Ongoing projects

beyondMEASURE

Launching at TEDCannes 2010, beyondMEASURE is an initiative of REGIONAL that advises on how the profusion of personal data can lead to the improvement of our selves and societies.

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World Bank Institute Innovation Winner

In partnership with Adam White of the London School of Economics, REGIONAL was a World Bank Innovation Winner for their current development-oriented mobile start-up. REGIONAL presented their ongoing work at the World Bank’s Conflict and Fragility Week in Cape Town, South Africa in April 2010.

Their tool generates and maintains a dynamic social map of developing regions using information collected from the usage of improved tools for local group communication.

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Technology and Society in Cuba (ongoing)

REGIONAL’s long-term engagement with Cuba has intensified further. Planning is underway for the deployment of a custom technological solution that will significantly ease the transfer of digital information without the use of the internet. In addition to the management of their own project in Cuba, REGIONAL has  been advising other initiatives in Cuba, covering film, architecture and media.

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REGIONAL at the Utrecht Manifest Social Design Biennale (Autumn 2009)

In collaboration with Cynthia Hathaway REGIONAL presented their ongoing work with the Old Order Mennonites at the Utrecht Manifest Social Design Biennale. They shared their research into the old order’s unique and interdependent systems of technology adoption, entrepreneurship, work, and values-driven community and spatial design and explained their presentation of alternative models and design methodologies for collaborative, deliberate and open social design.

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REGIONAL in residence at the Banff New Media Institute (Summer 2009)

Regional was invited to participate in a residency program at the banff new media institute. “The Grounding Open Source Hardware (GOSH!) Summit at The Banff Centre brought together the many and disparate makers, producers, theorizers, and promoters of physical objects that come to life under open and distributed models. The summit highlighted and facilitated the emerging dialogue on both artist-driven and socially conscious open source hardware projects. From prosthetic limbs to electronic hardware, the breadth of projects represented at the summit contributed to the nascent discussion of the commonalities of the movement, and gave rise to OHANDA, the Open Hardware and Design Alliance that will to offer to the open source hardware community licensing options and developmental support.

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Design Policy Program (Summer 2009 & ongoing)

REGIONAL has continued to advise the Design Policy Program at UCSD’s CALIT2. An initiative of Benjamin Bratton, the Program is an interdisciplinary think-tank, technology transfer, and systems design initiative that draws upon scientific and cultural research developed at the University of California, as well as collaborations with artists, researchers, designers, private sector enterprises, policy-makers, citizen-stakeholders and grassroots advocacy groups. The purpose is to identify resilient, resourceful, and unexpected responses to the most complex problems defining the immediate future of California. REGIONAL will advise and help guide the activities and events of the program as it continues to grow and develop.

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Freedom House (Spring 2009)

In Spring 2009 REGIONAL was selected by Freedom House to train and advise a leading Egyptian liberal media entity in the application of new-media tools in the expansion of their role in Egyptian society.  In Sharm el Sheikh and Cairo, REGIONAL led interactive training and strategy programs for a staff of 30 creative-workers and journalists. Subject modules included tactical collaborative filtering and sourcing, citizen-involved journalism, the integration of social networking into publishing models, and editorial and community strategy. In preparing recommendations, REGIONAL performed field-research on the organizational culture of the client and the cultural and operational context in Egypt relevant to the development of new cultural activities. REGIONAL will be continue to advise Freedom House on further resource allocation and developmental priorities for their initiatives supported in Egypt.

Thanks to Will Pate of Entrinsic Partners for technical and professional assistance.

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University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (February 2009)

In February 2009, REGIONAL was invited to participate in the multi-day “Luminous Green Desert Research Gathering” in the Palm Desert of California. Led by the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), the gathering was initiated by Fo.am, the globally-active meta-cultural think-tank and context/structure provider based in Brussels. The Luminous Green project is about enriching the public debate about environmental sustainability, ethical living, eco-technology and design. This Palm Desert edition saw transdisciplinary discussions between artists, designers, academics, engineers, activists, social entrepreneurs,  tactical media workers, economists and policy makers whose practice is informed by ecological thinking as a core value or major concern.  REGIONAL contributed with facilitation and with their work and research about the opportunities of turning ecological and capital scarcity into abundance through networked communities, technologies, and information platforms in extreme environmental, political, and social climates.

