This is May, and we at Superflux are like a swan – calm and serene from above (well mostly), but paddling frantically beneath the surface. After April's Irish cyborgs, Hungarian pirates and Harlem journeys, life continues apace. First and foremost, we're overjoyed to announce a couple of additions to the team. We have two amazing, talented individuals joining the Superflux Family, lending our practice a greater breadth of skills and activities, and boosting our general sense of happiness and well-being. Say hello to Justin Pickard and Carolina Vallejo!
Those of you who have seen 'Song of the Machine' have already met Justin Pickard – futurist, writer, and self-proclaimed 'gonzo ethnographer'. Justin is a graduate of Goldsmiths' MA in Digital Media, with a broader 'base' in anthropology and geopolitics, Justin's work is defined by his abiding interests in technology, society, and science fiction; and the sites where they come into contact. Whether simulating the future of security as 'game master' on a massively-multiplayer forecasting game, helping reimagine video capture as a team sport, or researching activism in the global clothing industry, he has worked across disciplines; striving to grapple with the emerging contours of the 21st century. He spends far too much time of his free time on Twitter, where he can be found – posting furiously – as @justinpickard.
Photo Credit: Rotobooth
Carolina Vallejo is a creative strategist and maker who moves between the lines and in the intersections of many disciplines: from physical computing, interaction design, and digital narratives, to literature, theatre, publishing, advertising, and architecture. She likes to think about how human interactions are mediated by technology, the cultural industries, and politics & current affairs. Carolina is originally from Bogotá and has worked, lived and studied in Barcelona, New York, Tokyo and London. Carolina holds an MA in Interactive Telecommunications from ITP, New York, a Masters in Publishing from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and has pursued independent studies in graphic design, architecture and education. She is also the mastermind behind Design for the First World, and can be found on Twitter as @carolinavallejo.
New Summer Studio
We have a lovely new studio space within stumbling distance of Liverpool Street Station. It's light, airy, and perfect for welcoming in the summer. That said, our search for a more permanent base of operations continues, as we hunt for a space that can accommodate our needs for prototyping, Lab activities, and so forth. If you hear of anything, please drop us a line; last month's sticker-bounty still stands.
Other News We are working on couple of strategy documents for clients, getting excited about upcoming projects, exhibitions and talks, and plotting an event or two. Jon is slaving at the digital coalface, forging our new website from sweat and pixels. I should be preparing for a talk at International Science Day in Turku, Finland, as part of its 'European Capital of Culture' activities in 2011, but my fellow speakers' credentials have left my frozen. Justin secretly hopes I can ambush Hannu Rajaniemi, whose debut novel he was reading while we were working on 'Song of the Machine'. Set in a strange and distant future, The Quantum Thief (2010) represents Rajaniemi's attempt to meld science fiction and the pulp crime fiction of the early twentieth-century:
'This was an optogenetic black box upload. Very crude: it must have been agony. It's an old trick, pre-Collapse. They used to do it with rats. You infect the target with a virus that makes their neurons sensitive to yellow light. Then you stimulate the brain with lasers for hours, capture the firing patterns and train a black box function to emulate them. That's where those little holes in his skull are from. Optic fibres. Upload tendrils.' The tzaddik brushes the chocolatier's thinning hair carefully with a gloved hand: there are tiny black dots in the scalp beneath, a few centimetres apart.
-- Hannu Rajaniemi, The Quantum Thief (2010), p. 34
And that Superflux book recommendation deftly returns us to our ongoing affair with optogenetics, lending a much-needed coherence to the universe, and our activities within it. Sorted.