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by Chris Bell
Use your words! What twitter can learn from the history of western art.
Starting under the watchful gaze of an insane king, before leaping back to the dying words of an 11th Century Islamic missionary, Chris will smear his way through a thousand years of artistic endeavour, sketching parallels with the short life of mobile communications and the nascent explosion of the social web.
If you use twitter at all (and, frankly, if you’re here that’s an almost nailed-on certainty), you’ll need to sit still for ten minutes and pay attention.
by Matt Edgar
An uneducated engineer sets up in competition with one of the biggest names of the industrial revolution. He undercuts their prices, poaches their staff and is suspected of stealing their trade secrets.
They retaliate with a campaign of dirty tricks and litigation aimed at stopping this upstart in his tracks. We’ll wrestle dilemmas as fresh and controversial today as they were 200 years ago.
How much protection can one claim for inventions in a rapidly changing field? Is business success down to innovation or execution? And what happens when a start-up founder hands over the reins to the next generation?
by Nick Foster
Biology and the natural world have been a permanent influence on design, from early visual decoration through to the current explosion in biomimcry.
Typically the natural world has influenced the designed aspects of a single object. My study has focussed on how iterative releases of designed products follow similar patterns to those found in natural evolution. Parallels can be drawn between the environmental fitness of an organism, and the success of the 'fittest' designed object. Rapid changes in environment allow for mutants to succeed and explosions in the number of phenotypes. Biological evolution also helps shed some light on the patterns convergent products follow, when compared to cross breeding in animals.
Interestingly though, the loose theory falls down somewhat, as designed products are not frozen at birth (as with DNA imprints). Hacks, misuse and modifications allow for products to change during their lifetime. This nicely links into a couple of spurious evolutionary theories from the likes of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.
Cities were formed in an age of horse, train and car.
How might the fabric of our cities change as we use more bikes?
by James Wallis
Are there some things that you, as an aspiring writer, should or shouldn’t include in the title of your book? James Wallis looks at one particular niche of fiction publishing, with particular reference to the National Socialist government of Germany 1933-1945, and draws a few conclusions.
by Chris Dymond
Chris moved around quite a lot as a child, but spent the majority of his formative years in a rural-ish bit of Switzerland just north of the Alps. He was the first kid in his school to have a computer at home and was quite ‘into them’, growing up (when he was 14 he even stole his own bicycle in order to buy a Sinclair Spectrum with the insurance money). This inevitably led to him studying Computer Science and getting a job designing user interfaces for bulletin board systems in the late 80s.
Which in turn inevitably led to him co-founding a web-design company in 1995 and then liquidating it 6 years later when people suddenly decided they didn’t want websites any more. Which in turn led to him getting a degree in the humanities and a masters in international politics.
He now lives in Sheffield with his wife and two boys where he is Innovation Director for Technophobia. Over the years Chris has delivered projects for 4 local authorities, at least 5 banks, a university, several government departments, a whole bunch of multinationals and a purveyor of naive art.
I'm going to talk about Lego. Everyone loves Lego. Very few people have a bad word to say against it (except when they step on a two-by-four barefoot).
The Lego company have made plenty of mistakes, and have caused big controversies: from messing with the greys to pronouncing a new policy on skin colour. So this talk will give you a rundown on lessons from the brick.
For several months in early 2010, Suw tracked, in considerable detail the exploits of Eyjafjallajökull, The Little Volcano Who Could (Close Airports Around Europe On A Whim).
Part of a community of vulcanologists and lay enthusiasts, she watched for earthquake swarms, monitored live webcams, and attempted to interpret interesting yellow blobs on the volcano’s infrared cam.
For your delight and delectation, Suw will be attempting to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull live on stage, as well as pointing out some of the more interesting aspects of the eruption.
by Oli Shaw
The art & game of 'catching sleepers' - The public transport passengers who fall asleep whilst journeying on buses, trains, tubes and alike.
