Monday, April 03, 2006

ACDC 2006 - Day 2 (3/24): High Tech Craft


Tift Merritt

- guitarist, singer, songwriter,
- performed
- "there is singing in everything"
!-"You can't download a concert ticket" (she meant "the concert experience")
- "We're going back to experiences" (vs objects you can sell)


Danny Hillis, Thinking and Doing Outside the Box
- as undergraduate, built a computer out of Tinkertoys, that played tic-tac-toe, and never lost

- Chip design: As it become more important, became more professionalized, became less of a craft

!Craft as stage that idea goes through
- "adolescent" stage, transition of idea to reality

Applied Minds
- "something more real than the idea"
- walking machines
!- prototypes as "pre-engineering", "the play phase"

It's not just a table map

Yes, it grows mountains

!"When you're playing, it's always worth pushing it an extra step"
- showed TerrainMap, brought the house down
- 4600 pins, 1 motor, overhead projection on silicon skin (like what is used in SFX work), SRI Map software ("best, until Google Earth came along.")

!Craft is moment when idea is pushed by imagination and pulled by reality"

!At Applied Minds, projects must jump 3 hurdles before they are approved
- Do we care about it?
- Can we make money from it?
- Can we do it better than others?

!Big companies are bad at doing new things because they are good at doing old things
- victims of their own success

!External R&D forces go/no-go decision on research, whereas internal R&D tend to be able to avoid that decision

Where Applied Minds sits: Stuff that doesn't work --> (Applied Minds) --> After it works

BMW Center, Munich

Wolf Prix: The Building Arts
- architect from Austria

- radical thinking, strategy, process
- buildings shaped by dynamic forces

BMW building (Munich)
- roof based on tropical storm shape
- opening 2007
- radical prezo: to convince BMW board, convey sense of space and flow, movie, digital + analog, model as big as stage set, made as movie, digitized surface of model into building

!- Have to be politicians to invent strategy to get your idea through

!- go 150% to get 100%

- Architecture should be committed to "expressing content", "commit to building without compromise"

Buildings as functional sculpture
- synergy between program and form

Future: combination of public and private spaces (e.g., BMW building = car showplace + marketplace + entertainment)

Nik Hafermaas, Chair of Graphic Design, Art Center

Nik Hafermaas: Radical Interventions - Transformations of the Mundane
- head of Graphic Design, Art Center

- visual bombardment, 15 yrs of his work in 40 secs

Storytelling by design

Radical interventions
- Pasadena power plant project: converting power plant into high-tech park
- transformative, scalable, substance --> "PowerPlants", based on palm trees, LEDs, self-sufficient, solar-powered, patterns controlled by WIFI network

- resilience and persistence to push projects through authorities

Bruce Sterling: "Tomorrow's frontier is the wreckage of the unsustainable past."

Stefan Sagmeister's thoughts from diary

Stefan Sagmeister
- took a year off
- concerned about losing work, but got more press for not working than for working
- developed list of quotes out of diary kept during year off
- used quotes for several client projects

"Assuming is stifling"
- "Mostly, my own assumptions are reason for mediocre work"
- self-censorship

- Interactive typography

"Having guts always works out for me"