Friday, March 7, 2008

Arts vs. Engineering, A study in Bissociation

In our UOCD class, we have reading every two weeks. Usually rather dull, one passage stuck out to me-- a passage about bissociation. Bissociation is taking two unrelated ideas, and then trying to think of an idea that involves an intersection between them. We will get to the examples soon (for those not in the know), but the point remains: bissociation is a powerful tool for ideation, and after the book example where the author generates almost a half a dozen patentable ideas in a number of minutes, I had to try it.

As far as I know, bissociation is largely unregulated and undirected. However, I tried to apply it in particular to the last lecture, which contrasted art with engineering. So I generated 15 "fields" in arts and engineering. They were paired up down the line, and the ideation began. Here are some ideas for your consideration.

painting + computer
How about a touch screen computer that recognizes a number of stylus-type tools that are touching it. They could represent different users in collaborative work or multi-player games, or they could represent different brushes in art/drawing programs.

drawing + application
How about if mouse gestures were used commonly across an operating system, or at least in the document explorer and all major applications. They're handy for firefox, but I want more.

sculpture + webapp
Famous work of art at museums could have small cameras located near them that show, online, who's viewing the art, who's drawing it, who's sitting down at that bench in the middle of the room, who's running around... or who's stealing it in the middle of the night (MFA heist, anyone?).

modern art + embedded systems
For a cool gallery exhibit of art, try this: The gallery is darkened, but upon entering, each user is given a headset that has an infrared beam shooting straight out in front of it. Sensors pick up the IR and light up the works near where they're looking. Alternatively, the whole environment could be structured to react to be pitch black with no IR, but alive and lit with IR.

kinetic art + circuits
Initially I thought of trying to represent circuits as cars. It seemed good until I realized that voltage would be something like "tail-gating and pressure from other drivers to speed". No component, either in traffic flow or in circuits, seems directly translatable to something in the other realm. Let me know if you think of one.

composing + signals/systems
It would be cool is some program let me make MIDI synths (or alternatively, actual synths) by viewing the Fourier transform of the wave and then dragging frequency responses for various frequencies to greater or less amplitudes.

dance + materials science
Lauren (yes, the Lauren we know and love) helped with this prompt. We thought of a spectacular dance show that was inspired by cool materials:
  • tap-dancing on pools of non-newtonian fluids
  • tango with suits made of color-changing-with-temperature materials (ie moodring jumpsuits, which is a cool band name, b-t-dubs)
  • blind-folded capoeria.
The rest of the pairings, which I will leave as an exercise for the reader (ie put 'em in the comments) are...
graphic design + robotics, writing + urban planning, screenplay/drama + mechanical design, film + vehicles, rock/modern music + buildings, musical + manufacturing, landscape architecture + interface design.

I realize I left out a wide variety of both arts and engineering topics, not to mention fashion design and poetry. Another exercise for the reader I suppose.


Mel said...

Okay, somebody needs to choreograph a dance atop a pool of non-Newtonian fluid. Now.

Greg Marra said...

That would be pretty awesome. You'd have to move quick.