By Dr. Geoff Bell, Associate Professor, MS Shanghai China campus
Recently I brought my MS in Emergent Media students to a Hackerspace in Shanghai called XinCheJian (translates to “new workshop”). Their website describes it as follows: “Hackerspaces are community-operated physical places all around the world, where people can meet and have fun on their projects. XinCheJian, the first of many Hackerspaces in China, is one of the many hundreds of Hackerspaces all around the world. Each Hackerspace is an autonomous entity, but they all share the same philosophy of having fun building things. A Hackerspace is an environment where people can learn and tinker with technology, work in teams, and participate in international competitions where many new opportunities can be found and created for all.”
Every Wednesday evening from 7:00 – 9:00 pm XinCheJian holds an open house where innovators are invited to give a 10 minute presentation on their work. On this particular evening, our students listened to several innovators working in an array of disciplines. One speaker gave a presentation about making custom-made keyboards from scratch. Another speaker, Vivian Xu gave a presentation on her bio-media which examines devices that manipulate bacteria cultures for producing images. During this fun-filled evening, students gained valuable insights into the innovation community, which will surely inspire their own work in our program.
Dr. Geoffrey Bell is a media and communications scholar, artist and designer who combines emerging technologies with traditional media. Bell’s work has been presented at Eyebeam Museum of Art and Technology, Bap Lab Festival in New York City, The DC Arts Center in Washington D.C. and various festivals and group shows in Europe and Asia. His artistic projects include multimedia theatrical productions, interactive video installation and experimental animation. As a designer, he has worked for a variety of clients including MTV.com, Internationally acclaimed cartoonist Ted Rall, and various NYC entrepreneurs. His forthcoming book, On Techne of Authority: Political Economy in a Digital Age will be published by Atropos Press in fall 2013.