Motivations, Positions, Approaches

Joel Gethin Lewis

Year Here, Thursday 11th May 2017


  • 0930-1000: this presentation
  • 1000-1240: workshop
  • 1240-1300: questions and answer session

What I am going to talk about:

  1. Motivations - why do I do things?
  2. Positions - who am I?
  3. Approaches - how do I do things?

Motivations: why do I do things?

  1. Beauty
  2. Curiosity
  3. Openness
  4. Duty
  5. Death

Motivations: Beauty

Credit: The Feynman Series - "Beauty" by Reid Gower.

Motivations: Curiosity One

Always wanted to see behind the curtain.

Motivations: Curiosity Two

Credit: XKCD.

Motivations: Openness

Portrait of man in black with shoulder-length, wavy brown hair, a large sharp nose, and a distracted gaze

How can we stand on the shoulders of giants if they are secret? Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton, credit: Sir Godfrey Kneller (1689).

Motivations: Duty: Rich and Male

Rich: Top 0.26% / 15,358,481st richest person in the world. Source: Global Rich List

Male: I will earn between 18% and 34% more than a woman with the same qualifications and experience. Source: Gender Pay Gap

Motivations: Duty: White

Credit: Jane Elliott, see also: "How Discrimination Feels".

Motivations: Death One

We don't have much time, why not do something interesting? Source: Wait But Why.

Motivations: Death Two

George Mallory on climbing Everest:
"Because it's there".

Positions: who am I?

  1. Student
  2. Designer
  3. Teacher
  4. Artist

Position: Student: School

Remembering the story of Gauss being challenged to add the numbers 1-100. Maths was a way of being lazy like a fox. Explanation of method.

Position: Student: Undergraduate

There are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary and those that don't.

Realising there could be different numeral systems blew my mind.

Position: Student: Postgraduate One

Media Archaeology and reinventing old media systems for the digital age.

Position: Student: Postgraduate Two

What makes something good? What if objects had opinions?

Position: Student: Life Long Learning

Always learning! Always reading! Currently: Computer Vision and Deep Learning.

Position: Designer

Solving problems - asking people what they want!

Somantics: promoting self-awareness, confidence and independence.

Position: Teacher

As Michael Craig Martin says: supporting people. Portrait by Caroline True.

Story of teaching code to graphic designers at Central Saint Martins.

Position: Artist

Sharing how I see things.

Cosmos: a random journey through the known universe. Walkouts, meditations and joy.

Approaches: how?

  1. Computational thinking
  2. The Force
  3. Be honest with yourself
  4. Realtime
  5. Open source
  6. Presentation skills
  7. Persistence
  8. Collaborate
  9. Honesty
  10. True names
  11. Making systems

Approach: Computational Thinking

Not just nerding! Great way of breaking down any problem, and incidentally the structure of the Universe. Image from Stephen Wolfram's blog.

Approach: The Force

Have reasons for things. They don't have to satisfy anyone else but yourself, but have reasons. Imperial tour given by someone in a Star Wars t-shirt. I found out Ridley Scott went to Royal College of Art.

Approach: be honest with yourself

Temet Nosce: Know Thyself. The most difficult thing of all. What is the thing you find yourself doing when you are supposed to be doing something else?

Approach: Realtime

Adding audio interactivity to Massive Attack stage shows. The moment when 3D pointed the microphone at the crowd! Realtime makes interaction possible.

Approach: Open Source

Many reasons: selling software seems to me to be ethically wrong. Sell support by all means. In addition, you must own the means of production otherwise you are at the mercy of other peoples greed, stupidity and ignorance.

Approach: Presentation skills

Learning how to present technical information without understanding it. No one wants to see a bad presentation. Three minute presentations on unknown subjects. At its most basic, effective communication.

Approach: Persistence

Just keep swimming! Don't give up. Be the last person standing.

Approach: Collaborate

Minimise psychic load - work with people that are better than you, be honest about your shortcomings.

Approach: Honesty

Too lazy to lie.

Approach: True names

Getting the correct name can enable a project to happen. Conversely knowing the true origin of a name can be inspirational. See: A piece of Art as big as India.

Approach: Making systems

Not narratives - enabling people to make their own stories.

Thanks! Workshop time.



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