[artinfo] join the open timeline for the history of webdesign

geert geert at xs4all.nl
Wed Oct 6 07:54:22 CEST 2004

Call for Participation:
Open Timeline for the History of Webdesign


We would like to invite you to contribute to the online collective web
design history timeline. This project wants to map your first encounters
with the World Wide Web. It is part of a larger project entitled A
Decade of Webdesign that culminates into an international conference 
in Amsterdam,
January 21-22, 2005 (www.decadeofwebdesign.org).

Open History Timeline
As a core part of the project, beginning before and continuing after the
conference we will initiate an 'open research' website/database into the
first decade of web design.  The online forum will take the form of a
visual and textual timeline generated out of a self-customizable questionnaire.
Using a custom content management system the site will allow for:

. Users to add images, comments and links to make a collective history of
the web as it developed.  Such elements might include histories of their
own first homepage; the first use of a technology; original html code;
reminiscences of key designers, innovators, critics and technologists.

. Using a question based interface users can write their own questions
and respond to those of others.  All questions entered will then be
available, ensuring that no one set of views or way of writing predominates.

. Multi-lingual use.

The site is designed for use both by the general public and as a simple
structured tool which can be used for both research and teaching.  This
project is intended to be of interest to a broad range of disciplines
from design to computer science and from history to sociology. If you are a
teacher we would like to invite you to consider integrating this site
into your curriculum, as a piece of independent research for students, as a
set workshop, or as the basis of a sustained project.

Until recently web design discourses have been dominated by a frantic,
market driven search for the latest and coolest. The ongoing media buzz
around 'demo design' has prevented serious scholarship from happening.
Technical innovations such as frames, shockwave, flash, WAP and 3G have
dominated the field. Until 2001 a substantial part of the sector's
activities was geared towards instruction and consultancy. The dotcom
crash and IT slump have cleared the field-but not necessary in positive ways.

Due to budget cuts organizations now believe they can do without 
design altogether.
Instead of asking ourselves what the Next Big Thing will be, we firmly
believe that future design can be found in its recent past that offers a
rich mix of utopian concepts and undigested controversies. In short, 
these ten years of web design has seen design change as much
as it has seen the impact of a new form of global media. We want to celebrate
this and to use a consideration and testing of the recent past to provide a
platform for thinking about what is to come.

Sessions for the event will be:

-Histories of Web Design
What do social, technical and cultural historians propose as ways to
make an account of the last decade?

-Meaning Structures
As automated site-design becomes increasingly important the history of
the interweaving of technology and culture up to the point of semantic
engineering is mapped out

-Modeling the User
Creativity and usability have often been set up as the two key poles of
web design. This panel asks instead for a more sophisticated narrative
about the change in understanding of user needs and desires over the last ten

- Digital Work
Following on from the Digital Work seminar this panel brings together
key observers and critics of the changing patterns of work in web design
along with designers

- Distributed Design
The web amplified an explosion on non-professional design.  This panel
will ask what happens to design once it becomes a non-specialist network

Confirmed Speakers
Michael Indergaard, John Chris Jones, Peter Luining, Peter Lunenfeld,
Geke van der Wal, Franziska Nori, Danny O'Brien (NTK), Danny O'Brien,  Steven
Pemberton,  Helen Petrie, Ros Gill,  Adrian McKenzie,
Schoenerwissen/OfCD, Jimmy 'Jimbo' Wales, etc. Further speakers are 
yet to be confirmed.

Media Design Research, Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam,
Institute for Network Cultures, Hogeschool van Amsterdam
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Register by sending an email to info at networkcultures.org.

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