Dutch designer Boris Rijksen experiences a culture shock when he enters the real world after a day of screen work. Before, the ‘digital immigrant’ struggled to understand digital situations, but what about the digital natives? Will they struggle to understand real situations?
Digital interfaces use skeuomorphic elements to make the digital world more like the non-digital; trashcan, desktop as examples. Boris proposes a similar approach for digital natives in the real world.
Miss the soothing clacking of typewriter keys? Long for satisfying clang of a carriage return? Noisy Typer, a piece of freeware for your Mac, adds the nostalgic noises of a typewriter to emails, word documents, and chats. Equipped with six different noises, Noisy Typer will help you to relive those Mad Men days, or ensure that everyone in the library hates you by the time you hit ‘send’.
Artist Willis Elkins “rescues” plastic detritus from the sea. His most recent venture, the Jamaica Bay Pen Project, retrieves sun-baked, useless pens from the shores of New York’s Jamaica Bay and reinvigorates them with fresh ink cartridges. Once consigned to the sea, Elkins gives these pens a second chance at a useful life. This project joins the New York City Lighter Log, Elkins’ previous effort to catalogue and preserve the various species of plastic lighters found on the city’s shores.
Elkins’ project is a reversal of our standard disregard for plastic junk. Instead of seeing it as disposable, the artist treats each object as a unique specimen worthy of preservation. According to Elkins, ”[land]scapes that were once virgin territories of human exploration: staggering mountains, vast oceans, even the depths of space are now all being rediscovered and examined not for containing profound examples of what is natural, but what is not.” From landfill mines to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world is now overflowing with unnatural resources ready to be exploited.
Growing up, I had a cockatiel that could mimic the bleeping cacophony of a dial-up connection with dead accuracy. I never stopped to think that my bird (still alive) preserves a valuable trace of our pre-broadband heritage. Just like Boa Sr, Thud the cockatiel could be the last “speaker” of an otherwise forgotten set of sounds.
Stepping into the void of noise is Brendan Chilcutt’s Museum of Endangered Sounds. This online repository preserves defunct sounds as diverse as a Nokia ring tone, a fax machine and the preloaded game that came with Encarta encyclopedia. Rich in memory and resonance to members of a certain generation, these noises are a mere curiosity to younger people. “Curiosity” might even be a strong term. Without any cultural connections, the majority of these sounds have no intrinsic interest.
The museum skews towards technologies created within the last 20 years. It would be great if the museum were expanded to more distant sounds. Did Dr. Taylor’s Manipulator vibrate with a particularly pleasing tone? Did the Antikythera Mechanism rattle in a familiar way to its users? And we’re left to wonder if the pasilalinic-sympathetic compass made any noise at all.
Via Discover Magazine.
These stones were dug up by future archaeologists, some centuries after the integration of the digital and the material world was completed. No seriously, our peculiar image of the week was created by Veronica Ranner.
Slowly but steadily the digital environment is becoming the primary living space where we interact and define ourselves. According to Gordan Savicic however, some things are still missing… like committing suicide.
Remember those long gone times when babies were delivered by white storks? Today they are simply downloaded into mom’s belly. How superhandy! Apparently every era creates its own myths. Filed under Boomeranged Metaphors. Peculiar image of the week.
And so it begins. For this 1-year old, a magazine is just a broken iPad.
A little girl gets angry at her father, and uses her index finger and thumb to make a pinching motion. No, she’s not trying to hurt him. She’s using iPad sign language to say, “I want you to be smaller.”
PCs and cell phones required restricted motions, mostly clicking and typing. In contrast, the recent slew of computers, tablets, and smart phones utilize more expressive motions: swiping, flicking, squeezing. These gestures may enter the vernacular of common signs, like waving and shoulder shrugging, just as internet terms like ‘lol’ and ‘brb’ entered everyday language.
All great apes stick out their hands to beg for food, but only humans pinch if their friend won’t share.
