Sunday, May 31, 2009

Are you with me doctor Woohoo?

I spent the last couple of days with Dr. Woohoo, aka Drew Trujillo, an artist/coder who lives in Albuquerque and is mixing it up at the Santa Fe Complex.  He was in Boston to speak at the Flash on Tap conference at the "other" castle...
He is a fantastic individual with a keen aesthetic sense and a practical sensibility about "connecting the dots" that I find deeply engaging and intuitively promising.  It is hard to articulate the specifics of why Drew's work can be important to City Knowledge, but it feels that way for sure.  Friday, we met at the Media Lab, right where the Center for Bits and Atoms and the the Smart Cities group are located.  Coincidence maybe?  Synchroni-city? We had a creative and inspiring lunch at Kendall square with Ralph Hauwert, his Danish girlfriend Maria (sp?), and Dan Paluska, whom I am sure will be mentioned at greater length in some future blog entries.  No doubt.  Ralph is a 3-D genius whose talents could be really useful to our first-person, game-like simtable applications, and Dan is an installation artist who seems interested in becoming part of  our Postmodern Postmortem team, especially for the taste and touch installations.
Just like Steve Guerin, dr. Woohoo has had multiple academic appointments at MIT over the years.  After lunch, we had a cappuccino-time appoitnment with Joe Ferreira and four PhD students from my former department.  We looked at the online web GIS system that displays the results of the final group project connected with this year's 11.521 course.  
I really got present to how fed up I am with the old school thematic maps on mapserver.  So 1.0! Boooooooooring....  Time to move on!  
We discussed ways to represent 2nd order phenomena like flows and fluxes using fiilaments and pipes, so that images can shuttle from WMS to photoshop and back through openframeworks and maya to produce the 10Xbetter visualizations of urban dynamics that we all are striving for. This is a main battleground for our future efforts, which will need to include all other senses as well, starting with sonification with Marty and Fred and moving to touch, smell and taste in that order, with a sixth sense hovering around the entire milieu.  
There is going to be much more coming your way on these themes....

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