CHI Impressions

Here are some impressions of the opening plenary of the 2008 CHI conference.

A snapshot of the conference hall:

The keynote was held by Irene McAra-McWilliam, who is the Head of the School of Design at the Glasgow School of Art. Her talk was very interesting and covered the development of different crafts such as stone cutting, painting or gold forging and how their masters have perfected their control over the respective materials over time. She argued that this is not yet the case for the digital, or virtual, material. Therefore, she stressed, that designers of digital products need to improve their skills in handling their virtual material in order to truly be able to create the same inspiring art in the digital world that had awed people centuries ago.

Below is a photo of her presenting a reading machine envisioned by Athanasius Kirchner, a 17th century scholar. In some ways, she found this machine to resemble today’s Internet as the user was able to quickly change between information in different books. It is often intriguing to see what kind of devices were already though of such a long time ago.

Below are three slides in which she elaborates on the development of design processes from a craft to a transformational process which enables end users to create art of their own.

Here is a photo of the posters area of the conference. In the background, the FacetFolders poster is visible.

And finally, a photo of a multi-touch table display which was and still is constantly surrounded by people, as well as a photo of a (physical) paper-based method for controlling a PowerPoint presentation using a digital “Anoto” pen.


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