People doing strange things with electricity

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7:30pm Wednesday
11 October 2006

BOCA - Bar of Contemporary Art
414 Jessie (off 5th @ Mission)
San Francisco, CA

FREE ADMISSION but donations most welcome to help out our generous hosts!

Feel free to bring snacks to share!

BOCA - Bar of Contemporary Art


Tim Hunkin - Reinventing the Amusement Space

Tim Hunkin talks about his flourishing UK arcade, full of homemade coin operated games and simulator rides. Microbreak, the three minute all inclusive package holiday: Mobility Masterclass, train for your future by crossing the freeway with a walker: Test your nerve, how long do you dare put your hand inside the mad dog's cage: and many, many more. He shows how the machines are made, using cannibalised old arcade and gym machines and cheap consumer electronics.

Arcades used to be exciting places where you first tried the latest video games. They have a history of technical innovation going back 100 years, when many people's first experience of moving images was Edison's coin operated Kinescope. Arcades today have forgotten their innovative past and are cynically focussing on gambling machines. Its time for a revival!

Tim Hunkin trained as an engineer, but then became a cartoonist (drawing a strip for a UK sunday paper called The Rudiments of Wisdom for 15 years). His next career was in television (writing and presenting three series called The Secret Life of Machines for Channel 4). For the next ten years he worked for museums, building interactive exhibits and curating and designing exhibitions. He is currently obsessed with his amusement arcade on Southwold pier.
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Mike Kuniavsky - The Coming Age of Magic

Increasingly, the devices in our lives have behaviors that we do not, and cannot, fully control, based on technologies that are difficult to understand. This situation can be frustrating. For us nerds, these frustrations may drive our desire to hack technology or they may create a nostalgia for technologies whose power is easier to understand (or at least touch). However, many people have to live with this tech and make it do what it's supposed to (or at least what we expect of it), but few will have the time to delve into how it works.

How can we explain the functionality of new technologies in a useful way when their actual functionality is highly complex and interrelated?

The desktop metaphor was useful for twenty years as a way to structure and explain information-processing technology. I propose using "magic" as a replacement metaphor when creating technology, instead of the desktop metaphor. Not pretending that technology is magic so as to avoid explaining how it works, but as a framework for communicating how devices work and interact with each other and with us.

Mike Kuniavsky is a consultant, designer, author, and researcher focused on the experience of technology and how it affects design and business. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a dual degree in Computer Science and Film/Video Studies. In 2003 he wrote Observing the User Experience and is currently working on a book of case studies of user experience design for mobile and ubiquitous computing due in 2007 from Elsevier.
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SNACKS FROM Unicorn Precinct XIII: Food Hacking Ground Zero:

  • candied ao-shiso- that green spicy leaf you get served with sushi (not the plastic replica)
  • fernet jelly drops- every hipster's favorite impenetrable bitter, nicely diffused through a sugary delicious jelly drop, allowing you to inspect all 27 herbs+spices without wincing and cryin out to mama.
  • chartreuse jelly (the green kind)- floral angelica and absinthe-like qualities
  • ng ka py jelly - amber sorghum herbal whiskey from china+chinatown
  • xtabentun jelly - rare mayan liqueur made from floral yucatan honey and anise. hard to find outside of mexico! bottle courtesy of foodhacker and dorkbotSF presenter alumnus jennifer granick.

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