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Fall 2022 ︎︎︎ SUNY Purchase ︎︎︎ (DES3090) Interactive & Experience Design

Viewing Party: Work (”alternative input systems”)


Before we go deeper into some intellectualization and analaysis of interfaces, I wanted to do a kind of “sampler plate” of different historical moments, art pieces, and (possibly) inspiring work. The closest to an overarching theme is that it involves alternative input systems other than a keyboard, or mouse. Additionally we’ll look at some historical examples and attempt to think about how they might have been perceived at the time.

The point here is both that highly technical pieces are way more accessible and that to do powerful work you don’t need to necessarily be an engineer.

Part 1: Alternatives that are standards

These examples are ideas that were new, or radical when they were thought of but are now commonplace. You probably shouldn’t watch all of Douglas Englebart’s demo from 1968 (it is 1 hour and 40 minutes) but it is worth looking at him talking about using a mouse (of which he is often-credited as the “inventor” of) and how he organizes very basic tasks like creating and editing a grocery list. Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad from 1963 has many of the elements we see in a CAD program or software like Illustrator today. Note that Sketchpad was Sutherland’s PHD thesis at MIT and Englebart’s research was funded by NASA and ARPA; that is to say they were the products of a certain level of privilege and a lingering connection ot the military industrial complex is not negligible. I’m not sure if you saw Jeff Han’s demo before but take note of when people seem to react and applaud; this is from 2006 before the iPad.

Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad

“The Mother of All Demos” by Douglas Englebart

Jeff Han Multi-touch demo

Part 2: Fine Art Absurdity

So below is are some examples that are closer to “fine art.” Some of them require context and explanation which I’ll give, and some are perhaps a bit slower paced. I’d encourage a little patience with some of this work, but please don’t hesitate to give your real opinion.

bodyfuck by Nik Hanselmann

Digit by Julian Maire

Music for Solo Performer by Alvin Lucier

Part 3: Accessibility & Activism

These pieces to me are super exciting, inspiring uses of technology to allow access for others or advocate for them.

Eyewriter by Members of Free Art and Technology (FAT), OpenFrameworks, the Graffiti Research Lab, and The Ebeling Group

Sean Black @black_madness21 explaining his bookmark to flood a Texas abortion reporting site with false reports