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Post-dConstruct links

Skimming through my notebook on returning from dConstruct, it seemed worth expanding a few scrawled notes into hyperlinks.

  • Adam Greenfield brought up Schelling Points – “[solutions] that people will tend to use in the absence of communication, because it seems natural, special or relevant to them” – as a way of describing natural meeting points in cities. Interesting that a descriptor from game theory works equally well for Eros or the Grand Central Clock. The Wikipedia page on the topic explains more.
  • Robin Hunicke used the word (or, rather, acronym) QWAN a few times – the Quality Without A Name, as described by the architect and academic Christopher Alexander in his book The Timeless Way Of Building:

    “This oneness, or the lack of it, is the fundamental quality for anything. Whether it is in a poem, or a man, or a building full of people, or in a forest, or a city, everything that matters stems from it. It embodies everything.

    Yet still this quality cannot be named.”

    I think, though, that when Robin used the term, it was very much lowercase: qwan, a straightforward piece of vocabulary.

  • Jones and I had chatted about Eng-Fi – engineering fiction – as part of British childhood in the audience at dConstruct; I returned home to find Warren Ellis had pursued a similar path in his latest Wired UK column, on why, for educational purposes at the least, the BBC should repeat Thunderbirds:

    Thunderbirds is Rescue Fiction. All kids respond to rescue scenarios. Rescue Fiction is emotionally maturing – it removes the wish for magic, religion or flying people to zoom in to save the day; it confirms that it is a far more glorious and dazzling thing to invent ways to rescue ourselves.

    Rescue fiction, engineering fiction; whatever you call it, invention truly is a glorious and dazzling thing.

  • And, as a bonus link, from the chat in the studio this afternoon: Dick Van Dyke is a computer animation enthusiast. Yes, that Dick Van Dyke.

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