Rob van Kranenburg on Fri, 13 Sep 2002 14:23:18 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Doors of Perception 7, on Flow

A great strategy ,

"A great strategy can usually be diagrammed on the back of my business
card, and has a single major point: It says what you are going to do to
constructively alter the daily lives of millions of people. Unfortunately,
the people who craft strategy usually aren't curious enough about peoples'
everyday lives. Yet this is always the best starting place for true
breakthroughs." Larry Keeley

In Wanderlust, a history of Walking, Rebecca Solnit writes: "When the
ha-ha came into being in the early decades of the eighteenth century, the
walls came down in Britain. A ditch relatively invisible from any
distance, the ha-ha - so named because strollers were said to exclaim "Ha
ha!" in surprise when they came upon it - provided an invisible barrier
that allowed the garden's inhabitants to gaze into the distance
uninterrupted." (Verso, 2001, p.88)

Our contemporary architectural terrain gives us many opportunities to stop
and exclaim "Ha ha!" The ability to read data as data is what makes new
architectural challenges.  What makes new beginnings of experiences of
walking in public places is our camera's becoming smart.  As face
recognition software scans my features, and compares them to pictures in a
database, a digital ditch relatively invisible from any distance, provides
an invisible barrier that allowes the garden's inhabitants to gaze into
the distance uninterrupted.

The questions then are: who is in the garden, whom are they gazing at, and

To be sure, Rudolf Arnheim claims in Thoughts on Art Education,
"computations such as those performed by electronic devices do not need to
do their own perceiving. They produce mere combinations of items, to which
meaning is attributed from the outside. A computation mechanism cannot
tell the difference between airplane reservations, chess games, or medical
diagnosis. Thought processes worthy of the name go beyond mere
computation.  Inevitably, they rely on imagery, especially on vision."
(Occasional Paper 2., The J.P. Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 1989, p. 16)

What, however, if electronic devices do their own perceiving? And rely on
vision? Are they becoming thought processes worthy of the name?

In Smile, You're on In-Store Camera, Erik Baard describes how the web
shopping process of following your customer every step of the way, might
now become effectively used in an ordinary supermarket: "The algorithm
looks for shapes of people and (passes) the same individual off from
camera to camera by, for example, looking for a yellowcolor leaving the
left side of one camera view to enter the overlapping right side of the
next. " The algorithm is tuned with pressure-sensitive carpets. Neither
Identix (formerly Visionics), nor the originator of the pressure-sensitive
magic carpet, MIT Media Lab researcher Joe Paradisso, thought of these
ways of using their work for tracking consumers: "I was thinking of music.
I never thought about this for retail at all," said Paradisso, who has
designed performance spaces where footsteps trigger bass or percussive
sounds and torso, head and arm movements elicit higher, "twinkling"

What would be the effect of all these digital processes that chart all
this physical data, in order to find out whether Paul is lingering over
baby products for the very first time so tick the box 'upcoming
parenthood' in the database that keeps his tracks? Would not the net
effect be that it re-enacts the village store? Where everybody knows your
name? And they're always glad you came?

There is a tendency to think that we are going forward, going towards
situations yet to be formed and discovered. This is governed by a
teleology that is at odds with the way we seem to immerse ourselves in
digital connectivity. You'd think we respond intuitively to something lost
in the first place; our being grounded while being mobile, our being at
home in various places and locations, our sense of ubiquity, of the
ubiquity of signs and modes of experience that seems ever more natural,
more human.

The swiftness and speed of the communicative response to the digital, what
can it be but the sensual recognition of our intrinsic abilities to
experience thought and alchemistic (read: growth and change)  processes
directly and intuitively? Let us suggest for a moment that we are going
backwards, an interesting proposition, that as it calls for a moratorium
on moving towards defies the very idea of closure, as it calls for a
moratorium on the making of things defies the very idea of process as a
generic concept, as it calls for a moratorium on going forward defies the
very idea of teleology.

We are going backwards. We are recreating through what we perceive as
technological devices our modes of experiencing communicative
connectivities in various modes of intelligence.

