...really good teaching is about not seeing the world the way that everyone else does...

"Good teachers perceive the world in alternative terms, and they push their students to test out these new, potentially enriching perspectives. Sometimes they do so in ways that are, to say the least, peculiar."
Mark Edmundson, "Geek Lessons" NYT, 2008

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Designing for Children

- With focus on 'Play + Learn'

2-6 February 2010

at IDC, IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India

The international conference 'Designing for Children' with focus on 'Play + Learn' is scheduled to be held at Mumbai, India in Feb 2010 and is being hosted by the Industrial Design Centre (IDC), at the Indian Institute of
Technology (IIT) Bombay, Mumbai.

This international event is aimed at deliberations and discussions concerning design issues related to children. The event is expected to throw light on the role of designing for children as related to design of objects, media and environment with focus on 'play and learn'.

The events are centered around the interests of students, educationists, practicing designers and children related interest groups. The event has been designed to be lively, interactive and thought provoking and will
provide great opportunity to interact with thought leaders, listen to visions by researchers and for networking.

The major events during the week are:
1. Design
Education Meet (2-3, February 2010)
2. International
Design Conference (call for papers is open) (4-6, February 2010)
3. Exhibition of
projects on 'Design for Children' (2-6, February 2010)

This is an invitation to be a part of events concerned with designing for
children with focus on 'play' and 'learn':

Call for papers:
The call for papers as well as registration for the 'International
Conference on Designing for Children' is now on.

Deadline for Abstract submission (500 words maximum): 15th of August 2009
Acceptance of Abstract: 15th of September 2009
Deadline for full paper submission (3000 words maximum): 30th November 2009

Themes for the conference on 'Designing for Children with focus on Play +Learn':

We invite interesting experimentation, different perspectives, innovative design applications, in-depth case studies, research outcomes and position papers centered on the theme of the conference.

The following are the suggested main themes for submission of papers:

- Products for children

- School for children

- Children's environment

- Children and media

- Interactive environments for children

- Children with special needs

- Development issues of children

Further details:

Helpdesk - 'designing for children'
IDC, IIT Bombay
Powai, Mumbai


email: seminar[at]idc.iitb.ac.in or


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Philoctetes Center

The Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination

Talks here:


Homepage here:


Empathy ansd Conditioning Violence

Not so long ago, video games were considered to be a harmless distraction for young people. Now, they're being blamed for unhealthy addictions, acts of violence, and parental neglect. But is that really the whole story? With these ongoing reports, GameSpot will investigate how video games really affect us--how they affect our culture, how we perceive ourselves and other people, and how ongoing issues like game-related lawsuits and legislation affect us.

Neuroscience and video games. What do they have to do with each other? Aside from whatever research went into crafting games like Psi-Ops and Psychonauts, it doesn't seem like the two subjects have much in common. Sure, neuroscience is the study of the brain, and despite what everyone tells you, you do use your brain when you're playing video games. But what are the chances that the latest neuroscientific research is going to be of any interest to the game industry? Well, if you've been following the (relatively) recent work on mirror neurons, then you would realize that neuroscience is about to have a huge impact--if not on video games, then on the discussions we have about them--for a long time to come.

What Is a Mirror Neuron?
Motor functions, such as grasping a game controller or punching a friend in the shoulder after you lose a Tekken match, have always been understood as the result of a fairly straightforward process. There are cells in our brain that fire off signals to the muscles, and then we perform the appropriate actions. But 15 years ago, scientists studying monkeys noticed that the cells in the brain that fire when a monkey holds a peanut fire in the exact same way when the monkey simply sees someone holding a peanut. Called mirror neurons because they behave as if the monkey were watching itself in the mirror, these neurons allow the monkey to empathize, or automatically understand the experience of holding the peanut, without actually having to hold the peanut itself.

If we see ourselves as DOA4 characters, then we'd probably be feeling both a lot of pleasure and a lot of pain.

This discovery, which some scientists are lauding as the most significant neurological finding in recent history, explains why we so easily relate to the actions of others, even if their actions are not always obvious. We can tell if someone is watching a television by the way that person is facing it--even if we can't see or hear if the television is even on. It also means that we can experience the mental states associated with actions without ever having to perform those actions. In video games, in particular, it's like we're automatically empathizing with what is happening on the screen as if we were the video game characters ourselves. If you've ever had a particularly heart-palpitating race in Burnout, surely you can relate.


Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Välkommen till seminarium i serien KOMMUNIKATION: KULTUR, TEKNOLOGI,

Tid: Torsdag den 14 maj, 2009, kl. 14.15-16

Plats: Torget, Lindstedtsvägen 5, plan 6, Skolan för datavetenskap och
kommunikation, KTH


Föredragshållare: Professor Gong Wenxiang, Peking University



This paper borrows and revises the theory of Dayan & Katz from their book
Media Event: the Live Broadcasting of History, and views China's mass
media coverage of 2008 Olympic Games as a major media event for the
Government to propagate its ideology, values, policy, and political goals,
and the utmost purpose is to present the bright image of China to the
whole world. The paper goes further to argue that with the advent of the
Internet Age, and the unprecedented growth of Internet users in China,
things have changed. The monopoly of traditional media is being eroded or
even replaced at times by the active participation of the newly emerging
Netizens mainly composed of the educated younger generations. Rules
governing the working of Dayan’s Media Events have been altered by the
interruption of New Media Events initiated not by the Authorities, but by
NGOs, sub-cultural groups, or simply individuals. The paper presents
several cases, such as the case of condemning the CNN commentator
Cafferty, the case of boycotting Carrefour, etc, to illustrate the
characteristics of new media events, and to compare the similarities and
differences of Media Events old and new. Both types of media events during
the Beijing Olympic Games are analyzed as persuasive campaigns especially
for constructing the good Image of China. Since the construction of the
State image is a very complicated process, goals always are not easily
reached, and so would be the case with the Beijing Games. The final
question, have the events online created the potential for a sort of
E-democracy, remains to be answered.

Mer information om vårens seminarier inklusive vägbeskrivning finns på:

Bakom seminariet står Leif Dahlberg, Per-Anders Forstorp, Eva-Maria
Jacobsson,Francis Lee, Daniel Pargman, Minna Räsänen, Jenny Sundén.
Kontaktperson under VT 2009 är Per-Anders Forstorp (forstorp@kth.se).

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Call for Articles

Call for Articles: Special Thematic Issue of the SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF ART HISTORY. The third 2009 issue of the South African Journal of Art History will be a special thematic issue dealing with the theme ART / ARCHITECTURE / MUSIC (in any combination). The purpose is to focus on the integration, interdependence andmutual enhancement of these arts. Closing date for the receipt of articles: 31 August 2009. Send articles by e-mail (not exceeding 10MB) to the editor: Estelle A. Maré, If the article exceeds 10MB send two hard copies to the following postal address: Prof EA Maré, 431 Farenden Street, Clydesdale, Pretoria 0002, South Africa


RGS-IBG Annual Conference SENSEWALKING: SENSORY WALKING METHODS FOR SOCIAL SCIENTISTS in Manchester, 26-28 August 2009. Convenors: Mags Adams (University of Salford) and Kye Askins (Northumbria University). In recent years there has been a growing interest in the role of non-visual senses in the relationships between people and places, in particular how 'sense of place' involves complex corporeal encounters with our environments - how we 'sense' place in terms of sound, smell, touch, taste (alongside sight) as well as understand it through social constructions and circulated texts (Wylie, 2005; Butler, 2006; Edensor, 2006; Pink, 2007). Researchers from across disciplines have worked with the 'sensory walking' concept, utilising sensewalks, soundwalks, listening walks and smell walks as a means to involve participants in discussion, interview, photo-survey, GIS mapping and sound recording, among other innovations/ adaptations. While a recent ESRC seminar series addressed 'Sensescapes' more broadly there has not been a concerted effort to bring together researchers working with beyond-the-visual senses as method. This session seeks to rectify such a gap and welcomes papers from geographers, sociologists, artists, anthropologists, planners, landscape architects and designers (amongst others), acknowledging the multi-disciplinary nature of much of the work in this area. More information:

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Creativity and Innovation Workshops: Risk and Innovation

Thursday, 16 April
09:00 - 17:30
Location: CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane
The first in the series of AHRC-sponsored workshops on Creativity and Innovation. Click here to download the AHRC Report on Humanities Research and Innovation

Convenors: Dr Lee Wilson (CRASSH)
Dr James Leach (Aberdeen)

Competitive pressures generate heterogeneous forms of innovation. Is it possible to evaluate unconventional projects? The term innovation is heavily associated with products and technologies. These may be evaluated in terms of patents and econometrics, but intellectual processes and organisational transformations are more elusive. Successful solutions to problems in the fields of science and technology often come from different disciplines (Lakhani et al, The Value of Openness, 2007), while artistic creativity can stimulate shifts in traditional patterns of analytical thinking. How do we measure these aspects of innovation in the Arts and Humanities?

How can public organisations foster creativity without risking investment in areas that may not produce immediate outputs? The open-endedness of creative innovation poses a challenge to traditional modes of evaluation, since an element of risk is inherent in creative processes and innovative research. While the risk associated with open-ended innovation has gained acceptance in the economic world, there is little tolerance for risk in the Arts and Humanities, where it is often written out of funding proposals and replaced by specified goals and cost-effective outputs. A tension exists between public funding regimes and practices of research that call for ‘open innovation’ or long-term prospects.

Questions to be posed include:
• Are existing metrics adequate for assessing innovation?
• How can we assess the impact of knowledge transfer processes on the innovation economy?
• How far do instrumental ideas about knowledge apply to humanities research and practice-based innovation?
• Does an emphasis on goals and outputs constrain innovative practice?
• Can innovation in the Arts and Humanities be assessed in terms of economic impact? What are its transferable benefits?
• What is the cultural value and meaning of creative innovation?