What started off as a passing curiosity to alleviate the monotony of my long daily commute soon developed into a year long ‘lite’ anthropological study on the behavior of ‘sleepers’ on public transport. Through this study I have been looking at identifying the traits, behaviors and patterns of sleepers. What similarities could be found in the type of person that makes a ‘sleeper’? As well as the pros & cons of different sleeping methods and tactics.
Through the documentation of this study I’ve developed a simple game for continued entertainment in which others can competitively play the game of ‘Catching sleepers’ too."
by Tom Armitage
The thing that make games Games isn't joypads, or score, or 3D graphics, or little bits of cardboard, or many-sided dice. It's the rules and mechanics beating in their little clockwork hearts.
That may be a somewhat dry reduction of thousands of years of fun, but my aim is to celebrate and explore the many things that games (and other systems media) do with the rules at their foundation. And, on the way, perhaps change your mind at exactly what rules are for.
I’m going to talk about Wikiality & Journeys Into The Surreal. Or less pretentiously put, I wonder how many lies you can tell someone before they actually stop believing you.
Since stumbling across the ideas of Truthiness and Wikiality thanks to the genius of Stephen Colbert, I have been both amused and fascinated by the border between fact and fiction. Throw in a smattering of Algorithmic Authority and dash of Historiography and I have been somewhat mind-sploded.
And so, I’m hoping to unpick all these bullshit words and explore the idea that the web is the greatest canvas a storyteller could ever be given to take us on a demented yet believable journey of real, unreal, fantasy or truth. I hope.
by Marcus Brown
In the spring of 2006, Marcus Brown left his apartment in Munich, turned left, only to wake up 12 days later in a tent. The tent was on a camping site next to Lake Ammer just south of Munich. This surprised Marcus a little as he didn’t know how it had got there, nor where he had been for the twelve days previous.
Marcus will be talking about these missing twelve days (which he has been able to piece together now) and his subsequent, self enforced stay at a hospital and the amazing group of people he met there. He will be talking about the smell of socks, card playing Turkish men, and playing pool with against a man who suffered from panic attacks. More than anything, however, he will be talking about what it was like to realize that he wasn’t mad and being loved.
by Herb Kim
Herb Kim was born in Brooklyn, NY. His parents were Korean and he lived on the divide separating a shrinking community of retired Jewish folk and a growing Hispanic community. This, as it turned out, would be the first of many cultural challenges that would present itself in Herb's life.
In 1997 Herb moved from New York to Oxford and began to experience the expression - "two countries separated by a common language." In his most recent cultural dislocation, Herb relocated with his young family to the country of Liverpool. In this talk Herb talk about some of his personal observations, challenges & experiences in his journey from Brooklyn to Brookside.
by Gemma Teed
Side saddle is making a comeback, thanks to a small but dedicated group of riders determined to uphold the traditions of this elegant way of riding.
But beneath the demure skirt of the riding habit lies not only a complicated tangle of legs, straps and pads that help the rider stay on, but a saddle that evolved over the centuries to give women the security and independence that allowed them to ride on equal terms with men.
Understanding a little about how the side saddle and riding habit evolved demonstrates how objects are adapted to their environment and suggests that perhaps we should look for the joy in rediscovering more supposedly outdated equipment.
by Toby Barnes
Bond films are filled with awe inspiring architecture, often where the traditional climactic rendezvous between Bond and his nemesis takes place.
Be dazzled by the rhythmic concrete facades! Thrill to the earth-toned interiors! Swoon over the long internal perspectives. Salivate over the minimal detailing! Then watch it all get blown to smithereens!
“Almost inevitably, the building does not survive its encounter with Bond, and as he saunters away from its smoking ruins, it occurred to me that few buildings ever do.” Steve Rose, Guardian Film Review, Quantum of Solace.
Who does Bond think he is? A tool of the British Government, he constantly removes the vehicles and tools created by global corporate leaders, employing thousands (yes for their nefarious deeds)
and returning us to the dark ages. Would he prefer we live in a mock tudor gated community surrounded by the past.
As a militant modernist I nostalgically look at our future, and why we must denounce bond as a philistine.
13th November 2010