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Past

The Mother of All Demos

On December 9, 1968, Douglas C. Engelbart and the group of 17 researchers working with him in the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA, presented a 90-minute live public demonstration of the online system, NLS, they had been working on since 1962. The public presentation was a session of the […]

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Past

Myron Krueger

Golan Levin’s Prequels to Everyday Life has a great discussion of how new media artists’ influence is often broader than we would originally imagine. …some of today‚Äôs most commonplace and widely-appreciated technologies were initially conceived and prototyped, years ago, by new-media artists. In some instances, we can pick out the unmistakable signature of a single […]

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Past

Aspen Movie Map

I don’t remember when, or where, I first saw the Aspen Movie Map, but I do remember thinking that it was really cool — representing a new digital media world that I wanted to get involved with. Created in the late 1970’s, the Aspen Movie Map was a groundbreaking interactive virtual tour of the real-world […]

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Past Present

Salman Rushdie’s Macintosh

The New York Times has an interesting article (and video demo), Fending Off Digital Decay, Bit by Bit highlighting Emory University and their Salman Rushdie Archives. At Emory they debated what to do with the wealth of digital content Salman Rushdie had donated to them. Among the options: preserve the physical objects (computer, floppy disks, […]

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Past

Voyager (1989-2000)

Watching this video demo of Wired magazine’s prototype tablet app, I was struck by how ordinary it felt. Yes, it was nice to see multiple pages from the magazine, to move fluidly among them, and for those pages to have some embedded interactivity. But overall it felt like a traditional solution. Are publishers ready to […]

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Past

Lovedisk

One of my very favorite early interactive projects was Lovedisk. I first saw it on a CD-ROM of winners from (I think) the 1997 Communication Arts Interactive Design Annual. Every semester, for a couple years after that, I’d show it to my students who would shrug. I think they thought it wasn’t up to Art […]

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Past Present

Magic Books

When I first saw Peter Greenaway’s film “Prospero’s Books” I was drawn to the innovative use of layering and multiple images to visualize the 24 books that made up the film’s arc. I was inspired. I wanted to explore ways to create interactive books with the richness and complexity as the books in the film… […]

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Past

Toshio Iwai

In 1996 I saw the Mediascape exhibition at the Guggenheim SoHo. A collection of digital art, some interactive, it was bold show from a major museum. It received mixed reviews — but one of the pieces there left a lasting impression on me. It was “Piano – As Media Image” by Toshio Iwai. From the […]

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Past Special

Muriel Cooper: Information Landscapes

In 1994 Muriel Cooper presented work at the TED5 conference in Monterey, CA that changed the way designers thought of the possibilities of electronic media. The work, from her group at the MIT Media Lab‘s Visible Language Workshop (or VLW), took typography, literally, into three dimensions — and gave it dynamics and interactivity that had […]

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Past

Symbolics Keyboard

Back in the 80s there was an AI (artificial intelligence) boom – a euphoric time of specialized computers and the belief that we were going to be able to invent smart computer systems. It was after Xerox PARC‘s peak but before personal computers had the computing power that eventually put specialized high-end workstations on the […]

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Past

1963: Sketchpad

Today, in the US, is a holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. It was in 1963 that Dr. King gave his famous, and still relevant, I Have a Dream speach. What was happening with interactive media at that time? Well, most significantly, it was the same year that Ivan Sutherland published his PhD thesis at […]

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Past Present

I.D. and Design Culture

Over the past several years I rarely read I.D. magazine. And so when it was recently announced that the magazine was going to cease publication I wasn’t terribly moved. Yes, it was sad to lose an historic design voice. But the magazine had been feeling less and less relevant. Perhaps it was just another casualty […]