Sunday, May 13, 2007

Our Lives Today Are All About Change & Transformation

“How are our lives different today?
Our lives today are all about change and transformation.
We are now at our homes typing on our computers.
We have WiFi.
We are on our cell phones.
Work, life- it’s all sort of coming into one place.

That means that the products we use
Have to have this ability
To adopt, to change, to transform,
To align with our emotions we are in at that particular point.”

Yves Béhar, May 7, 2007

So we need to change and transform these days, and the products we use need to be able to do it too. What creates the change- life circumstances, ourselves, or the products themselves? It seems all of the above, actually.

The possibility of a change imposed or encouraged by the products expresses the importance of design and the tremendous responsibility of the designer. The design is not just about form, texture, cover, etc, it is about seeing the future, and showing & expressing it in the design. It is a process involving both the right and the left-brain modes.


Background: Earlier this week, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the New Yorker Conference: “2012: Stories From the Near Future”. One of the speakers was Yves Béhar, an industrial designer and founder of the Fuse Project. He talked about various projects including the One Laptop Per Child project and on the role of design.
For more information, see the video at Design: 2012.
I will relate to other points raised at the New Yorker Conference in some of my next blog entries.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Art • Science • Balance

Art • Science • Balance

With some exceptions, science and art are perceived to be two separate fields today. So separate that it is sometimes claimed that the 2 entities are in conflict. But are they?

In olden times, people routinely did both (Leonardo!). It means that the 2 aspects can live together in one person. So why is it perceived differently today? One could blame, of course, the educational system. In the US at least, the educational system glorifies verbal, math, and logical thinking and neglects art, different opinions, and creativity. Consequently, art classes in schools are always canceled first. So, no wonder that we tend to think that science, engineering, and technology are “über Alles”.

Restricting the mind to one mode- the logical, the linear, or the left brain mode, leaves a big portion of the brain unused. From my personal experience, I know that the two modes, the left and the right ones, can live together harmoniously. There is no conflict between them. Each one could simultaneously do its part of the needed work resulting in an integrated rich outcome.

Luckily, yes luckily, the ascent of visual media- film, TV, comics, and computer games, and the like- has helped to further develop the visual and creative capabilities of our society. We can use some of these provisions to do things, and the action of doing would further understanding.

Along this line of thought, some of the technical conferences, in particular, SIGGRAPH, the prime computer graphics annual conference, bring both artists and techies together at least on the exhibit floor. CHI, the largest conference on human-compute interaction, will have its 2008 annual meeting in no less than Florence, Italy, and has already chosen its theme to be “Art • Science • Balance”. Here in New York City, The New Yorker Conference/ 2012: Stories From the Near Future plans to have “the right brain meet the left brain” in “a dynamic day and two nights of new ideas, forward thinking, and eye opening innovation”.

Any other ideas of how to create this much needed balance?
Left and right brain modes (separately or together) are welcome!