Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Applications of Interactive Telecommunications Technology - 1st Class

Yesterday, I attended the first session of the Applications of Interactive Telecommunications Technology course. This foundation course focuses on exploring the many ways that these technologies have been used by notable figures from a wide range of industries (in the form of product, service or concept) to support their artistic, personal and business endeavors. The course is taught by Red Burns, who is the chair of the ITP program and has been responsible for guiding the program's evolution.  It is also the only course that every first-year student attends together.

The sessions are structured into two one-hour and a half blocks: in the first part of the class student groups present a reaction to a topic discussed by a guest speaker from a previous session; during the second half a guest speaker is invited to share how they use (and have used) interactive telecommunications technology within their respective fields of expertise - the identity of the speakers is kept under wraps so we never know what the topic will be.

The main deliverables for this class are the presentation (My group is responsible for the presentation on the week of 12/8), and a paper inspired by or related to my experience riding a New York city bus (this is due on September 22 for my group).

Over the weekend I purchased the mandatory reading for this course, a short book by John Maeda called The Laws of Simplicity (blog associated to book). I have not finished reading the book yet, which is kind of embarrassing considering how short it is. At a high level, the book focuses on providing strategies to help individuals and organizations simplify products, services, and life in general. This addresses the longing for simplicity that has arisen as a response/reaction to the increasing level of complexity inherent in modern living, products and services.

On our first class we welcomed Vito Acconci as our special guests. Being somewhat (if not totally ignorant) about contemporary art, I was not familiar with him. Since the late 60s Vito has explored poetry, videos, installation art, and, his most recent medium of choice, architecture. His work across all of these phase carries through a provocative and playful perspective. What inspires me most about Vito is his courage to re-create himself and master new realms.

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