Boulder, briefly

Looking down a trail towards evergreen trees and the flatiron mountains.

On Monday, I spent the day at Wall Street on Demand in Boulder, CO. I was invited by Christo Allegra to talk about my work and give a brief workshop on the Cinder framework. The talk went well, and I liked presenting in the casual environment of the office; rocking chairs, couches, and cups of tea. My presentation was titled “Sampled landscapes, synthetic terrain” which seems to have gone over well enough.

WSOD has a relationship with RMCAD, and they provided design mentors for students in an their interaction design course this semester. The semester happens to have recently ended, so I also participated as a guest reviewer for their final presentations on Monday. I was impressed by the high quality of the student presentations. The solutions to the problems they defined were fun and displayed well.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the area long enough for a proper hike. I did get to go for a brief walk about a reservoir to start my day, though.

Nonsense way of thinking

tosa lecture

Gadget OK, a device-art and japanese robot-culture symposium, took place this weekend at UCLA Design|Media Arts. With the lectures, panels, and artist presentations finished, about thirty lucky folks got to spend the afternoon with Novmichi Tosa today. He introduced the process behind some of his recent works, and then led us through a brainstorming exercise designed to produce nonsense objects.

There were 4 main steps to creating an idea using Tosa-san’s method:

  1. Write down everything you touched this morning, in order (10 things). After you finish writing down everything, write ‘nonsense’ next to it.

  2. Write something for each thing that would make it nonsensical. If you can’t think of anything that would make the thing nonsensical, put in the word of the day. Ours was ‘blue’.

  3. Combine each pair of nonsense things and write down the new image they make.

  4. Draw your final idea.

hairy dentures process

The process worked quite well for generating a range of silly possibilities, provided you were open to having silly ideas in the first place. After we went through all the steps, Tosa-san photographed everyone’s ideas and shared them with the group. I came up with a sketch for wooly, felt dentures. They give you a nice, hairy smile for greeting people. Other people’s ideas included time-travel toast, a booger-swapping machine, and an air hotel. Give it a try, and perhaps you will come up with something silly, yet worth pursuing.

documenting our work

At the end of the day, some questions arise. What would it mean to have these nonsense objects in the world? What kind of stories do they suggest, or make possible? These are questions raised not only by today’s workshop, but by much of the work presented during Gadget OK. There are so many strange new things; what are we going to do with them?

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