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Friday, May 06, 2005
The Center for New Media at the University of California at Berkeley hosted a day-long multidisciplinary conference on transitions today.


From the invitation to the event:

050505 is the fifth in an algorithmically timed series of conferences on emerging themes in New Media organized at UC Berkeley by the Center for New Media. The purpose of the 050505 conference is to explore the transitions users make when they switch from one mode of media interaction to another. The applause before a concert, the opening sequence of a movie, the ring tone of a cell phone, the login for an online game; all are transitions from one mode of interaction to another.

050505 > Zoning and Grinding > New Transitions brings together New Media scholars, researchers and developers to discuss transitions between different modes of interaction. What do we hold on to, what do we let go of, how do we transform in interactions with different technologies? How do transitions frame a space of interaction? How can we design transitions, both technically and culturally, to translate our bodies into new spheres of interaction?

Zoning: (a) the transition between levels in video games (b) the transition to a trance-like state (c) land use regulation. Grinding: (a) intense physical contact between surfaces (b) process of material removal in which a wheel composed of many hard abrasive grits wears away a softer material (c) learning by repetition.

Speakers were allotted 15 minutes apiece, after which they were interrupted by a jarring, loud sound -- and the A/V system shutting down. A procession of game designers, artists, engineers, architects, social scientists, mathematicians, and Google's ethnographic engineer raised questions about the switch from virtual to real and back. The fellow to the right is telling us that all media is deception.

PA120076Bill Mitchell. head of the Media Arts & Sciences Program at MIT, wrapped up a full day of presentations with a discussion of multi-purpose architectural spaces (immediately before the site of the Center for New Media groundbreaking). Mitchell's City of Bits was the first book I read on line in its entirety.

You always learn more when out of your normal comfort zone, and the day gave me lots to think about and factor into my research on Informal Learning.

I took copious notes. A delightful day. I was on campus from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Participation was free. It's great to live in a town with a world-class university.


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