A Visit To New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program

Friday, May 14, 2010


For 31 years New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program has taught students how to invent, design, build and think about communications technology. Brooke talks to students and professor Clay Shirky about this year’s work and how the program’s past might predict our future.

: : : ::: Click Here to learn more about the projects discussed: Saul Kessler's musical paintbrush, Adi Marom's elevator shoes , Zoe Fraade-Blanar's meme tracker, Alex Kauffmann's paywalls, Mustafa Bagdatli's biofeedback monitor and Jorge Just's family locator.
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Comments [8]

Cyndy Hewitt Newton from Traverse City, MI

This was a fantastic NYU project! As a grandmother of 6, I was inspired to send the program via e-mail to my oldest "grands" in hopes that it might inspire them to begin thinking about careers. I want to live long enough to see them at least utilizing if not designing these miraculous approaches to IT . Thanks for a picture into a future about which I may only be able to dream!

May. 18 2010 03:00 PM
Jay from Portland, OR

What a great program. I especially enjoyed the dialogue between Brooke Gladstone and Clay Shirky.

May. 18 2010 12:55 PM
Brooke Gladstone from Brooklyn

Hey A.J. I didn't ask that question very well.
What I meant to ask was whether the kind of hopping we do on the internet has changed the way his students work.
Some say living online leads to shallow thinking because brains are being re-wired to graze many information streams rather than focus deeply one a single one (such as reading or writing a novel.)
Despite my muddled query - Clay got what I meant, and responded that the legacy of growing up in a noisy open-source digital environment is more collaboration.
Hope that helps!

May. 17 2010 04:10 PM

I had trouble following the jump from the mention of the hyper and deep attention article back to collaboration. I listened to the show twice and was still confused about comparing "collaboration" to "the novel". It also seemed to confuse "collaborative" with "interactive". Lots of art forms are collaborative without being interactive: jazz, basketball, symphony orchestra performances, movies... and some conventional art forms are already interactive, like improv comedy or other audience participation things.

I look forward to seeing the transcript so I can figure out what I missed.

May. 17 2010 04:00 PM
Evan from Santa Monica, CA

Regarding Zoe Fraade-Blanar's meme tracker (the concept of which sounds great), when did events--Lena Horne's death, for example--become "memes"? It seems like "meme" is one of the most incorrectly and overused word in our Internet age.

May. 16 2010 10:40 PM
Zach Gage from nyc

I just heard this story. Great work on it. It seems like this topic is picking up a lot of steam in the media lately, and that's wonderful!

I am an about to be graduate of Parson's Design Technology program which is very similar to ITP's. I wanted to share a link to the show that we just had for those who are interested in more projects like those discussed in the story:


as well as a link to my own project, which I think answers some of the questions posed in the story about virtual/tangible spaces combining, and some of the reasons that it's worthwhile to explore this:


May. 16 2010 12:59 PM
Michael from LACA

I appreciate the story topic. These types of collaborative studies programs are exciting, if trendy, addition to many academic institutions during the last decade.

On the other hand, I had so much hope for the Musical Paintbrush idea. Then I saw and heard the linked video. 1970's audio quality using 1990's technology. Destined to be a "learning toy" purchased for children, used once or twice, and then forgotten in a closet.

Main tip: when attempting to make a musical device, first learn something about music! Just some simple scales would do. For the more advanced student, there are many simple algorithmic composers that can be driven by the brush's color detector that would more interesting to listen to.

May. 15 2010 11:57 PM
Clopha Deshotel from Bridgeport CT

Many ridiculed the use of art museums by the medical school at Yale about ten years ago, and now even Harvard Medical School does this. Google it... Boston Globe article is the best I have found. New creativity from the mix with Clay:: Collaboration can become c-o-o-laboration. Awesome Story! looking forward to seeing the transcript on this.

May. 15 2010 06:53 AM

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