Many thanks to Marko Peljhan, Kim Yasuda, Dick Hebdige and ZouZou Manos of UCIRA and Maja Kuzmanovic of Fo.am.

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Service Design lecture at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (February 2009)

Regional was invited to lecture about service design strategies in Ben Bratton’s seminar class on “Interfaces, Networks and Territories” at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. We contextualized case studies from our own practice into the quickly evolving landscape of product-service systems, dematerialized experience of products and spaces, and the coordination of participation, needs and opportunities amongst users, inhabitants and citizens. The intention was to visit contemporary architectural design culture and practice with consideration to the emergent opportunities of designing with intelligent spatial and energy use, positive social augmentation, and optimal dynamic resource distribution.

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Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (Autumn, 2008)

As part of the pilot-year program of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID), Gwendolyn recently co-taught a workshop on Physical Computing with Massimo Banzi (partner in tinker.it and co-inventor of the Arduino).

CIID is an impressive institution that has brought together some of the world’s best thinkers and practitioners in the fields of interaction and service design as advisors, educators, and administrators to develop a masters program affiliated with the Danish Design School.

Gwendolyn’s brief to the students was to challenge the dominant paradigms of networked objects by taking advantage of more humanist and ecological possibilities in crafting worthwhile conversations in network environments.

Physical computing can hack our physical landscapes to create an ecosystem of objects responsive to inputs and outputs that we define, whose “conversations” are conducted in visual, metaphorical, or tangible ways. These invisible conversations can surround us and respond to our directives, but very rarely do they consider inviting us to partake in or influence the dialogue. How can these objects engage us in the conversation, activating us as responsive, responsible, and participatory players in this network?

Using the Arduino platform, the students designed and prototyped a diversity of ideas that spanned public spaces, security, memory, alternative reality gaming, and sociality.

Guest Critics and Massimo Banzi (R)

ebay (globally – 2008)

We assisted ebay in developing long-term capacities within their local classifieds offerings to encourage community-driven resource creation and sharing. Working alongside general managers and involving insights from local markets across the world, the result was a tactical program for the development of tools that allows ebay to anticipate and respond to the emergent needs of culturally unique geographies and user communities.



Harvard (Budapest – Summer 2008)

From June 23-25, Harvard’s Berkman Center for the study of the Internet and Society hosted a three-day event in Budapest with approximately 25 leading academics and practitioners working in the field of the Internet and Democracy. We were invited to speak directly on the subject of the internet and democracy in authoritarian regimes and were on a panel with John Kelly, who alongside the Berkman center recently mapped the Iranian Blogosphere. We presented our research on informal information exchange in Cuba, discussing demoracy as a lived process of pluralistic discourse and decentralized empowerment, and the internet as including all the possibilities of digitally networked public spheres. To conclude we questioned if a smooth transition to democracy from authoritarianism is far from guaranteed, particularly given a long history of state control, and argued that initiatives should center on small ‘d’ democracy for citizens to prepare themselves for collective participation. (excellent documentation from Patrick Meier)



DBA (New York City – currently)

New york’s Sarkissian Mason, “one of the hottest digital agencies around,” (Ad Age) is taking its edgy, ephemeral, and beautiful ethos to the tangible world with the help of REGIONAL. They are launching DBA, a consumer products brand that combines industrial minimalism, cultural intelligence, and sexy aesthetics in a line of products that sits on the cutting edge of environmental sustainability. Many of Gwendolyn Floyd’s designs will be included in the collection.



