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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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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Martín Kleiman: The Budget

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Given my role as director, screenwriter and film and television producer, I am constantly dealing with budgetary issues in every project I undertake. This situation seems a priori, an obstacle to be overcome. However, I guess that we should rethink the concept and understand it as a limitation that empowers us, as a frame that frames us and forces us to increase our creativity, and can be highly beneficial to the work we are producing.

Matín Kleiman: The Budget. 2017.

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Ramiro P. A. Piana: Le Corbusier and the blocked entrance

The way we move through buildings has changed throughout history. In classical architecture, individuals would go through a sequence of spaces in which use and circulation tended to overlap. Rooms and chambers had different symbolic meanings in a hierarchical organization which reflected a stable, codified social life. A new paradigm emerged with modern bourgeois society: liberation from certain social constraint led to liberation from physical ones.


Maison Cook, Boulogne-sur-Seine Photo: Olivier Martin-Gambier, 2006 © FLC/ADAGP. From Fondation Le Corbusier:

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Valentino Tignanelli: Academic Abstract

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The academic abstract is a short text, usually of about 300 words or less and with no images. It works as a preview of a more extensive article called paper. This article should be firstly accepted before sending the abstract to a congress, institution or research magazine. The argumental line of the complete article should fit in this format. With the abstract the organizations that receive it will evaluate if the project is relevant to the program to be developed on the open call. There isn’t a general rule when it comes to whether the abstract precedes or announces the extensive article or if goes after it. If it triggers the content of the paper or if it synthesizes in a way it becomes more effective during it’s processing. They are common to be thought in a short time lapse of the deadline, and its length also responds to immediate materialization necessities.

Deadline mechanics by Valentino Tignanelli.

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Nancy Nowacek: Citizen Bridge

Bridges, in most all regards, are necessarily enduring infrastructure that enable transport of people, vehicles, and/or goods across an impassable obstacle (water, canyons, swift-moving multi-lane highways, etc).

What are the impacts, then, when a bridge is told that it may only exist for a day? How do the dueling obstacles of water and time ignite the design process?

Concept Demonstration, Governors Island 2012. Sculpture, lumber, drinking glasses, water. Video frame courtesy of the artist.

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