Image via Gawker
MyMicrobes, interestingly dubbed “Fecesbook” by ABC News, is the new social network for your gastrointestinal bacteria. For only $2,100 and a bit of poo you can become a member of this ingenious network which connects you to like minded people through your own gut bacteria.
Peer Bork, a biochemist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, created this network after receiving 50 to 100 emails from people having troubles with their stomach or having diarrhea. It might look strange to connect people based on their microbiomes, but researchers think it will help people with similar digestive profiles to share and gather information about their digestive health. In the meanwhile they hope to gather data which could help to guide treatments for various diseases.
Imagine telling your children you met your wife because you both had the same bowel problems.
In a vivd example of the blur between culture and nature, players using an online game called Foldit have helped solve complex questions for researchers about enzyme models. The solution, which eluded researchers for more than 10 years was solved by gamers in only a few days, contributing towards research into anti-AIDS drugs. Giving credit where it’s due, researchers have named the gamers as co-authors in the study published in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.
Read the full story on BBC.com.
So, what do you get when an owl watches too much animated TV cartoon series? An amazing shape-shifting Transformer Owl! Now seriously, we don’t actually think this wondrous White Faced Scops Owl from South Africa was inspired by the Transformer Robot series – rather the other way around. Off topic? Perhaps. We dig it nonetheless. Next nature rocks, but some times old nature just rocks even better.
Wikileaks gone physical? Aram Bartholl’s Dead Drops is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data.
Scrollbars is a series of installations and physical scrollbar-representations created by Dutch artist Jan Robert Leegte. According to the artist, most of us consider the scrollbar to be a virtual object – but in use it triggers reactions such as frustration, which suggests a subconscious acceptance of the inherent “reality” of these objects.
Our proposal to study the financial system as an ecosystem is sometimes criticized as ‘abuse of vegetational concepts’. Interestingly enough BBC documentary maker Adam Curtis now argues the whole notion of the ecosystem is in fact a boomeranged metaphor.
In his documentary ‘All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace’, Curtis claims that the notion of the ‘ecosystem’ was, from the very beginning, based upon technological metaphors: the idea of nature as a complex machine. I hurry to emphasize that the next nature view goes exactly the other way around: the idea of complex machines as nature.
Thanks Ruben van Leer.
On June 10, the digital currency Bitcoin lost 30% of its value in a few hours, dropping from US $28.92 to $20.01 per coin. Bitcoins are a largely untraceable form of money, relying on a peer-to-peer system for legitimacy, instead of a central authority like a government or Second Life’s Linden Labs. Gawker recently brought Bitcoins to mainstream attention in a report on Silk Road, a website where aspiring drug users can use the anonymous currency to purchase home delivery of any psychoactive from LSD to cocaine.
The Bitcoin Black Friday was the result of certain events that real life markets have learned to control for – a bank rush, where Bitcoin owners exchanged their Bits back to bucks en masse, and a market that stayed open despite rapid inflation over the last few weeks. Millions of dollars in Bitcoin investments were lost in the resulting crash. This fast-moving bear market goes to show that online events increasingly mimic ‘real’ events, and that the investors in digital markets could stand to crack open their history books. Virtual economies work the same as actual ones, although all money, by definition, is already virtual.
At the 2011 Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, a photograph of a flesh-and-blood woman advertises a RealDoll, the life-sized sex mannequin made for people with a fetish for the uncanny valley. This image is a strange mix of the next natural phenomena ‘people becoming products’ and ‘products becoming people.’ The woman in the advertisement has been photoshopped to perfection, valuable and desirable precisely because she is a product. The doll, in contrast, is valuable and desirable because she is a person, or at least a convincing simulacrum of one. Is the doll meant be like the woman, or is the woman meant to be like the doll? There’s certainly a metaphor being boomeranged here, but I’m stumped as to which direction it’s flying. Peculiar image of the week.
Image via 88 Miles West.