June 04, 2006
Reboot Networked objects and the new ecology of things

First a little gripe: Julian Bleecker should realize that Sterlings word Spime is just a better word (nicer to say and easier to remember) and stop using the horrible word blogjects, even if he's trying to make som point that there's a difference. If there is it's just not essential to the topic.
But anyway, Julian Bleecker and Nicolas Nova's talk on objects with history, identity and agency, was one of those talks where I liked the ideas talked about better than the actual talk. But the ideas are important.

It's interesting that a lot of this stuff is getting framed as an ecological problem or in fact an environmental problem - talking about sustainability. Personally I'm mostly interested in this stuff for the reasons I indicated briefly below. We live in a world of too much data and one could have the suspicion that we're slowly running out of available data sockets to plug our information tools onto. As we're met by more and more data it's just not realistic to think that we'll actually be processing all that data. Info-prosthetics like hypertext can only do so much. Maybe it would be ess taxing on the human biology if we didn't have so many tools we had to know how to use but just better surroundings.
This involves turning information into a living thing embodied in the spime around us and simply stop thinking of all this data as something we have to know. We can just live in it. I think this idea fits very nicely into the ideas about which of our senses actually afford which abilities. Culturally produced information is just too constrained to live in our focal view all the time, whereas we're effortlessly consuming naturally produced information in much greater quantities through the use of the rest of our senses.

This brings back memories of the talk last year about the complexity of information processing in biological systems. If we could somehow "cool down" the cultural information by naturalizing it I'm sure we would all feel a lot better.

Posted by Claus at June 04, 2006 12:32 PM | TrackBack (0)
Comments (post your own)

Hello. Thought you might be interested in hearing more of the ideas behind The New Ecology of Things. I coined this term back in 2005 first as a title of a graduate class I was teaching about ubicomp etc. Julian got involved as a result of two of my students-- Jed Berk & Nikhil Mitter -- who created the ALAVs project in the class ( http://alavs.com ).

Since then, in the Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design, we've been developing some larger ideas about this, and are now publishing a book called The New Ecology of Things (NET). In it I describe a model for designing which includes the ideas of Productive Interaction, Embodied Interaction, and Mythological Interaction. In particular, Mythological Interaction speaks to some of things you are interested in -- i.e. moving away from pure utility to a more "natural" and human kind of involvement that speaks to building and supporting meaning in our lives through a kind of personal set of mythological objects and spaces we can create using these new technologies. The difference from Julians focus is making sure that people can manipulate and work with the objects and spaces and shape them to their own needs

Anyway, we launch the book in April, and you can find out more it at the website, http://newecologyofthings.net/

--Philip van Allen

Posted by: Philip van Allen on March 16, 2007 8:46 PM

Thanks for the pointers, Philip.

Posted by: Claus on March 16, 2007 8:51 PM
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