Confirmed Speakers
Robert Dingwall (Professor and Director, Institute for Science and Society, Nottingham)
Alan Hughes (Director, Centre for Business Research, Cambridge)
Pat Kane (Author The Play Ethic)
Giles Lane ( Proboscis)
Ruth Levitt (RAND Europe
Nell Munro (School of Law, Nottingham)
Sally Jane Norman (Director, Culture Lab, University of Newcastle)
Kate Oakley (City University, Demos)
Seymour Rowarth-Stokes (Pro VC, University for the Creative Arts)
Dani Salvadori (Director of Entreprise and Innovation, Central St Martins College of Art and Design)
Calvin Taylor (Professor of Cultural Industries, University of Leeds)
Brenden Walker (Director, Aerial


It's a Knockout

A look back at the game show It's A Knockout, which originally ran from (1966 - 1982).

Monday, 13 April 2009

Climate Hack

Climate Hack! | a collaborative hacking workshop

Joint venture with Pixelache, and Tinker.it and KIBU

What the heck?
Climate Hack is a workshop for emerging researchers, designers and artists dedicated to reframing the international political climate using means well-outside the traditional political rhetoric. Using both old and new technologies, live internet data streams and a diverse collection of hacking skills, workshop participants will produce a series of projects for public exhibition during the finals days of the Transmediale festival in Berlin, Germany.

Driven by the often-absurd nature of politics and the collective creativity often generated from equally absurd artistic mediums, the workshop will rally around the task of hacking Cotton Candy machines. Custom and hacked electronics, connected to live political news and weather feeds, will inform and animate the project. The result will be a set of dynamic and playful art objects designed to invert our perception of "everyday politics".

Pixelache, a network for electronic culture, Tinker LTD, innovative consultancy for interactive experiences and Kitchen Budapest, a lab for young innovators based in Hungary, will facilitate the international workshop by providing a structure for innovation, advising and moderation throughout the collaborative event. The event will consist of brainstorming and design sessions, hardware and software hacking sessions, and the completion of several new works. This workshop, its participants and its products will also serve as the starting point for a second workshop dedicated to similar themes at the PixelACHE festival in Helsinki April 5-9, 2009.


Saturday, 11 April 2009

Bureau for Open Culture at Columbus College of Art & Design: Of Other Spaces

Mary Jo Bole, Michael Brown, Alain Bublex, Robert Buck, Gregory Crewdson, Dan Graham, Candida Höfer, Guillaume Leblon, Laura Lisbon, Gordon Matta-Clark, Eva Meyer and Eran Schaerf, Laurent Montaron, Marylène Negro, TJ Norris and Scott Wayne Indiana, Sarah Schönfeld, Maya Schweizer, Suzanne Silver, Christian Tomaszewski, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Jane and Louise Wilson

Curated by James Voorhies

Of Other Spaces explores how space affects human behavior and experience. The exhibition asks us to consider the ways in which spaces are charged with authority, and both serve and suppress our actions and ways of relating. The concept of "other spaces" is drawn from the philosophy of Michel Foucault, especially his thoughts on social relations and cultural practices expressed in the intersection of space, architecture, and history. In a rarely cited 1967 text by Foucault, entitled "Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias," he introduces what he calls heterotopias—different or other spaces.

Hospitals, prisons, schools, libraries, museums, fairgrounds, cinemas, beaches, cemeteries, gardens, hotel suites, train stations, and even mirrors have the potential to be other spaces. Other spaces are essentially virtual. They function in accordance with personal memories, associations, experiences, and imaginings that one has of these very real sites. By making common practices strange, Foucault's writing often initiates conversations about habitual actions, in this case, in relation to space. The collection of works of art on exhibition and the reprinting of Foucault's text on "heterotopias" in the exhibition catalogue form the visual and philosophical catalyst for thinking about the function and meaning of space in everyday life.

Of Other Spaces continues a discussion on the origins, uses, histories, influences, and current and past activities that accompany our personal experiences of space.

128-page catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

About the Bureau for Open Culture

Bureau for Open Culture at Columbus College of Art & Design is an exhibition-making philosophy that transcends traditional notions of exhibition display. It is an initiative that uses the gallery as a site for presenting thematic exhibitions, bringing together works of art to further knowledge about relationships with one another and with general concepts. The bureau also expands the exhibition model to include off-site projects, workshops, screenings, informal talks, publications, and short-term residencies. It embraces experimental and open approaches of supporting artistic and curatorial trajectories that responds to a multidisciplinary contemporary culture. Taking a position somewhere between a gallery and an alternative space, Bureau for Open Culture challenges traditional exhibition formats while respecting historical sources for those investigations.

Support for Bureau for Open Culture and Of Other Spaces has been provided by Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council, and a curatorial research grant by Etant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art.

Bureau for Open Culture
Columbus College of Art & Design
107 N. Ninth St.
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 222-3270

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Assignment for Synthesis Studios (Week 17)


Assignment for Synthesis Studios (Week 17):
Working individually, identify a site that you wish to explore for its potential for triggering play. From this context you will define a theme that will engage people in playing. This theme will be then developed in two directions:

1. On Monday 20 April:
You will present a way to engage in play by using performance + space. Audience or participants? Space or place? You decide, but be prepared to justify your decisions.

