Stephanie Pereira from Kickstarter visited. Kickstarter is just kind of a wow right now. In so many dimensions. Just check out their stats page. Over $336 million in collected funs. Over 30,000 successful projects.
Things I’m going to keep thinking about:
- + Kickstarter as a storytelling platform. I thought that was a nice way to frame the challenge — your campaign must be a great story. And this story is a dynamic one where there’s a relationship built between the funder and funded. In successful projects, this relationship keeps building around project update emails and other correspondence.
- + One project from some Parsons students offered a “mind-meld” as a $100 reward. As a funder, you can train their brains and design perspective on a problem of your choosing. It will be interesting to see how rewards evolved.
- + She described a public messaging project where funders were given a poster to post in their neighborhoods. THe audience is then truly an integral part of the work. It’s a project about the whole circle, not just the maker-in-the-middle.
- + Angel Investors (and foundations too) are now frequently telling new projects and product folks to start on KS first. It’s a way to defray risk, a way to assess market interest in an idea. KS as vetting engine.
- + It’s also a tool foundations are beginning to use for similar reasons. Not to look just at the at funds raised, but the number of funders.
- + Not for profits have also used KS in a matching grant capacity. This seems really interesting.
What I left feeling was that KS is an opportunity. An energetic plumbing with many undiscovered configurations.
Rola and Pablo visited NuVu this week. A hands-on space for kids to learn design and technology.
Here are two projects that (eloquently) speak for themselves.
Arielle’s Live Pinboard
Bri has begun working out the mechanics of her deep-breath of an idea, Library as Instrument.
As well designing the aleatory the scores:
Step 1. Divide Library into 16 rows
Step 2. Assign a note to each row
Step 3. Divide into 3 columns
Step 4. Place 1 resonating laser-sensed speaker in each of 35 zones
Step 5. Record patterns
Stephen Cassell from Architecture Research Office visited last week. Stephen has worked on several libraries, as well as currently working on the Loeb Library — host to LTK. Some notes and images from the segment of his talk on
Friedman Study Center, Brown University (24hr study space)
Design process is about clarifying relationships.
The notion of an acoustic gradient seemed really nice
It was also mapped really well to signage
hey mapped specific behaviors to spaces in a nice way, click to enlarge
They made the argument, successfully, that chunks of the budget should go to landscape design. They felt you get more bang for your buck there…
Graphics played an important role. They created a campus-wide competition to submit images from the collection to be applied to the walls of the library. The response was great. And winners had their chosen images land somewhere conspicuous A really great way for the community to literally write to the environment, not just read.
Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library
Again, the role of clarification seemed a really important role that ARO played. Make the Avery logical. That seemed to be integral to how ARO framed and approached the problem. Architect as analyst.
They had this interesting idea of the stacks as a single object. I liked that thought. Note the line breaks that allow mid-range circulation.
Stephen described one moment that I found interesting. He described designing for the moment when descending the stairs into the main space and your eye sees the forced perspective of the stack ranges. A really nice point.
Afterward we discussed many things, but one element that I will pull out which is related to this class, this school, and future work, is this idea of analysis mentioned above. Stephen said that as a firm they do a lot of this work. In fact, at times they’d even considered forking this work into its own sub-practice. Something like AMO.
A comment that Stephen made in the very beginning of his talk struck me: “Libraries are a series of control points.”
assume vivid astro focus ends there segment on Art 21 with something that resonated for me today as we begin to create the Pop-Up.
“There is a strategy in what we make which is for everything to become one. The viewer become one with the installation. The core of what we make is not object, it’s energy. We create this energy, and this energy is there, it happens in a moment, and then it’s gone. You can’t save that energy. You can’t sell that energy. You can share that energy, that moment, but you can’t really take it somewhere else.”
Loose thoughts on kickstarter…
Of note, a recent change in policy addressing risk and expectation management on the “seller” side how people engage with KS projects:
They have some important new product guidelines The Q & A at bottom is very helpful.
As I write this, I’m trying to understand where kickstarter is coming from, as a business. And the fact that they’re a business that’s enabling a kind of marketplace for creativity. They feel to me like an idea store. In a funny coincidence in terms, the library in London’s been rebranding libraries as “idea stores” for a while. Over 10 years actually. And they’ve learned a lot.
To the “seller” — artist, product designer, etc. — KS is a funding strategy. You can raise money — from an idea and a video! This isn’t a barn-raising. We’re not collaboratively building. This is money-raising.
These guys want to start a lending Library of musical instruments:
But KS is also about business creation:
Kickstarter and taxes
You’re transacting in a possible — but agreed upon — future. you get the artifact from that future, like a dvd from a dance movie. That’s what the pledge/reward column is all about.
