Revenge of the Right Brain

“Until recently, the abilities that led to success in school, work, and business were characteristic of the left hemisphere. They were the sorts of linear, logical, analytical talents measured by SATs and deployed by CPAs. Today, those capabilities are still necessary. But they’re no longer sufficient. In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data, and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are now closer in spirit to the specialties of the right hemisphere – artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent.
Beneath the nervous clatter of our half-completed decade stirs a slow but seismic shift. The Information Age we all prepared for is ending. Rising in its place is what I call the Conceptual Age, an era in which mastery of abilities that we’ve often overlooked and undervalued marks the fault line between who gets ahead and who falls behind.
To some of you, this shift – from an economy built on the logical, sequential abilities of the Information Age to an economy built on the inventive, empathic abilities of the Conceptual Age – sounds delightful. “You had me at hello!” I can hear the painters and nurses exulting.”
Revenge of the Right Brain

Hearing more

“I have also learned more about the role of the brain in hearing. Because of my increased interest in sound, I actually seem to be “hearing more”. Without telling me, my brain has been automatically filtering out certain sounds. How surprising! A sound can reach your ear, but you still don’t hear! Now that I am focusing on sound, the filters are being removed.
Suddenly I’m living in a world that is much richer in sounds.”

Workplace Dish Set

kitmeal.jpgI spend most of my lunches at my desk, eating and reading. It appears it is a common enough activity that not only does the activity have a name – “workers

The Sound of Personality

Just a study which indicates little but always makes for interesting reading.
“People who enjoy blues, jazz, classical and folk are more likely to be creative, open to new experiences and enjoy abstract ideas. They often lean politically to the left. Rentfrow found those who liked pop, country and religious music tend to be more extroverted, trusting of others and hard working. They are often more practical and lean politically to the right.
People who prefer alternative music, rock and heavy metal are inclined to be physically active and adventurous. Dance and hip-hop fans are apt to be more outgoing, athletic and agreeable, yet they were also more likely to view themselves as being physically attractive.”
Read the little bit left I didn’t quote

Instant City

instantcity.jpg“Instant City is a music building game table. one or more players at a table can create architecture using semi-transparent building blocks and in the process make different modular compositions audible. Every performance is unique because the sequence, timing and combination possibilities are completely in the hands of the players! For each game one composition is chosen. To date, eight different musicians have each produced special compositions which serve as the basic music building kits of instant city. The repertoire and compositions can and will be continually renewed/replenished.”
It’s interesting to see the popularity of using tables and block in various forms to provide an interface to sound and music creation.
Instant City

Exhibition challenges

Our exhibition Quiet Please! has brought some interesting challenges which in the busy blur of period leading up to opening day I hadn’t given much thought to.
One of the biggest challenges is maintaining the integrity of the exhibits. The gallery is new and while supportive doesn’t have a great deal of experience hosting these kind of works. The installations use a lot of sensors, projectors, and workstations which require some training to even get them working. It’s nothing too complex of course but minor errors can delay the start of an installation. The cultural bureau manages to keep a member of their staff on site everyday, something I find pretty remarkable as the mind numbing cold and boredom must take it’s toll on their patience. This means one of the team must sit there as well everyday. Something I hadn’t counted on.
We have made one very simple mistake and it’s a mistake made on just about every project I have been apart of in Taiwan. It’s not a problem unique to Taiwan though but perhaps more evident. We didn’t really have a concrete plan in terms of the design of the installations beyond opening day and we didn’t have enough time for adequate testing. Our focus was to make sure everything worked for that day and I guess we thought the following days and weeks would take care of themselves. Problems have arisen with some of the software – problems which are difficult to address especially since it’s pretty hard to motivate people to continue working on something when they have already given so much. A lot of our work needs to be interacted with and luckily no major problems have arisen. But right along side the interactive works are the ones that require passive listening. The experiences are too close together and the sounds bleed together. You need space between the two, especially with children, to allow people to adjust to these two different modes.
Years of performing has ingrained in my mind the concept of performance – weeks of preparation resulting in a single or series of concerts. To have to have that same level of preparation and to have maintain the same level of quality day in and day out is a new challenge.

The End

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity. –Gilda Radner

I hesitate to write anything about work but in this case perhaps a careful exception can be made.
Now that I have had almost week to recover for the preparation for the exhibition and an ill timed cold it is time to deal with a major bombshell. My employer will lay off a significant number of staff. Challenges come in spades it seems as this announcement, preceded by a week of rumours, arrives just as I am supposed to be writing a detailed report on the exhibition. This report forms about 90% of my thesis, is a requirement for the degree, and must be submitted by the end of this month.
The irony of being asked to leave cannot be overstated. And yes though we have a choice as to leave now or in the future I was told very clearly that no work could be found for me.
It’s ironic as I have for a couple years been dissatisfied with the projects I have been apart of and had given some thought to seeking opportunities elsewhere. Now I will likely be forced too.
It’s ironic that it comes on the heels of the relative success of our exhibition. This exhibition was a means of displaying the ideas and prototypes of a short term project we (the team) had initiated. It was interesting high profile work with one of the best combinations of people I have worked with at the company for a long time. I would love to continue working with these people in the future and see the work we have begun result in something great. There is potential in this project I feel and it’s a shame to not be to follow through.
One of the surprising things about this announcement is the sadness I feel. The people I will be leaving are my family. They are my brothers, sisters, and mother. We have fought, some resent me, some don’t like me, and some are my close friends and mentors. They have become my Taiwan family. I am not young and have had the fortune of meeting, working with, and knowing many people in my life. I can honestly say that this group of people will forever be a part of me. The first few years of my employ at this company were a special experience by which all following experiences will never I’m sure compare.
When talking about the same issue Chientai quoted the following:

So do not worry, saying,

The Vice A to Z of Design

Sometimes I like a heavy dose of cynicism with my morning coffee.

Being a designer used to mean you drove a Benz and you could get good drugs. Now it means you own a computer. What the fuck? You start out thinking you’re going to blow people’s minds with your incredibly unique take on the beauty that surrounds us all, and by the time you actually get your career in motion you’re essentially a wedding photographer chained to a desk.
You see, your ideas don’t mean shit to the client. He couldn’t be bothered learning how to use a computer, so what he wants to do is use you as a human paintbrush. Any idea you come up with, no matter how mundane, is going to be further bastardized by his shitty Guido taste until the final result is a perfect example of everything you hate. There, you got into design as part of the solution and now you’re just another part of the problem.

For some reason I thought my jaded view of design was limited to working in Taiwan. Seems the concept of designer as secretary is universal.
Read the full article