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December 01, 2004

Skunk space and time

DOORS OF PERCEPTION REPORT
Quick scan of design and innovation
By John Thackara
December 2004

INFRA - NOW OPEN
Registration is now open for Doors of Perception 8. It's on the theme
"Infra" and runs from 21-26 March in New Delhi. What infrastructures
are needed to enable bottom-up, edge-in social innovation - and how
do we design them? The weeklong event features a conference; project
clinics; exhibits of Indian media artefacts; a bazaar of social
innovation; visits in and around the city; Bhang Brunch and Holi
Party in Asola. The latest list of participants, a registration form,
and the conference blog, are at:
http://doors8delhi.doorsofperception.com/

PLEASE POST OUR POSTER
We are not printing posters or conference brochures for Doors 8.
Please help us get the word out in a lighter way. Print our A5
announcement, post copies of it on notice boards where you work, or
send this URL to people who might be interested:
http://doors8delhi.doorsofperception.com/download.html

NEEDED: SKUNK SPACE AND TIME
The results of our Project Leaders' Round Table, which was about
success factors in design research projects, are now online.
Presentations include "touching the state", milk distribution chains
in Latvia, bar code triggered videos in hospitals, high speed train
scenarios, and service design in health systems. A text called
Conclusions contains more questions than answers, but includes a call
for "skunk space and time". We will apply the lessons of this event
to the Project Clinics, which will be a focus of Doors 8 in New Delhi.
http://static.doorsofperception.com/2004roundtable/

HOW MUCH DOES A PROJECT COST?
One reason the IT boom has flattened out is that the Total Cost of
Ownership (TCO) for information systems has been found to be far
higher than customers at first realized. Rishab Gosh, in a paper for
First Monday, quotes these TCO numbers:
- License fees 5-10%
- Hardware and software costs 15-40%:
- Maintenance, integration, support and training 60-85 %
If we had a better grasp of the TCO for design projects, would we
take them all on? One of the lessons to emerge from our Round Table
was that co-ordination, which has many facets, is a critical success
factor: if it's not done properly, or is treated as an extra,
projects (and the people involved) usually suffer.
http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_12/ghosh/

NOMADIC BANQUET BENCHMARKS
You move round a city from street vendor to street vendor: dumplings,
noodles, and vodka martinis. One of the pre-Doors 8 field projects
we're supporting is Debra Solomon's ongoing quest to enable "nomadic
banquets". We are keen to hear about locative media projects that
involve food, ratings, mobile phones, GIS and so on, that we can
learn from and maybe connect with. Check out Debra Solomon's Culiblog
- and then tell us about lo-food projects we need to know about.
Thanks.
http://www.culiblog.org/

MUSEUM MANIA IN CHINA
The Chinese government intends to build 1,000 new museums across the
country by 2015. A scary piece by Elizabeth Casale in The Platform,
an e-zine on cultural policy, says that China's "place-based cultural
strategy" is leading to a glut of buildings meant to symbolize
cultural sophistication. Meanwhile stories are circulating about the
Shanghai Grand Theatre often half-empty for lack of interesting
programming, or of state-of-the-art equipment that few employees know
how to use.
http://www.aeaconsulting.com/site/platformv4i1a.html

THE NOES HAVE IT
Do you believe in the power of radically distributed algorithms? The
European Commission's Future and Emerging Technologies group is
promoting "a radical paradigm shift towards a self-organising,
self-managing and context-aware autonomous network". This, they say,
is the only adequate response to the increasing complexity of demands
now being placed on the Internet. A budget of 20 Million euros is
available for collaborative projects to do with autonomic
communications. Be warned, though that Networks of Excellence (NOEs)
need to contain hordes of PhDs to be eligible. A launch meeting takes
place in Brussels on 8 December.
http://www.autonomic-communication-forum.org/registration/index.html

