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Friday, September 12, 2003

Self Portrait

I've spent the bulk of the last few days working on a self-portrait poster (pdf 1.8mb) for Design Studio. It's been a challenge because I haven't done much print work, nor have I do a lot of product photography, which my concept required. I took a look at myself by looking at the contents of the bag I carry around. So I took pictures of the bag and its contents in a makeshift studio in my study, then spent hours photoshopping them until they looked sort of right. Then this afternoon, I sent it off to the Design School printer. It's 3'x1', so it wouldn't print on anything less than something pretty big. Another project done. Whew.

posted at 08:55 PM in projects | comments (2) | trackback (0) | link


Thursday, September 11, 2003

Influence and Force

Seminar this week concluded our look at the first interpretation of interaction, an entitative or material approach. Broadly speaking, this interpretation has a lot to do with parts of systems: cognition, communication theory, anthropology, semantics. It's a view wherein humans are not overy complex: it is the outside world that is complex. How we process the world is what is important, the methods used to control the outside world. The world is filled with triggers that we act upon.

We took a field trip to the men's bathroom to look at the half-walls between urinals. The walls are a form of adumbration. Adumbration is a term coined by anthropologist Edward Hall to describe the cues around messages that indicate how the messages should be received. Adumbration is about influencing behavior and results in a certain kinds of interaction. Enough influence becomes a force, and a force is how one enacts change in the world.

posted at 12:59 AM in design theory, field trips | comments (5) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Mood Boards

For the last few days I've been working bitchingly hard on a set of mood boards (3.8mb pdf) for Interface class. I turned them in today and it was a relief. What you won't see in the pdf is how they were physically constructed, with a transparent overlay on top of the images, with the name of the artist and work, plus some commentary about why I chose the image.

They aren't mood boards in a traditional sense. More of a visual exploration of a set of words that can then be used as source material for our other projects in the class.

posted at 08:29 PM in projects | comments (2) | trackback (0) | link


Semantics and Communication

Tonight's texts:

  • "Adumbration as a Feature of Intercultural Communication" by Edward T. Hall
  • "Introduction to an Attitude" [Ed. note: I don't need an introduction.] and "When People Talk With People" by John Condon from his book Semantics and Communication

posted at 08:21 PM in readings | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Monday, September 8, 2003

What thinking is

Dick Buchanan is away on a consulting gig, so this week Seminar is being taught by Carl DiSalvo, a 3rd year PhD student in Design.

Today's discussion centered on the ideas of Herbert Simon, a pioneer in the fields of design, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science, and author of several books including Sciences of the Artificial. (He was also, incidentally, a CMU professor.)

Seminar is all about discussing four interpretations of interaction design. The first interpretation we're considering is one about interface, where the inner and outer meet. Or, to put it another way, where the encoder and decoder meet. Interfaces are a way to make sense of the world. Simon's work provides a way of designing interfaces, but cutting and vividing information in understandable ways (chunking). Chunking is a tactic for managing data. Design's huge problem is managing and organizing information. Simon's cognition theories provide a powerful and clear approach to dealing with that problem.

Simon believes that it is information processing that makes us human (what he calls Thinking Man). And that thinking is composed of modular mechanisms and processes. One of these processes is Satisfice: making "good enough" choices given the short amount of time and huge amounts of data we have. Satisfice is a mechanism for managing the world, because, Simon argues, there is too much information and thus it is impossible to model the entire environment of any given problem.

And what does this have to do with design? It's a way of approaching problems: focusing on how humans process information.

posted at 08:59 PM in design theory | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


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All straight lines circle sometimes. - The Weakerthans