Frontiers of Interaction V, June 2009

today we’ve been at Frontiers of Interaction V

Frontiers of InteractionFrontiers of Interaction

probabily the most interesting interaction design event in Italy. It’s the most interesting (and only one :) ) in Rome, for sure.

We’ve been there to present FakePress, our next-step publishing house, with two “ubiquitous” projects: iSee, interstitial narratives for shopping centers, and Ubiquitous Anthropology, location based technologies for ethnographic research.

But more on that later. First of all: the meeting.

Frontiers of Interacton V took place in the beautiful Acquario Romano. We’ve been there from the day before, setting up screens, projections, sounds and kilometers of cables.

The meeting originates from, a community in which designers, technologists, anthropologists and creatives of all sorts meet sharing points of view on contemporary society, and on the ways in which it is shaped and mutated through technology and its practices.

The meeting shares the same conceptual setup: people come there and, basically, show what they’re up to. People of all sorts: from international superstars of interaction design to students and younger innovators ready, energetic and willing to showcase their creations.

This year (it is the fifth edition), there have been several interesting highlights.

Complexity, visualization, the emergence of natural interfaces, gestuality. And an ever more focused awareness on the needs to integrate a deep understanding of the world that is around us, ecologically, socially and politically.

The hybridization of practices and the idea of human awareness were recurring concepts in the contributions.

As Daniele Galiffa of Visual Complexity, showing the ways in which data visualizations can rise the level of awareness, by communicating in expressive ways environmental impacts, cause-effect relations, world mutation. And describing the frontier for infovisualizations and infoaesthetics, which is the representation of social data, and the delegation of the tools for visualization to the “social”.

Or the wonderful Adam Greenfield, with his “Elements of a networked Urbanism“, which managed to perfectly avoid the declaration of yet another manifesto of some kind, and instead presented an observation of the emergence of new patterns in cityscapes. A series of “before” and “after” scenarios, highlighting some really interesting points of view.  Entirely new ways of using cities, unthninkable even just a few years ago. From wayfinding to wayshowing, Adam showed many mutations in which social dynamics truly materialize themselves, allowing people to actively share their views on the world. Even bypassing the idea of “optimization”, typical of previous designs. The ideas, for example, of systems telling you the “best” way how to get from point A to point B cuts off several parts of your experience of cities, which are also composed of several “inefficiencies” that are far from being “bad”, providing you social experiences, enjoyment and rythms, feelings and well-being. “Noise” as not being a negative experience, but a creative, cultural one.

David Orban also presented a truly interesting point of view with his Consciousness Panopticon, introducing the Singularity University and showing the trends in which various people are getting ready for the progression through which we are living, in technological evolution, to our own ability to understand what is happening around us.

Or professor Liam Bannon, demoloshing the idea of “intelligent” devices, or the romantic suggestions coming from artificial intelligence, and promoting the perspective of technology that supports creative and critical thinking, in the development of an etherogeneously positive and (sociallly) interactive world.

Andrea Gaggioli presented in his “Ecologia Partecipativa” a set of ecologic scenarios and the tools through which we all can research, observe and react to our impacts on the environment.

Then Carlo Maria Medaglia of Rome’s CATTID multi-faculty center, presenting some stunnig projects on mobility, technological approaches to disabilities and, in general, several forms of open source approaches to create functional enviroments that are embedded in the natural, urban and social environment, from infrastructure, to hardware, to software.

And other, many things which you will find documented of FoI’s  website.

and, in the next upcoming article, we’ll describe our own personal contribution: Ubiquitous Anthropology, by Luca Simeone and Salvatore Iaconesi.

More info at Frontiers of Interactions

Here some videos


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