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Naming the outputs of our design research: Cloud of Cards, a home cloud kit

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Cloud of Cards, a personal cloud kit. Scattered 19″ hybrid server racks, elements and kit to assemble and play with. (Photo.: Daniela & Tonatiuh)

 

We’re coming close to an end with the joint design research Inhabiting and Interfacing the Clouds and we’re becoming impatient to deliver the results: a diy small scale data center and cloud kit made of various elements (both physical and digital), to freely assemble at home or in your “garage”. Accompanied by two books documenting our work in print-on-demand!

At this stage though, we’ve given new and final titles to the design artifacts and tools that we’ve been working on lately, together with the research team (for the design & code part: Lucien Langton, Léa Pereyre, Christian Babski and myself).

 

Therefore…

 

Cloud of Cards, is a home cloud kit to help re-appropriate your data self. Obviously a distant tribute to House of Cards, the toy project by the Eames (“Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas”), the kit will consist of four artifacts:

19″ Living Rack is an open source server rack with a few functional hybridations, declined in four versions. Cloud of Cards Processing Library consists in a programming tool to help develop cloud applications with the Processing development language. 5 Folders Cloud is a version of the Cloud (ownCloud) with automated behaviors and cascades of events. It is an implementation of the processing library directly linked to the outputs and learnings of the ethnographic research about uses of the cloud. Finally, 5 Connected Objects physically interface the five automated folders in our version the cloud (5 Folders Cloud) with five “smart” objects and try to embody distant data in some kind of everyday domestic presence.

I&IC’s public survey of 364 links related to “Clouds” on Delicious – last updated 03.2017

Along the design research, we are going through many different types of references that we don’t necessarily post or document on the blog. We usually only post about the ones that we consider relevant to the research process, which doesn’t mean the other ones are not interesting. We’ve just decided not to digg deeper into them at some point, or to keep some of them for later.

Yet, this is a consistent amount of survey that we are leaving on the side of the road and that could possibly be useful for similar or later researches. At least a good starting point… That’s why we’ve created this i&ic_designresearch tag on delicious.

Interestingly, some new thematics emerged along the way within these links, like for example on the technological branch, the combination of personal cloud based services, peer to peer protocols and blockchains that were not on the radar when we started our research.

 

A “Home Cloud Kit” (evolution)

Note: the purpose of a “Home Cloud Kit” (working title) has been described in a previous post. It will be composed by four artifacts which will become the main outcomes of the design research Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s), along with one book about the ethnographic field study and another one about the design research process.

Below are four links leading to four posts describing and analyzing the current state of evolution for each part of this kit. We expect the research and the “kit” to be finished by the end of March 17.

The “kit” will be distributed freely at the end of the project.

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The final phase of our research consists in the prototyping of artifacts which relevance have been identified along the process. Tools, infrastructures and services are therefore addressed and will constitute a “Home Cloud Kit”.

 

This final phase is organized into the four following lines of work:

 

A) A Personal Data Center (evolution, models)

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B) My Data Controllers (evolution, models)

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C) A Personal Cloud (evolution)

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D) I&IC’s OwnCloud Core Processing Library (evolution)

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A Personal Cloud (evolution)

Note: “A Personal Cloud” (working title) is part of a home cloud kit, which was described in a previous post and that will be composed by four various artifacts, both physical and digital.

The kit will be distributed freely at the end of the project.

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The “alternative version” of the cloud (client, interface) and the way we interact with it is still under development.

Strongly connected to the ethnographic field research that was achieved earlier during the research process regarding cloud usages, the purpose of this project is to exemplify a different way of handling or even playing with one’s data and files in the cloud, as well as to demonstrate an implementation of “I&IC’s OwnCLoud Core Processing Library” that will also be part of the final delivery “cloud kit”.

“A Personal Cloud” is also in tight connection with the objects controllers project, “My Data Controllers” (working title as well), because these networked objects will directly interact with the files and data contained in it.

 

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A version of OwnCloud developed with the help of “I&IC’s OwnCloud Core Processing Library” and containing five root folders, each with a singular automated behavior.

I&IC design research at “Bot Like Me” conference, Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris

Note: At the invitation of Sophie Lamparter (Swissnex San Francisco) and Luc Meier (EPFL ArtLab), we had the pleasure to present the current process and outcomes of our joint design research project in Paris, at Centre Culturel Suisse (CCS). This helped us collect meaningful impressions and comments about the ongoing work.

The conference was given last Friday and Saturday (02-03.12) in the company and attendance of an excellent line up (!Mediengruppe Bitnik, Nicolas Nova, Yves Citton, Tobias Revell & Nathalie Kane, Rybn, Joël Vacheron, Gwenola Wagon, Hannes Grasseger, I&IC’s research assistants Lucien Langton & Léa Pereyre,  so as many others!)

Together with Nicolas Nova, we presented the almost final state of our joint research project Inhabiting & Interfacing the Cloud(s), at a time when we are entering the prototyping of the final artifacts (deliverables).

