Friday, April 21, 2017

Friends of Tal: John Maeda

Today John Maeda is opening speaker on an online free conference entitled Design and Exclusion.

For those of you that don't know who John is, you might want to check out his website (the old one, still up and running !) :

Pop was always singing his praises from back in the day when he was a Fellow at CAVS.

When Jay Lee joined the Media Lab as artist in residence, Pop visitied on a regular basis. There was quite a fruitful exchange of ideas and inspiration between the artists at CAVS like Pop and the design and tech folks at the Media Lab across the street. Remember Pop's writing on Play, from that time, Jay ?

Someday my hope is that we will have an online "book" of the future with access to all of Pop's writing.

John Maeda is first port of call. His Reactive Books were favorites of Pop's and look like the starting place / ingredients for this book of the future.

Indeed Pop drew the outline of this project in an email that he sent me back in 2008, introducing me to Windsong, a friend he hoped I'd be able to collaborate with on his online "book" :

He wrote : "

I'm checking out soon a free download program that Ken Conrad in Seattle and David Wagner here in SF use for designing back and forth, talking and drawing which immediately appears on each other's laptop screens (meaning it's there in their and savable in their hard-drives as well as immediately accessible for working back and forth.

This might be a very handy ongoing tool for you and Windsong, beyond sitting next to each other---if this association comes to past working out for the two of you.

Here's George and Melanie's site. 
They use Google Software.which you can check out, right at the top on the site---a common addition for those using this using this program.

The letters spinning wildly around, following the path of mouse movements is the creation of Jay's mentor in the MIT Media Lab, John Maeda, now president of RISD. More about him later. Another program John once showed me, won my heart over to him. John's mother was an office typist in Japan, a wonderful homage to her memory, was the basis of a program that imitated the sound of a typewriter as you struck the computer keyboard, writing text.

Initially, I'd like to suggest you and Lissa considering the following:

I would very much enjoy having this early mouse trailing a line of type (on the airworks-studio site as a kind of homage expressing my feelings for John Maeda's wonderful work. It remains one of my favorite digital typographic design inventions.

A full screen/page width margins for all the writing which will appear on this site---not taking up so many pages as it would with a narrow column, however this might look nice as a design element..

I favor sans serif body text, with let's say something along the lines of Times Roman for titles , italic Times Roman introductory copy text, say, but I'm up for...???

Three separate sections: Kites (I've got a picture of Blackstone the Magician holding a big ring, ready to pass it over a levitating lady---the confluence pretty much of my life-long career, established at nine-years of age, my fascination with both stage magic and the magic of kites flying in the sky And my sculpture tends often to take the form of lines, tower-like, rising up into the sky, drawing attention as much to sky as to themselves. I've often described them as "ladders into the sky."

Finally , separate "chapters" for kites, sculpture; photography.and books and essays , fiction and non-fiction outside these three primary topics..???? "

So you see we have our work cut out for us. Windsong and I. Almost ten years on from that missive from him. I haven't forgotten and have spent many a late night trying to learn how to make these things. Incorporating these ideas using sound, visuals, interactive play and stimulus.

One of those wonderous life threads where we have no idea where it will take us but that we love following.

Thank you, all of you who have been sending Romig and I messages on the anniversary of Pop's passing this past week, three years ago.

Don't know if you noticed but he was up there in the night sky the previous week. In fine form she and I thought ! Lissa Tal's daughter in Paris