LIFT07: The Luminous Bath: our new volumetric medium, Ben Cerveny

Ben CervenyWhat does it mean to be in a world of pervasive computing? Since culture started, we've been piling meaning onto objects. Information is "spilling out into space".

Fluidity of attention: "an enormous viscosity of experience blankets the places where we live and work".

Suspension of beliefs: digitally mediated artefacts are created by ourselves out of our attention and are suspended in it.

Memotaxis: all around us are other shards of attention, of other peoples experiences. These objects gather metadata as they receive attention and form more complex structures based on the relationships caused by this metadata.

Aggregate morphologies: (or mashups)

Accretion: in a fluid medium, there isn't a hard line between an object and the medium in which it sits.

Signalling: we have mobile objects, ambient displays, other objects in the environment through which this data flows.

Schooling: organisation on a collective level isn't available to members of a group, in the same way that the shape of a school of fish isn't visible to members of that school.

Decanting: you distil a package of information out of the network, e.g. taking a dump of wikipedia and place it in a static form onto a laptop.

Crystallizing: creating a useful but temporary structure from information.

Lots of biological metaphors here. Talk of "intelligent information", etc.

I think I can summarise bits of this as:

  1. We attach meaning to stuff
  2. We record this meaning digitally
  3. We categorise this meaning
  4. We aggregate these categories
  5. Stuff blends into its environment
  6. We can get the meaning out of stuff and expose it
  7. You can't normally see how this works from the inside

I don't think I understood this fully, but maybe I'm just really tired. I got a bit lost at the moment when the information starts to exhibit behaviour under its own steam...