Future Collaborations

From the Super Sentient City project 2103, a collaboration of MA Textile Futures, Central Saint Martins College, U.K., and MIT, U.S.A.

Knitting through binary code programming

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The future is open and uncertain and where we go will depend on how we relate together. Digital tools can help towards improving the quality of our collaboration and including more people. This is what is exciting.

The future is open and uncertain and where we go will depend on how we relate together. Digital tools can help towards improving the quality of our collaboration and including more people. This is what is exciting.

 

This week was an energetic, positively engaging and thought-provoking culmination in the My Digital  Life project.  Together with my classmates, Caroline Truyol, Ruby Shih and Marie James, we explored how collaborations can be supported by digital tools.  There were other themes and explorations based on personal interest; we were particularly interested in collaborating ourselves. Even having participated in digital collaborations and digital conferences for many years, I was still amazed at how much we have transcended traditional limitations.  However as much as digital tools have enabled more inclusion, they highlight the human sensitivities and human needs underlying all kinds of relationships especially as we get more complex in our interactions.

 

You can see our insights in the Tumblr site futurecollaborations.tumblr.com from our case study of the collaborative project ‘The Super Sentient City’  between MA Textile Futures, CSM and MIT, U.S.A. Without repeating the details of what is on our Tumblr site, I’m interested in seeing the evolutionary nature of digital collaborations. What does the evolutionary nature of collaborations mean? To me it means human development heading to a future of greater complexity, of relating and working together, which includes our past development and awareness of our inner self and outer relationships. The future is open and uncertain and where we go will depend on how we relate together. Digital tools can help towards improving the quality of our collaboration and including more people. This is what is exciting.

 

Digital tools can help accelerate the ‘getting to know you’ phase of friendship which helps toward greater openness and trust when working together. We often think only of digital tools being used as a group productivity tool. Still our case study showed that there is a need for a preliminary phase in which people get to know each other personally.  I see this as a need for inner sensitivity and awareness to be expressed in outer relationships. Visual digital-show-and-tell of personal possessions, a digital day-in-the-life diary and personal blogs to share each other’s personal characteristics fill out our perceptions of each other across the digital inter-relationship. Where we would talk with friends, this digital conversation is accelerated and filled out with videos, images, and inner reflections which can be shared with digital partners. We experience another level of inter-relationships opening up with the aid of tools available to help with communication.

 

In heading for the future using new tools and toys which are so fresh and exciting, do we forget the past? There is always a prevalent innate human need for archiving and legacy which I am totally grateful for and I’m happy that this need still exists in digital transactions. In our case study participants spoke of the need to keep records so that we can learn from the past as well as what we do presently. More importantly, all participants we interviewed wanted a physical or digital record of the legacy so that they could experience  closure and celebrate  that people had come together and worked together to  produce something. These legacies are icons of our culture which society needs as we develop and collaborations evolve.

 

Society in general is  going to be connecting and working together more digitally and globally. The context for relationships and connections is already expanding and we need fresh perspectives for our collaborations. Digital tools that go beyond just helping to make working together more productive, but also integrate  human developmental and the actualisation of people’s needs, will help a lot towards us heading together in a positive direction in the future.

 

Image – Thanks to ‘Super Sentient City’ project of MA Textile Futures, Central Saint Martins College & Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A.