Invited Industrial Session - 1
Invited Industrial Session - 2
Special Talk: Eternal Gandhi Multimedia MuseumPresenter: Ranjit Makkuni
Sacred World Research Laboratory and Foundation
Abstract:The Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum is one of the world's first digital multimedia museums. Located at the site where Mahatma Gandhi attained martyrdom, it not only preserves the historical events of Gandhiji's life but presents a spectrum of information technology visions inspired by Gandhian thought. The project revives the values by which India obtained freedom; it also redefines those values in order to animate modern products and design.The project presents a language of physical interface actions derived from classical symbols of the spinning wheel, turning of the prayer wheels, touching symbolic pillars, the act of hands touching sacred objects, collaboratively constructed quilts, sacred chanting in the collective group, the satsanga and the touching and rotating of prayer beads. These tradition-based interactions inspire a rich panorama of tactile interfaces that allow people to access the multimedia imagery and multidimensional mind of Gandhiji. The technology developed does not 'merely scan' Gandhian images. It extrapolates Gandhian ideals to newer domains of information technology and product design, and at higher levels, the creation of meaning in a globalised world. For example, the Gandhian commitment to hand-based production and its symbolic relationship with nature is interpreted in the context of modern culture-conscious design. The contributions of the spectrum of artists, spanning wide geographic boundaries and disciplines, illustrate the universal resonance in Gandhian messages. Computer scientists, modern designers, mosaic makers, craftsmen, artists, and wood carvers offer their work as a dedicated prayer, in remembrance of the Gandhian vision; a collective Likita Japa, the endless remembrance of the Divine through repetition of the written mantra. Each object in the museum, whether a pixel of light, a bit-map on the screen, an animation, a circuit or a handcrafted object is a living prayer. Here lies the reaffirmation of the Gandhian view, a commitment to the dignity of hands, the healing of divides, the leveraging of village creativity and cultural diversity in the face of homogenization.
Bio:Ranjit Makkuni is a multimedia visionary, designer; musician and President of one of the most innovative design think tanks in the world, The Sacred World Foundation. The Foundation is bridging traditional and techno cultures exploring how innovation flows between both the worlds, and leads an interdisplinary team of designers, scholars, artists, programmers and scientists. Prior to his current position, for 17 years he has been a leading researcher at the prestigious Xerox Palo Alto Research Center a world renowned research center responsible for a great many of the innovations relating to personal computing, and the lab director of its multimedia lab in New Delhi. In 1985, Ranjit joined the System Concepts Lab of PARC, and became part of the visionary group, which developed the Smalltalk-80 Object Oriented programming language and the world's first graphic user interface. From that base, Ranjit pioneered explorations in computer-aided design and he developed a rich research space of the Active Learning Project at PARC. The Active Learning projects conduct basic research into new paradigms for interface and presentation, as well as develop cutting edge cultural learning applications. These projects have consistently demonstrated technology paradigms that have been years ahead of the field.With respect to basic research, Ranjit's work explored and explores non-button pushing based, gesture-based interfaces, and new forms of multimedia access to multimedia content. The Chinese Temple Editor project developed in 1985 explored one of the first pictorial and gestural, non keyboard-based access to visual imagery. The Diagrammatic user interface in 1987 project explored visual retrieval of images through visual diagrams. The Hypertala project in 1993 explored sound based retrieval of a database of sounds. In 1993 Ranjit was part of the PARC team that invented Hyperpaper, a medium that explores `paper as an interface to multimedia imagery. In 1998, Ranjit demonstrated physical and virtual based information access through electronic augmented rings, interactive physical icons, interactive crafts, and wearable computing. With respect to applications, Ranjit has developed many provocative demonstrations of technology in various museums, which have been years ahead of the field. In 1989, The Electronic Sketchbook of Tibetan Thangka Painting was displayed in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. This project represents one of the world's first multimedia applications of any kind and a pioneering example of a computer based cultural learning tool, and this project continues to be an important reference in a learning field. In 1998, he led the PARC collaboration in India with India's top scholars and artists at the Indira Gandhi Center for the Arts, New Delhi (Ministry of Culture) to develop the Gita-Govinda Multimedia Experience, a pioneering demonstration of a complex physical-virtual multimedia document, which received positive acclaim from all levels of Indian society, media. His recent work on The Crossing has developed futuristic, mobile, multimedia and wearable computing for an in-depth presentation of India's intellectual tradition in Banaras. Ranjit is currently the director of the Gandhi Multimedia Museum in New Delhi, which he is building for India, presenting Gandhi's contribution to India's freedom struggle, class unity and race unity. The exhibit presents through modern tactile multimedia lexicon of core Gandhian values such as non-violence, non-possession, service to the poor, ecology, and their relevance in today's world. Ranjit obtained a B.Arch. from IIT, Kharagpur, and a Masters in Design Theory and Computer aided Design from University of California Los Angeles. He is a frequent speaker at the world's leading design conferences in which he has become a spokesperson for putting forth the aesthetics and values of developing cultures. In 2000, Ranjit was nominated to be a founding member of the explorers club of the Ivrea Interaction Design Institute, Italy. He is a consultant to HP Labs Palo Alto, HP Labs India, and also is an adjunct professor at IIT Kanpur, India's leading technology institute. In parallel with his career as a multimedia researcher and designer he is an active sitar performer, and has performed at the world's greatest learning centers and concert halls. Together, the proficiency in multimedia technology as well as traditional knowledge systems allows Ranjit to bridge multiple worlds, between technology and culture, techno-Man and traditional Man, and between developed and developing worlds.