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Bruce Sterling's Viridian Design Movement


Viridian Note 00462: Spime Watch
by Bruce Sterling
Key concepts:
spimes and related terms and notions.
Attention Conservation Notice:
This Viridian Note consists entirely of web-links to phenomena involving ubiquitous computation and the Internet-of-Things, and it could easily consume endless amounts of attention.

Spime Watch

New ubicomp book by Adam Greenfield, titled "Everyware."

Adam Greenfield? Who's That?
Adam makes his case.

Spime Watch II

'The Internet of Places/ Das Netzwerk Der Orte.'

'Hello Mr. Sterling!

'We are two graphic design students from Germany, who tried to visualize some of the experiences and dangers which localized internet-applications running on mobiles or head-up-displays could bring in the near future.'

'We are not actually working on the interface-design of this "internet of places" as we call it referring to your term of the "internet of things", but try to make more abstract visualizations which transport the idea of an augmented reality based on hyperlinking places or things.'

The website of our project:

And the more detailed project description:

Bernd Grether
Daniel von Klipstein

Spime Watch III

Julian Bleecker has written a manifesto on "blogjects."

A Manifesto for Networked Objects – Cohabiting with Pigeons, Arphids and Aibos in the Internet of Things

"Short Title:
Why Things Matter"'

(((It's a dot-pdf.)))

Spime Watch IV

(((An edited soundtrack of my Internet of Things pitch at Emerging Tech 06.)))

Spime Watch V

"Effects of Pervasive Computing on Sustainable Development"

"Physical contact with microelectronics can cause health risks as well. With the growing number of devices worn closely to the human body, a more intensive dermal contact with the surface of these products (polymers with additives) is inevitable. Grit and effluvium can be reabsorbed or inhaled during longer periods. Due to the wide range of substances used for microelectronics the risk of allergic reactions or chronic poisoning increases.

"There are possible side effects of active implants that are still unexplored:

"Health reactions to substances that are dissolved from the implant surface;

"Influence on functionality and behavior of cells, which are in direct contact with the implant surface (protein adsorption or denaturation on the implant surface);

"Mechanical stress within the body tissues surrounding the implant;

"Disturbance of cell-cell interaction caused by electrical or optical activity;

"Effects of high local NIR exposure in very small areas within body tissue caused by active implants.

"Those risks can be influenced by design engineering of implant wrapping and clinical tests. There is need for further research in this field."

Spime Watch VI

Raph Koster, author of "Theory of Fun."

"Our use of metrics in the game industry is nigh on nonexistent. We know close to nothing about how exactly people play our games. Despite the fact that we play on connected computers, running software that is full of event triggers that could be datamined, we still playtest by locking a few dozen people in a room and asking them what they think. Regarded in that fashion, it's simply astounding that the games are working at all.'

Spime Watch VII: 'Beyond Locative Media'
Marc Tuters and Kazys Varnelis

"Broadly speaking, locative media projects can be categorized under one of two types of mapping, either annotative – virtually tagging the world – or phenomenological–tracing the action of the subject in the world. Roughly, these two types of locative media–annotative and tracing–correspond to two archetypal poles winding their way through late 20th century art, critical art and phenomenology, perhaps otherwise figured as the twin Situationist practices of detournement and the derive."

Spime Watch VIII: Ambient Findability

Peter Morville's AMBIENT FINDABILITY: "The old way creates a tree. The new rakes leaves together."

(((The wireless location appliance, $15,000 takes it away:)))

"The Cisco 2700 Series Wireless Location Appliance enables a variety of business applications that take specific advantage of the benefits of wireless mobility. These include:

"Asset Tracking = Prevent loss or theft of valuable mobile assets, such as high-end medical equipment. Rapidly locate key people and resources anywhere in a wireless enterprise.

"Inventory Management and Workflow Automation = Optimize inventory utilization and streamline workflow and dispatch processes.

"Security = Locate the source of wireless LAN security threats, such as rogue access points and devices for rapid problem resolution.

"Voice over Wireless LAN = Accurate location capabilities help enterprises comply with device tracking requirements for solutions like enhanced 911 (e911) services."

Spime Watch IX: iTags and TrackSticks

iTags for bloggers, via Mary Hodder.

The TrackStick.

SwisTrack swarm tracking software.

Spime Watch X: Verbal Grab-Bags and Nicolas Nova

(((Nicolas Nova has written up a rather elegant, lushly illustrated .pdf report about the recent LIFT06 workshop on blogjects.)))

(((Meanwhile, a spectacular burst of creativity on the lazyweb neologism front:)))

From: john (at)
Subject: Naming Things
Date: March 14, 2006 10:48:02 PM GMT+01:00


"I'm loving your work. I thought you would appreciate this selection of terms for your 'loose verbal grab-bag.' Most are found, some borrowed and some have been invented.

"I'm currently working on a PhD thesis based on the notion that there a hybrid area of practice is emerging around the convergence of sculpture, industrial design and architecture. I am asserting that new sets of creative, cultural and economic conditions have stimulated intriguing levels of inquiry by creative practitioners to work across two or more of these domains and to seek out and use technologies that facilitate a particular blurring between these disciplines.

"My hunch is that this convergence (enabled and accelerated by computer visualisation and manufacturing processes) signifies a multidirectional morphing of disciplines and the opportunity to create fundamentally new types of designed object and practice that eclipse conventional tropes." (((I want the T-shirt.)))

