Light Up Malawi

UPDATE: We’ve raised $6500 and secured a spot at the Unreasonable Institute! Thank you to all of our sponsors and tweeters that helped make us winners in the crowdfunding competition.

This is exciting news, because through the institute this idea hatched during a trip to India in November will get connected to some great advisors and fantastic funding. Light Up Malawi is indeed a very ambitious project, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are determined to bring sustainable energy solutions to one entire country. That’s one nation completely off the grid – using solar, wind, biomass, and kinetic to achieve this. Malawi is where my mother grew up, and I have family there to this day. I grew up hearing her stories about the country and the people. We believe that Malawi is the best place to start on a mission of this magnitude. And we believe we can do it. I hope you’ll join me on what will be a remarkable journey to prove to the world that poverty can be solved with sustainable, strategic solutions.
For more: Go to


Sanjhi & National Geographic

My colleague Chhaya invited me to sit on the advisory board of a Local Rajasthani NGO called Sanjhi. Sanjhi means ‘mutuality’ and community participation. Here is a video recap of the January 2009 Sanjhi Photo Camp done in collaboration with National Geographic- detailing the learnings from the village kids and their new understanding and appreciation of the environment through photography.

Bing This, Google That

Different search engines are good for different things, and the belief that google is the be all, end all of search just doesn’t stand true anymore. I worked on the launch of Microsoft’s Bing search engine (before it had an official name) and I was very impressed with it.

It is hands down the best place to search for travel related things – as they have integrated the ‘farecast’ engine into Bing. The nice thing about that are the predictive fares display based on data from the past 3 years. Google is still great for general things, but for the most part when I need to find something specific to the design world, I end up looking into my own network on Delicious – and that’s where the more intricate search items are found faster. Twitter’s hash tagging is really holding it back from being a helpful tool for search, but perhaps there will be a twitter search engine that allows for community based search. I for one, know that there is nothing better than that especially when you’re searching for obscure art, technology and design references. Sometimes, the echo chamber really is the best place to find what you’re looking for.

Graffiti Research in Action

Update: These guys are taking home awards left and right and finally got a website together too:
Here’s the situation: Tempt One, the legendary writer has been hospitalized for the past two years with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease). The muscular atrophy has taken away his ability to write graffiti. Enter the Graffiti Research Lab (and good friends) James Powderly, Evan Roth and Theo Watson and Zachary Lieberman. They were asked to come to Venice, California and find a way to use eye-tracking software (something I remember from James’ thesis project back at ITP) and their L.A.S.E.R tag tools to make the impossible possible again. When they decided to join this project they had little idea if it would actually work, but they worked hard and fast. Theo recently did a guest lecture in my class at the HvA in Amsterdam and shared a bit about the project and the creative technology behind it: openFrameworks. Day #8: Introductions from Evan Roth on Vimeo. More Documentation Here: Project was facilitated by The Ebeling Group.

UCLA Lecture @ Dept. Of Information Studies

I was asked by UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan to come share my thoughts on public space, public data and public content creation. I gave a talk starting with public space, and expanded the definition to eventually include public data and an analysis of how these elements effect our creativity. A dialogue about how much time we spend in our screen environments and ‘actual’ public space soon ensued. I haven’t given too much thought lately about how much time I spend on the screen and facebook and my other screenbased activities – but I have noticed how its truly affecting my creativity. In fact, after a hike or a swim, I feel back at the level of creativity where I was when I was a kid – so I highly encourage you to get outside before you delve too deep into the public ‘web’ spaces. Its just not the same thought creation process you’d get from the organic world.

Here are some slides from the lecture: