Learning Clothes, at Fashion Camp NY 2009

Get your Fashion Camp 2009 poster
Fashion Camp Poster

I’ve been thinking about having my own sewing machine for a few years now. I guess I never bought one (that worked properly) because I keep moving around the country too much. Anyway, I think now’s the time. I used a sewing machine occasionally in college, but since then I haven’t had the chance to try again. However, I’m really excited about the chance to try to make my own clothes, and find myself coming up with ideas all the time.

I wasn’t sure how I’d really learn how to make something until…ta-da! I learned about Fashion Camp NY 2009 to be held at ITP this weekend! Oh, joy!

Apparently, Fashion Camp is “Mainstream Fashion, Indie Fashion, and Wearable Technology come together for a weekend of open workshops, presentations, and networking.” So, using a sewing machine is pretty basic, compared to, say, wearable technology? But, still, it’s a weekend of free classes about how to make clothes, or how to think about clothes, or envisioning new fashions, or whatever…. It’s free!

I doubt Anna Wintour will be coming, but if just in case she does, maybe I should think about shining my shoes? If you want to attend and probably not see Anna Wintour, RSVP on the FashionCamp website.

Studying “virtual worlds” in school

My new grad school program is called the Interactive Telecommunications Program, or ITP. ITP is within the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. This is actually my second Master’s degree. One of my major interests is in studying dance and movement, and technology. This semester I’ll be taking a class on Virtual Worlds. I think I should spend some time researching virtual performance, and I’m interested in discovering the similarities and differences of virtual worlds and other studies in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work.

Book cover

From my graphic design class at Parsons. The assignment was to create a book cover for an “American Anthology of Poetry” using some kind of natural element. I immediately thought of an oak tree, but I didn’t really know what layout or design I would use. When I looked up books of American poetry, many of them brought in a red, white and blue color palatte, so I decided to go with that, too. I didn’t want to try to trace the outline of a real oak tree, so I made one out of overlapping circles and an adjusted rectangle. The other students seemed to like it. (Yes, references to my hair were made.)

BookCover – pdf

Book cover

Little Red Riding Hood, with design twist

I’ve been posting this on all my accounts today. As was said on Flowing Data, this video is totally worth 3 minutes of your life. What a fun take on a classic fairytale. Apparently, it was based on this Röyksopp video, which you can catch on YouTube.

I really like the way all of the parts of the story are presented so matter-of-factly, especially Grandma’s calorie count of 10,000 kcal. Actually, after watching this video I was reminded of one key fact/mishap of the story. Even after Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood are saved, Grandma’s still sick. What about that part of the story? I’m sure it doesn’t end well. Well, at least I found the next song I’m gonna get on iTunes.

Multimedia system provides new view of musical performance

As posted from ACM today,

University of Leeds researchers have developed new multimedia technology that will enable musicians to use three-dimensional (3D) computer analysis to improve their technique. Professor Kai Ng has created i-Maestro 3D Augmented Mirror (AMIR), a system that records a musician’s posture and movement while they play, using motion capture and maps the results against ideal performance settings. “Many musicians already use video recordings of their performance to analyze technique, but this only provides a 2D image,” Ng says. “The 3D image and analysis provided by AMIR will be of immense value to musicians and teachers alike.” The prototype was designed for musicians playing stringed instruments, but AMIR could be adapted for other instruments. AMIR works by following markers attached to key points on the instrument and the musician’s body and recording the movement on 12 cameras at 200 frames per second. Bow speed, angle, and position are measured for real-time analysis and feedback. The system also uses a Wii Balance Board to monitor data on the musician’s balance. The musician or teacher can see and hear a video of the performance along with an on-screen analysis of posture and bow technique, and can even go through the performance frame by frame if necessary.

Basically, the university has come up with a way for musicians to use 3-D technology to improve their playing technique. It compares a musician’s body movements to “ideal performance settings”. This is interesting because for professional musicians, who’s to say what the ideal performance setting is? This tool is using technology to apply an objective judgment of a musicians body position in order to affect the (subjective) sound quality of their playing.

Admittedly, I think that most people who would benefit from this tool are students, not necessarily concert musicians, who probably are holding their body in an awkward body position, and thus maybe contributing to a poor or impaired sound quality.

For dance/movement arts, I doubt that this tool could be used for “ideal performance settings” since body position in a performance is mostly up to the choreographer to decide. However, I do think this would be useful for dancers or others wanting to improve their sense of balance and body control – such as the elderly, people with physical or motor disabilities, or people recovering from injuries. Wow…I hope I can invent something like this one day!

The full article is available as a press release at the University of Leeds website. The website has other links, but here’s a link to some screen captures of the tool.

Press Release – http://www.leeds.ac.uk/media/press_releases/current09/i_maestro.htm

Screen Capture – http://www.i-maestro.org/contenuti/contenuto.php?contenuto_id=52&tool=gp

Web design vs. Academia

Academia vs. Web design: The Journal on New Media and Society looks for papers on mobile communication and developing communities. Meanwhile, A List Apart posts an article on improving web design education.

For a Special Edition publication, the Journal on New Media and Society is looking for papers on Mobile Communication and the Developing World.

“We are seeking papers for a special edition of the journal New Media & Society focusing on mobile communication and media, and its impact on the developing world. We are interested in papers that empirically describe the use of mobile practices as well as the convergence of mobile and other platforms in the developing world (e.g. Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe or other locations in the “global south”). Successful papers will examine the integration and use of mobile communication technology and its implications (both positive and negative) in individuals’ lives. We are seeking papers that investigate the global as well as the local appropriations of mobile media use and its relationship to social change and/or development…”

Hrmm… Could this be yet another good reason why the myriad of professions in the “user experience design” field need more original research? Interestingly enough, while I pondered that thougth, I came across A List Apart’s post on elevating web design in academia. The article listed 3 tips for getting involved:

Here are three things you can do today to make a difference in web education:
• connect with a university,
• sponsor an educator, and
• volunteer your time.

I do like the idea of getting professionals more involved in education, but I feel that parts of the article are confusing the business model of web design companies with the academic model of universities. Companies are for-profit entities that ultimately need to make money. Universities are non-profit organizations that ultimately strive to advance knowledge. The two have motivations that can be, and apparently are for the web design industry, mutually exclusive. Their drivers are completely different and require different credentials to advance their needs. Business needs skill. Academia needs knowledge and degrees. It’s not so simple to simply ask universities to give up the need to hire people with graduate degrees. Universities are more established than web design, so why is it that universities are broken? Why not ask businesses to hire people who are “unqualified”, and then spend time training them to be productive in the context of their business? Why isn’t it that web design businesses should change, or at least change their expectations on who they should expect to hire?