Don’t you wish you could register for this class? These professors are incredible. The hotness. Etc.
As technologies become increasingly sophisticated, making formerly complex tasks “easier” and bolstering “efficiency,” what assumptions go unquestioned? What embedded, hidden ideologies wield influence over our culture? Technologies often conceal systems of which they are a part: iTunes doesn’t reveal to you its role in the corporate musical industrial complex. Apple’s supply chain isn’t etched into the back of an iPhone. The Nike Fuel Band doesn’t tell you that your focus on speed and points caused you to miss seeing a rare, endangered animal on a recent hike. Is there a place for technologies that invade our serene consciousness with ideas we might not want to acknowledge? Tools that don’t help us do things so easily? That confront and call into question our assumptions? Do water fountains that force you to ask another person for help in order to get water remind you that there are people in the world who always need the help of others, even to execute the seemingly simplest tasks?
Vote for this panel at http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/23269
1. Collect all the data
2. Design all the data with integrity
4. Achieve universal knowledge and understanding
When Edward Tufte tweets mockingly of the leaked NSA slides, he does so as the self-anointed king of presenting evidence. Empiricism’s head cheerleader, he has built an empire on telling everyone—lowly marketer to NASA bigwig—what Truth looks like.
And we eat it up.
But he has also perpetuated a culture where power is held by those with the data. As we shift our appreciation for discourse to those with the willingness and know-how to compress communication into bits and bytes of data-visualization and infographics, to what dangers do we open ourselves up? Do we move towards a future where we communicate solely via visualization, swap talking for looking, and seek to represent our own nuanced belief systems with universal iconography?
Perhaps, when he’s done critiquing the PRISM’s big green arrows, Dr. Tufte can realize that he helped get us into this mess to begin with.
Vote for this SXSW 2013 panel here.
Help me get back to SXSW this year! In my panel, “The Designer’s Confrontational Imperative,” I’ll be enthusiastically imploring designers to design objects and experiences that question the embedded, hidden ideologies that wield influence over our culture. Hook me up with some votes!
Many in the DMI community have submitted panel proposals for SXSW Edu this year, and we need your help to get there! The programming for SXSW Edu, a smaller conference which takes place before the full SXSW festival, is selected via a voting process. Please vote for one or all of the…
We need your help to get our brains and our bodies to SXSW this year. There’s a great deal of important material here that needs to be discussed and foregrounded in society. Please help us do just that. Awesome.
Luminous Earth Grid, 1993 by Stuart Williams
Luminous Earth Grid, an array of 1,680 energy-efficient fluorescent lamps, swept over an area equal to 8 football fields. Said the artist, “I see the project as a poetic statement on the potential harmony between technology and nature.”
Tristan Perich’s 1-Bit Symphony is an electronic composition in five movements on a single microchip. Though housed in a CD jewel case, 1-Bit Symphony is not a recording in the traditional sense; it literally “performs” its music live when turned on. A complete electronic circuit—programmed by the artist and assembled by hand—plays the music through a headphone jack mounted into the case itself.
I was told that their shopping cart code was blocking the order because the book had the word “Iranian” in the title. And that word is on a “blacklist” (their word, not mine) as PayPal is based in the USA. And that was that. Our PayPal account manager on the phone in Dublin—who was vaguely helpful and evasive in equal measure—said that he could tell by my accent that I was American and I would understand the issue. […]
Leaving aside the fact that of course we don’t want to change the name of our book in the shopping cart, I find this politically-motivated censorship, willingly if not actively carried out by a corporation, absolutely despicable. I have no idea if the US government actually enforces this on PayPal; the PayPal representative could not confirm or deny.
If a person judged a book not even by its cover, but by its title—or rather, by one word in its title—and judged it to the extent that they actively tried to restrict its distribution, without examining the actual book for a nanosecond, you would think them a moron at worst, if not a moron with worryingly totalitarian instincts."
"To that point, Christophe Gevrey, the head of editorial solutions for Thomson Reuters, writes on his own website that this video indicates a “rapidly approaching future where everything can be filmed serendipitously by folks wearing devices like Google Glass without the knowledge of the parties involved." To put it another way, The Atlantic offers a catchier phrase. “If the NSA is big brother, Glassholes are the new little brother.”"
The last quote in this piece is quite telling of how some people feel (those that do the best job reciting their rote lines about how War is Peace, yada yada yada).
“If people are in public and laws aren’t being broken, I think you just have to be aware of exactly what you’re doing in public and hopefully you don’t do something that stands out.”
Hopefully you don’t do something that stands out? What is so wrong with “standing out?” Do people that stand up for what’s actually right also “stand out?” The specter of homogeny and homogeneity looms even larger than it already does. Surprise, surprise.