bookmark_borderThe Immersive Kind Collective

The Immersive Kind works in brilliant and beautiful ways.  A real world meeting of citizens, artists, technologists, and creatives exploring together who we are now and asking:

Can we mobilise collective intelligence at scale to overcome our differences?  Will jobs in the future need us to supply our humanity rather than our physical or mental labour? and what does it mean to be a digital citizen?

Overlaps and patterns emerge from the short presentations giving new insights into how we might strengthen resilience and maintain our human rights.  We can question the digital by bringing it into the physical world to promote critical thinking.  We can build a  real maze that people walk through that herds them into echo chambers, making their digital choices real.  We can analyse hash tags using the Twitter API to gather data to visualise public engagement with art, and use hash tags and tweets to represent difference.

We can also have a good long look at ourselves in the mirror and ask who are we when we’re in Virtual Reality? And who are we when we’re not inside it? and what does that mean for how we explore this to make meaningful work rather than meaningful technology demonstrations?

Questions lead to more questions.  What other ways can we have an emotional exchange with the machine?  Let’s use alternative controllers to interrogate the interface and work out how different interactions can take place.  And through this comes common ground.  The incredible potential of what we have at our fingertips.  The ability to print bespoke items so fast and so true to form.  The speed of customisation and prototyping.  The skill of AIs to process and recognise and track faces.  And all this when we’re still pack animals with a herd mentality.  Digital tracking can turn our own beliefs and psychologies into emotional warfare, and this can be physically weaponised.

From Brexit to Brazil, the use and abuse of power hits at the heart of these debates.  VR and 3D Printing give us inherently collaborative tools that we can use to challenge the way things are.  Art and creativity can present things in a very visual and understandable way that unlocks and opens out technological research and knowledge.  We can create narratives and experiences that break down barriers and allow us a way round the status quo. Aware that we’re inviting the audience to nurture or destroy us when we put anything into the digital world, we can embrace this and liberate ourselves through asking bigger questions.

People are always producing avatars.  We live in dialogue with different versions of ourselves.  How do the newer ways of creating identity relate to the older ones?  Who are we now as our habitat changes around us so fast? Communities are as important as the technology and together we can tell our stories and make sense of our world. Are we performers when we’re in Virtual Reality?  Can it provide cloaks that allow us to maintain our identity in the real world?

Our choice is more than consume or be consumed. We need to question and challenge the interfaces around us as they become ever more sophisticated.  In the immortal words of the Print Gardener ‘We’ll be alright’ and Immersive Kind makes space for this to happen.

With thanks to Kadine James, Lucy Wheeler, Patrick Scally at Immersive Kind Collective

Sarah Selby, Interdisciplinary Artist

Vishal Kumar, Cultural Data Scientist at The Bartlett

Julia Makivic, Alternative Game Designer

Mike Golembewski, Interactive Designer at Anagram

Nikoleta Michalodimitraki, Production and Management Engineer at iMakr

bookmark_border‘PostReality’ read by the author at Virtual Futures’ Near-Future Fictions on the theme of Lasting Labours.

The Print Gardener returns to find new material growing in a different place to where it was planted and the Fabric Nursery Manager both nervous and excited in equal measure as they begin the handover.

‘There’s been a few unexpected developments. Rest assured I’ve been a good citizen. For a bit.’

Meanwhile are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin… come and listen to a story on Tuesday 14 May at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch (doors 6.30pm, I’m in the second half 8pm).

bookmark_borderPrint Gardener Auto Reply

I am currently out of the office on annual leave until the end of January.  If your enquiry is urgent and relates to the following products please contact:

Milk of Human Kindness (Batch 1014) – Ishay ext. 2049

Purple Pimpernel Polymer – Kadine ext. 8137

Shicky MIcky Microbes – Jeremy ext. 8138

Please be aware that the recall of Milk of Human Kindness Batch 2306 is still in force and applies to all milk products created 24 – 31 December.

