Archive for September, 2008

Rome, 24-26 September 2008

Fearless: discussion on how to combat global anguish”

The first edition of World Social Summit will focus on global fears. This choice was made by taking into due consideration the central position that fear occupies within contemporary societies, not only due to the increase of risks that threaten society (terrorism, crime, environment), but chiefly, the expansion of uncertainty that now distinguishes people’s lives, makes fear, real or imagined, an emotion that an increasing segments of the world’s population are forced to come to terms with.

There will be an in depth analysis on the relationship between globalisation and anguish (social, multicultural, and economic), so to try to understand if fear is in many ways inevitable (fear being almost a “genetic” trait of developed societies), and how much the growth of global flows is also feeding new anxieties in emerging countries. Central to this outlook will be the analysis on how the relationship with “others” can breed fear.

There will be also an analysis on the social and communication mechanisms that today preside over the construction of fear. Many of the anxieties that proliferate in society, as a matter of fact, do not correspond to objective threats or risks posed, but are a by-product of a state of widespread insecurity, an existential mark of our time. It will be therefore the summit’s goal to understand who feeds this state of anxiety, who has an interest (economical, political, media wise) in upholding it, and in which ways does the language and communication methods used become social amplifiers of fear.

A special session will be dedicated to metropolitan insecurity. Big cities are where modern fears are concentrated (crime, social insecurity, poverty, terrorism, various type of risks and environmental hazards). Through a research realised by WSS on ten big cities around the world, we will analyse the current conditions of urban life and study the solutions that have been implemented to reduce insecurity. We will endeavour to shed light on the future path of fear, starting from the reconstruction of cultural evolution of fear, to then analyse its possible future projection, and the role of science and technology in generating or contrasting anxieties. At last, the central theme of WSS 2008 will seek to identify the instruments and the models that modern societies use to face up to anxieties, try to engage them, thus creating a more secure and fearless enviroment.

Urban public space – understood as open, civic space – is a key element in the development of European urbanism. It is based on a well-balanced mix of functions and the idea of the inhabitant as active citizen.

We currently face a transitional period of restructuring social networks in a globalised world. This is resulting in various experiments with new types of relations and exchange processes, supported by the developing interactive new media tools. In order to maintain the social sustainability of our cities, it is important to connect this new virtual space for development of public sphere and social exchange with the acquisition and reactivation of urban public space.

A spreading feeling of fear in public space connected with a notion of being disconnected from ones surroundings reminds us that virtual spaces cannot alone function as alternative spaces for exchange and production of identity in a modern society.

The content of media facades and digital moving Images in public spaces should not only be determined by market forces, yet should follow urban necessities. Therefore we aim to transform the growing number of digital architectural surfaces in our cities into experimental visual zone on the threshold of virtual and urban public space, contributing to a liveable urban society.

The changing architectural relationship between image, structure and representation has been long predicted by Architecture and Media critiques such as Paul Virilio und Robert Venturi.

Media façades can combine aspects of lighting and graphics in formats determined by the architecture, these might differ fundamentally in format, resolution and dimension from the rectilinear media image. Moving imagery has increasingly become interactive and emergent and often have to work without sound, so they question narrative storytelling known from other traditional media. Content can be synthesised from or driven by information from the environment, whether it be from within the building or from the outside world, or through channels such as the internet. In connection with locative and mobile media, new forms of content production can develop that create through participatory approaches new relations between the imagery and the surrounding urban space and its citizen.

There’s a growing need for the research of different creative contents that are able to make these new media for urban space vivid and attractive. Creatives in the different areas of media and culture are confronted with entirely new challenges in respect to resolution and distribution of pixels; there are also new forms of interaction arising from the specific dimensions of size and distance that differ basically from classical media formats. And how can we experiment with the element of audio, without constantly showering the open public space with sound?

It is very likely that new job descriptions and creative practices will emerge out of the new field of media architecture. It is still undetermined how roles for the production of content and displays will be distributed, and what standards can be applied for assessing projects. Building with media facades are a challenge for architects, creatives and planners, as they require a profound knowledge of the technical aspects, offer new design objectives and lead to new possibilities for communication in urban space.

The fact that the surface of a building and hence its character is subject of permanent change enables new relations with the local environment and the involvement of citizens in content manipulation.

The MEDIA FACADES FESTIVAL BERLIN is an important contribution for the emergence of a discourse among actors in the field and the development of trend-setting projects in order to avoid undesirable visual overload and to achieve a better acceptance.

The event will promote a lateral trans-disciplinary approach to exploring the growing appearance of moving images in urban space and the global transformation of public culture in the context of large new multi media precincts such as Federation Square and various networked forms of urban screens. It will build on the successful events held in Amsterdam in 2005 and Manchester in 2007 and will be the first Urban Screens held in the Asia-Pacific region.

Through an integrated program of keynote lectures, panel sessions, workshops, curated screenings and multimedia projects, it will bring together leading Australian and international artists and curators, architects and urban planners, screen operators and content providers, technology manufacturers, software designers and public intellectuals.

