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Blog posts tagged as 'papernet'

Friday Links – Motion Graphics, Light-Painted Data, Receipts for Cities

It’s a Friday afternoon, and I’m about to catch a train to Sheffield. But before I do that, it would be a shame not to round-up some links from the studio mailing list – especially given the box-fresh surroundings of the new BERG website.


Via infosthetics comes this set of photographs from Brian Steen. They depict data over time – in this case, the population of Germany from 1994 and 2009 (in red and white). The images are long exposures of data extruded through space, in a similar technique to that of Making Future Magic. It’s striking to see this technique used for visualisation of data, though – and it’ll be interesting to see where Brian goes with it.


Damjan Stanković’s Cipher Glass shows you what’s in it when it’s full of fluid – the name picked out in negative-space on the side when a particular colour fluid is in the glass.


Nick pointed out E4’s “Mess With The Misfits” promotional campaign. It’s really clever – dynamically compositing images and text from Facebook into Flash video; it’s also very tasteful, and leaves no trace on your Facebook profile unless you ask it to. A slick, inventive piece of imaging trickery; very cool.

The Official Ralph Lauren 4D Experience is a bombastic name for an impressive piece of motion graphics. Projected onto the side of their 1 New Bond Street store, it uses carefully mapped graphics and video to transform the outside of the store. My favourite segments are the ones where they physically reconfigure the form of the building, such as the transformation at 1:40. It’s always interesting to see the way large brands are using such techniques for promotional purposes.


Russell spotted Mayo Nissen’s City Tickets. City Tickets was a final thesis project at CIID. It’s a service that proposes using existing parking machines as a platform for citizens to feedback on issues with infrastructure – giving them small, receipt-like pieces of paper to feed back about local issues on. Mayo explains:

City Tickets makes the bureaucratic and opaque workings of governance more transparent and accountable, while redefining the balance of power supporting participatory urban planning and management processes. Updating current machines to also issue city tickets in addition to existing parking tickets allows this existing infrastructure, without the inclusion of any costly additional technology, to be reconsidered as a way to make neighbourhoods more liveable and cities more responsive to the needs and desires of their inhabitants.

It’s simple, acute, and charming: it already feels like a service I’d like to use. And, as we explored in the Media Surfaces films, it’s another exploration of print being quick.

Links for a Friday afternoon: demon-haunted notebooks, spinning records, cardboard and spaceships

Josh DiMauro sent us this sketch of a “Demon-Haunted Notebook” (inspired by Matt J’s talk from last year’s Webstock conference). He explains:

The notebook would have a unique name and id, and a daemon would watch for “tribute” — online sharing of what you put in it.

The tough bit of implementation would seem to be defining a way to pay tribute, and to make it fun and easy, rather than onerous.

I liked “paying tribute” a lot. There’s more nice thinking and sketching over at Josh’s post.

Via Kitsune Noir comes this pinhole photograph by Tim Franco, taken with a camera perched on a 7″ single. The film is exposed for the duration of the record. Beautiful.

On a similar note, Alex shared the above video. It’s a Red Raven Movie Record. There’s a series of images printed on the inner part of the record, and a mirror device that stands over the spindle. As the record plays, it provides its own soundtrack for the animation around the spindle.


Via Duncan Gough comes this lovely piece of paper product design: Muji’s Cardboard Binoculars.

This is Jonathan M. Guberman and Jim Munroe’s Automatypewriter. It’s a typewriter wired into a computer that you can (currently) play Zork on. The thing I like most – and what sets it apart from just being a typewriter turned into a teletype – is how the keys move when the machine is typing from itself. It turns it from being merely a printer, and into a ghostly writing-device. And, when used to play interactive fiction, makes it clear that the game being told is played out between both the player and the parser – writing the same text on the same device.

This is a part of a game of Artemis playing out. From the official website:

Artemis is a multiplayer game that lets you and your friends play as a starship bridge crew. One computer displays the main screen and runs the simulation server. The rest serve as bridge station consoles, like Helm, Comms, Weapons, Science, and Engineering.

In a nutshell: it simulates combat sequences from the Star Trek franchise. The captain doesn’t get a computer; instead, he has to tell everyone else in the room what to do. And so the captain’s role isn’t really part of the game mechanics at all; it’s a purely social role. The team are reliant on each other to display the appropriate screens on the main screen, execute decisions, and act on orders. And there’s nothing in the game stopping them from disagreeing or taking individual action.

The game is just some computation, network code, and a graphics engine; the real game plays out in the discussion between the crew and the decisions they make. Underneath the geeky exterior is a truly social game.

Maps as service design: The Incidental

Schulze & Webb worked as part of the team producing a unique service for the world’s biggest furniture and design event: Salone del Mobile in Milan, this year.

The British Council usually maintains a presence there, promoting British design and designers through an exhibition. This year, they had decided they would rather present some kind of service offering rather than a physical exhibition in a single venue.

Daniel Charny, of Fromnowon contacted us early on in the project, when they were moving the traditional thinking of staging an exhibition of to something that was more alive, distributed and connected to the people visiting Salone from Britain whilst also connecting those around the world who couldn’t be there.

From the early brainstorms we came up with idea of a system for collecting the thoughts, recommendations, pirate maps and sketches of the attendees to republish and redistribute the next day in a printed, pocketable pamphlet, which, would build up over the four days of the event to be a unique palimpsest of the place and people’s interactions with it, in it.

Åbäke, a collective of graphic designers who came up with the look and identity of the finished publication, alongside a team from the British Council ventured out to Milan to establish a temporary production studio for The Incidental, while S&W provided remote support from the UK, and the technology to harvest the twitter posts, blog mentions and flickr photos to be included in the edition, overlaid on the map to be produced overnight.

One thing that’s very interesting to us that is using this rapidly-produced thing then becomes a ’social object’: creating conversations, collecting scribbles, instigating adventures – which then get collected and redistributed.

As author/seer Warren Ellis points out, paper is ideal material for this:

“…cheap. Portable. Biodegradable/timebound/already rotting. Suggestion of a v0.9 object. More likely to be on a desk or in a pocket or bag or on a pub table than to be shelved. More likely to be passed around.”

The Incidental is feedback loop made out of paper and human interactions –  timebound, situated and circulating in a place.

Here’s the first edition from the Wednesday of the event:

There’s some initial recommendations from the British Council team and friends, but the underlying abstracted map of Milan remains fairly unmolested.

Compare that to the last edition on Saturday, where the buzz of the event has folded back into the artifact:


The map now becomes something less functional – which it can probably afford, as you the visitor have internalised it – and becomes something more emotional or behavioural: a heat-map-like visualisation of where’s hot and what’s happened.

The buzz about TheIncidental during the event was clear from the twitterfeed, which itself was feeding the production.

We were clearly riffing on the work done by our friends at the RIG with their “Things our friends have written on the internet” and the thoughts of Chris Heathcote, Aaron and others who participated in Papercamp back in January.

Since then there’s been a flurry of paper/map/internet activity, including the release recently of the marvellous Walking-Papers project by Mike Migurski of the mighty Stamen, which we talked about briefly in The New Negroponte Switch.

As well as coverage from more design-oriented blogs such as PSFK and Dezeen, there was also some encouraging commentary from our peers – many of whom saw this as the first post-Papercamp project.

Ben Terrett of the RIG said:

“Over in Milan at the Salone di Mobile they’ve created a thing called The Incidental. It’s like a guide to the event but it’s user generated and a new one is printed every day. When I say user generated, I mean that literally. People grab the current day’s copy and scribble on it. So they annotate the map with their personal notes and recommendations. Each day the team collect the scribbled on ones, scan them in and print an amalgamated version out again. You have to see it, to get it. But it’s great to see someone doing something exciting with ‘almost instant’ printing and for a real event and a real client too.

The actual paper is beautiful and very exciting. It has a fabulous energy that has successfully migrated from the making of the thing to the actual thing. Which is also brilliant and rare.”

To quote the patron saint of S&W again, Warren Ellis said:

“This is a wonderful idea that could be transposed to other events.”

Aaron Straup-Cope of Flickr, and author of many thoughts on what he calls the Papernet said:

“they are both lovely manifestations of Rick Prelinger’s “abundant present” and a well-crafted history box, something that people can linger over and touch and share, for the shape of the event.”

Our neighbours in East London, and brand identity consultants Moving Brands said:

“What a great way to create international conversation and connecting the tangible with the digital.”

Russell Davies said:

“I love the way it gets past digital infatuation and analogue nostalgia. Digital stuff is used for what it’s good for; eradicating time and distance, sharing, all that. Analogue stuff is used for what it can do well; resilience, undestandability, encouraging simple, human contributions. It’s properly ‘post digital’, from a design team and a client who are fluent in the full range of media possibilities. Not just digital, not just print. It integrates media in the same way real people do; knowing what it’s like to send a twitter and knowing what it’s like to scribble a note on a beermat at 3 in the morning.”

All credit to the team who were in Milan. They worked some punishing hours producing the paper each day, partly due to the demanding nature of the event itself and of course the demanding nature of trying something completely new. Huge and hearty congratulations to them for pulling it off.

As we didn’t attend Salone, it was only recently when we got together with the British Council team to discuss what worked and what didn’t that we saw the finished artifacts.


It was fantastic to see and touch them. In that moment, it became obvious that their dual-role was as both service and souvenir.

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