Posts Tagged ‘video games’

THE conference, Sweden 2016

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

I came to The Conference in Malmö, Sweden as a user experience designer in transition and found it not just inspiring but profound and moving, even tearing up a few times. This past year I’ve been following a a few vague, disparate leads looking for a more holistic vision of design which amazingly materialized at this one gathering. It felt like thee new new and the most interesting potential future to be a part of.

This is the first time I’ve seen ethical and effective approaches to design practice considered at all levels – from macro-economic systems, business and organizational structure, through the design process, down to UI executions and employee support. I’m not sure the word design quite covers it. There were ethnographers, journalists, chefs, researchers and artists working in a range of environments – as solo practitioners, within large corporations, at universities, and at small agencies and collectives. The Conference is not a design conference per se but aims to “explore complexity and trends in the digital world”. There is no defined medium, discipline or industry since it depends on the problem – many of which require multiple platforms and connections between organizations and silos. It’s more a sensibility, materializing based on the focus of the practitioner. Projects have the scale and complexity common in the tech/startup world without the hyper-capitalism (Uber for social infrastructure!) There’s the sophistication, innovation, and high visual/production value commonly reserved for customer-facing corporations and luxury markets, but with the goal of creating a better society.



the real l.a. noire

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

In making stuff, we seem to increasingly be looking backwards as we move forward. Culture is less about making new things than how exactly to bring old things back in just the right balance. Stealing from the past can be dismissed as lazy, but it’s an extremely nuanced process with infinite variations – figuring out the compelling essence and which parts are just obsolete or incidental. The real work of the future may well be that of curator/creators sifting through all the junk (both material and conceptual) to retain and combine things of value that resonate with the present.

I’ve always been obsessed with new-old things. Add other obsessions like LA and spending too much time on a video game and you got LA Noire, the new release by Rockstar Games. It blends storytelling, new acting technology, painstaking production, geographic history, new music, old music, and political commentary to create a pop multi-media extravaganza that reconnects us to a time and place sorta similar and sorta different from the now.

You’ll have to play the game to experience a reality in which LA had light rail, local stores, no freeways, vacant land, Victorian suburbs, people wearing hats unironically and no mini-malls. But if you want to really be inside architecture showcasing craft and symbolism, see Spanish history, watch old movies and vaudeville, lament developer/transportation corruption, and hang out with junkie musicians, you can still find it in this handy chart of real sites seen in the game…