* * *
Because it relates to markets, ownership, etc., but really because it has just BLOWN ME AWAY as a book, I want to quote The Gift by Thomas Hyde:
“The Indians of the Northwest America coast also give gifts in order to “make a name” for themselves, to earn prestige. But notice: a Kwakiutl name is “raised” by giving property and “flattened” by receiving it. The man who has emptied himself with giving has the highest name. When we say that someone made a name for himself, we think of Onassis or J. P. Morgan or H. L. Hunt, men who got rich. But Kwakiutl names, first of all, are not the names of individuals; they are conferred upon individuals, yes, but they are names on the order of “Prince of Wales,” meant to indicate social position. And her are some of them:
+ Whose Property is Eaten in Feasts
+ Always Giving Blankets While Walking
+ For Whom Property Flows
+ The Dance of Throwing Away Property
Some names, it is true, are antagonistic (Creating Trouble All Around), but the majority refer to the outflow of property. A man makes a name for himself by letting wealth slip through his fingers.
Dispatches from the Liminal Objects conference, by Rola Idris
A Conference on Design called Liminal Objects took place yesterday in Piper Auditorium at the GSD. It was divided into 3 sessions beginning with an intro and ending with a round table. Each session was initiated by a moderator who presented 3 speakers. Each speaker spoke for no more than 5 minutes. Many of the issues and highlights of the conference are very relevant to our LTK thoughts and provocations.
Dean Mohsen Mostafavi introduced the broader outlines of the conference mainly asking if it makes sense to introduce a design program to complement what we have at the GSD or if we can just learn from explorations and investigations that would transform our ways of thinking.
(As a backdrop, earlier in the morning in the ‘Open Meeting with the Dean’ event he projected a focus on fabrication, making at different scales and manual labor as something exciting. He said the conference was to initiate thinking towards a new design theme/program to the GSD based on industrial and object design but it posed many challenges.)
The session on Design-in-Practice was moderated by Justin McGuirk with Jonathan Olivares, Jonathan Muecke, Jürg Lehni. Justin introduced the panel stating that design as a discipline or meta-discipline is extreme in opportunities, yet today the relationship between architecture and design is still classical and ‘old-fashioned’.
Jonathan Olivares presented the Olivares Aluminum Chair (OAC). What was striking about the chair is that the making process took over three years! It was interesting to open the conference with the idea that object design involves processes that take just as long as actually building a building. A lot of effort goes into research and fleshing out manufacturing techniques, material properties and details.
Jonathan Muecke spoke of objects presenting limits to material, function and shape. His interest lies on the inside of objects, trying to delimit the object, and focusing on the void. He pointed out the critical threshold between scales in object design.
Jürg Lehni spoke about his Moving Picture Show presented at the 23rd International Poster and Graphic Design Festival in Chaumont. It transforms a chapel space into a workshop, revisiting the medium of the 35mm motion picture film and re-appropriating the old process of etching subtitles to etch away the emulsion layer leaving clear film that is reused to make animations and drawings. This was great! See more here.
In the discussion shortly after on skills needed by a designer, Jürg mentions the need for a critical reflection on tools, “as designers we are often confronted by limits of tools and often people don’t question tools that define our environment – that is my starting point.”
The second session on Design and Museum questioned the museum as a mausoleum and space of containment and pushed for challenging the role of the curator, design and museums. How gallery spaces of these institutions are utilized and curated should inspire current and future generations to create new juxtapositions; technology and the realm of digital engagement will begin to open up more conversations in this direction.
The funniest bit of this session was Murray Moss, who spoke about starting out wanting to curate gift shops. He believes all objects are souvenirs of thinking. “I went to Stonehenge and visited the souvenir shop first; I bought an eraser that says Stonehenge. It’s funny because afterwards you use the object that erases Stonehenge! Or you buy a sucker branded Rembrandt that dissolves in your mouth.”
Bejamin Pardo from Knoll and the rest of the third session Design and Production panel questioned whether it made sense to study objects in school, pointing out that it was “endless”. However, they did agree that one could choose a certain path, specialize in it and become a pioneer of a certain material in object design – pushing the envelope.
Mack Scogin showed a great video highlighting GSD student work from his past studios, which shed light on how students were already making and questioning objects – but all in the confines of studio which does not really establish a mode of thought like a department would, explained Mohsen.
A round table discussion concluded the conference and posed important questions on whether the GSD should take up design (graphic design, object design, interior design) as a separate department. Sanford Kwinter seemed to strongly suggest a ‘yes’, saying “Architecture smacks you in the face but typography is massaging your brain in a deep way.”
In class today, Tony and Arielle and I checked out a couple of pretty interesting Kickstarter projects. These two videos are made by the same guy, and both are wildly successful. Scanbox aimed for $12,500 and raised almost $200k, while LIFX was looking for $100k and ended up with over $1.3 million — with 29 days to go. Next week we’ll have Stephanie Pereira, the Director of Kickstarter’s Art program, talking a lot more about this stuff, but in the meantime check it out:
One thing that these videos do REALLY well is capture a need you didn’t know you had. They show a bunch of really specific and relatable scenarios in which these products are awesome and useful; in the case of Scanbox, they create a literal space for it in your day to day routine by making it fold up perfectly for a briefcase.
I think Scanbox is particularly sneaky at selling itself (LIFX is just plain awesome, no sneaking needed). When they say “scan” they really mean “take an iPhone photo,” particularly when they demo “scanning a 3D object.” But it works, because they have a clear and concise image of “scanning,” and they use this action to brand the product.