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Call for Action!

January 22, 2009

Above, Katrin Verclas talking about the field of mobile technologies for social change.
Below: The Hackathon…

Baby Votes

December 17, 2008

Jackie and Helen, two MIT graduate students, are making the bassinet safe for democracy: They have decided to name their baby through Selectricity , Mako & Co.’s online voting system. The baby is completely adorable (The tattoo is just a simulation. Perhaps something to consider?), Helen is well, and there was an auspicious first snow last night.
Congratulations to the very happy parents!

All the Rüst That’s Fit to Print

December 13, 2008

Annina Rüst, Swiss-born artist-inventor and CCG graduate was selected for this year’s NYT Year in Ideas. Congratulations to Annina, whose creativity and dedication are unmatched. We look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Carbon Penance


We all contribute to climate change, but none of us can individually be blamed for it. So we walk around with a free-floating sense of guilt that’s unlikely to be lifted by the purchase of wind-power credits or halogen bulbs. Annina Rüst, a Swiss-born artist-inventor, wanted to help relieve these anxieties by giving people a tangible reminder of their own energy use, as well as an outlet for the feelings of complicity, shame and powerlessness that surround the question of global warming.
So she built a translucent leg band that keeps track of your electricity consumption. When it detects, via a special power monitor, that

We walk around with a free-floating sense of guilt that’s unlikely to be lifted by the purchase of wind-power credits.

electric current levels have exceeded a certain threshold, the wireless device slowly drives six stainless-steel thorns into the flesh of your leg. “It’s therapy for environmental guilt,” says Rüst, who modeled her “personal techno-garter” on the spiked bands worn as a means of self-mortification by a monk in Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code.” (Brown de-rived the idea from the bands worn by some celibate members of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei.)
Rüst built her prototype while working at the Computing Culture group of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also designed the band to punish wearers if they don’t spend enough time talking to their carbon-fixing houseplants. But first Rüst may have to address a more mundane matter. When the spikes dug in, Rüst says, she noticed that the device “doesn’t hurt that much.”

Tech as in Freedom

November 25, 2008

The Tech as in Freedom workshop at Gallery Sangsangmadang in Seoul was a transformative experience for the Director. The organizer and curator, 박소현, brought together a diverse and talented group of people, and the workshop bubbled like (get ready) a freshly opened jar of kimchi. The director was honored to be involved.

Wearable Technology Detects Abuse

November 10, 2008

Discovery Channel News covered the research work of Adam Whiton and Yolita Nugent into sensing and categorizing violent forces in a wearable system. Excerpt:
“Computers are becoming more wearable. We carry them around in specially sized pockets, stay attached to them via wired or wireless headsets. We even monitor our body with watches or t-shirts designed to measure heart rate, temperature, and perspiration level.
It’s inevitable that as computers become more ubiquitous on the body, they will be enlisted to address social issues, among them abuse.”

Tech as in Freedom

November 7, 2008

The Director will be offering a 3 day workshop, 21/11 – 23/11, at Gallery Sangsangmadang in Seoul, Korea.

Call for Action: IAP class

November 7, 2008

Call for Action! Mobile technologies for activism.
Christopher P. Csikszentmihalyi, Nadav Ahrony
Tue Jan 20 thru Fri Jan 23, 10am-06:00pm, e15-020
Enrollment limited: advance sign up required (see contact below)
Signup by: 15-Dec-2008 Limited to 30 participants.
Participants requested to attend all sessions (non-series) Prereq: None

Call for Action (CfA) is a 4 day intensive seminar on mobile phones and activism. How can mobile networked devices be used for social change, politics, and expression? Can phones help to organize people, gather information, and enable collective action to stop global warming? organize labor? end a war?
Each day we’ll review existing tools for social change, cover techniques for mobile hacking, and piece together new experiments. International speakers ranging from community activists to UNICEF will discuss the problems with existing ICTs, and suggest parameters for new systems. We’ll review protocols like VOIP, SMS, and Asterisk to look at how they may be reused or reconfigured.
Contact: Csikszentmihalyi, e15-020a, csik ahht
Sponsor: Media Arts & Sciences


October 8, 2008


The Director apologizes to the good people at Wits that he was denied entry to South Africa!

The Director will be speaking at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa this Friday. Map here.

Knee High and Risin’

September 19, 2008

A collaboration between Noah Vawter and Jim Toia based on circumstance and Noah’s Ambient Addition work.
Opening November 20th at Williams Center, Lafayette College.

Gas Zappers at Aidekman Arts Center

September 19, 2008

“Gas Zappers”, Aidekman Arts Center, Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA
Reception September 20th, 2008
Featuring soundtrack by Noah Vawter