DESIGN PARTNER, SUPERFLUX

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I am now spending most of my time as a Design Partner at Superflux, a studio based primarily in London, with a presence in Ahmedabad, India. At Superflux, we collaborate with a wide range of clients to research and design new interactions at the intersection of people and technology.

Through our Consultancy we translate ideas into applications. And through the Superflux Lab, we explore the implications of technological change on people, society and the environment.

If you want to know more or fancy a chat, drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.

clients to research and design new interactions at the intersection of people and technology. We are primarily based in London, UK, with a presence in Ahmedabad, Indiclients to research and design new interactions at the intersection of people and technology. We are primarily based in London, UK, with a presence in Ahmedabad, India

Post-Crash at AlterFutures

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The lovely folks at AlterFutures were curious to know how I had been getting on with Ark.Inc and invited me to give a talk. I briefly presented the project premise, and went on to show where the project had lead me since, and the possible directions I have been thinking of taking it in.

I have been working to translate the work into a functional website that will in its first incarnation act as a ‘superfiction’ and visible container of its conceptual framework. The idea is to then progressively move elements of this framework into real world application. One of my main concerns has been around the ethical and legal implications of this website, as I have received concerned emails from people from all over the world, who have lived through environmental disasters and are interested in joining the Ark.Inc collective.

The discussion at AlterFutures was very useful as a sounding board for the development of the project in light of these concerns.

Critical Design Talk at the AA

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I was invited by Liam Young to talk to his students at the Architectural Association, London, for their studio: “End of the World and other Bedtime Stories”.  Here’s a little insight into the studio’s focus for that term:

“Our projects may be militant solutions or last gasp redemptions; a call to arms or a head in the sand; swan songs, manifestos or glorious celebrations in the shadow of an imminent end. We will be both visionaries and reporters, part documentary and part science fiction, we will critically engage with the conditions of today through speculation about the coming of tomorrow. Standing at the brink we will contemplate an end that is laden with fears and inconsistencies yet at the same time proves to be ripe with unknown escapes and wondrous possibilities.”

I presented ideas around critical design and the various methods and positions that the students might adopt, with specific reference to the Ark.Inc work. I also sat through the student presentations, and the discussions continued at the pub. Overall a fun afternoon, thanks Liam, for the invite!

A Talk Show at the Treehouse Gallery

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Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth hosted a ‘talk-show’ styled evening at the Treehouse Gallery in Regent’s Park, which played host to a number of wonderful cultural activities over the summer.

Dougald and Paul invited myself and artist Rachel Horne to discuss our work and how it explored some of the cultural territory outlined in ‘Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto’.  Atop the informal setting of the treehouse, the talk-show format worked well, as Dougald asked me questions about the nature of my work, its premise and how I intended to develop it further, followed by a lively discussion with the audience.

Ark-Inc at Green Revolution

Couple of months ago, I was contacted by Emilie Oursel who was putting together a very interesting show in Haarlem, just 20 mins outside of Amsterdam, titled ‘Green Revolution‘. The show is now on, and features the Ark-Inc project alongside other experimental works such as Akos Maroy’s project bio.display, and ofcourse Critical Art Ensemble’s Immolation, a must -see project.

The exhibition is currently featured on We Make Money Not Art:
“Green revolution
, which invaded the walls of the Nieuwe Vide art space until June 13th, offers a broader, contemporary and decidedly darker take on the idea of a green revolution. The show brings together artists whose work investigates and comments on the current, complex and often hard to fully grasp mutations in our environment, whether it’s the environment in its green and eco sense or more generally the new political climate. Some of the artists selected use or comment on man-made disasters, others bring about distressing scenarios of a future life, others investigate the field of biotechnology, opening up new perspectives and questioning the world we live in…”

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‘Changing the Changing’ Conference

For some time now, Benedict Singleton and myself are collaborating on taking the Ark-Inc project to the next level. As part of this process we wrote a paper titled “Ark-Inc: An Alternative View of What Designing for Sustainability Might Mean” which was successfully presented at the Changing the Change conference in Turin, July 2008.

There is great review of the ten best papers of the conference on Core77 and we were pleased to see our paper there.

From the conference site: “Changing the Change seeks to make a significant contribution to a necessary transformation that involves changing the direction of current changes toward a sustainable future. It specifically intends to outline the state-of-the-art of design research in terms of visions, proposals and tools with which design can actively and positively take part in the wider social learning process that will have to take place.”

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The Long Doom?

Yesterday Dougald Hine gave a very engaging talk titled “The Long Doom?” at the London Long Now Meetup, which I had helped put together.

“The economic crisis has made even the immediate future far more uncertain than it seemed a year ago – so what about the longer term? How would we adapt to a world in which economic contraction replaced economic growth as the norm, good years taken with bad? What directions could the product and service design take in that kind of scenario? More generally, how do we get better at preparing for a wider range of futures – particularly those that don’t look like an upgraded version of the present?”

I urge you to have a look at the video of his talk here.

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And the last slide featured the Ark Radio.

Lift 09

I’ve just return from the Lift 09 conference in Geneva, the tag line for this years conference was “where did the future go”.  There where many great talks, too many to mention but a lot of which you can see here: http://www.nouvo.ch/liftvideo

Lift is know for being generally ‘web centric’ but the one talk that really got me, perhaps because it was kind of off topic or perhaps because it is just an amazing tale beautifully told. Was Sarah Marquis talk, about giving up the comforts of a technologically rich western lifestyle and walking for 18 months through the Australian outback.

I’ve embed the video below, it starts in French but once she speaks it is then translated into English.
I can’t recommend watching it highly enough, enjoy.

Within the loop

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I’ve just pulled my MA Dissertation from the dark corners of my hard-drive and posted it in the Project Archive section. Since I handed it in over 3 years I hadn’t read it once until a few days ago,  so thought it was about time to let it see the light of day once again.

From the first paragraph:

“In this essay, I aim to explore the phenomenon of ‘emergence’ within the larger context of human consciousness and behaviour in contemporary society.

1. How can the theory of emergence enable us to understand a different worldview?

2. How can certain technologies help uncover certain emergent phenomena which were previously difficult to conceive or imagine?

3. And consequently, the other way round, how can the theory of emergence enable us to create technological tools and devices, which help us to discover unexplored processes. How might these tools then influence the emergent processes themselves?”

In spite of, or perhaps, because of the pain of writing it, I received a Distinction and a hard copy can now be found in the Royal College of Art Library.

Direct download link.

The Growth Imperative

I’ve just finished listening to a really interesting C-Realm podcast, in it, the host KMO, talks with Thomas Homer-Dixon, author of The Upside of Down.

Thomas Homer-Dixon discuses the potential, connectedness, and resilience of adaptive systems like ecosystems and economies, and ask the question of whether restoring the growth trajectory of the global economy a viable means of securing long term prosperity? 

What I found of particular interest was use of theory and research in to the cycles of growth and collapse in complex forest ecosystems as a means of  understanding the possable dangers inherent in our current economic module.

If you haven’t heard the C-Realm podcasts before I highly recommend taking a look though the archive of shows. Click here for link to the show where you can also find subscription info.


Or you can listen to the show here on the above player.

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