Dance-tech  is an international community of artists, scientists, theorists and organizations exploring the intersection of performance, media and culture. is conceived as a social on-line destination for international movement artist, theorists, technologist and organizations intersecting embodied performance and new media. is a social networking site and it is also the home of dance-techTV

dance-techTV is an on-line collaborative video channel that gathers video content produced, aggregated and uploaded by the community. Videos may showcase art works, performance documentations, installations, screendance, inspiring interdisciplinary projects, electronic performances, “how to” and ideas, coverage about relevant events, vlogging, training techniques and/or in-depth interviews. It is an on-line video database that registers the “pulse” of the field making available a collaborative repository of knowledge that fosters inquiry, creativity and social innovation.

Folks, these are the best of times and the worst of times, as they say. I live a couple blocks away from Wall Street in a crummy apartment that is getting torn down as we speak. There are piles of ironic rubble everywhere. As I pack up electronics, copies of MAKE, and tools, it’s becoming clear to me that we have an historic opportunity to make things better, not just immediately, but for the future. We’re all likely to feel financial pressures with inflation; our dollars won’t go as far, so our interests and hobbies should be ones that give back. I’m pretty sure “DIY” is going to get even bigger, as more people will be making things. Some make because we want to, some because it’s all we’ll be able to do.

When we are young, we have lots of time, but not lots of money, so we play, we tinker, we explore. I think we’re going to have that opportunity again. The things we make, the tools we use, the books and resources we buy need to work harder for us and be things we not only learn from, but pass on to others, including children. We can spend more time together at meetups (MAKE, dorkbot, etc) and collectively form places, like hacker spaces and tool shops (NYCR, etc) to pool our resources. We can invest in hobbies that will give back, like electronics, woodworking, and DIY in general. Being able to make, fix, repair, and build might be the most important skills to develop. We really only have each other, and I think we’re all better off when we’re able to be self-reliant when we need to be.

We have a lot of challenges ahead. I’m an American and I tend to think that we are at our best when we are challenged the most. It doesn’t get more interesting than this. There are energy problems we’ll need to solve. There are education problems we’ll need to solve. If you’re a parent, you’re in the best possible position to help. You never know what will spark a kid’s interest, so you expose them to lots of things. I don’t have any kids (yet) but after a few years of doing Maker Faires and talking with thousands of parents, I know that electronics seem to be one of those things that kids go crazy with. I’m not sure how we’re going to make the world a better place, but I know we will need scientists and engineers.

As 2008 comes to a close soon, we’re doing everything we can at MAKE to inspire the current and next generation of Makers, who will be creating the next chapter in this story. We have a Maker Faire coming up in Austin (October 18-19). Tens of thousands of people will come together to celebrate making things. We also have a giant sale going on for the rest of the month (only a few days left): everything in the Maker Shed store is 10% off, and you get a free Maker’s Notebook automatically added to orders over $25. Use discount code CRZYDAN at the checkout. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a time to get started with electronics, this is it. Pick up a soldering set, a kit or two, and maybe an Arduino. There are dozens of people I know who got started and within just a few months were considering new careers; some have even started their own businesses making electronics.

I know there are lots of things you can do with your time and money, and I want to thank all the folks who support MAKE: everyone who visits our sites, watches our videos, reads our books and magazines, and comes to Maker Faire. We’re just one small group in a giant community that is trying to make things better. MAKE is just a collection of Makers; we didn’t create this group of people — they were and always will be out there. I hope we’re doing a good job celebrating this movement and inspiring folks. If you think there’s more everyone could do, I’m certain you will join in and help.

OneAvatar connects your body to your Avatar in virtual worlds.

You and your Avatar will be finally one, sharing the same experiences even at physical level.
You get hurt, you Avatar gets hurt.

Your Avatar dies, you die.

Connect to your avatar and watch out for yourself at

> at NeRVi website

> videos on Youtube

also spotted at:

> Twitter

> Art Feed



an article explaining how emotional approaches to technology can access socio-political dialogue dimensions

we just published the article presented at the (re)Actor3 / HCI2008 conference/event in Liverpool.

you can find it here:

“Degradazione per Sovrapposizione di Corpi (DpSdC) investigates on interaction mechanisms created using low cost DIY technologies, aiming at the creation of emotional environments that can be used to break the users’ inhibitory barriers to narratively access dialogue on socio-political issues.”

– (re)Actor3

– HCI2008

– Degradazione per Sovrapposizione di Corpi

– some videos and a report

mcgrew writes to tell us that scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have created a new system that can test any surface for just about anything. “Their idea uses a thin layer of metal drilled with nanoscale holes, laid onto the surface being tested. When the perforated plate is zapped with laser light, the surface plasmons that form emit light with a frequency related to the materials touching the plate. A sensitive light detector is needed to measure the frequency of light given off. The team says devices using this approach can be small and portable, will work on very low power, and could detect everything from explosives to bacteria. All that needs to be done now is build a system able to decode the light signatures.”