Saturday, December 05, 2009

Readings in Digital Design

The Master of Digital Design launched this year with an introductory unit which featured UC alumni Supermanoeuvre, and turned out some great work. Next year it ramps up, with more units and more students - very exciting. I'm currently preparing "Readings in Digital Design", a history and theory unit that presents some key concepts in this nascent, multidisciplinary field (or meta-field). While developing the unit I've also been thinking about how to make the whole course "open" in the broadest sense - accessible, transparent, connective, collaborative. There's a tangle of technical and institutional issues here which I have no single solution to, so in the meantime I'll take a "small pieces loosely joined" approach - this post is the first of those small pieces - the draft reading list at the core of the new unit.

The list attempts to sample the breadth of digital design practices and approaches - so it spans cyberculture, architecture, product design, interaction design, and media art. It also mixes historical sources, academic articles, blog posts and web video, for the same reason, to give a sense of the range of contexts and discourses at work here. With the exception of a couple of firewalled papers (thanks Wiley and ACM), all the sources are freely available online.

Feedback very welcome, as well as additions or gap-plugging - especially on open source in digital design, and tangible / physical computing. Please reuse / remix also, and let me know if you do - call it Creative Commons by-nc-sa.

Readings in Digital Design - Master of Digital Design 2010

Being Digital

Pre/Histories of Digital Design


Open Source

Designing with Data


Ubiquitous Computing and Urban Informatics

Parametricism and its Discontents

Tangible and Physical Computing

Biomimicry, Complexity and Self-Organisation

Redesigning Design

Sustainable Digital?


Sha said...

as a student of Anthony Burke's and now working at Stamen, this ties together a lot of threads i've been thinking about across architecture / web, thanks!

Mitchell said...

Good to hear Sha, thank you.

Leigh Blackall said...

Great line up. I reckon you park this course over at wikiversity. There's a few of us UC folk developing presence there. Sing out if you want a talk-it-up

Greg J. Smith said...

My promised suggestions for digital representation:

Alexander Galloway - "Origins of the First-Person Shooter" in Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (2006)

Alan Liu - "Information is Style" in The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Cultures of Information (2004)

John Maeda - MAEDA@Media (2000)

Lev Manovich - "The Database" in The Language of New Media (2002)

William J. Mitchell - The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era (1992)

Steven Poole - Trigger Happy: The Inner Life of Videogames (2001 - available as free PDF download)

nik gaffney said...

Benyus' "Biomimicry" and "Softness" from Matt Fuller would make worthwhile additions to the list.. .

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

this is a great initiative and I'd love to hear more about both the Master of Digital Design and this on-going list of articles/references. I'm also researching a few things in similar areas and would like to add. Please excuse the non-organised manner and I have't added all the links but most can be found online easily. I hope this helps.



Readings in Digital Design

Some ideas about design, computation and digital processes.

Games & Generative Music.

Hacker's & Painters Essay (2003).
Peter Graham

John Maeda
The Five Reactive Books 1995 -1999

Machine Art (
Stan Vanderbeek

Pearl Park Scriptures
Roman Verostko

Designing Programmes (
Karl Gerstner

The Summer 1968 in London and Zagreb:
Starting or End Point for Computer art?
Christoph Klütsch

Emergence Design in Gaming (
Penelope Sweetser

Art, Emergence and the Computational Sublime
Jon McCormack and Aln Dorin

Free as in Freedom
Richard Stallman Crusade for Free Software
Sam Willaims

Free/Open Source Software. A general Introduction
Kenneth Wong & Phet Sayo

The Journalist as Programmer:
A Case Study of The New York Times Interactive News Technology Department
Cindy Royal,

Computational Models for Expressive Dimensional Typography
Peter Sungil Cho

Computational Information Design
Benjamin Jotham Fry

Lawrence Lessig

The Future of Ideas
Lawrence Lessig

Lev Manovich

Read_me, run_me, execute_me
Code as Executable Text: Software Art and its Focus on Program Code as Performative Text
Inke Arns

Mitchell said...

Mark thanks for that very generous lit-dump!