Amazing minihompy moment

Now here’s a tale to warm the heart. Mine, anyway. An email arrives from Emil Groh, in Seoul. Two nights ago Emil was on the subway there when a friend he was riding with took a book out of his bag and recommended [continue …]

2022-10-21T12:11:12+00:00December 10th, 2005|perception|

Re-mix of Psycho

How’s this for a sublime location? A media arts festival in Huddersfield next week called Ultrasound takes place at Bates Mill. No, not motel: it’s a traditional nineteenth century industrial complex. The performances of electronic music, software production, new technologies, and audiovisual stuff, take place in the Blending Shed.

2005-11-18T09:08:08+00:00November 18th, 2005|perception|

Hypocritical, moi?

The latest edition of the Dutch architecture magazine Archis is on the theme “doing almost nothing”. The new Archis (which is now published jointly with AMO, the research arm of Rem Koolhaas’s design office) includes a diatribe against people who “travel to conferences around the world to talk [continue …]

2005-10-07T18:02:12+00:00October 7th, 2005|perception|

Yell when you hear a whistle

I’m running a workshop at Experimenta in Lisbon this Friday on ‘designers in the age of fear’. The design research economy is being massively distorted by our inability to make sound judgements about risk and priorities. For example, Googling “design” and “homeland security” today yields a score of 10,900,000. Enormous [continue …]

2023-04-21T17:00:18+00:00September 13th, 2005|perception|

Carbon neutral art

What would it mean to organise live art events that did not require large concrete museums or that people travel long distances to particpate? In early 1980s Moscow, private apartments were turned into collective immersive experiences during a project called APTART. I learned about APTART, (which someone [continue …]

2005-08-25T07:24:15+00:00August 25th, 2005|perception|

Now hearing at the Odeo

Creating and distributing podcasts doesn’t sound easy. As a potential producer, I’m hesitating. But Evan Williams (who started Blogger and therefore, presumably, helped start blogging) has co-founded Odeo as a one-stop site where non-technical people like me can find and subscribe to podcasts, and create new podcasts of their [continue …]

2005-07-28T08:11:58+00:00July 28th, 2005|perception|

Podcast heaven

It’s so thrilling to be modern. My interview with Moira Gunn on the US radio show Tech Nation is now online and thereby downloadable as a podcast. The idea of podcasting Doors-type conversations is attractive, and I’d be interested to hear your response to the idea. (The complete [continue …]

2005-07-23T11:29:16+00:00July 23rd, 2005|perception|

Watching the watchers

“The anthropologist starts by observing everyday life, with all its odd little patterns, and tries to work out how computers might fit into that”. (That was Gillian Tett in the FT). It sounds innocuous if you believe the insertion of computing into a daily life activity to be an ethically [continue …]

2022-10-21T12:10:47+00:00July 13th, 2005|perception|

Designers on the breadline

I like to keep track of the total I get when Googling “design” + “homeland security”. The number six months ago was 1,310,000. Today, the score stands at 3,090,000. By a complete coincidence, the budget for Homeland Security rose to $41 billion by the end of 2004. Commenting on this [continue …]

2005-07-11T12:19:12+00:00July 11th, 2005|perception|

On the map, off the wall

Is this happening a lot? I’ve been sent a map,”The Creative Map of Arnhem and Gelderland”. (It’s a pleasant area in the west of the Netherlands). The map plots the street address of every member of the creative class. It informs me that a fine artist named Stolker lives in [continue …]

2022-10-21T12:10:42+00:00June 21st, 2005|perception|

Silent sneeze

I like the sound of the Romanian pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. The artist Daniel Knorr is responsible for an installation called European Influenza: the Pavilion is left empty, with only the traces of past exhibitions remaining. Sadly, not all critics have taken the hint: one burbles [continue …]

2005-06-21T07:37:22+00:00June 21st, 2005|perception|

How design evolves

Every year the Institute For The Future publishes a map of the decade (ahead). The 2005 version is not yet online, but I was delighted to learn, during my visit to Palo Alto this week, that Jason Tester, an alumnus of Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, is helping IFTF enhance [continue …]

2005-05-21T19:38:22+00:00May 21st, 2005|perception|

Vote for Reverend Billy

The most entertaining challenger to Michael Bloomberg for Mayor of New York is the Reverend Billy , leader of the The Church of Stop Shopping. The Reverend has announced plans to conduct his entire campaign on premises of the Starbucks Corporation; he will offer 258 sermons in 258 locations [continue …]

2005-05-15T17:19:22+00:00May 15th, 2005|perception|

Hermetically hived-off homes

A group of artists in California called Heavy Trash has launched a guerrilla war against gated communities, the self-contained housing estates that are walled off from the outside world but ring more and more American cities. In a stealth operation, carried out at dawn, a group of 20 architects, [continue …]

2005-05-09T14:33:56+00:00May 9th, 2005|perception|

Gates memory project

Bob Stein writes to inform me of a fascinating experiment in creating a collective memory of an ephemeral event – albeit one which promises to be the most photographed art work ever. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Gates project in Central Park was dismantled after a brief run of just sixteen days. [continue …]

2005-04-10T11:16:23+00:00April 10th, 2005|perception|

Re-mix as a design process

A personal “Aha!” moment in Delhi was the realisation that re-mix is not just about new music and vj-ing. Re:mix also signals a broader cultural shift away from the narcissistic obsession with individual authorship that have rendered everything from art to management so tiresome in recent times. (In architecture circles [continue …]

2022-10-21T12:10:23+00:00March 31st, 2005|perception|

Acoustic interlude

Ten days offline, but not in silence. From my New Delhi lodging house in Defence Colony I heard no airconditioning roar or traffic. What I did hear was: Pigeons fidgeting in the metal box above my window that used to contain the airconditioning unit. The long moans of freight train [continue …]

2005-03-29T11:02:20+00:00March 29th, 2005|perception|

Have we unleashed a monster?