2. On Wednesday 22:
You will present the same theme, but this time the emphasis will be placed on the artefact – i.e. the materials that mediate that engagement. Incorporate also the feedback you received from the Monday (20 April) seminar to refine further your design for triggering play, now involoving site, agency and materials/media.

Monday (20/4), a film, play or performance that enacts the play(ing).
Wednesday (22/4), a scenario that incorporates a 2D-3D model of the design that triggers play(ing).

See handout.

Reinventing Innovation

Published: April 5, 2009

LONDON — Some words just wear themselves out. They are used — or misused — so often that they lose their meaning. “Design” is one, “creative” is another, and if I see “contemporary” used to describe one more stick of furniture that looks as if it has been sequestrated from a 1980s porn palace, I will scream.

When the gDiaper, which consists of a biodegradable insert worn inside a pair of underpants, is soiled, you can flush it down the toilet. If it is only wet, you can compost it and it will decompose within a few months.
A recent recruit to the endangered list is “innovation.” Once hailed as a panacea, it has been so diminished by hyperbole that it risks seeming irrelevant. (“Transformation” is the fashionable favorite to replace it.) Yet just like “design” and “contemporary,” “innovation” is losing credibility as a word at the very time when it is needed most urgently.

As the economic and environmental crises deepen, there is a growing recognition that many aspects of our lives need to be reinvented. Politicians routinely call for the “redesign” of society, and urge businesses to “innovate” their way out of recession. This readiness to embrace change — even radical change — coupled with advances in science and technology, is unleashing a stream of innovations. Here are some of the most exciting ones.


Mapping the Cultural Buzz: How Cool Is That?

Published in NYT: April 6, 2009

Apologies to residents of the Lower East Side; Williamsburg, Brooklyn; and other hipster-centric neighborhoods. You are not as cool as you think, at least according to a new study that seeks to measure what it calls “the geography of buzz.”

The research, presented in late March at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers, locates hot spots based on the frequency and draw of cultural happenings: film and television screenings, concerts, fashion shows, gallery and theater openings. The buzziest areas in New York, it finds, are around Lincoln and Rockefeller Centers, and down Broadway from Times Square into SoHo. In Los Angeles the cool stuff happens in Beverly Hills and Hollywood, along the Sunset Strip, not in trendy Silver Lake or Echo Park.


Call for Articles

Call for Articles: Special Thematic Issue of the SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF ART HISTORY. The third 2009 issue of the South African Journal of Art History will be a special thematic issue dealing with the theme ART / ARCHITECTURE / MUSIC (in any combination). The purpose is to focus on the integration, interdependence andmutual enhancement of these arts. Closing date for the receipt of articles: 31 August 2009. Send articles by e-mail (not exceeding 10MB) to the editor: Estelle A. Maré, If the article exceeds 10MB send two hard copies to the following postal address: Prof EA Maré, 431 Farenden Street, Clydesdale, Pretoria 0002, South Africa


RGS-IBG Annual Conference SENSEWALKING: SENSORY WALKING METHODS FOR SOCIAL SCIENTISTS in Manchester, 26-28 August 2009. Convenors: Mags Adams (University of Salford) and Kye Askins (Northumbria University). In recent years there has been a growing interest in the role of non-visual senses in the relationships between people and places, in particular how 'sense of place' involves complex corporeal encounters with our environments - how we 'sense' place in terms of sound, smell, touch, taste (alongside sight) as well as understand it through social constructions and circulated texts (Wylie, 2005; Butler, 2006; Edensor, 2006; Pink, 2007). Researchers from across disciplines have worked with the 'sensory walking' concept, utilising sensewalks, soundwalks, listening walks and smell walks as a means to involve participants in discussion, interview, photo-survey, GIS mapping and sound recording, among other innovations/ adaptations. While a recent ESRC seminar series addressed 'Sensescapes' more broadly there has not been a concerted effort to bring together researchers working with beyond-the-visual senses as method. This session seeks to rectify such a gap and welcomes papers from geographers, sociologists, artists, anthropologists, planners, landscape architects and designers (amongst others), acknowledging the multi-disciplinary nature of much of the work in this area. More information:

Monday, 6 April 2009

Robert Morris's Bodyspacemotionthings

The Guardian’s reporter noted: 'Some of the 1,500 visitors became so intoxicated by [the] opportunities that they went around 'jumping and screaming' to quote the exhibitions keeper, Mr Michael Compton. They went berserk on the giant see-saws, and they loosened the boards on other exhibits by trampling on them. ... 'It was just a case of exceptionally exuberant or energetic participation,' Mr Compton said tolerantly'


Tate Modern's Turbine Hall recreates a 1971 art sensation

Bodyspacemotionthings allows audience to crawl, clamber, balance and slide

by Charlotte Higgins, chief arts writer
The Guardian, Monday 6 April 2009

It was May 1971, and the opening of an exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London; the sort of thing that one might expect to be quiet, dignified and staid - but, as it turned out, all hell broke loose.