For all other enquiries please contact the Print Garden directly where the Fabric Nursery Manager is covering general calls 8am – 8pm.

Otherwise I will respond to you as soon as possible upon my return.  Thank you for your message.

All in the Garden is RosyNomads

bookmark_borderWatching the Ones and Zeroes Go Round

Big thanks to the best ever Post Reality Service Provider for restoring full operations just in time to share this from BIG DATA LDN at Olympia from 14 November 2018 a mere near fortnight ago.

The Data Lake laps the shore as the seas rise.  Water finds its own level everywhere.  Our narrative is drowning in data.  Quagmired in the data swamp, we sink fast in the data quicksand.  You need to dredge the lake and rescue your data set.  Clean it and hang it out to dry.  Or even better take it to the launderette for a service wash.NoorDinTech tweet#BigDataLDN Joshua Robinson Data Lakes @NoorDinTech

Deep beneath the Data Lake run the cables that connect us all, a filigree of fibre filaments. 120 years ago one of the first long distance underground cables was laid.  The London Birmingham No. 1 Cable consisted of 38 pairs of 150 Lbs Per Mile Conductor (2.461 MM Dia). The outer sheath was lead and the individual conductors were insulated with paper and air.  It was used primarily for telegraph circuits rather than speech.Close up of one of the first Underground CablesThe London Birmingham No. 1 Cable (thank you National Museum of Computing for bringing a sense of perspective and heritage and context and scale to the conference)

Back at the data launderette we select the programme for ‘warm’ or ‘delicate fabrics’ and process another load of metadata.  As long as we can decouple it enough from the rest of our stack it will be alright.

Another week ends at the data launderette

bookmark_borderYou Decide (The Maskifier: Part 2)

‘And that’s it really.  The sea.  And the way it pounds the shore.  It takes our old defences and turns them into battering rams.  It pours over the fields at high tide,’ you say.  The Maskifier nods, fingers tapping away, looking at the robotic arm next to them carving rose wood marquetry in intricate loops onto a pawn from a half complete chess set.

The whir of servo motors the only sound.

‘So the thing is,’ you add, feeling more unsure by the minute.  ‘I need you to make up something to fix it.  To change it.  The Coastal Erosion Plan doesn’t work for us.  The sea breached the last line months ago.  We’re being washed away.’

The Maskifier rolls their shoulders, stretches their neck from one side to the other.  Then smiles.

‘Come back tomorrow.  I’ll give you a demo.’

And that was that.  After a sleepless night you return.  There is a baroque madrigal playing gently in the background.  The robot arm is strumming a lute.  You put on your headset and look around.  Nothing has changed.  The smoke effects still drift along the corners.  Then you notice a small white stone on the floor, holes worn through it where the sea has washed away the old sediment.  You bend down, pick it up, and the stone feels heavy in your hand.  As you hold it, the white of the stone rises around you, it’s sides curve over your head, and you’re inside it, turned inside out, the sound of the waves in your ears, rinsing thoughts from your head.  You run one way, then another, then hug the porous chalk, reaching for a handhold to haul yourself up.  There isn’t one, the stone walls beneath your fingers worn smooth by the sea.

‘Hey!’ you shout.  ‘Where’s the way out?’

‘Walk on the water!’ The Maskifier says.  

The smell of sea spray and the bite of salt in your mouth.

You’re being rolled around in the stone, and then you hold onto the lip of the last curve and swing yourself out, legs telescoping below you, to walk on the sea.

You brace yourself to fall feet first into the ocean swell, but your feet touch the surface instead.  The waves rise up to meet you and you splash through them as if they were puddles, swaying in the tide.

‘There’s nothing else here,’ you say, indignant, ripping off the headset.  ‘This isn’t what I paid for!’

The Maskifier shrugs.  ‘I disagree.  My name is my bond.  My job is to mask things.  And mask things I do.  I’ve given you something to hide inside, something you can see through in a different way.  I’ve acted to heal, mend, mitigate, reconfigure and celebrate.  Before you get all cross, ask yourself this question.  How do you feel? And what would you prefer?’

