Usman Haque at ars electronica 2011
usman haque, founder of pachube, architect, influential interaction designer, media artist AND(!) businessman gave a brilliant presentation at the architekturforum oberoesterreich today (part of ars electronica festival in linz, austria).
i met usman haque for the first time in 2010 in san sebastian, spain where he was in a show with etoy: sillicon dreams. he presented natural fuse. i was not 100% convinced back then... even one of our TAMATAR was very much attracted to usmans plants: TAMATAR NO 8 left our installation (that had a +200m2 space) just to hang out with natural fuse!
after his show today i have to say: this guy is an excellent example for design on the highest level: intelligent, networked (technically and on a cultural base) to the maximum extent, cool, stylish, critical and very much aware of what he is doing. but more than that: he is a geek who can perfectly communicate his passion for complexity. he SUPER SERIOUSLY considers his audience, failures and challenges in our filed. in his work and research INTERACTION DESIGN is more than another tag. wow. i'm impressed.
after usmans presentation i know better than ever before why i had to leave ecal (university of art and design in lausanne) even i had a super good position (official professor and head of unit of interaction design) in one of the most respected design schools of the world (shows at moma ny, design museum london etc): ecal's understanding of design is funny, funky, trendy and easy to love -> yes... the ecal-quality-level is very high (things are very well done = respect! many universities can learn a lot from this small school), ecal products are super aggressively promoted (which is embarrassing if you have a sense for the limits) and the system is based on a hardcore hierarchy (none, not even the dictator would disagree: it's a dictatorship ... that burns and terrifies people every day). and this is all reflected in its understanding of design: it rejects the complexity of our times. it rejects interaction, openness, tolerance, sharing (everybody was paranoid about stealing ideas)...
the things usman was talking about today are exactly the opposite. and that's the future of smart design. otherwise we will all go down the drain. and it will not even be fun.
i'm 100% sure usman is on the right way! -> strong buy!
FOR ALL OF YOU WHO ARE IN LINZ: tomorrow the Sensing Place / Placing Sense – Symposium will start at 10AM. featuring two of my media culture heros: Joi Ito (former ceo of creative commons and the new director of MIT media lab who will present Safecast.org) and Natalie Jeremijenko.