And if you think this has just the slightest esoteric whisper about it,
check out what happens when you check in: "Federal aviation authorities
and technology companies will soon begin testing a vast air security
screening system designed to instantly pull together every passenger's
travel history and living arrangements, plus a wealth of other personal
and demographic information." Says Robert O'Harrow Jr. (Washington Post
Staff Writer Friday, February 1, 2002)  The government's plan is to
"establish a computer network linking every reservation system in the
United States to private and government databases. The network would use
data-mining and predictive software to profile passenger activity and
intuit obscure clues about potential threats, even before (italics mine)
the scheduled day of flight."

Note the extremities to which the designers will go to script serendipity
into their profiling strategy: data-mining and predictive software and
intuit obscure clues.

Frank J. Murray, in the Washington Times (August 17, 2002 ) writes that
NASA has requested Northwest Airlines to "turn over all of its
computerized passenger data for July, August and September 2001 to
incorporate in NASA's "passenger-screening testbed" that uses
"threat-assessment software" to analyse such data, biometric facial
recognition and "neuro-electric sensing."

NASA is taking remote sensing to the limit; it plans to read terrorist's
minds at airports, and since it cannot tell the terrorist from you at
first glance, it plans to read yours too:  "NASA wants to use "noninvasive
neuro-electric sensors," imbedded in gates, to collect tiny electric
signals that all brains and hearts transmit.  Computers would apply
statistical algorithms to correlate physiologic patterns with computerized
data on travel routines, criminal background and credit information from
"hundreds to thousands of data sources," NASA documents say.

Note again the extremities to which the designers will go to script
serendipity into their profiling strategy: statistical algorithms,
physiologic patterns, computerized data from "hundreds to thousands of
data sources".

"We're close to the point where they can tell to an extent what you're
thinking about by which part of the brain is activated, which is close to
reading your mind."  says Robert Park, a physics professor at the
University of Maryland and spokesman for the American Physical Society. It
would be terribly complicated to try to build a device that would read
your mind as you walk by." The idea is plausible, he says, but
frightening." (Washington Times, August 17, 2002)

The ability to read data as data is what makes new beginnings.  Reflect a
while on what you bumped into, run up against, hit when you did not look.
The ability to read data as data has become the top level skill. How else
are you going to make sense of the serendipity that is scripted into your
profiling strategies?

It took me five years to figure out, to grasp, - understand - let me use
the word resonate - these lines of Heraclitus: and I rephrase them in my
own lines - "of all that which is dispersed haphazardly, the order is most
beautiful." In the Fragments you read that these lines are
incomprehensible as far as the Heraclitus scholars are concerned. They can
not link it as a line of verse with other words in other lines in verse. I
read it and in reading I knew it to be true. Knowing that only as
experience is not very productive in a society that has no non-iconic
medium for transmitting these kinds of experiences. In order to make this
experience productive; read: make it politically viable and socially
constructive - in order to find ways of transmitting, ways of teaching
experiences like this - we textualise them. We find analogies, we read
initial lines as metaphor, as metonomy.  I went for a walk one day in the
woods near =46., in the Belgian Ardennes. A beautiful walk it was, steep
down, hued autumn colours, leaves fading into black. In the quiet meadow
that we passed I saw autumn leaves, small twigs, pebbles sometimes -
hurdled into the most beautiful of patterns by the strenght of water
moving. I looked hard realizing there was indeed no other way of arranging

I recognized leaves as data. I recognized data as data. And I recognized
the inability to find a way to come to terms with Heraclitus' line without
walking, without taking a stroll in the woods and look around you, look
around you and find the strenght of streams arranging.

The ability to read data as data is what makes new beginnings.  Reflect a
while on what you bumped into, run up against, hit when you did not look.
You might find a new key math method:

"Asked why he had the courage to work on a problem that had stymied so
many, Dr. Agrawal replied in an e-mail message: " Ours was a completely
new and unexplored approach. Consequently, it gave us hope that we might

Or a new pattern in the woods.

Or you might experience feelings and thoughts while looking at someone,
using your very own noninvasive neuro-electric sensors.  Go ahead and
flirt! You best learn how to flirt with the neuro-electric sensing machine
before it flirts with you.

