Work & Process
Austin Based
Physical–Digital
Product Designer
Work & Process
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Internet of Things, Internet of Death


Part One: Internet Archaeology

Important Note:
Consider this a prelude for a series of writings I’ll be doing. We’ll be exploring the wonderful world(s) of death culture, internet archival/archaeology, the uncanny valley, (virtual) life after death, and many other fun topics. Please contribute what you’d like to the proceeding texts, this is a conversation.

Let’s begin with a backstory:
A couple of years ago I found myself falling down the internet rabbit hole that was Internet Archaeology —
— In brief, Internet Archaeology was/is comprised of a multitude of people invested in the preservation and recovery of graphic artifacts from the Early Internet. The initial and primary focus of the group was to archive the various detritus left over from Yahoo’s infamous discontinuation of GeoCities; an act which would have easily rid the Internet of much of its’ primordial artifacts, if not for the actions of Internet Archaeology and many others.
What’s important to note is that most of the material saved by archivists was entirely amateur, shoddy, cheesy in the worst ways possible, and completely reprehensible to the ‘aesthetically-inclined eye’. This stuff was as mundanely human as it gets. Was the massive undertaking worth it? How could any sane person equate internet archaeology with IRL archaeology?
In a roundabout way, following the many efforts of internet archivists led me to consider the preservation of ‘Things In General’ —
— I’m a collector at heart, as I’m sure most people are to some degree, and I can easily rattle off the various tchotchkes I’ve come to collect over the years. This is easy. On the other hand, I’m also a rabid fan of image collection via Tumblr, yet it would be difficult for me to remember an image I reblogged 20 images ago.
What are the qualities of digital stuff that make it so easy to forget? I began to find it fascinating that on a popular-societal level, people are totally cool with letting the digital go, forgetting the last cultural event, keeping eyes and minds trained on the ‘next big thing’, etc.
As a designer working in the digital space, ephemerality and the ever-changing nature of the products I design are inherent to the medium. This notion of fluid digital design comes into stark contrast (obviously) with products designed in the physical space; products which inherently carry the heavy baggage of materiality (the need to be crystalized) and supply chain(the coming-together of a multitude of constituent components).
I read something recently which explained this notion beautifully:

Hardware is more like working with rock, while software is water.
— Georg Petschnigg, cofounder of FiftyThree

So how best do we preserve a fluid, living, state?
Internet Archaeology and its contemporaries do the best they can with what they have — static imagery and textual artifacts, representing a Generalized Culture of Many People.
Many People is one thing, but you and I are a completely different ball game.
Part Two: 80 Years
I can say without hesitation that in the next 80 years, the millennial generation will begin to die off, and massive social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else exists at the time will begin to accrue the weight of the dead on their server systems. At the present moment, the process for dealing with death on Facebook is minimally viable at best. People today are utilizing Facebook as-is to remember their dead loved ones using the existing system of likes, comments, and re-sharing, a ritual I’ll revisit later.
While sufficient for the time being, digital death cultures will no doubt change dramatically in the next few decades, and as capitalistic as it may be, massive businesses will need to change the way they operate to sustain the ever-increasing weight of the dead.
Social networks today are the realm of the living, but it’s a simple fact that the past-dead vastly outweigh the amount of people living, at any given time.
In the several writings I’ll soon be cobbling together, we’ll explore how death cultures will change, how best to design a holistic system for memorializing loved ones who’ve passed away, integrating our life stories into historical record, and how present-day and future companies can adapt their platforms for dealing with the dead.
My eventual hope is to co-construct an optimistic vision on how we deal with death in an interconnected world. Feel free to comment or contribute.

This is a Mornings project.
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set up a pretty little headless server today. going to utilize it as digital experimentation space.
set up a pretty little headless server today. going to utilize it as digital experimentation space.
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'Hardware is more like working with rock, while software is water.'
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Been digitizing some sketches for an internet of things project I’ve been working on for Mornings — Solid State Tomb: Internet of Death
Although the project has been primarily concerned with facilitating ‘New Death Cultures’ in the modern age, (resulting in ‘work’ that I’d barely call design work) I’ve taken time to bring back ethereal service-design and experience-design concepts into a form that actually resonates with people: Applications.
This is an app icon sketch for ‘Memory Card’, a service that allows the user to connect with passed-away loved ones’ leftover digital life-fragments. I’ll probably be writing about this in greater detail later.
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Introduction from Mornings on Vimeo.

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the current scene
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the current scene
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Note —
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brushing up, more in a bit
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I’ve been digitally sketching lots of b&w tiles lately — currently inspired by the product i’ve been working on during my day job, scientific flower drawings, technical schematics, and video game ads from the 90s.
I’ve been digitally sketching lots of b&w tiles lately — currently inspired by the product i’ve been working on during my day job, scientific flower drawings, technical schematics, and video game ads from the 90s.
I’ve been digitally sketching lots of b&w tiles lately — currently inspired by the product i’ve been working on during my day job, scientific flower drawings, technical schematics, and video game ads from the 90s.
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ibmblr:

Really? Really.
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I first encountered Amish-made clothing on a short trip to southern Pennsylvania, and was immediately struck by the warmth of the garments. “What could this be?” I wondered, as I felt the varying textures of patchwork fabric. Overcome with curiosity, I asked some nearby community members about the nature of these clothes, and was surprised to learn that the warmth I initially felt had come from the person who made the garment. It was born out of a deep caring for the person for whom it was made, most likely a family member or close friend. The happiness and love of the creator was tangibly manifested in the end product.

I realized that in order to create a product full of warmth, I myself had to be happy.

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Hiroki Nakamura
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shelf-shelf:

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started documenting the slow change of these two shelves I’ve recently put up. hoping to review shelved titles as they’re finished, but let’s see how simple recordings bode.