Having been off the grid, shifting countries, I’ve finally found the time for some much needed inspiration. I still vividly remember my introduction to projection mapping and thanks to last year’s Resonate experience, I’ve since been a fan of Kimchi and Chips and their exquisite projection mapping exercises. That is until I stumbled upon this! Andrien Mondot’s Hakanai – a take on everything which denotes ephemeral, transitory and fragile. The choreographed performance installation combines video projection mapping, CGI, and sensors to dynamically respond to the movements and proximity of its performer.

Adrien has also developed eMotion, a tool for creating interactive motions of objects for live visual performances. Interestingly, the creation of motion in the program is laid on a physical model/ physical forces when applied to objects.

Projection mapping

Excuse me while I play the program. x


Space cake

Not everyone ventures into Amsterdam with the same enthusiasm to visit a museum as I did when I landed at Museumplein. While tourists flocked to the ‘I Amsterdam’ for a souvenir picture, I readied myself for what was museum day for me in Amsterdam. A day when drinking and smoking would take a backseat while I soaked the much needed art into my system. While Musuemplein has the famous Van Gogh Museum as well as the Rijksmuseum [houses Rembrandt], the one museum I absolutely and utterly loved was the Stedelijk. Not only do you get a staggering 50% off on flashing your student ID, everything about the museum is quirky. If modern art is your thing, forget Tate, I’ve found us a new love!

The architecture, the curation, the three stories high textile wall marking the levels, the little coffee shop outside, I loved everything about the museum. The Bad Thoughts show was excellently curated. Loved the short film by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler called Single Wide. Quite an intriguing piece of film making.

I have to admit, I’ve always fancied signage in museums, especially the toilets. Sometimes they precede the art for me [haw!]. Though Stedelijk scores high on the art quotient, it’s not too far from the toilet quotient either [Serpentine still takes the cake on that one]. While it may come as a shock to many, Van Gogh museum is totally overhyped and under delivers. Unless the man is a God to you, roasting yourself in the blazing sun for an hour and half to find out that the ‘Sunflowers’ are on a loan to the National Gallery in London for 6 months is pure torture. Only bright side is all the yellow the museum throws at you irrespective of the color palette.

By the time I could squeeze my way out of the gift shop, my body had contracted alcohol withdrawal symptoms. So I promptly decided it was time for the Heineken experience. For starters, it is not much of an ‘experience’ to write home about, if you exclude the two beers (and half) included in the ticket (€17). The (supposedly) 4D Heineken ‘ride’ is pretty much a let down lest you enjoy a mini earthquake and water being sprayed at you while you’re a barley grain on a mission to be brewed. PS: Some bubble guns are also let loose for extra effect.
But I have nothing to complain about since with my two pennies not only did I score a free beer mug [official merchandise], I also have a cool certificate as the official Heineken pourer! [for what it’s worth]

While I could go on about how wonderful my rest of the evening was, my memory fails me. The last I remember of this day is stumbling into a ‘coffee shop’ near Spui and gobbling down some ‘space cake’. Not for the weak hearted I must warn. As helpful as the Dutch folks are [very might I add], it’s better to know when the last tram is or where your night bus is from. Unlike London, night buses in Amsterdam run once every hour and the wait unfortunately is strenuous enough to kill any joy you might have been riding on previously.

Till then here’s to some beer by my lovely wife.


Google Night walk – Marseille

With the Google street cars taking 360 degree images of all cities, I wondered what they did with all that data apart from in the maps.
The Google night-walk project works just like an audio guide in a museum, narrators Julie and Christophe lead you across the city and point out places of interest. It’s immersive and educational, explaining the history and context behind Marseille’s landmarks. Quite an immersive experience this.

Interestingly certain hotspots trigger YouTube clips, Wikipedia extracts and photo galleries, creating a multi-layered virtual reality experience.
Is this the future of museum culture?

Addicted Products

Relational design practice touted as the third phase in modern design history, is contextual and conditional design. Relational design deals with design’s effects, extending beyond the form of the design object to its meanings and cultural symbolism. It seeks systematic methodologies, as a way of countering the excessive subjectivity of most design decision-making. Relational design values experiential and participatory nature of design and often blurs the distinctions between production and consumption.
In Andrew Blauvelt’s words
“We might chart the movement of these three phases of design, in linguistic terms, as moving from syntax to semantics to pragmatics. This outward expansion of ideas moves (…) from the formal logic of the designed object, to the symbolic or cultural logic of the meanings such forms evoke, and finally to the programmatic logic of both design’s production and the sites of its consumption — the messy reality of its ultimate context.”

‘Addicted Products’, a project by Simone Rebaudengo, TU Delft / Haque Design Research raises questions about what our relationships might look like with products of tomorrow. The winning entry, Best in Category – Engaging and Best in Show at Interaction Awards 2014 stemmed from the question what if the smart household objects of the future aren’t just smart, but also potentially emotional? What if, connected to and benchmarked against their peers, their relationships with each other start to inform their relationships with us?
Brad (the toaster), the central character to the narrative is concerned with performance or use and not in some natural intended functionality. If he’s not being used as much as his ‘friends’, Brad gets upset. He seeks your attention, begging you to make some toast or at least to give him a reassuring pat. Ignoring him for long could result in him packing up in search for potential owners and find a new home. Brad has no single owner and is governed by social sharing and network culture. Addicted Products is thus a great critique on how immediate human desires and algorithmic efficiency could shape better design experiences. While the internet of things advocates effortless efficiency, devices misunderstanding each other or intervening into our wasteful or harmful habits creates a new narrative.


Donor Cable Project by NAR Mobile

Of all the social design projects, this one makes quite the impact!
Donor Cable Project – brainchild of Y&R Moscow partnered with NAR Mobile is a bracelet that can be used to donate power from one smartphone to another. A bracelet was provided on purchase of a new android phone at all NAR mobile outlets. Inside the bracelet, a simple message that drove the idea home ‘Donate energy to save a phone, and donate blood to save a life.’

Situating the project in Azerbaijan, which has the world’s highest number of children born with the blood disorder thalassemia, a hereditary disease primarily found among Mediterranean cultures. The illness requires extensive blood transfusions for babies, and hospitals often lack the needed amount of donated blood. The project is said to have driven blood donation up by 335%

What is interesting is that at the core of the project, it’s not just the cable but the advent of a new habit: battery donation. It could create a community around new way of charging a phone – charge donation. And to connect it with the blood donation, translates the idea in a real life social situation. Critical design has always been about the creation of alternative visions. Designs that cause reflections. Donor Cable forces reflection among the users of the device and aims to provoke other ways of being. It is a model that proposes the change in ethnography of the area. A powerful project that could alter culture and behavioral practices of mobile phone using community.