This was a very interesting talk and at many points I felt incredibly inspired. The speakers projects made me question my own motives and analyse how the tools I was building could be useful. For the sake of clarity, I'm going to split what I learnt based on the 4 speaker.
- Everest Pipkins work has been on my radar for a while now, listening to their poetic justifications and thought process once enhanced the experience. Their projects that recreated natural spaces in a digital realm (like Moth Generator and The Worm Room) were particularly insightful. Their ideas about coming face to face with a ghost that may outlive yet in Shell Song holds so true as we increasingly occupy digital spaces. All their projects were great to look at and understand. I've also used their resource of Open source, experimental and tiny tools roundup and was thrilled to see it (Everest mentioned using Leafy for the interface of the project, is this the same Leafy developed by Xin? Really cool if that's true :) )
- Natalie Lawhead's zine maker is an interesting template. We had a project last semster in studio 1 for which we had to use something like bitsy; this talk made the concepts explored in that project much clearer (making me wish I had seen it then). Natalie breaking down how a tools characteristics inform the users behaviour made me realise the importance of tiny tools. As someone who has an increasingly dependent relationship with illustrator, it make me rethink this as (sometimes) being a limitation. I also liked how they leaned into the computer visual language while making Electric Zine Maker.
- Marina Kittaka thinking process and explanations for her decisions are what I found the most interesting. Their questions about high quality evil vs low quality good is not something I had actively thought about but had internalised that mentality. Zonelets letting people use already existent HTML pages and customise it is a good approach forming an intermediate between using a fancy, full framework software or building it from scratch. (It has a similar feeling to making our glitch code portfolios.)
- Kate Compton said toward the end that she focusses on building libraries and not frameworks. I like that way of looking at projects as allowing people to change parameters vs use libraries to support their work. Especially while making my library, this thinking would be effective. Anti-retention is another term I hadn't thought about so this was great introduction to it.
I think others have also commented on this, but I would rephrase the title as in 'defence of usefulness of art' cause otherwise it implies an inherent uselessness to art. Besides that, the article focuses on how design can make different types of research more accessible due to the various forms it can cover: UI, zines, sculptures, performance art etc. Caroline Sinders describes the ways in which art can be useful by revealing information, raising awareness, encouraging activism, creating open-source resources or finding solutions. About ML, Sinders writes, "So many issues related to machine learning are issues of a deeper more ingrained societal inequity which can only be addressed through large shifts and restructuring in society or legislation. But within that, as a designer and researcher, I try to look at what kinds of research or work can help alleviate or expose issues." They describe art as a 'Trojan horse' disseminating information to (sometimes) unsuspecting patrons.
The reading by Everest Pipkin reiterated and cemented a lot of ideas introduced in the previous lecture. Once I realised the usage of metaphors in the computer interfaces, I have started noticing them increasingly. It is also clear how the metaphor is based on western thinking and life. Even outlier GUI projects fall prey to this condition as seen in Microsoft Bob. "Microsoft Bob also suffered from specificity. The various homes were all western, suburban, and large, full of knick-knacks and splashy decor." (Pipkin, 127) The house 'creating an environment' metaphor shows how computer functioning is moving away from just office work to daily, social interactions. The early internet indicated a shift to focus on society and embraced the multitude of people that made it by not showing any visual spatial metaphor.
Now, with the evolution of the internet, I can definitely see new metaphors emerge. 'Bookmarking' a page, cyber security shields and locks all reference our interactions with physical objects. It is also clear to see how the internet interface is also built on western ideologies. The project Alt Text as Poetry highlights the problems faced by differently abled people while navigating the internet.