Not The Only Pebble On The Beach…

bookmark_borderThe Maskifier Will See You Now (The Maskifier: Part 1)

In the corner, loops of old smoke effects lurk and spill outwards. You hold your breath as you walk into the shimmering billows.

Peering through them you see a word float forwards in front of you and read in rainbow bubble text ‘Welcome’.

You’ve waited weeks for this meeting, and now you’re here, actually here, right in the heart of the Post Reality Service Provider that everyone says makes the best Empathy Patches ©®™ in East London.  You reach out towards the word.  It smells of candy floss and your fingers tingle as you get closer to it.

‘Don’t touch that!’ a disembodied voice shouts.  You pull off the headset and stand still, the space around you turning back into a studio, a comfy sofa next to you.  The Maskifier is typing away at an ancient keyboard, muttering as they adjust code.  ‘I need to tidy up that smoke.  Things aren’t quite what they seem in there.  But right now I’m just going to do this.  Perception Filters.  You need to care less about some things and more about others mate, you really do.’

You haven’t said anything yet.  What does the Maskifier know about what you really need to care about?

Another flurry of taps and ‘UPLOAD COMPLETE’ pings across the screen behind the Maskifier.

With a final flourish they turn to face you.  ‘Trust me, I know what I’m talking about’ they say, in answer to the question you never asked.

Run Fast to the Future, Don’t Look Back

bookmark_borderUnique Mind & Body Treatment 90 minutes

The present is giving us no time for the future.  The now absorbs it all.  We’re being overtaken by events and left in their wake, flotsam and jetsam on the shore, pushed around by the rising tide. Breathe that sea air deep, and try to remember which season it is.  Better still, go to the Spa where you can purchase ‘A Brush with Autumn’.  As the brochure says: A totally relaxing full mind and body treatment using a selection of mixed and immersive realities.  Escape the parakeets and cloudless skies and remind yourself of the olden days of October mists and mellow fruitfulness.  Additional supplement to meet bespoke autumnal woodland creatures in live virtuality (price per species available on request).

Washed Away

bookmark_borderLife in the Old Cat Yet

Reports of its demise are exaggerated.  Instead, it has landed on its feet.  Truly the beast has nine lives.  And each of them is charmed.  Stay a while then and contemplate this: London is still open.  Space is closer to London than Oxford.  Let’s twin London with the Lunar Habitation at Shackleton’s Crater on the South Pole of the Moon.  Let’s take one step beyond and imagine living in a shed, rather than a five bedroom house.  The ISS is a bit like that old pile in the suburbs, but you’re moving inner city, into zone 1.  Cargo issues again.  What do you keep and what gets left behind?

How do you curate space?  Pack everything you need for six months.  You end up taking only a mouth harmonica so you can play the blues, made from wood and metal that is etched with loops and curlicues, a thing of beauty you can hold in your hand when your heart is heavy. You can pinch and zoom the rest.


Lunar Habitation Project Foster Partners

bookmark_borderJoining the cargo cult

You had more invested in things staying the way they were than you ever realised when you started to change them.  Change takes on it’s own momentum and pulls you around.  Change or be changed.  The only constant is change.  Even resisting change, steady as she goes, don’t rock the boat, requires constant adjustment.  Trimming sails.  Clipping wings.  Nothing lasts forever.  Set adrift we search for a new anchorage, only to realise that a ship is safe in harbour but that’s not what ships are for.  But let’s not change for change’s sake.  What’s our cargo?  Ahoy new shores!

Chatting this morning I defined augmented reality as virtual objects and or other information overlaying a real-world environment (using QR tags or other anchor point triggers) while mixed reality has virtual objects present in the real world environment that the user can interact with (via HoloLens Headsets and so on).  This mixed reality world is the one that my Kinetic Coach operates in.  The Kinetic Coach teaches AIs to dance in virtual space.  It’s a kind of tango to create empathy.  We can all join in.