Category Archives: Past


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… Read More

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…… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More

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… Read More