Class 5. Conversation 3. Attention
Conversation 3 of 3
From “Vacuuming and Digesting,” a fall conversation series about interactive design
December 5, 2017, 1:00pm
Yale School of Art, EIK (32 Edgewood Ave)

‘Attention: Social Networks & Ubiquity

Suggested readings:

  • Charles Broskoski of interviewed by Laurel Schwulst, “Charles Broskoski on self-discovery that happens upon revisiting things you’ve accumulated over time,” The Creative Independent (2017)
  • Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown, “The Coming Age of Calm Technology” (1996)

Speakers (in order of appearance):

Laurel Schwulst (Critic), Dan Michaelson (Critic), Ayham Ghraowi (Fellow), Nilas Andersen (Graphic Design ’18), Bryce Wilner (Graphic Design ’18), Matt Wolff (Graphic Design ’18), Katelyn Spinelli (Graphic Design ’18)



  • Introduction
  • Information Overload
  • Community: Social Responsibility and Scale
  • The Center and The Periphery
  • A New Room, a New Monster
  • Expiration Date
  • A Social Network’s Social Contract
  • What can we do now?
  • A Tent in the Woods
  • Not Only a Critic


Laurel Schwulst: Welcome to conversation three. It’s the final one! Today’s umbrella topic is “attention,” which contains two other topics.

When we were thinking about what to ask everyone, and came up with this list of questions:

  • Is the ubiquity of the smartphone a problem?
  • How do you begin to define and describe information overload?
  • In an endless sea of information where many voices are shouting in a room so nothing can be heard clearly, what is the importance of the individual's personal voice?
  • How do you approach an extremely loud room?
  • As a creator of future software, interfaces, or UX in language used on technological platforms, what is your personal responsibility?
  • What are some ways to be generous as a designer or cultural practitioner, when there is already so much out there? (That comes from, directly, the reading where Cab says he thought making was the most generous thing he could do as an artist, because he comes from a background of having a personal artistic practice.)
  • And finally, how do you envision the internet in 2050, ideally and realistically?

Then, we came across this quote. Ayham brought this quote in, actually, so thanks.

Ayham Ghraowi: It’s also a nod to Paul Elliman. He referenced it previously.

Laurel: “The Monster, we are startled to discover, is more frightening than we had imagined, precisely because he does not stumble or speak in monosyllables, because he can speak more rationally and more feelingly than we and his creator do, because his destructiveness is not separate from but an aspect of ourselves, our responsibility.”