Smile, You're on In-Store Camera, Erik Baard,1294,54078,00.html
Indian Institute of Technology.
New Method Said to Solve Key Problem in Math, by Sara Robinson

Doors of Perception 7
Flow: the design challenge of pervasive computing
14,15,16 November 2002 Amsterdam

"Everything flows" said Heraclitus. But we have filled our world with
complex technical systems - on top of the natural systems that were
already here, and social/cultural ones that evolved over thousands of
years - without thinking much about the consequences. Some of these
consequences, as a result, include environmental decline and poor social
quality. So we need to start thinking proactively about the design of
complex systems and flows - particularly as we pervade the world with
smart systems and ambient intelligence.

What happens to society when there are hundreds of microchips for every
man, woman and child on the planet - most of them (the chips)  talking to
each other? What are the implications of a world filled with sensors and
actuators? What does 'the world as spread sheet' look like? What will it
mean it to be 'always on' in a real-time economy?  Some of the world's
most insightful designers, thinkers and entrepreneurs will address these
questions at Doors of Perception 7 in Amsterdam on 14, 15 and 16 November
2002.The theme of the celebrated international gathering is flow: the
design challenge of pervasive computing.

Confirmed Doors of Perception speakers are:
TON VAN ASSELDONK (Netherlands) business advisor
MICHAEL AWAD (Canada) architect/photographer
JANINE BENYUS (USA) author ofBiomimicry: innovations inspired by nature
BEN VAN BERKEL and CAROLINE BOS (Netherlands) UN Studio, architects
PETER BOEGH ANDERSEN (Denmark) maritime instrumentation designer
STEFANO BOERI (Italy) architect
OLE BOUMAN (Netherlands) editor of Archis
JOSHUA DAVIS (USA) web artist
ADITYA DEV SOOD (India) Director Centre for Knowledge Societies, Bangalore
LUIS FERN=C1NDEZ-GALIANO (Spain) authorFire and Memory: On Architecture 
and Energy
FELICE FRANKEL (USA) Director Envisioning Science  project at MIT
J C HERZ (USA) CEO, Joystick Nation
IVO JANSSEN (Netherlands) pianist
NATALIE JEREMIJENKO (USA) Centre for Advanced Technology, NYU
DERRICK DE KERCKHOVE (Canada) Director, The McLuhan Programme
ROB VAN KRANENBURG (Netherlands) Flow editor, Doors of Perception
EZIO MANZINI (Italy) Politecnico Milano, expert on sustainability and 
the design of services
PATRICIA DE MARTELAERE (Belgium) philosopher, author of What Remains
MALCOM McCULLOUGH (USA) author of Abstracting Craft
FRANZISKA NORI (Italy/Gemany) curator ofI Love You at MAK Frankfurt 
DAVID ROKEBY (Canada) media artist
FELIX STALDER (CANADA) Co-founder of Openflows
MARCO SUSANI (Italy) director advanced concepts group at Motorola
PHILIP TABOR (UK) former director, Bartlett School of Architecture
JOHN THACKARA (UK) first Perceptron, Doors of Perception
LARS ERIK HOLMQUIST, (Sweden) leader of the Future Applications Lab
AXEL THALLEMER (Germany) Festo Corporate Design
JAKUB WEJCHERT (Belgium) project managerThe Disappearing Computer

Open Doors - Design Grand Prix

Who has the most exciting, innovative and meaningful project for the
future use of pervasive computing? To find out, we are staging an exciting
special event at the end of Day 2: Open Doors Design Grand Prix. In
quick-fire, five-minute presentations, 20 finalists - selected by our
advisors from around the world - will present proposals for design
scenario projects to a jury of experts.

Doors of Perception

Doors of Perception (Doors) brings together innovators, entrepreneurs,
educators, and designers, who need to imagine alternative futures -
sustainable ones - and take design steps to realize them. Our products are
a better understanding of the design process; scenarios for services that
meet emerging needs in new ways;  and new connections and capabilities
among innovative people and organisations.

Contact details
E: (Livia Ponzio)
T: 00 31 20 596 3220
=46: 00 31 20 596 3202

Subscribe to Doors' email newsletter at:

"brilliant, innovative and cool=8Atrends that will mark design in the 
future" (Domus)

D  O  O  R  S  O  F  P  E  R  C  E  P  T  I  O  N
Wibauthuis, Wibautstraat 3, 1091 GH Amsterdam
Tel +31 20 596 3220  Fax +31 20 596 3202

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