12 December 2009

Design for Attention

La fondation Abbé Pierre launched last Wednesday its yearly campaign against indecent or no housing.
Fake mailboxes were installed on buildings at the level of basement windows, in the République and Bastille districts of Paris, to bring awareness to the situation of millions of people who live in poor conditions or on the streets.

I tried to think many times about projects that could bring moments of connection between passers-by and people living in the streets. It's a tough subject, in so many ways. This latest activist action from la fondation Abbé Pierre is brilliantly smart and subtle. It's not coming from an art angle at all but it's a great example for non-intrusive, respectful designs that call for attention to a living situation that is often looked at in a very abstract way from a distant point of view.


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03 February 2009

People for people

Seen on the french geek blog Transnets today: a video seen more than 5 million times on YouTube! It's the song Stand by Me, sung by street musicians all over the world and mixed together in one video by Playing for change. I don't know if it was the specific intention (the said one is "to bring peace through music") but for me it's a very simple and effective way to bring awareness to the people all over the world who earn some of their living with playing in the streets and give them a deserving homage.

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29 November 2008

"Flirting across a distance"

This is the title that the editors of the Stanford-based publication Ambidextrous chose for the article about Passages published in the current Fall/Winter issue, which theme is about "Getting it on"... This issue is somewhat a follow-up to the CHI '06 workshop 'Sexual Interactions: Why we should talk about sex in HCI' organized by Johanna Brewer, Joseph 'Jofish' Kaye, Amanda Williams and Susan Wyche. I was truly happy to have participated to this workshop which was attended by an eclectic and refreshing panel and which surprisingly wasn't easily accepted by the academic community - clearly talking about sex still makes people blush.
I'm glad this workshop continues to propagate echoes and so 2 years later, the organizers' perspective on this subject is also featured in this Ambidextrous issue.

I wouldn't have spontaneously chosen the title "Flirting across a distance" for my article, but it's growing on me. It evokes actually nicely the unclear, unsatisfactory and blurry touch of the Passages experience which is then assimilated with that one of flirting with someone.
I shall thank warmly Amal Dar Aziz for working on this article as my brilliant editor, Lilly Irani as my early correspondent and Amanda Williams for offering me the opportunity to publish an article in this modern and very well designed magazine I discovered while working at Distance Lab.

-->The PDF version of this article is available here for download.
Or you could as well support Ambidextrous by subscribing!

-- Joëlle.

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