Archive for the 'media lab' Category

Nostalgic for today

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Does it make sense to feel nostalgic about something even if you still have it?

my new job

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Right after I graduated in June, my friend Jhonatan -the Telmex visiting scientist in the MIT Media Lab-, invited me to work on an idea that I found interesting for a number of reasons. He wanted to know if it made sense to combine a MIT mobile technology class based on real world projects with a group of student reporters from a film college to help the MIT students report and communicate their progress, as they develop solutions to the problems they face. “I think it makes sense”, I said, and we began talking about how to set up such a thing, later to be called “Reality Courseware” by Jhonatan himself. I spent the Summer putting together an internship program scheduled for deployment at MIT during the Fall.

On the one hand, I saw an opportunity to experiment with documentary video, education, vernacular perception of technology, MIT as a narrative, social feedback systems and distribution of cultural content from a very flexible perspective. On the other hand -and most importantly- I saw the potential to bring together a team of documentary filmmakers and a group of MIT students in a situation that could reveal unexpected truth to everyone involved. Three months after my initial meeting with Jhonatan, the class taught by him and his collaborators has an additional group of fourteen film and television students from Emerson College that are helping the MIT students communicate their ideas, share their dreams, broadcast their work ahd expand their horizons.

After I finished setting up the internship over the Summer, I am now playing the roles of Producer and Creative Advisor to help put together and distribute this content. What will be the result? Only time will tell. For now, I am finding the process of leading the film students and learning from them incredibly rewarding.

We decided to structure the class website as a journal. The instructors and advisors will update it all the time news and related material: 6.976 / MAS.965 / SP.716 – nextlab I: Designing Mobile Technologies for the Next Billion Users. In addition to this website, we will launch sites for each project, and the content generated by the film students will be regularly posted there, along with other relevant materials.

You can access each Project journal by following the links in this page.

Here are a few frames I grabbed from videos I’ve been shooting of the film students at work (you can see pictures of all of them in action in the nextlab flickr group).


Thursday, July 10th, 2008

For my thesis I modified e15 and created a studio web application to log and share my creative process while writing ogfx scripts. To save time, I embedded the studio application within PictureXS. I separated the studio from PictureXS by making a studio controller and adding some functionality to the picture model, like the ability to publish code and snapshots from e15 together at the same time. People visiting the studio website could send messages to the custom e15 I was running, and I could respond to them without leaving the programming environment in e15. It is not very hard to make an application take a capture from the pixels in one of it’s views and post it to a web service, so the interesting stuff to notice is independent from the platforms used, and what really matters is to observe how the creative process changes when it is performed in a digitally mediated public space.

Places like the MIT Media Lab tend to push towards figuring out new ways to make technology mediate between humans and their needs. There are many cases where this mediation might lead to an improvement of human life, but in many others the result is simply alienating. Writing instructions that make pictures instead of making pictures with my own hands is an interesting separation. Sharing the way these instructions change as I search for a different picture might illuminate about some aspects of computational art, but It could also be just another way to produce data where patterns could be found, just as it seems everybody everywhere is doing these days. We live, after all, in a statistical world.

The studio application is called MyStudio. The following image shows the first 110 pictures I published there:

Graduation now

Friday, June 6th, 2008

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
Dr. Seuss in Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I graduated today from MIT. Martini and Buza made water-jet cut aluminum PLW thingies to wear on top of our hats, and my picture made it to the MIT-Tech 2008 commencement edition. Congratulations MIT class of 2008, this has been a fantastic journey.

The last two years I watched the MIT commencement ceremony from the safety of my computer on a live video feed. Today I was one of the more or less 2600 people that walked in formation across campus in preparation to receive their degrees. We were waiting in front of Killian Court when the voice in the microphone said something like “… and now, the guest of honor, class of 2008”. The band was playing a cheesy march. It felt good inside.

This journal is almost finished.

I grabbed two pictures from the MIT-tech website and gave them a little photoshop touch to enhance the romanticism. I already feel nostalgic.


Monday, May 19th, 2008

I like how John describes it: “A thesis is a letter you write to yourself for ten years from now.”

Maeda was here

Monday, May 19th, 2008

On May 16th John gave a farewell lecture to the Media Lab before joining RISD. While reviewing our theses for the last time before submitting them this morning, Mud, Kyle and I spent a few nights preparing a series of promotional posters for John’s talk.

Picture XS

Friday, April 13th, 2007

My first Rails application. It only took me like a year to make one. It is a simple anonymous picture aggregator that features a tag system to organize the content in a picture-word network. Its architecture is as lightweight as possible to let the user look at pictures (or collect them) in the most direct possible way.

Several friends and I have been testing it from around a month and I have decided to put it out thanks to Brent’s wise advice, even though it is still incomplete. You can play with it here:

I am working on adding pagination for the picture grid in the frontpage, and a reasonable way of sorting-browsing-searching through the tags.