Posts tagged futureplaces

A couple of weeks ago I led a workshop on ‘analog software’ during the FuturePlaces media lab here in Porto. Influenced by Casey Reas’ articulation between creative coding and conceptual art I had expected participants to be interested in sketching procedural graphics on paper or canvas. Instead, I seemed to have struck a deeper chord by mentioning in passing SocialFiction’s .walk. Participants became more interested in ‘coding’ performative behaviour and questioning the way software is eating the world, which was a very welcome surprise.

A more detailed debriefing is up at the FuturePlaces website. Please also be sure to read Sara Moreira's Coding as Cooking essay which is a very interesting personal testimony, relating the Analog Software workshop with the great Frugal Food Challenge we had both attended and had a lot of fun at.

The World of Tomorrow!

Yesterday I attended an academic conference at the Future Places festival that’s happening right now right here in Porto. I normally tend to be wary of such conferences, having previously seen my fair share of the “I’m a genius who knows magic and you’re not” attitude, so I was very pleased by the “Just do it, things do get easy when broken down in small problems!” message that prevailed in today’s presentations, which included, among others, a very interesting and entertaining keynote presentation by Golan Levin. However, by that time I was already dumbstruck by the relatively small presentation by Zach Smith of Thingiverse and Makerbot, about the subject of 3D printing — that is, desktop factories.

For now (and probably for a few decades still), 3D printers only ‘print’ plastic, but still — I held objects that felt right out of the fucking Diamond Age. Need a plug for your bath? Print it! A toy train for your nephew? Print it! A coat hanger? Print it! In time, no doubt people will be sharing the 3D models that will allow you to print more complicated things. Right now, everything that is made of plastic can be ‘printed’ (wouldn’t ‘sculpted’ be a better word?) right there on your desktop. At the moment the Makerbot 3D printer is sold as a kit you have to assemble, but so did the MITS Altair in 1975, and it only took a couple of years after that for ready-to-use microcomputers to hit the retail shelves. I’m only wondering how much will HP ask for a plastic ‘refill’…