The Los Angeles Design Technology Forum, in association with the AIA|LA Technology in Architectural Practice Committee and ABC Imaging, is pleased to announce the next event in a monthly series focusing on the intersection of Design and Information Technology.


Anne Balsamo - "Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work"

DATE: Thursday August 18, 2011,   FREE      
TIME: Lecture 7pm,   6pm Wine and Cheese
WHERE: This event will be at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, DeCafe in Perloff Hall. Parking is $10, please see this link for information: parking map.

Post event libations and filler @ To be announced location

Please RSVP to

Anne Balsamo
USC School of Cinematic Arts, Director - Interactive Media Co-Design Lab, Professor - Interactive Media

Designing Culture is a call for taking culture seriously in the design and development of innovative technologies. Balsamo contends that the wellspring of technological innovation is the technological imagination, a quality of mind that enables people to think with technology, to transform what is known into what is possible. She describes the technological imagination at work in several multimedia collaborations in which she was involved as a designer or developer. One of these entailed the creation of an interactive documentary for the NGO Forum held in conjunction with the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. (That documentary is included as a DVD in Designing Culture.) Balsamo also recounts the development of the interactive museum exhibit XFR: Experiments in the Future of Reading, created by the group RED (Research in Experimental Documents) at Xerox PARC. She speculates on what it would mean to cultivate imaginations as ingenious in creating new democratic cultural possibilities as they are in creating new kinds of technologies and digital media. Designing Culture is a manifesto for transforming educational programs and developing learning strategies adequate to the task of inspiring culturally attuned technological imaginations.

Anne @ USC
Designing Culture website


Designing Culture, courtesy of Anne Balsamo

“In this sweeping expansion of the classic innovation literature, Anne Balsamo portrays both the necessity and the challenge of cultivating the technological imagination in all of us. Her experiences as a researcher and designer who has worked across cultural domains—as a humanist in the academy, as a research scientist in an industrial innovation center, and as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley—give her a unique ability to foster conversations among diverse groups of thinkers who want to engage with issues of culture and technological innovation. Balsamo not only describes ways to take culture seriously in the design of new technologies but also elaborates why it is ethically imperative to do so. Her insights into expanding the traditional considerations of socio-technical design to consider issues of culture are coming at a critical time. This is a great book that should be read by anyone interested in creating new technologies of imagination—for enhancing learning in the twenty-first century and creating expressive cultural platforms for the future.”—John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and Director of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

About Anne:
Anne Balsamo's work focuses on the relationship between the culture and technology. This focus informs her practice as a scholar, researcher, new media designer and entrepreneur. She is currently a Professor of Interactive Media in the School of Cinematic Arts, and of Communications in the Annenberg School of Communications. From 2004-2007, she served as the Director of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy.

In 2002, she co-founded Onomy Labs, Inc. a Silicon Valley technology design and fabrication company that builds cultural technologies. Previously she was a member of RED (Research on Experimental Documents), a collaborative research group at Xerox PARC who created experimental reading devices and new media genres. She served as project manager and new media designer for the development of RED's interactive museum exhibit, XFR: Experiments in the Future of Reading.

Her first book, Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women (Duke UP, 1996) investigated the social and cultural implications of emergent bio-technologies. Her new book project, Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work examines the relationship between cultural reproduction and technological innovation.

About the LADTF:

The Los Angeles Design Technology Forum is a collective organization representing a wide cross-section of architecture and engineering firms and academic institutions around the Los Angeles basin. It serves to increase awareness of technological innovations in design and construction, and to foster their application throughout the Los Angeles design community. By connecting a diverse audience of designers, engineers, builders and owners who have widely varying conceptions of technology in their work, we hope to create new opportunities for efficiency and creativity.

The Los Angeles Design Technology Forum is coordinated by Marty Doscher, Reg Prentice, Dennis Shelden, Randy Jefferson, and Kurt Komraus.

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