Men started picking up some of the exhibits - weights suspended on chains - and swinging them around their heads. First aiders were occupied picking splinters out of the rear ends of the miniskirted young women hurt on wooden slides.

"The trouble is they went bloody mad," the Daily Telegraph quoted a guard as saying of the visitors as he surveyed the battered remains of the installation.

The Guardian said at the time: "The participation seems likely to wreck the exhibits and do the participants a mischief."

After four days, the show - now more or less wrecked and the cause of a number of injuries - was abruptly closed. But this spring, the infamous exhibition is to be recreated at London's Tate Modern with, it is hoped, rather less mass hysteria.


Sunday, 5 April 2009

Scott Brown on Dark Superheroes and Childish Action Figures

...Deeply damaged characters in figurine form deny youngsters those first tender forays into cruelty—that compulsive subconscious release so critical to the concept of "play"—by arriving already effed-up. Children are adept at defacing, even deconstructing, the fantasies McPackaged for them. Adults, on the other hand, need help....

More in Wired.

The power of play

by Pat Kane

Pat Kane argues that workers in post-industrial societies are moving away from the work ethic, towards more playful, but also potentially more caring, forms of activity.


The Secret Life of Puppets/Living Dolls

The Secret Life of Puppets, by Victoria Nelson
Living Dolls, by Gaby Wood
From robot dolls to cyborgs, humans have dreamt of artificial intelligence. Pat Kane says that this urge has more to do with metaphysics than mechanics

Review by Pat Kane.

As enduring quotations go, this one seems to be girding its loins for a very long life. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," Arthur C Clarke wrote in his 1972 science-fiction story "Report on Planet Three". Gaby Wood's Living Dolls uses it at the fulcrum of her exhaustive – and slightly exhausting – collection of mini-histories about our fascination with robots. I have always thought there was a missing end to the Clarke quote, though: it seems like magic only if you're performing it to credulous, untechnical fools.


Dialoguing Play

Pat Kane In discussion with Steve Linstead and Rob McMurray. With additional questions by Andy McColl, Sebastian Bos and Ed Wray-Bliss.

In 2004, Pat Kane published The Play Ethic: A Manifesto for a Different Way of Living (Macmillan), which went into mass-market paperback in September 2005. Pat’s commitment to bridging boundaries between the arts, sciences and social sciences to open up new possibilities for working, living and creating futures together struck a chord with the Department of Management Studies at the University of York, who appointed him Visiting Fellow in 2005. To inaugurate the appointment, on October 5th 2005 Pat presented a 90 minute overview of the ideas in the book, followed by a 90 minute seminar discussion. The questions and responses taken from the discussion were edited, reworked and updated by Pat (in between writing and recording a new Hue and Cry album) and the resulting text is presented here.

Toy story

Jon Henley
The Guardian, Thursday 26 March 2009

Never mind the recession - Lego is now so popular that there are 62 little coloured blocks for every person on the planet. Yet only five years ago this family business was on the brink of ruin. Jon Henley reports from the Danish town where it all began.

Read on.

The Play Ethic

What is 'The Play Ethic'?
... It's an idea, a meme, a concept

The Play Ethic first came to me as a phrase in the early nineties, in the midst of a rehearsal with my neo-jazz band, in a moment when our drummer re-described his own 'work ethic'. (A few minutes' activity with AltaVista - an early search engine - would confirm that the phrase was hardly original). But as soon as I heard it, I realised that it had enough capacity in it to serve as a headline bringing together a wide range of interests of mine - cultural, technological and political.

Certainly as the Nineties progressed, the idea that computers and networks were making our societies more open, our institutions more transparent, and our civic and creative voices more prominent, began to increasingly excite me. Guided by magazines like Wired and Mondo 2000, and academics like Manuel Castells, I began to explore the nascent Web – exulting both in the diversity of the voices on there, and the increasing possibilities for self-expression.

My 80's experience as a musician, using digital technolgies like samplers and synths, had gotten me used to the idea of information as infinitely malleable, produceable and "playable-with". With the Net, these informational powers promised to spread beyond the artist's enclave, into workplaces, schools and the home.

But how did the heady mass empowerment of the Net sit with the constraints, hierarchies and routines of most life within organisations? Not well, it seemed to me (I had spent a lot of the Nineties in broadcast and press environments, chafing against such limits). The sociologist Daniel Bell has often talked about the "cultural contradictions of capitalism": where industry demands both a docile producer, and a hedonistic consumer, and is perplexed when the desirousness of the second identity saps the duteousness of the first.


Saturday, 4 April 2009

Art of Foley

Many thanks to Ulf Olausson for a fascinating and generous tour of his foley studio and working methods. For those interested in reading further about the art of foley, there is a useful tutorial here.

Monday, 30 March 2009

I Don’t Know

The curious wording on the removable identification tags of guards at Guantánamo Bay.

