Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s)

Christophe Guignard, Patrick Keller, ECAL, CH

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#Unfrozen2016 #fireside talk #cloud #research through design

Based on the analysis of “Cloud Computing”, an infrastructure of services mainly developed by corporate interests and envisioned as a functional and centralized setup, I&IC has three main objectives:

- to explore and propose alternative usages of this iconic infrastructure of our modernity practiced by designers, architects, artists;

- to deliver open source decentralized tools to designers, architects and ethnographers to develop projects including cloud computing technologies out of the usual centralized services provided by the main actors of this domain (Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Dropbox);

- to experiment a “research through design” methodology with transdisciplinary partners from the fields of interaction design, architecture, computer sciences and ethnography.

The results of the first phase of this research project were shown last summer at HeK (Haus der elektronischen Künste, Basel) in the very heart of 'Poetics and Politics of Data', an exhibition curated by Sabine Himmelsbach. A corpus of data interfaces, interaction design and territory management proposals stood alongside with artworks and design installations within a scenography designed by fabric | ch for I&IC.

The positive feedback from visitors and researchers about this interconnection of works created by renowned artists and designers with research outputs strengthens our proposal to publish “research through design” results in the existing and efficient diffusion system of art and design.

I&IC (Inhabiting and Interfacing the Clouds) is a joint design research project that investigates counter-proposals to the current development of “Cloud Computing”, particularly in its forms intended for designers and other end users (“Personal Cloud”). It is an ongoing project led by Prof. Patrick Keller (ECAL) and Prof. Nicolas Nova (HEAD) that includes institutional partners (EPFL/Alice, EPFL + ECAL Lab) as well as independent designers and scientists (Dr. Christian Babski – fabric | ch, James Auger – Auger-Loizeau, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez – #algopop, Dev Joshi – Random International, Sascha Pohflepp).