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Art challenges life

Artists, designers, curators and critics might have difficulty writing about art were it not for the useful word “challenge.” So fashion designer “Walter Van Beirendonck has continued to challenge conventional fashion trends with his distinctive vision” (link). Here are some other obvious examples. “Banksy challenges British cultural identity with warped, twisted versions of British icons” … Continue reading

Why music reaches the parts that architecture can’t

Physical spaces are charged with meaning and emotion for most of us — some spaces more than others. But it’s rare to enter a building or encounter spectacular scenery and experience the same intensity of emotion many of us feel on hearing a piece of music, particularly music that fits the mood of the moment, … Continue reading

Unearthing the trickster function in Icelandic myth

Loki is tied in an underground cave in the company of a serpent who tortures him with venom. Loki’s occasional writhing causes earthquakes. (139 characters. I’ve just made a tweet out of a saga.) According to an authoritative source, the god Loki plays a central role in the exchange of goods (von Schnurbein, 2000). Loki … Continue reading

Why cartoons have animals

Why do adults and children like to see animals as characters in fictional stories and cartoons, especially when stories about animals are so confusing? Everyone knows that Micky Mouse (a mouse) lives in a house and has a pet Pluto (a dog) and a friend Goofy (a dog that talks). I recently caught up with … Continue reading

AI article

Extract from Coyne, R., Designing Information Technology in the Postmodern Age: From Method to Metaphor, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995. Chapter 1. The Theoretical Orientation to Computer Systems Design … The theorist of AI, Roger Schank (1946-), identifies five elements of human intelligence.[1] According to Schank, the first is the ability to communicate.[2] For artificial … Continue reading

A nation addicted to smartphones

This is the cunning strap line accompanying the release of Ofcom‘s recent information-rich report on the communications market. The adoption of fully-featured mobile phones (Blackberry, iPhone, Android) has rocketed in the past 12 months.

I am Spartacus

The perennial tussle between the right to free speech and the right to privacy has a spatial dimension of relevance to any designer. Architects, geographers and planners are acutely aware of the relationships between public and private spaces. Free speech roughly equates to the right of access to a place (eg a city square, the … Continue reading

Recursive cities

Recursion simply means return. So a recursive city could be a city that you return to, or that encourages or requires you to keep coming back — like your home town, or a site of pilgrimage. The metaphor of excursion and return applies in many city contexts. See blog post on that theme. Where there’s … Continue reading

Getting what he deserves

Gamification draws on a narrow understanding of game play: keeping score, leaderboards, rewards, competition, incentives of various kinds. In fact, stripped of ludic graphics and quirky interactions, gamification typically follows processes derived mostly from accounting: the technology of the ledger, or bookkeeping, more specifically double-entry bookkeeping. Gamification through the ages By most historical accounts this … Continue reading

What’s wrong with gamification?

Can everything be gamified? (See last week’s post Gamification 101.) It already is — especially if you believe in “man the player,” homo ludens a term popularised by Johan Huizinga. The concept of gamification refers to only a part of what being homo ludens entails. Even through the limiting lens of instrumentalized, managerialized and manipulative … Continue reading

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