The Florida Sun Sentinel reported that when military personnel at Gitmo have contact with detainees, they peel off their Velcro I.D. tags and replace them with tags that read “I don’t know.” The aim, according to the U.S. military, is to protect the identity of the guards and to prevent revenge attacks against them and their families.

Clive Stafford-Smith, the celebrated lawyer who represents a number of Guantánamo Bay inmates, told Schott’s Vocab:

Soldiers in Guantánamo have never worn name tags – we complained about this, as it meant we couldn’t report them for misconduct and they started wearing Velcro strip numbers. This seems to be a further development – perhaps we are supposed to complain and then, when asked about whom, say “I don’t know.” It reflects the “Alice in Wonderland” absurdity that is Guantánamo Bay.


Thursday, 26 March 2009


EYE OF THE STORM - AN INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE ON SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSY, 19 / 20 June 2009, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1, UK. CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Arts Catalyst and Tate Britain announce an international call for artists, scientists, social scientists, theorists, policy-makers and other disciplines, to present in EYE OF THE STORM, a conference exploring scientific controversy from an interdisciplinary perspective. EYE OF THE STORM aims to explore a range of controversies, from esoteric arguments between physicists over the structure of the universe, to disputes about the causes of species decline and climate change, and highly charged public controversies around the use of stem cells and the distribution of genetically modified organisms. When heated debates around the challenge of climate change have shown how abstruse uncertainties within a scientific community can be amplified and distorted to challenge the whole notion of human-caused greenhouse warming, EYE OF THE STORM sets out to examine the relationship between scientific uncertainty and public controversies around science. We invite abstracts for papers and proposals for artists' presentations and talks for EYE OF THE STORM that consider questions such as the following: When the whole culture and ethic of science is based on disagreement and alternative explanations, how does this essential scientific uncertainty work in the quest for knowledge? How do scientific disputes affect political decision-making and society's relationship with science? As scientific and technological developments produce their own controversies, such as those around GM crops, what are the current critical controversies in and around science and technology? What alternative societal and cultural perspectives and contributions do artists and social scientists bring to this area? When the influential science sociologist Bruno Latour has worried that social science - in questioning the 'reality' that science examines - may have contributed to political abuses of science: what is the relationship between scholarship, science and politics? -- Submissions: Please send 200-word abstracts for papers and presentations (20 minutes maximum) to . Artists may attach images (2MB maximum). Deadline: 31 March 2009.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus

Follow Fluxus -
The Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus 2009 grant for young contemporary art called by the State Capital of Wiesbaden and the NKV Nassauischer kunstverein Wiesbaden doted with 10.000 Euro goes to Jimmy Robert.

Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus /

Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus supports young international artists whose work suggests ideas inherent to the Fluxus art movement in order to keep the art current alive. The establishment of the grant was inspired by the "Fluxus Festival of Very New Music" which took place in Wiesbaden in 1962. This Fluxus event provided the first real broad impact for the new art movement and started off what is now seen as the first international movement operating in a global network.

The endowment of 10,000 Euro is provided annually for a residency in Wiesbaden from June through August. Living quarters and studio space is provided by NKV during this time. The work stipend concludes with an exhibition of the artist's created work in the following year between September and May and includes a publication. The grant holder should reside predominantly in Wiesbaden for the duration of the grant period.

Jimmy Robert /

Jimmy Roberts (born 1975 in Guadeloupe) creates photographs, collages, objects, performances and films that focus on process and transition. While analyzing the relationship between image and object, he concentrates formally on the issue of the point at which a two-dimensional surface ceases to be an image and begins to expand both within our imagination and in reality into something similar to a three-dimensional object.

Jimmy Roberts' playful and yet profound transgression and progression of genres, the way he overlaps two- and three dimensional structures that permeate the most diverse forms of media, and his critical approach to the performative elements inherent even in the differing look and feel of collages – all these were qualities that prompted the jury to award Jimmy Roberts the 2009 Follow Fluxus scholarship bestowed by the Nassau Kunstverein and Wiesbaden as State Capital of Hessen.

Each of his images displays an object that is then developed into a spatial sculpture. Here, Roberts systematically explores its relationship to the human body. In his performance, inspired by Yoko Ono's CUT PIECE, he quite literally translates the action of touch and being touched into action, including both himself and the viewer(s). As Jimmy Roberts interprets the action, his upper body is not covered with clothes but gradually surrounded with duct tape. With each piece of tape the audience pulls off him, the artist successively exposes himself while losing pieces that quite literally and figuratively he has been stuck with. At the same time, each stripped-off strip of tape describes sequences of the press reviews of Ono's performance 1966 in London.

"He transforms the principle of collage and decollage with wit, precision, elegance and the opportunities afforded by a contemporary visual idiom, NKV director Elke Gruhn explains, "this convinced the jury to elect him as the second Follow Fluxus – After Fluxus laureate of the NKV and the State Capital of Wiesbaden".

This is the area where the jury believes he advances George Maciunas' ideas. Vital for the jury's decision was not that Roberts sees himself the way the Fluxus movement historically viewed itself, but rather that he created artworks in the vital spirit of Fluxus that refuse to be strictly pigeonholed.

