diversification of minds - conversation in processes
design for communities

Tokyo, 07.10 - 09.10 1999




10 07 am<Concepts of Information Design Strategies>
Tanaka Yuzuru, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

Knowledge Farming - Laboratory of Organic Information Matter

Nowadays the research topics of science and technology are diversified and segmented into more and more categories. The number of interdisciplinary research topics has also increased. With increasingly sophisticated research on science and technology, there is a growing need for interdisciplinary and international availability, distribution and exchange of the latest research results, in re-editable and redistributable organic forms, including not only research papers and multimedia documents, but also various tools developed for measurement, analysis, inference, design, planning, and production. Similar needs are also growing for the interdisciplinary and international availability, distribution and exchange of ideas and works among artists, musicians, designers, architects, directors, and producers. We need new media technologies that externalize or materialize scientific, technological, and/or cultural knowledge fragments in an organic way, and promote their advanced use, international distribution, reuse, and re-editing. These media can carry a variety of knowledge resources, replicate themselves, recombine themselves, and be naturally selected by their environment. We call them 'meme media' since they carry what R. Dawkins called 'memes'. Whereas genes exist in a physical environment, 'memes' exist within a society. A fundamental and necessary framework for the growth and distribution of 'memes' is a 'meme pool'. A 'meme pool' is an accumulation of 'memes' in a society and functions like a gene pool. 'Meme media', together with a 'meme pool' provide a framework for the farming of knowledge. When economic activities are introduced, a 'meme pool' becomes a 'meme market' where providers and distributors of 'memes' can carry out their business without prohibiting the re-editing and redistribution of 'memes' by users.

'Meme Media Laboratory' established in October 1996 is conducting research on 'meme media' and 'meme market' architectures based on our preceding research efforts since 1987. We have already developed 2D and 3D 'meme media' architectures; 'IntelligentPad' and 'IntelligentBox' (Fig.1).

'IntelligentPad' represents each component as a pad, a sheet of paper on the screen. A pad can be pasted on another pad to define both a physical containment relationship and a functional linkage between them. Pads can be pasted together to define varieties of multimedia documents and tools. Unless otherwise specified, composite pads are always decomposable and re-editable.
'IntelligentBox' is the 3D extension of 'IntelligentPad'. Suppose for example that someone published an animation of a flying eagle that is composed of a wire-frame model of an eagle that was covered by special boxes that apply deformation to a wire-frame model (Fig.2). One could easily replace this eagle with the wire-frame of a 3D letter A to obtain a flying letter A.

'Piazza' works as a world-wide 'meme pool'. It consists of a Piazza server and a Piazza client. Each Piazza client is represented as a pad. It is associated with a file managed by a Piazza server. Pads can be dragged-and-dropped to and from the associated remote server file (Fig.3). When a Piazza Pad is opened, all the pads registered to the associated server file are immediately downloaded onto this pad and become available. An entrance link to a Piazza Pad is also represented as a pad, and can be put on another Piazza Pad to define a link. Users are welcome to install their Piazza servers anywhere, anytime, and to publish their client pads. Piazza enables end users to open their own gallery of pads on the Internet or exhibit in some other private or public space.

Our meme market architecture consists of Piazza and a charging mechanism which registers the re-distribution and re-editing of Piazza Pads or Boxes among users.



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