 

Via Centre Culturel Suisse (in French)

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Du vendredi 2 au samedi 3 décembre 2016

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Bot Like Me
interventions en anglais

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A l’occasion de l’exposition de !MedienGruppe Bitnik, et avec la complicité du duo d’artistes zurichois, Sophie Lamparter (directrice associée de swissnex San Francisco) et Luc Meier (directeur des contenus de l’EPFL ArtLab, Lausanne) ont concocté pour le CCS un événement de deux jours composé de conférences, tables rondes et concerts, réunissant scientifiques, artistes, écrivains, journalistes et musiciens pour examiner les dynamiques tourmentées des liens homme-machine. Conçues comme une plateforme d’échange à configuration souple, ces soirées interrogeront nos rapports complexes, à la fois familiers et malaisés, avec les bots qui se multiplient dans nos environnements ultra-connectés.

“A Personal Cloud”: a home cloud kit for personal data (centers) / “reappropriate your dataself”!

We’re entering the final straight of the research project Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s) and we can give at this point a first glimpse of the four design artifacts we are working on at the moment. They will constitute the main outcomes of our joint experimental effort (ECAL, HEAD, EPFL-ECAL Lab) and a kind of “personal cloud kit” (explained below). These creations will be accompanied by two books: one will present the results of the ethnographic research about “the cloud”, the other will present the design research process and its results – both in pod/pdf.

We already pointed out in the recent post “Updated Design Scenario” where we were heading. Since then, the different projects were better identified and started to get shaped. Some got eliminated. Prototyping and further technical tests are running in parallel at the moment.

 

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From the original “final scenario” sketch to …

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… a “Personal Cloud Kit”, composed of various physical and digital modular artifacts.

 

What emerged reinforced from the main design scenario is that we seek to deliver four artifacts (some physical, some digital, some combined) which themselves will constitute the building blocks of what we’ll call “A Personal Cloud Kit”. All four parts of this kit will be openly accessible on a dedicated website (e.g. in a similar way to what OpenDesk is doing).

The purpose of this “home kit” is to empower designers, makers and citizens at large who would be interested to start develop their own cloud projects, manage or interact with their data or even to set up small scale personal data centers at their places (homes, offices, garages …)

From design research wrap-up to final artifacts, updated design scenario (in scribble mode, #2)

 

This post consists in an important update to the previous note “From design research wrap-up to final artifacts, a design scenario (in scribble mode, #1)“.

It’s main purpose is to narrow down the previously sketched scenario and become more precise about the possible artifacts we will develop. In doing so, the present description shows a likely path and tries to keep some coherence within the overall design that is segmented in four different areas, often combined (software, hardware furniture, responsive objects, visualization). Yet and even so several objects and functions are described and named in this post, it will continue to serve only as a general blueprint for the last phase of our I&IC joint design research, while the final outputs could still largely evolve, based on the same ideas and plan.

 

These ideas keep their importance though:

Based on the graphic “Motivations <-> Usages <-> Problems” and its description of procedures, based on our “Design Learnings” too, we’ve tried to translate and objectify these into “natural language” of actions (and problems). At this stage, this is still a trial, but we’ve listed five pairs of words that work in opposition (verbs vs. past participles) and that cover the spectrum of functions and procedures: To Care (vs. Neglected!), To Accumulate (vs. Vanished!), To Multiply (vs. Shrinked! ), To Freeze (vs. “Melted!”), To “Pimp” (vs. “Jumbled!”) — all these corresponding to a set of cloud actions and explained with more details below, after the break —

These 5 pairs of terms will drive the development of an alternative, domestic and hopefully objective Cloud (“Our Cloud”), built upon the open source software OwnCloud with the help of our own I&IC OwnCloud Core Processing Library (which will be further edited and editable therefore). This personal Cloud will have the opportunity to be hosted into a new type of diy (and domestic as well) 19″ Cabinet.

The 5 pairs of terms will further drive the implementation of 5 Controllers or Network Data/Bot Objects (“Smart Objects”). The aim of these “controllers” will be to give an everyday physical presence to each user’s personal Cloud, to its 5 main folders, contained files or data and the processes they undergo. The manipulation of some of these objects will include the idea of “natural interface” or “gestures”.

In addition to these 5 physical controllers, 1 or 2 “root objects” could help monitor and possibly moderate the overall behavior of “Our Cloud”.

For the development of these “smart objects”, we’ve decide to take into account the kind of objects or infrastructure that are already present in a domestic environment, things like single functional objects (i.e. lamps, electric plugs, consoles, mirrors, clocks, etc.) and revisit them with a slight sculptural approach. We’ve also decided to consider a “language” that takes into account “invisibility” or “immateriality” (i.e. electricity, electrostatics, magnets, light, reflections, air currents or temperature, dust).

Finally, all of the above should be distributed as open source.

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