The Jury 2009 /

/ Kevin Clark, Artist, New York
/ Michael Berger, Collection Berger, Wiesbaden
/ Alice Koegel, Curator for Contemporary Art at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Suttgart and Curator of "STATES OF FLUX" 2007 at Tate Modern London
/ Rita Thies, Head of Cultural Department of the City of Wiesbaden
/ Elke Gruhn, Director and Curator of NKV, Wiesbaden

Former Laureates:
2008 / Emily Wardill

ll\ NKV nassauischer kunstverein wiesbaden
wilhelmstr 15
65185 wiesbaden

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The 3 R’s? A Fourth Is Crucial, Too: Recess

Published: February 23, 2009, New York Times

The best way to improve children’s performance in the classroom may be to take them out of it.

New research suggests that play and down time may be as important to a child’s academic experience as reading, science and math, and that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence behavior, concentration and even grades.


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

A Game Design Grammar

What does it mean to talk of a grammar of game design?" asks Chris Bateman, Managing Director of International Hobo ("the leading consultancy in the field of game design and narrative services"). "And does specifying such a grammar give us an insight into the underlying structure of games, or a new method for approaching game design - or both? Because games vary from pure mathematical formalisms (at the ludic extreme) to behavioural descriptions (at the opposite extreme), any formal reductionistic system will either be focused primarily on the former, or require sufficient latitude to express practically infinite diversity. One such approach is to define a categorial grammar of game design."


Monday, 9 February 2009

b e a m - m e - up / THE NOWHERE DANCE

PROJECT LAUNCH / a work in progress 2009/10

b e a m - m e - up ONLINE ART MAGAZIN
with art, field studies and essays about space.


We invite you to THE NOWHERE DANCE

A performance at Alan Sondheim's Second Life exhibition "The
Accidental Artist"

Alan Sondheim: "We'll teleport people into an installation which has
been constructed over a period of eight months. It represents nothing of
architecture, fantasy, or surrealism; it's a space unlike anything in
the real world. It's difficult to move through, a field of alien processes
which has a life of its own. Sandy Baldwin and I will dance through and
around it - on the ground, in the air, and on the ocean floor. Part of
the dance will be based on learning to move around; part will be based on
adding to the clutter."

To access the performance site read more on:

Date of the performance: Wednesday, Feb 11
USA West Coast Time: 8 AM / US East Coast Time: 11 AM
Europe MEZ/CET: 5 PM / GB: 4 PM
Asia: Mumbai, Bangalore: 9.30 PM / Shanghai, Beijing: 12 PM / Tokio: 1


on the project b e a m - m e - up:

Our understanding of space is changing for generations. In the digital
age we use terms like Cyberspace, Globalization and World Wide Web, even
though we have hardly understood the old electro-spaces like power
supply systems, telephone and broadcasting. By means of audio-visual
transportation we conquer new spaces, which present themselves as both
picture space and space of action, place of signs and of real

With the online project beam me up we invite artists and authors from
different countries to concern themselves with space concepts in the
form of art contributions and essays.

Artists (realised and promised contributions)

Angela Bulloch, London / Abhishek Hazra, Bangalore / Samuel Herzog,
/ Hu Jie Ming, Shanghai / Esther Hunziker, Basel / jodi.org, Dordrecht
Knowbotic Research, Z*rich / Agnes Meyer-Brandis, K*ln / Alan Sondheim,

New York / Monica Studer & Christoph van den Berg, Basel / Carlo Zanni,

Milano / Li Zhen Hua, Beijing / More artist's contributions will be
uploaded during the coming months.

Curators / Authors

Sarah Cook, Newcastle / Estee Oarsed, Bangalore / Stefan Riekeles, Les
Jardins des Pilotes, Berlin / Annette Schindler, Basel / Zhang
Lansheng,Shanghai / NN. USA / Reinhard Storz, xcult.org (project director) /
Theguest curators are designated to each invite two to three artists and

Other scientific authors: Martin Brauen, NY / Christina Vagt, Berlin

...and on the highway people are offered a choice...

Lawrence Weiner: I am one of those lucky artists who has been able to remain in exactly the same position as a human being as when I first jumped onto the ice floe. And luckily people have dropped sandwiches and cigarettes on the iceberg along the way, so I can sort of sit there. Where I’d like to be tomorrow is where I am now, doing public installations about things that interest me. I’m doing one in Denmark which takes over this whole city. I’m building the whole piece out of cobblestones. It breaks right into the highway, and on the highway people are offered a choice between paper and stone, and water and fire. Every single child knows what it means. I don’t know if adults know any longer. Fire and water means joining the circus; paper and stone is to make yourself a stable set up in that society. The piece runs through the vestibule of a building into this enormous courtyard, and in this courtyard it says, “When in doubt, play tic-tac-toe and hope for the best.” And all through the town this slogan is reiterated. So what do you do when a society starts to destroy its circles? You play tic-tac-toe and you hope for the best, you don’t just sit there and watch

in Lawrence Weiner by Marjorie Welish
Bomb Magazine Issue 54 Winter 1996, ART

Friday, 6 February 2009

Are You Experienced?

by Ronald Jones
Published in Frieze Issue 120 Jan-Feb 2009

How designers are adopting the strategies of Conceptual art

In 1981 the art critic Robert Pincus-Witten differentiated for the first time between two kinds of Conceptual art: between what he called ontological Conceptualism and epistemological Conceptualism. Acknowledging the distinction between these two fundamental methodologies alters what one sees in the rear-view mirror, but it also opens up the opportunity to look forward, towards the emergence of a new discipline called ‘experience design’.


