Moritz Greiner-Petter: Seamful Design

In 2015, Google released an experimental software plugin for its Chrome browser called Tone. The small tool is remarkable in its peculiar approach for overcoming the obstacles posed by the incompatabilities of modern communication devices, operating systems and network protocols. The browser plugin makes it possible to exchange online content with others in a shared physical space (like a class or meeting room) through sound. It allows to broadcast the URL of any web content as a uniquely encoded sound snippet over the speaker of one’s computer. Any other machine within ear-shot, running Chrome with the plugin activated and listening, is thereby promted to open the respective web link. The reliablility of the transmission depends on the volume of the speaker and the distance of the listening machines, but also on ambient sounds or the orientation of computers relative to each other. It’s even said to work over phone and video calls. As its developers note in a blog post: “Tone behaves like speech in interesting ways”[1]. Although the generated sound itself is cryptic, the auditory mode of sending data affords a somewhat comprehensible and approachable form of interaction. You can instantly hear how loud your message is sent, you might have to send it again, a bit louder this time, to reach everyone in the room, move your machine closer towards the listeners, or interrupt conversations to allow for a successful transmission.

Image Credit: Reddit thread “You’re an asshole, Roomba”

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Søren Rosenbak: Failures and Obstacles in Design

The notion of ‘failure’ hold a key role in design. Across industry and education, failures are praised, even celebrated, as crucial shortcuts to better design solutions, as epitomized in David Kelley of IDEO’s famous ‘fail faster to succeed sooner’. While failures in design practice thus are gospel, they are supposedly close to non-existent in design research. Here we find no celebration, and very limited articulation.

Design Research Failures. © 2018 Søren Rosenbak.

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The Invisible in Cinema

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Cinema is about both what we see and what we do not see. It is a montage of the world that allows us to accept the inability to see everything at once.  What is visible is a fragment. The non-visible penetrates and completes the field.  Consequently, what escapes the concrete representation becomes an integral part of the audiovisual sight.

Rosemary’s Baby ( Polanski, 1968)

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Jan-Henning Raff: Advertising and Obstruction

Classic advertising has been and still is conceived by hierarchy of effects models (Barry 1987). Well-known is “AIDA”, an acronym that stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. Ideally a possible customer would undergo these hierarchical stages ending with the action of buying. The first, attention, is seen as a cognitive stage i.e. mental processing is taking place here (cf. Barry 1987: 271–273). To capture attention several “tactics” are proposed: color, motion, uniqueness, loudness – measures designers are experts for (cf. Campbell, Mattison Thompson, Grimm & Robson 2017: 415). But where and how are these attention-getting tactics applied? Continue reading “Jan-Henning Raff: Advertising and Obstruction”

Julia Schubert: A labyrinth for a rat. Playing rules for designers


”And an oulipotic AUTOR, what is that? He is „a rat who constructs itself a labyrinth from which it would like to find the way out.“ A labyrinth of what? Of words, sounds, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books, libraries, prose, poetry and everything in this way … How can you learn more? By reading.“✽ 

In the search for an idea, the designer repeatedly encounters the problem of setting limits on the thematic and creative possibilities, defining rules that give direction to his approach. But what has the image of the rat looking for the exit in the labyrinth to do with strategies in the design process? The comparison with the rat in the labyrinth, as we will see, raises another question: which search strategies open up unseen possibilities of thought, imagination and action in design?

Julia Schubert, Labyrinth for a rat, 2017.

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Mariano Ramis: Render as obstacle

When I started working on animated sequences and 3D modeling (mid 90’s), the rendering process took usually the same amount of  time as the creation work, a sequence of 120 frames was equivalent to half a day of render.

Apart from the possible meanings of the term render and its mystical links, its inevitable presence as a distressing blind wait in the middle of the workflow ordered my way of working, adding an uncomfortable and mysterious piece in the workflow, even in 100% analog projects , which do not require rendering I add some part that replaces what the render process does.

Render as obstacle, Mariano Ramis. 2017.

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Damián Zantleifer: New Language

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Being born within the formalization of the image in times of analog technologies and palpable materialities, forged me in a precise way of thinking and doing.

Times change, practices too.

My own need to update my creative and professional practices threw me into this new form of thinking and construction: programming and code.

Obstaculo. Damián Zantleifer. 2017.

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Fabio Doctorovich: Testosterone

From the ancient era, sexual hormones have always been an obstacle – a huge one. Due to sexual hormones, we want/need to have intercourse. This action generates offspring that we have to take care of. Because of this, sometimes we cannot sleep, other times we do not have enough time, money or attention to focus in other (creative) actions.

At the same time, these biochemical entities that impregnate our bodies seduce us to think and create further, to the infinite. They motivate us to love, construct, intercourse, re-create, run, hide, invent, innovate, intimidate.

Abyssmo cerrado inconcluso by Fabio Doctorovich. 1994.


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