ON THE MAKE
Next year's Nordic Design Research Conference (the first) is about
"In the Making". It's for anyone who shares an interest in how people
shape and make sense of things in an increasingly man-made world. The
team includes Thomas Binder, Center for Design Research; Peter Gall
Krogh, Aarhus School of Architecture; and Johan Redström, Interactive
Institute, Göteborg. 29 - 31 May 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark
http://www.nordes.org

CRITICAL COMPUTING
This event only happens every ten years. "Critical computing: between
sense and sensibility" is a multi-disciplinary conference in
participatory design, interaction design, computer supported
collaborative work, social computing, digital art and entertainment.
21-25 August 2005, Aarhus, Denmark.
http://www.aarhus2005.org

UP YOURS?
A condition called "endocolonization" features in the new edition of
Acoustic Space, a publication from the Riga Center for New Media
Culture (RIXC). The magazine is not about endoscopes running amok,
but about "locative media and tactical cartography". It includes
texts by Richard Barbrook, Brank Curcic, Beatriz Da Costa, Cory
Doctorow, Josh On, Bruce Sterling, and Valdis Krebs. To obtain your
copy, email: agnese at rixc.lv
http://www.olympus.co.jp/en/mesg/endoscope/
http://rixc.lv

BLIGHTED BY BEAN COUNTERS
Bean counters from Berenschot, a consulting firm, have advised the
Dutch government to stop funding (after 2005) 150 "support
organizations" (including Doors of Perception) and focus all its
cultural funding on "production". The result will be to squeeze out
space for critical reflection, dumb down the cultural domain, and
drive the most interesting connector organizations out of the
country. Our bags are packed: any offers?

TRANS-SIBERIA
A conference on the Trans-Siberian train from Moscow via Novosibirsk
to Beijing is 'cosmological': researchers, philosophers, artists and
others will "try to cross fixed boundariesŠ and be open to the
contaminating influences of the continents we will be passing through
during our journey". 10-20 September 2005.
http://www.ephemeraweb.org/conference

ASPHALT GAMES
If you can't make the train trip, go by asphalt instead. The site
features mobile gaming beyond gadgets, city as gameboard, street
action as gameplay, and collectively mapping a new portrait of New
York.
http://www.asphalt-games.net/play/

ABSTRACTION NOW
Some wonderful artists and some amazing work feature on this
immaculate website. (It accompanies an event in 2003 that we only
just found out about).
http://www.abstraction-now.at/?artists

WINDY CITY CONFERENCE
How might businesses use design to explore emerging opportunities,
solve complex problems, and achieve lasting strategic advantage?
Speakers include Josephine Green, Philips Design; Jim Hackett, CEO,
Steelcase; Sam Lucente, Director of Brand, Design and Experience for
Hewlett-Packard; David Nagel, CEO, PalmSource; and Don Norman,
Principal, Nielsen-Norman Group. Here's a challenge for them: Eighty
thousand bikes are stolen every year in Amsterdam - that's 219 pieces
of scumbaggery a day. How to stop it? May 18-19, 2005, Chicago,
Illinois
http://www.id.iit.edu/events/strategyconference/

TIME IN DESIGN
Eternally Yours - which, paradoxically, is winding itself up - is
publishing a new book. The launch party is in Artis, the oldest zoo
in the Netherlands. 12 December, Amsterdam. Places are limited, so
please contact the organizers in advance: .

ASIA OPEN SOURCE CAMP
This week-long tech camp is for NGO technology support professionals
in South and South East Asia to learn new skills, exchange tips, and
share experiences, in the use of Free and Open Source Software
(FOSS). Asia Source will be held in a small artists' community on the
outskirts of Bangalore. It is organized by Mahiti.org (Bangalore) and
the Tactical Technology Collective (Amsterdam). January 2 to February
4, Bangalore, India.
http://www.tacticaltech.org/asiasource
http://www.mahiti.org/asiasource

CHANGE THEIR LIFE WITH THIS, THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Give your friends and clients a ticket to Doors of Perception 8. The
knowledge, insight and new contacts they make will change their lives
- and ours - for the better.
http://doors8delhi.doorsofperception.com/register.html

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Posted by John Thackara at December 1, 2004 03:39 PM