Thursday, 5 February 2009


CALL FOR PAPERS: 5th Global Conference CREATIVE ENGAGEMENTS - THINKING WITH CHILDREN, Friday 17th July - Sunday 19th July 2009. The fifth meeting of this global research project shall explore the many facets of creative engagement with children. Grounded in an inter-disciplinary perspective and with reference to historical and contemporary representations of childhood, this project will examine the complex issues which surround the notion and practices of creative engagement in the context of pedagogy and the curriculum, and in the face of frequently instrumental institutional imperatives. More generally, our work will also address the role of creativity in social interaction, with particular reference to children's development of life skills, autonomy and independence in an increasingly complex and demanding world. -- Papers, presentations, reports and workshops are invited on any of the following four focus areas: 1. Creativity, Engagement and Education; 2. Creativity, Pedagogy and Curriculum; 3. Critical and Cultural Thinking and Children; and 4. Engagement, Skills and Life Issues. The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 6th February 2009. If your paper is accepted for presentation at the conference, an 8 page draft paper should be submitted by Friday 5th June 2009. For further details about the project please visit here.

Toward an Integrated Theory of Play

by Joe Frost

Beginning with an extensive overview of theories, this paper proposes an integrative perspective on play. Early theories, which were proposed in the last half of the 19th century, included the surplus energy theory, the recapitulation theory, the instinct-practice theory, and the relaxation theory. More recent theories of play include Freud's and Erikson's psychoanalytic theories and Piaget's cognitive development theory. The limitations on these theories include the fact that: (1) They deal only with specific elements or a limited sampling of the broad concerns of play; (2) They involve single or limited variables; and (3) They are tied to the academic roles of their developers. Problems also exist in adequately defining play. The integrated theory of play proposed in this discussion attempts to lend depth and breadth to understanding play and to provide practitioners with a comprehensive, utilitarian, and unified view of the phenomenon. It is proposed that play be examined from at least five interrelated perspectives: characteristics, motives, processes, functions, and content. Each of these dimensions is considered across academic disciplines in terms of theory and the large volume of recent research on play. It is argued that a fully developed theory can provide comprehensive description of the qualities of play and open up creative possibilities for the design and testing of play environments. A bibliography of 100 references is attached.

Details here.


by Mary W. Moffitt

People tend to approach play from two different stances. One, they like it because it just happens to be more fun than most other things that human beings do. It follows, therefore, that we should have more of it, and it's a dull world if we do not. This was not a popular point of view in Puritan times, but it has increased its vogue in recent years.

Two, others argue that although play might seem to be a somewhat useless activity, that can't really be so. After all, human beings are evolutionary creatures and could hardly have survived by putting so much ' time and effort into an unfunctional activity; therefore, play and games must be useful. Unfortunately, it has been not so easy to show what play and games contribute as It has been to make this claim. Currently it is being argued that play and games contribute to learning, particularly of a cognitive sort. The article by Moffitt provides us with a valuable set of parallels between play and cognitive activity and lays the groundwork for testing some of the propositions about play vs usefulness.

One has to keep in mind however, that much of what Moffitt describes as play would be called straight exploration or learning by others. It could be that all these understandings are gained through exploration, and that play has. to do less with these cognitive phenomena than with the child's control over the variations that succeed these cognitive phenomena.


Lego takes on Monopoly with construct-your-own board games

Lego is entering the traditional world of board games this year when it launches a range of innovative build-your-own board games.

By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor
Published in the Daily Telegraph
Last Updated: 7:01PM GMT 04 Feb 2009

The 75-year-old Danish company, famed for its building blocks, is branching out by designing a range of toys that involve children constructing their own board games out of Lego building blocks.
Once they have completed the board and dice, the children can then play the games, before rebuilding the construction differently and playing a new version of the game.
The set of six games were unveiled at this week's Toy Fair in London, which showcased the gadgets, toys and games that will be on the shelves later this year.
Lego's move – taking on the giants of Scrabble and Monopoly – was the talk of the show, with toy experts saying the company has the potential to revive the fortunes of the flagging board game industry.
Last year, despite the success of Monopoly and Scrabble, board games struggled overall, with sales down 30 per cent in the UK.
Peter Jenkinson, editor of the website, Toyology, said: "Whilst most major board manufacturers concentrate on revamping ageing titles, Lego once again show their strength by breaking the mould. They have invented something completely new – and that rarely happens in the world of toys."



For reviews of new toys: Toyology.