Debating the Digital Economy and the Creative Industries

Beyond Text

Connected Digital Economy Catapult

The Technology Strategy Board is consulting widely about the Connected Digital Economy Catapult – “to address the challenges of maximising the economic value of the growing digital economy to UK businesses”.

This is an area of great interest to my colleagues and me at the Centre for Creative Collaboration and we have been involved in previous discussions (in the days of the ‘Technology Innovation Centres’).

On Friday last, I went to the Information Day held by the TSB as part of the process. Here’s some thinking in the form of an audioboo, based on the Storify summary I produced.  My previous post has a liveblog made during the meeting which combines notes and collected tweets from the CDEC hashtag. 

Software for musicians – the art of engineering art

“There is no versioning – there is just the now” says Robert Henke; likening the true expression of digital music-making to the elder days of analogue mixing.

As tools and instruments overlap, what does that mean for how we generate music in the digital age using software?

He spoke insightfully, introduced by Gerhard Behles, another of the co-founders of Abelton, who also joined in the question session at the end of Robert’s prepared remarks.

And it was good thought-provoking stuff. But not one single musical example – which no-one seemed to find odd; and no examples of code or approaches to coding; ditto.

And a very interesting way of thinking about the issues – an expression of the psycho-philosophy of making music through coding – the constraints and complexity; inevitable compromises and how to code music without losing the point in the programming and the process.





Reflections on a Penguin Pool

“Data boils off our cities like aether from an alchemist’s still”

So said Matt Webb of BERG at Arup’s “The Penguin Pool”. He caught my attention still further by saying that we need to “treat data like a material” that it’s like wood; it can be made into new forms and transformed into new objects. He lost my attention later with the ‘Little Printer’ – but let’s come to that when we get to it…

I liked what he said about needing to make data more accessible and human; using techniques of presentation and visualisation to aid insight and interpretation; the presentation of complex data sets as human faces with different expressions and characteristics; the projection of a massive CO2 smoke ring as a representation of carbon footprint of a district heat/power scheme in Scandinavia. And the way he and his colleagues seem to be thinking about the issues looks good, the story he tells is engaging and insightful.

Another idea I really like is the BERGCloud – as I understand it, it’s a kind of integration layer between the looming “Cloud” of massive data objects and real things and people. No detail but a great concept.

I can’t avoid talking about the Little Printer. The presentation was so compelling that, when we got to the Little Printer, I just thought – ok, yeah, right. It wasn’t until later that I had second thoughts. It’s a small, cute looking printer that prints out onto a thermal paper roll (like the receipt printers in shops). It connects to the Internet and you can set it to print out reminders, lists, notes and so on. Doesn’t work for me – but hey; let’s assume it’s a demo of what the BERGCloud might be able to do.

Type as object – Arkitypo

The irony of 3D printing technology being used to print out solid versions of classic typefaces will not be lost on you.

It’s the work of Johnson Banks and Ravensbourne and it’s fantastic. Michael Johnson told us the story of how it came about.

What I like about it is the fusion of craft (typeface design) and technology.

And I remember setting type; composing stick, tweezers for fine point type, quoins, forme. And the smell of the ink and the sound when the impression is made.

If you get the chance to go to a ‘Penguin Pool’ – don’t reflect – just dive in!

And here’s an Audioboo made at the time: