Thursday, November 09, 2006

Monthly Program (BayCHI)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006, 7:30 PM

From Counterculture To Cyberculture: How The Whole Earth Catalog Brought Us Virtual Community
Fred Turner, Assistant Professor, Stanford Department of Communication

... In 1993 just as the Internet was swinging into public view, journalist Howard Rheingold brought a new phrase to public discussions of computer-mediated communication: virtual community. Within months, the phrase had spread from researchers to programmers to corporate CEOs, and virtual communities seemed poised to become one of the defining social formations of the Internet age.

Yet the notion of virtual community substantially predates the advent of networked computing. This presentation will trace the origins of the concept within the Whole Earth network of publications and people. It will show how the rhetoric of virtual community first emerged as what historian Peter Galison has called a "contact language" on one of the most influential computer networks of the 1980s, the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link (the WELL).

It will then demonstrate that the communities who used the early WELL system and the system itself embodied networks and networking habits of mind first developed around the Whole Earth Catalog some twenty years before. Thanks to these connections, Rheingold and other WELL users helped transform a countercultural vision of community into a powerful symbolic resource with which they—and we—have continued to frame our understandings of technological and economic change.

Be the Ball
Greg Niemeyer and Joe McKay, UC Berkeley

... In their creative research and artwork, Joe McKay and Greg Niemeyer explore play as a key method for connecting world and mind. They consider all games as serious games, as they all model modes of interaction between players and the gamespace, and allow players to test diverse strategies for "being in the world". Game interfaces define the physical aspect of such interactions and shape the gameplay experience. Niemeyer and McKay discuss how specific interfaces in their projects define gameplay. They also ask how their projects subvert traditional expectations of interaction, and allow players to experience alternative ways of interacting in real life. After reviewing their separate projects The Color Game, Big Ups, Oxygen Flute, and Good Morning Flowers, they will demonstrate their joint effort, Be the Ball, a game about focus, balance, and being the ball."    (Continued via BayCHI)    [Usability Resources]


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