemporary concerns in valuable ways. It's going to be fun! zahra Hello I’m Zahra! I am about to enter my final year as BA Design student at Goldsmiths. If it wasn't for my bad mathematics and chemistry, I might have very well found myself in a different field than Design and secretly wished I were born a gifted physicist. This clearly never happened. Instead I study Design. My main reason for entering the BA Design program than any other specific design education was because of its multi-disciplinary, concept and change-driven structure. I am doing my summer internship at Superflux because I am hoping to learn from, and contribute to their method of overlapping the worlds of science and design with the future.  I enjoy making, and by working on their client projects, I hope to develop my craft better. Hopefully I will also learn to work under short deadlines and find new opportunity spaces for design. On the other hand, their current lab projects respond to intensive research in high end technologies and scientific developments that are yet to be ethically and socially translated, applied and integrated. These are extreme times to be living in, and I think they feel the same way.