The website presenting the downloadable results of the joint design and ethnographic research Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s) is now online.
More than a year after our last publication on this blog and the end of the scientific part of the design research Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s), we’re very happy to signal the publication of two books in Print on Demand (Lulu) and their accompanying free PDFs.
One book concerns the ethnographic the ethnographic research: Cloud of Practices, while the other is dedicated to the design research and its results and uses many of the resources published on this blog along the process: Cloud of Cards.
A website gives access to the results of the research in the form of a kit: www.cloudofcards.org
Cloud of Practices:
Download the free PDF on the Cloud of Cards website (under “Publications” link), or buy the paperback version on Lulu.
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)
Du vendredi 2 au samedi 3 décembre 2016
Bot Like Me
interventions en anglais
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.
It is time to wrap things up with the field research we conducted with a series of workshops.
Practically, the material we produced in the first year of the project is based on two main sources. On the one hand, we spent a year and a half collecting messages, discussions, exchanges and arguments online – mostly on forums/on-line platforms related to cloud computing. On the other hand, using this interview guide, we conducted a series of discussions with various profiles of nomadic workers (musicians, VJs, journalists, consultants, third space/fab lab users) to understand how they used cloud computing systems.
Sasha Pohflepp with Nicolas Nova, Patrick Keller and media design students at the end of his workshop at HEAD – Genève.
Image pulled from the post “I&IC workshop #6 with Sasha Pohflepp at HEAD” (15.01.2016)
The analysis of this material enabled us to highlight a set of lessons to feed the design of alternative perspectives related to platforms and objects to support the “personal cloud”. These design alternatives are further developed in Patrick Keller’s post about the design research wrap-up.
Note: the 6 research workshops we organized in the frame of Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s) took place during the “preliminary sketches” phase. A known and common phase that takes place in the course of each design process, during which we could naturally involve peers partners and students so to increase our “trials and errors”.
The outcomes of these experimental workshops were further analyzed in two posts by N. Nova and P. Keller (ethnographic “Lessons” and design “Learnings“), to further develop design proposals as the main results of this research, along with two publications to come.
Introduction to I&IC & field study (10.2014) – no sound :
Situations, usages and alternative clouds (01.2016 & 11.2014), at HEAD – Genève:
Interaction and data interfaces (11.2014 & 11.2015), at ECAL:
Networked and decentralized cloud infrastructures (02.2015), at EPFL-ECAL Lab:
Note: the post I&IC Workshop #6 with Sascha Pohflepp at HEAD: brief, “Cloud Gestures” presents the objectives and brief for this workshop.
The 6th workshop of our I&IC project lasted four days at the end of November and it was led by Sascha Pohflepp, with students from the Media Design program at the Geneva School of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève).
Entitled “Cloud gestures”, the workshop addressed the representations people built when using cloud-based technologies, and, more specifically, the types of gestures they deploy when interacting with them. The group adopted a design ethnography approach to these issues, documenting everyday practices and designing artefacts that materialize the use of cloud computing services. This research direction aimed at generating insights, ideas and opportunities that will later be relevant for designing alternatives to existing systems.
The three projects that emerge out of this workshop all address cloud gestures in their own way. The short amount of time devoted to field research/data analysis only led to hypotheses. Nevertheless, they can be seen as relevant directions to be explored in further investigations.
Project 1: “SARA” (Vanesa Toquero)
The project explored the notion of predictions, and how data collected by sensors (and located “in the cloud”) could be used for anticipating future situations and behaviors. The student selected a group of users and asked them what gestures they did when they wanted to anticipate something, to make a decision, what happens if rain was coming, what happened if they were to receive tons of data. She videotaped this material, following their hand movement (people protecting their head, slapping their fingers, etc.). To some extent, this can be seen as a poetic depiction of anticipatory gestures, as such motion may be remotely connected to cloud technologies. The hypothesis the student wanted to explore consisted in investigating how predictions that could come from the cloud may materialize, or may be triggered by users.
The output of the project is a series of little films of people talking about the future, video of human users as seen from “a machine eye” that tracks the movement of one’s hands, and detecting their intentions. Such films show how our body language, the non-verbal communication we put in place, could be a relevant way to interact with machines and cloud technologies.
Project 2: Cumul0mainbus (Sara Bourquin, Hind Chammas)
The group approached a group of teenage students and interviewed them about their knowledge about the Cloud, social media and networked technologies. They ask them which action they do repeatedly when they use such platform… which led to a series of “verbs” described by the users: typing, commenting, sharing, liking, stalking, uploading, communicating, etc.
They then asked the teenagers to recreate them through gestures, which they videotaped in order to document these so-called “cloud gestures”. Interestingly, the group noticed how these users “use their own selves/their body as a reference” and that the gestures proposed were homogeneous between the people interviewed. The next step consisted in selecting the most salient gestures (classifying, sharing, organizing, blocking, stalking) that the group then recreated by filming them in two colors in order to create flip-books.
These flip books could be seen as a documentation of cloud gestures, a material depiction of everyday interaction with cloud technologies. The other end of the data center so to say. The project’s name – Cumul0mainbus – is a pun, a portmanteau word based on the name of a cloud type, and “main”, the French word for “hand”, revealing the intersection of gestural interaction and cloud tech.
Project 3: Cloud-up (Marianna Czwojdrak, Léa Thévenot, Eun-Seun Lee)
The group selected a diverse set of individuals and ask them to elicit their representation of the cloud on paper. In order to do that, they asked these people to “draw a life-cycle of your shared files”. As the question may be a tad too technical, they told them to represent what happens to their files as they use them. Their intention was to find out how people think about such issues, as well as discuss the temporality of digital content. One of the reason that motivated such approach was that “people did not understand what we meant by cloud”, as expressed by one of the group member.
The drawings produced were quite abstract. One of the user represented the Cloud as Egypt’s pyramid because “whatever I share, it’s shared with my family in Egypt”. Another described a series of steps that show what happen to one’s file from a computer to a server (the latter being represented as humans). This made the students realize no one really knew how the cloud work. An additional remark is that no one raised issues about surveillance.
The students then chose the three most interesting drawings and created textual interpretations of this material. Using this, they then created a series of User Interfaces that describe the cloud interface/functionality as envisioned by the person interviewed. Each highlight potential needs and interests regarding cloud functionalities:
The workshop is still ongoing and the students are busy working on various field explorations. As explained in the brief, their purpose is to observe and document everyday practices with the cloud. More specifically the focus is on gestures and representations people build about this technology.
We formed three groups, each working in different directions.