I’ve been project manager at the MediaLAB since February 2013.
MediaLAB Amsterdam conducts applied research by developing innovative interactive media applications for design problems. We work with final year students from various disciplines and countries, who work in teams of 4 towards a tested prototype that they present at the end of their design & research project. Project assigners come from government orgs, Dutch SMEs & large international corporates from across fields of IT, media, city making, education, culture, healthcare and other fields. They bring in Digital Media & ICT related problems, societal challenges, ideas or innovation issues.
We’ve worked with Cisco, NOS, IKEA, ProRail, City of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Light Festival, Dropstuff, Beeld&Geluid, Arkin, Ordina, AVROTROS, WeMakeVR, Submarine, TWC and many others.
As part of FabAcademy week 3 I had to design and produce a snapfit construction kit with the lasercutter. Requirement was that the kit can be put together in many ways (without glue or other things, just by snapping it together). I created an iteration of my steampunk bird machine, and I love the crazy result! Especially the shadows it casts. Find documentation here (not all parts work as intended)
My birds were features in the Makezine article about Fabacademy! NOICE hey :)
And the SVG file :) It won’t show until you open it in Illustrator. Or in Inkscape (be sure to set the view to “outline” otherwise it will look like there’s nothing because the lines are 0.001pt thick).
Oh yeah and then a few weeks later for the Make Something Big assignment I decided to redo the birds but scale them up to 1x1x1 meters…hehe
Two weeks ago I started the long anticipated FabAcademy training at my local fablab in Amsterdam at de Waag. I think the last time I learned so many new skills and concepts in every week was when I was doing my Master’s at Goldsmiths. Amazingly good to have the brain and the hands fired up to 100 again.
A large part of the course is about programming and electronics (PCB production from scratch!) which I absolutely love and am so happy to advance my understanding of. But of course all the usual suspects like Computer Controlled Cutting, Machining, 3D printing, 2D and 3D milling, molding & casting, composites, machine building, you name it. Pretty fantastic and quite an intense program.
The training lasts 20 weeks and teaches you everything you need to know if you want to work in a maker space or want to run a Fablab. Great because that’s exactly what I plan to do more at work (at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences). I am keeping records of everything I’m learning on my local fabsite, which I won’t post here. But feel free to have a look at what I’m up to here.
For Amnesty Netherlands, one of my student teams developed Mr Powerful in fall 2014: a game that let students experience, in a playful way, how Amnesty International takes action against the violation of Freedom of Speech and persuade students to contribute to this cause. In the game you play the oppressor who violates Human Rights and is therefore criticised by different channels. As a player you experience the rising pressure. It is up to you to withstand the pressure and remain calm.
I coached a team of students who worked on this project in collaboration with Lectorate Games&Play’s researcher Mirjam Vosmeer. AVROTROS and their cultural hub VondelCS, and VR pioneers from WeMakeVR.
Using live action 360 degree footage the team created an interactive narrative experience for the Oculus Rift to explore how stories can be told in virtual reality. During the experience, you are not just passively watching a story, but you are a character who can actively influence how the narrative unfolds.
In A Perfect Party you, as the main character are hosting a get-together for your best friend who wants to propose to his girlfriend. Everything depends on you to make the party a success: potential disaster is everywhere. By looking around and interacting with the environment you may try to prevent things from running out of control. It’s up to you to make this party perfect.
A perfect party was featured at LISFE Leiden International Short Film Experience 2015:
Tamara and I tried out a different format to get the students to think about tinkering and prototyping. Both have in common that they celebrate early failure as a way to learn quickly and deeply about your ideas and prototypes. We asked the students to create paper prototypes – always a big hit and a huge surprise – and to tinker for an hour with a prototyping tool they were unfamiliar with and report back what they learned. I really enjoy facilitating these sessions and using whatever comes up in the room as an opportunity to learn something about the creative making process together. Awesome day, always too little time awwwww. We can’t get enough!
Last Friday I facilitated a small workshop in the basics of visual communication. The student teams worked on some small exercises to help make their communication within their team – and to the outside – better by making it more visual in simple ways. Armed with only paper and markers, the students practiced their drawing skills, their ability to translate concepts into quick drawings, and they learned some tricks to make better use of the canvas and guiding the viewers’ attention to what’s important. It was hot, and it was reallllly the end of the week but we laughed really hard. Some showed their natural ability to think visually, others made massive improvements just be learning a few small tricks. Awesome!
By using the powerful relationships between scent & emotion, and confidence through embodiment, PosturAroma helps women feel safer by enhancing their posture. By sensing the angle of the back and using scent as trigger, the user is reminded to keep her head up, and straighten her back when stepping into the world. Walk proud to feel confident, look confident, be safe.
During the fall 2013 semester, I coached a team of students for their project Women’s Safety in Public Space. The project that explores collaborative design efforts that look into what it means to design collectively across different countries and contexts. Two teams, one in Amsterdam and one in Bangalore will work on the same project brief in parallel, while regularly exchanging insights about their methods and progress. Students will work on the question: how can we enhance objective and subjective safety of women in public space, by innovative uses of digital media, communication technology and/or (networked) electronics? The research question will be answered separately for the context of Bangalore and Amsterdam. View Flickr set here.
The project is phase 1 of the project Design Across Cultures, a larger effort commmisioned by Cisco and made possible by Center of Expertise.
The Bangalore project was coached by researchers from Fields of View at IIIT-B University. The results of their project Convers(t)ation can be viewed here: http://medialab.hva.nl/blog/project/womens-safety-india/
The research paper about PosturAroma was presented at the 9th International Conference on Design & Emotion themed “Colors of Care” in Bogota, Colombia, 2014. It won the Award for Best Design Case and was featured on Fast.Co, Ideo.org, PSFK, Crisp.nl, Discovery Canada, and presented at the 2014 Rome Maker Faire.
Hout, van, M., Mul, L., Bogers, L. & Ito, S. (2014). PosturAroma – The Embodiment of Safety, in: Salamanca, J., Desmet, P., Burbano, A., Ludden, G., Maya, J. (Eds.). Proceedings of the Colors of Care: The 9th International Conference on Design & Emotion, Bogota, Colombia.
In the spring ’14 semester I coached the project Transmedia Analytics, a collaboration between interactive production company Submarine, University of Amsterdam, and MediaLAB Amsterdam.
This project goal was to capture a variety of data points from two interactive web based documentaries (The Last Hijack and Unspeak) and present these data in a way that allows the producers get an understanding of how audiences engage and interact with their creation, and enrich the user experience accordingly. This resulted in a custom designed analytics dashboard tool: Figures. The progress of the project was documented on the students’ project blog.
A short article of mine was published on VVVNT recently, dealing with the expressive and philosophical potential of performance practices combining dance improvisation and live coding.VVVNT is an online journal, forum, & project space for sharing ways of thinking with practical connections across time, scale, system, & discipline.