IDSA / ICSID Connecting Congress 2007 - Day 3

IDSA / ICSID Connecting Congress 2007: Day 3

The second day of the plenary sessions, themed "Connecting Virtual + Visceral" aimed at penetrating into the complex realm, which is between human intuitions and different digital technologies. Again, the day started with a short video by Richard English, depicting an interesting collection of yesterday's events.

The first speaker who took stage in the Masonic Auditorium was Paul Saffo, who is a forecaster and essayist. His presentation, "Design After the Information Revolution", emphasized the new possible roles that design can play. His main point of focus was the vast shift from "information" to "media" and this transformation's unexpected and uncertain implications. This new media, is profoundly changing the very world we live in crating many new routes to follow but also with many inherent dangers. Such as in the case of World Wide Web drastically changing consumer habits or the dramatic rise of the "ring-tone" industry, everything is becoming "media" and even products are replaced with "subscriptions". Individuals are no longer only consumers in this new type of society but consumer/creators, who actively contribute to the "new world order". Design, has to redefine its boundaries to adapt to the drastic changes.

The second presentation, titled "From Applications to Implications: Designs for Fragile Personalities in Anxious Times", was made by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby. Dunne is a professor and head of the Design Interactions department at the Royal College of Art in London and his colleague , Ms. Ruby teaches design and architecture in the same instate. They debated and argued about the possible effects of new technologies in daily living, through the projects including students from the MA Design Interactions course at Royal College of Art. What is the role of design in creating a seamless interaction between emerging technologies and people? How can design be medium of articulation and discussion in this context? Such questions were at the locus of their talk: In their words, "design for debate, from applications to implications". Inspired by a project called "Victimless Meat", James King, who is also a student at their class designed for a future world where meat will be produced in the lab environment without actually harming any animals. However, in such a case the meat can come in any shape, thus blurring the conventions and old habits. How can a designerly intervention -as a form of inquiry-, serve as a tool of "argumentation" and "problematization" in this situation?

The third presentator of the morning sessions was Janine Benyus who is a biologist, a natural sciences writer, an innovation consultant and author of six books. Her last book "Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by the Nature", focuses on new sustainable design solutions that inspire from nature, and use nature's near-perfect solutions as a profound resource of innovation. During her speech she gave vivid examples of how can nature guide designers and design processes in a vast variety of situations ranging from biodegradable plastics to self-cleaning wall paints. In this sense, biomimicry can be one of the possible answers to the significant and profound problems that humanity faces.

The next speaker was world-famous Tokyo-based designer Naoto Fukasawa, with his presentation titled "Core of Awareness". According to Fukasawa, everything shares some commonalities or basic elements that are key to our understanding and communication. Thus, such "cores" are fundamental to designers' work, in establishing "successful" products that users may identify with.

The final key note speaker of the morning sessions was Bruce Sterling, who is a self-defined visionary and a well-known science fiction writer. Besides to his productive writing activity, Sterling was a "Visionary in Residence" at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 2005. Based on his experience at this design school, he wrote a book titled Shaping Things which is a probe into the future of industrial design, production, sustainability and ongoing transformation in information technologies. In his speech, he pointed out some aspects of his "once-speculations" that are already becoming real.

After lunch break, Connecting '07 was again vibrant with some 53 parallel sessions held at different venues. At Masonic Center Auditorium, the first afternoon presentation was made by Hiroishi Ishii, who is a tenured Professor of Media arts and Sciences, at the MIT Media Lab, titled "Tangible Bits: Beyond Pixels". He gave some examples of how seamless interaction can be achieved by changing the definition of "interface" which is generally understood as a two dimensional image on a computer screen. By creating tangible interfaces, our problematic relationships with machines can be deeply transformed. Following speaker at the Masonic Center was Sam Lucente, who is currently the leader of design practice of HP. He gave some insights into how new approaches can be incorporated into the vast variety of design activities that take place at HP.

Another highlight in the Masonic Center was Harmut Esslinger, founder of Frog Design, with his presentation titled "Form Follows Emotion". Giving glimpses of his long and successful career, Esslinger provided some clues about Frog's principles that guide their work and relationships with their clients.

Cat Chow took the stage after Frog's founder. Chow was remarkable for exemplifying the blurred boundaries between art and design. Her sculpture like "industrial dresses" gives her an "industrial artist" character. In her speech, titled as Unzipped, she both presented some of her own works and some examples from her influential designers and artists. Her dress concept with zipper is demonstrating her unique fusion between simplicity and the chaotic atmosphere of New York where she is currently based.

At night participants had difficulties in choosing between different parties in various locations around the town. The three main parties were organized by Core77 (presented by Eastman Innovation Lab), Re:Fresh by Lunar Design and ID Magazine and Design Difference. In Design Difference party the main theme was the 2009 ICSID World Design Congress, which will be organized in Singapore.

Paul Saffo - Design After the Infotmation Revolution

Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby
From Applications to Implications: Designs from Fragile Personalities in Anxious Times

Janine Benyus
A Conscious Emulation: Connecting and Solving Worthy Challenges with Biomimicry

Naoto Fukasawa - Core of Awareness -

Bruce Sterling - Shaping Things -

Harmut Esslinger

Cat Chow

Design Difference Singapore 2009 Party


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