WEXLA (Salzburg&London – Current)

We are currently developing the integrated design and business strategy for WEXLA, the first company to be entirely cradle to cradle. Already greatly awarded for its shoe technology, we are designing a product-service system that revolves around the idea of co-ownership with the company and the world; buying a product is literally engaging in a subscription to the earth. Rather than making products for obsolescence, we have developed a conduit through which the leading material technology and aesthetics flow to the user, and the worn materials flow back for recycling and refurbishing. For this project we’re working alongside material researchers and designers Rachel Wingfield and Mathias Gmachl, shoe designer Marloes ten Bohmer, the core team based in Salzburg, and Michael Braungart, coauthor of Cradle to Cradle.



REBOOT (Copenhagen – 2008)

We recently gave a talk about the burgeoning field of liberation technology, synthesizing our studies from both developing world and leading-edge technological and social environments. The talk outlined our vision for how technologies liberate societies at critical developmental inflection points – including our own. We outlined our arrival at the new commons, which is the knowledge of our shared resources, and discussed the possibility of liberation coming through integration into each other and our greater ecologies. Spanning micro-democracies to the suburbanization of the internet and the “mobile phone as the new AK47,” the slides and notes are available here.



Shenzhen & Hong Kong biennale of Urbanism and Architecture (Shenzhen, PRC)

Shenzhen has responded to the flattening of the global economy by flattening its own topographical features, replacing natural landmarks with built construction. ‘Foregound’ recreates Shenzhen’s lost topography by mapping a recently removed mountain-ridge onto the central axis of the Biennale site thereby exposing pre-urban ecological networks. By confronting the space between the present and the past, ‘foreground’ stimulates an expanding dialogue on Chinese urbanization and environmentalism.


Self-Portraiture and emerging artistic consciousness in Dafen ‘Oil Painting’ Village (Buji, China)

Sixty-percent of the world’s oil paintings are produced in Dafen, the majority of which are reproductions. This project will productively collaborate with the indigenous creativity and community by encouraging the unique concentration of artistic talent to create original works for the global markets. The first series, an exercise in free-form self-portraiture, in now underway.



Institute for the Future (Palo Alto – 2008)

Following our previous participation in their 10-year forecast retreat and Future of Making conference, REGIONAL consulted for the Institue for the Future’s Green Health Conference. Green Health is where health and the environment intersect, and this conference was a fascinating look at how urbanism, architecture and design affect social, public, and personal health. We focused on the visualization of personal, social and environmental datasets to build collective intelligences that conflate personal and social living with global participation. The opportunities are immense when design begins to integrate bodies, technologies and environments in order to transcend the individual to the level of relationship, community and ecology.

SCI_FI @ the Southern California Institute of Architecture (Los Angeles – 2008)

REGIONAL will be teaching a week-long workshop in the Future Initiatives Master’s program at SCI_Arc, the Southern California institute of Architecture in Los Angeles. We will work to broaden the domain of traditional epidemiology past the study of communicable diseases to the recognition of the physical environment as a determining factor in communication, behavior, and social patterns. As the social-spatial tools of data-mining and visualization are empowering public officials to act with strategic spatial plans, and informal urban interventions are proving greatly effective, students will respond by bringing improvements to the “social epidemiology” of a specific high-priority site.


Stanford Human Computer Interaction (Stanford Univerity – 2008)

The Stanford HCI Department invited us to speak in their ongoing lecture series on People, Computers and Design. The Stanford HCI Group works across disciplines to understand the intersection between humans and computers. For this talk we led an expanded discussion on our work with emerging technology in Cuba and the lessons it offers for social dynamics and technological development across the world. (link to abstract of talk. link to lecture series website)


O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (San Diego – 2008)

“Of necessity and humanity: what Cuba can teach us about ourselves and our own technology.” The Cuban people live in acute technological scarcity, yet illuminate strategies for living and creating in a society of excess. This talk will share inspiring adaptations and surprising interpretations of technology in a country that is constantly on the brink of emergence and complete transformation. (link to conference. link to REGIONAL’s Cuba talk. link to report on BoingBoing. link to Cory Doctorow’s extensive notes.)




MOMA’s Design and the Elastic Mind includes “Surround Sound Eyewear”

Surround Sound Eyewear is a hearing-aid/spectacle hybrid that returns to the hearing-impaired saturating soundscapes and near-perfect speech intelligibility.

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