New Adventures 2019 - Brendan Dawes' Universal Assembly

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Brendan Dawes is one of those people that you are probably not going to forgot once you've met him or seen his work. Whenever I see his work I either exclaim "Why didn't I think of that!" or "Uh what... how... what... how did you do that!" He's brilliant and incredibly humble about it. All he wants to do is have fun and experiment, and you can tell instantly how lucky he feels to be able to get paid for it. His talk was wonderful and very inspiring, here are the notes I wrote but I'm sure I missed some bits as I was busy buying some parts for my own little project!

  • Simon Collison's: “Brendan is important to me because he reminds us of the possibilities”
  • Notification for putting the bins out “making the web work for me”
  • There is a standard to writing music, but you don’t have to write music that way
  • “I will defend this guy doing this stuff to the day I die” John Cage's way of writing music being very different to the standard way. He isn't a fan of the music but wants everyone to do as they wish
  • “HTML is kind of like that, you can deviate from the expected patterns”
  • You can do list or do this... 3D archive. Older in middle newer in outside. He showed his blog posts as a basic HTML list then showed in 3D, the same data but different representation
  • “Kind of interested in things creating forms creating shapes”
  • “I wrote a little thing where the amount of projects creates a soundscape”
  • “Collect, Curate, Combine”
  • “I’ve always collected stuff”
  • “They had no idea how it was made” on making music the old way instead of sampler did via tape but no one knew the difference
  • Does little meaningless projects, couple of hours at a time which go into a folder and potentially use later with clients
  • Quote by Marcel Duchamp about paint being readymade. (Makes me think of JS libraries etc being ready made but used however we want.)
  • Anticipation at beginning of playing a vinyl with scratches etc
  • What is the space between analogue and digital, is it interesting?
  • Music player is not a prototype, use it every single day
  • “It’s called hardware for a reason, it’s bloody hard”
  • “Do things you don’t know how to do”
  • Made visualisation wall for a data lab
  • Making prototypes of led behind fabric
  • Fusion 360 spits out technical drawing
  • Very iterative process
  • “They think they know what data looks like, then they walk in here and think woah what why is data in a fabric thingy”
  • “Pencil shavings are kind of remnants of the process” (I LOVED this... photo of pencil shavings in a line showing the work over a fortnight. Not a data visualisation as such but kind of a ghost of the process)
  • “We can be too quick to throw away things that can be the key moment”
  • “Let naivety seep into your process a bit”
  • Really interesting data visualisation about oil
  • Gave start and end lat/long but not ships route
  • Did another how the crow flies... It was a mistake in process of trying to make ships accurate and became the invite for the visualisation
  • “Create environments for others to play within”
  • “When I was making the happiness machine I didn’t think the audience it would appeal to would be three elderly ladies in Germany who stood outside in the rain reading happy things from the internet”
  • They don’t care about arduino “what they are connecting with is the output and the stories”
  • “That’s great, but let’s do something else” in response to Airbnb wanting to to use the happiness machine
  • Could only text it in the room, 5000 during a week at sundance. Only 1 swear, no admin
  • “Thought it would be about coffee shop down the road” “these were like essays via text message and people really engaged with it”
  • “Make it simple, wasn’t asking to log in or download an app just send a text message”
  • “Make a thing to make a thing” this came from something he “put out in the world for free”
  • Made wood 3D printed data, put back in the woodland where the data was about
  • Mail chimp notification push-uper “it’s stupid it’s ridiculous I know, I don’t care” basically when he got an email from particular person a note on his desk would raise up for a while then go back down
  • “Everything starts out ugly”
  • “It’s ugly, all I’m trying to do at this point is create criticism”
  • Twitter aquarium, flocking plus sine waves looks like fish swimming
  • “Really quite boring swimming in square box, where’s the poetry in that”
  • Got a selfie of your creature, created from twitter profile
  • 3D printed them
  • “Document your work”
  • “Stop telling me how busy you are I don’t care”

Feel free to read the rest of my notes from New Adventures.