"My research blog is at:"
Designed Objects blog

acculturated objects
actual / virtual / fictional objects
ambiguous objects
appropriated / reappropriated objects
augmented objects
autonomous objects
banal objects
boundary objects
bridging objects
co-created objects
co-existent objects
collaborative designed objects
commodities / comm-oddities
computationally enabled objects
context-aware objects
critical designed objects
customised mass-production
decorative objects
defamiliarised objects
democratically designed objects
designed to order objects
design yoga
designed objects
designed experiences
dissident design
distributed in objects
electronic objects
embedded objects
emulated objects
enabling objects
enhanced objects
everyday objects
fabricated found objects
facilitator objects
fictional products
filter-mediated design
functional / dysfunctional / para-functional / hyper-functional objects
Good Design
guerilla products
hacked products
handheld objects
hijacked products
hybrid objects
idiosyncratic objects
individualised consumer products
information appliances
interdependent objects
machine-mediated designed objects
manipulated products
mass-customised objects
materiality / immateriality
mediated objects / re-mediated objects
mere real things
meta-contextual design
mixed-dimensional objects
modified objects / modded products / mods multidimensional design
multi-modal design
mundane objects
new object grammar
objects at work
objects for society
objects of experience
objects that contain
objects that direct
objects that fit
objects that interact
objects with bodies
open source manufactured objects
paraconceptual objects
post-interesting objects
post-optimal objects
potential actualities
processing appliances
purposed / re-purposed / fit for purpose objects queer-ed products
r(e)volutionary morphologies
radical uselessness
ready-designed objects
reciprocal readymades
recombined products
reconsidered products
recontextualised objects
re-designed objects
reflective design
reformulated objects
re-positioned objects
re-used objects
screen-dominated objects
semantic product qualities
sensing / actuating capabilities
sentient objects
socially useful objects
socially-engaged objects
spimes (speculative imaginary objects)
standardised / individualised objects
stealth products
subverted products
tagged artefacts
tangible objects
things with attitude
un-released products
useless objects
utilitarian objects

John Marshall

Spime Watch XI: Changing Attitudes Toward Shopping

The "Internet of Things" bibliography, thoughtfully and industriously compiled by Anne Galloway of

(((The Guardian is noticing that availability, ubiquity and the willingness to tell others about bargains is affecting our attitude toward physical possessions. I would describe this as a segue away from "consuming" and into 21st-century "wrangling." It's the unaddressed sustainability problem that makes that click.))),,1719765,00.html?gusrc=rss

"How is the era of the L3 handbag affecting our attitudes to possessions? Are we happier or less content with what we have? Are cheap goods liberating or imprisoning? And what – once we've bought them, and especially once we've finished with them – do we do with them all?

"Gareth Coombs of the Cambridge Strategy Centre, a retail consultancy, sees the social implications: 'People used to define themselves as shopping at a certain level. 'I'm an M&S shopper.' It defined your place in the world. Those sort of rules aren't sustainable any more.' Tamar Kasriel of the Henley Centre, the social forecasters, is blunter: 'The idea that cheap goods are for poor people is totally history.'

"Factory outlets, like the low-cost airlines that started up in Britain in the mid-1990s, taught people that the price of goods was not written in stone but subject to context and, in particular, the balance of power between seller and buyer.

"Coombs and other analysts talk about the satisfaction felt by consumers when they 'get a victory' over a retailer – and when they tell their friends about it afterwards. The latter activity, in a sure sign of its popularity, has recently acquired a would-be scientific label: 'compulsive price disclosure.' (((The folk version of "transparent production.)))

"You could see all this hoarding as a sign of a growing attachment to possessions. But Coombs sees it as the opposite. 'What was in the living room this year will be in the bedroom next year and in the junk room the year after,' he says. Kasriel says the chance to sell to eBay has boosted much we buy. 'You can tell yourself you have a sensible financial route out.

"Unashamedly 'disposable' cheap goods, you could argue, are turning us into traders rather than curators of our possessions. It is another victory for capitalism: we have internalised the unsentimental stock control of the modern retailer. (((Or, you might describe it as a growing awareness that shoppers are dealing with the material manifestations of an immaterial system, and that they are learning to wrangle that system rather than get all hypnotized by one cheap handbag out of a zillion possible handbags.)))

An interesting BOINGBOING take on this same article:

(((You 'cope with plenty' through distributed intelligence and hotlinking – if you know what you're doing, that is.)))

Spime Watch XII: Kirkyans, Ontomes and Stuffopolis

(((However did we live without kirkyans in our Stuffopolis ontome?)))

How exhilirating to have practically no idea what this Second Life guy is talking about.

Does my ontome come with pre-loaded everyware, or do I have to pay extra?

Stuffopolis, formerly 'SuperBorrowNet'
Stuffopolis, now with extra-crunchy mashed-up Ajaxy googlemaps!

Who th'? Huh? Whaa?

Spime Watch XIII: Ambient Products, UFOs and Smart Goods & Furniture

(((Granted, ambient products per se are not particularly spimey. They're plenty wacky, though.)))

The original Peter Morville article on "Ubiquitous Findable Objects."

Ambient products.
Hey look, my umbrella-handle glows when rain is coming; how, uh, neat-o.

Hey look, we can leave our cryptic digital spoor on anything to which glue adheres.

The street finds its own uses for rapidly proliferating cute wi-fi rabbits.
The ear-wiggling Nabaztag.
'Smart Goods' – they're not spimes, but they are translucent.

The Smart Furniture Manifesto by Mike Kuniavsky.

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