A full-page story in yesterday’s Financial Times (March 1, page 9) waxes lyrical about ‘reality tv for the boardroom’ – and goes on to describe the use of video footage to ‘reduce the growing distance between the corporate elite and consumers’. Executives in multinational companies, understates the FT, ‘often find [continue …]

2005-03-02T12:40:26+00:00March 2nd, 2005|perception|

New media art at Doors 8

Bangalore Badarpur Border, curated by Pooja Sood at the Apeejay Media Gallery, explores the myths, landscape and imagery of Bombay. It features the work of Shaina Anand, (from Mumbai, trained in film in New York);Ashok Sukumaran (from Simla, trained in architecture in Delhi, and in Media Art in Los [continue …]

2023-05-07T08:18:31+00:00February 20th, 2005|perception|


The threatened flood of post-election refugees from the US to Europe did not materialise – but many of our US friends do still sound nervous. So we found the perfect Christmas gift: a high-level security system designed for maximum protection in various hostile environments. “With this unit you don’t have [continue …]

2004-12-21T18:12:35+00:00December 21st, 2004|perception|

Do surveys make you blind?

The world is awash in reports, from think tanks and research companies, telling us what the next social or tech trend is going to be. Europe’s research policy makers had a good idea: aggregate the best of these, and see what picture emerges. They created the Fistera network [continue …]

2004-12-10T18:28:50+00:00December 10th, 2004|perception|

What don’t I get?

I found some amazing new numbers in a 2004 survey of attitudes to consumption in the United States. More than eight out of ten Americans believe that society’s priorities are “out of whack” and 93 percent agree that Americans are too focused on working and making money and not enough [continue …]

2023-04-18T09:04:42+00:00December 10th, 2004|perception|

Market density

The picture shows the number of fairs and markets per year, in 1732, in the Occitania region in the south of France (where I live). The small blobs denote three fairs per year, the biggest one, 13. I’ve decided to perceive the picture as [continue …]

2022-10-21T12:10:08+00:00December 9th, 2004|perception|

Crash test dummies

For many veterans of early Doors of Perception conferences, Rick Prelinger’s talks were a highlight. Illustrated by American movie and advertising ephemera, Rick’s presentations featured American children, animals, farmers, industrial workers, superheroes, pioneers heading West, crash test dummies, and many others. Now Rick works at the Internet Archive and has [continue …]

2004-11-08T14:58:32+00:00November 8th, 2004|perception|

Flying Blind With Unisys

Last week I commented on the puerile computer game imagery being used in corporate advertising by firms like BT. Its now Unisys’ turn to insult our intelligence with its “3D Visible Enterprise” campaign. Every sentence is sententious. “It’s more predictable because it’s visible”. “Imagine any change, and know how it [continue …]

2004-10-31T18:06:17+00:00October 31st, 2004|perception|

Miffed Missive From Massive

Bruce Mau has written to say he is “surprised” by the tone and content of my email newsletter piece last week about his new exhibiton, Massive Change.
What I said originally was:
“We will build a global mind. We will design evolution. We will eradicate poverty”. No ifs and no buts are [continue …]

2004-10-29T18:21:34+00:00October 29th, 2004|perception|

Care and time

Britain’s National Health Service has identified five “key dimensions of patient experience” – and time and speed issues dominate. The top two issues are first, waiting times for appointments, and access to services; and second, time given to discuss health/medical problems face-to-face with health care professionals. A third priority, [continue …]

2023-04-18T09:03:52+00:00October 16th, 2004|perception|


Has anyone else noticed how the tv ads of tech companies are becoming indistinguishable from computer games? IBM, British Telecom and Hewlett Packard have all released TV commercials and print ads that feature young professionals floating, gravity-free, in abstract urban spaces. High altitude, low-bandwidth thinking in action.

2022-10-21T12:09:54+00:00October 5th, 2004|perception|

Pros and cons of Dutch design

I was asked by the main Japanese design magazine, Axis, to write an ‘afterword’ for their special issue on Dutch design. I took the opportunity to reflect on trends in design policy in other countries.
Dutch design has enjoyed tremendous international success and prestige in recent years. Can it last?
One reason [continue …]

2003-06-17T17:58:44+00:00June 17th, 2003|perception|

The new medicis

Those were the days. This text, which was written for Japan’s Hakuhodo advertising agency, is a reflection on the changing nature of sponsorship. At the time (1990) I was convinced I had invented a killer business concept – ‘cultural engineering’. Unfortunately, when Japan’s bubble economy abruptly collapsed in 1992, so, [continue …]

2001-01-22T17:09:05+00:00January 22nd, 2001|perception|

What are artists for?

(A comment for Cumulus, the European association of design schools).
In order to do things differently, we first need to see things differently; the imaginary can be extraordinarily powerful in shaping expectations.
In order to do things differently, we first need to see things differently; the imaginary can be extraordinarily powerful in [continue …]

2000-01-22T17:29:02+00:00January 22nd, 2000|perception|
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