Category Archives: CCS MFA

Posts that apply to the school generally

Installation at CCS – Remaking COLLOQUY – Progress Update #5

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Full-scale replica at CCS MFA IxD

When first unveiled in 1968, Gordon Pask’s Colloquy of Mobiles, part of an exhibition in London called Cybernetic Serendipity, was a total surprise and a sensation. Nothing like it had ever been made, an immersive experience with independent mobiles in motion, competing and cooperating with each other. It’s been written about and lauded ever since.

When we unveiled our full-scale replica at MFA Interaction Design at CCS in Detroit on May 11, 2018, just standing around these figures generated surprising insights about human-machine interactions. Read more…

Yolanda Sonnabend – Remaking COLLOQUY – Progress Update #4

The biggest challenge to remaking Pask’s Colloquy of Mobiles is the fabrication of the so-called “female mobiles.” Three large translucent forms, nearly 5 feet high, are extraordinary and other-worldly. They rotate and glow and react to other mobiles and to the humans moving among them with light and sound.

Equally remarkable is the rich career of their designer, Yolanda Sonnabend, who worked at the Royal Ballet in London for over 30 years. Her stage designs for the director and choreographer of the Royal Ballet involved “his more abstract” works. How fitting that she would work with Gordon Pask on the visual design of the Colloquy—for choreography it surely is. Sonnabend once said, “Design is visualization of emotions.” Her female mobiles exude emotion, for they are voluptuous, outragious, fantastical. The male mobiles designed by Pask are complementary and equally fantastical. I wish we could overhear the conversations between Pask (world-class scientist, artist) and Sonnabend (world-class stage designer, painter). Read more…

Revisiting Cybernetic Serendipity

(This post relates closely to our COLLOQUY 2018 Project.) In a spectacular, definitive revisiting, Jasia Reichardt, curator of the original and groundbreaking Cybernetic Serendipity from 1968, provides a walk-through of the entire exhibition in a new video from the D.C. Art Science Evening Rendezvous (images are from her talk).  Read more…

Donate to Fabricate – Remaking COLLOQUY – Update #3

Female forms (left, center, and right) and male forms (rectangular in shape, in front of the female in center.

Female forms (left, center, and right) and male forms (rectangular in shape, in front of the female in center). Rendered from 3D digital model.

To raise visibility and reach our funding goals, a COLLOQUY 2018 DONATE page is now available. In just a few days we’ve raised over $1,400 in individual donations from $25 to $500. We appreciate these generous gifts as well as those of our major donors, who have contributed $27K to date. We’re aiming for $34K by May 11th, our intended opening at the annual CCS Student Exhibition.

The gnarliest challenge to replicating a full-scale version of Gordon Pask‘s work for our COLLOQUY 2018 Project is the so-called “female” mobile shape for Colloquy. We consulted the extraordinary craft facilities here at College for Creative Studies and a few great local fabrication shops in Detroit. (Whoa, now I know what “rotocasting” is.)  Read more…

Paper Presented – Remaking COLLOQUY – Progress Update #2

side-by-side female body

Side-by-side comparison: Photo of original female mobile and 3D-printed model of the female body by TJ McLeish

I wonder if you’ve heard of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour—I love all that, all the way down to the extra ‘u’ for the UK spelling.  As part of their annual conference, AISB held a Symposium in Liverpool today called Cybernetic Serendipity Reimagined, where I gave a 12-minute presentation on the status of the COLLOQUY 2018 Project (download the audio here and slides to follow along here). The presentation was a recap of progress on the project based on a paper published by AISB written by TJ McLeish, master fabricator of the COLLOQUY project, and myself.

Read more…

Remaking COLLOQUY – Progress Update #1

Colloquy as imagined and situated in staging space

Colloquy as imagined and situated in staging space

No, our replica of The Colloquy of Mobiles is not yet real—this is only a photoshopped image of how it will look in our staging space in May at College for Creative Studies in Detroit (CCS). But the photo speaks our intention and hints at our progress.

The CCS MFA Interaction Design (IxD)‘s Colloquy 2018 Project— to remake Gordon Pask‘s original installation at London’s Institute for Contemporary Arts in 1968—is well under way.

CCS students have been mining the historical materials on The Colloquy and building a repository of understanding to share with the world.  Read more…

Remaking Pask’s COLLOQUY OF MOBILES

Gordon Pask's COLLOQUY OF MOBILES 1968

COLLOQUY OF MOBILES 1968 (www.medienkunstnetz.de)

Imagine walking into a gallery and seeing these larger-than-life mobiles hanging from the ceiling — they rotate, blink, squawk, and sometimes synchronize with each other, completely without human intervention. You walk among them, blocking their interactions, using a flashlight to attract their attention, wanting to get in on their conversation.

This was Gordon Pask’s COLLOQUY OF MOBILES at the Institute for Contemporary Art in London, part of an exhibition called Cybernetic Serendipity in 1968. Yes, 50 years ago in 1968 — an exploration of machine-to-machine and person-to-machine conversations in an interactive, immersive environment, perhaps the first of its kind. Frequently praised for its originality and influence, Pask’s COLLOQUY is a precursor to practices of contemporary art and design, as well as a prescient vision of our future with machines that may choose to act on their own.

Read more…