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Farewell Red Burns

I found out that Red Burns, Founder of ITP, passed away. Her bio written by The New York Times. I was fortunate to take her "Applications" class. Every week, a guest speaker (artist, architect, author, innovator) would give their insight and process of their work. Every week, a group of students would have to present their perspective of the lecture. Through this class and through the program, we learned to take risks and push curiosity. She had the gift of making you believe in yourself. She created an open community, where people weren't afraid to share their experience, problem or invention. More importantly, there was always a place for students to fit (whether you were a non-technologist, a technologist, an artist, or entrepreneur. She always emphasized technology as a tool to serve humanity. Maybe that's why I didn't subconsciously tag this post "technology."

Here is an article written by Margaret Stewart, Director of Product Design at Facebook:
Let’s Stop Focusing on Shiny Gadgets and Start Using Tech to Empower People

This is a video from ITP 30:

Found this on the ITP list from the class of 2012's first Applications class. (transcribed by Chris Selleck)

What I want you to know:

That there is a difference between the mundane and the inspired.

That the biggest danger is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge

That any human organization must inevitably juggle internal contradictions – the imperatives of efficiency and the countervailing human trade-offs

That the inherent preferences in organizations are efficiency, clarity, certainty, and perfection.

That human beings are ambiguous, uncertain, and imperfect.

That how you balance and integrate these contradictory characteristics is difficult

That imagination, not calculation, is the “difference” that makes the difference

That there is constant juggling between the inherent contradictions of a management imperative of efficiency and the human reality of ambiguity and uncertainty

That you are a new kind of professional - comfortable with analytical and creative modes of learning

That there is a knowledge shift from static knowledge to a dynamic searching paradigm

That creativity is not the game preserve of artists, but an intrinsic feature of all human activity

That in any creative endeavor you bill be discomfited and that is part of learning

That there is a difference between long term success and short term flash

That there is a complex connection between social and technological trends. It is virtually impossible to unravel except by hindsight.

That you ask yourself what you want and then you work backwards.

In order to problem solve and observe, you ought to know how to: analyze, probe, question, hypothesize, synthesize, select, measure, communicate, imagine, initiate, reason, create

That organizations are really systems of cooperative activities and their coordination requires something intangible and personal that is largely a matter of relationships

What I hope for you:

That you combine that edgy mixture of self-confidence and doubt

That you have enough self-confidence to try new things

That you have enough self doubt to question

That you think of technology as a verb- not a noun

It is subtle but important difference

That you remember the issues are usually not technical

That you create opportunities to improvise.

That you provoke it. That you expect it.

That you make visible what, without you, might never have been seen

That you communicate emotion

That you create images that might take a writer ten pages to write

That you observe, imagine and create

That you look for the question, not the solution

That you are not seduced by speed and power

That you don’t see the world as a market, but rather a place that people live in – you are designing for people – not machines

That you have a stake in magic and mystery and art

That sometimes we fall back on Rousseau and separate mind from body

That you understand the value of pictures, words, and critical thinking

That poetry drives you, not hardware

That you are willing to risk, make mistakes, and learn from failure

That you develop a practice founded in critical reflection

That you build a bridge between theory and practice

That you embrace the unexpected

That you value serendipity

That you reinvent and re-imagine

That you listen. That you ask questions.That you speculate and experiment

That you play. That you are spontaneous.That you collaborate.

That you welcome students form other parts of the world and understand we don’t live in a monolithic world

That each day is magic for you

That you turn your thinking upside down

That you make whole pieces out of disparate parts

That you find what makes the difference

That your curiosity knows no bounds

That you understand what looks easy is hard

That you imagine and re-imagine

That you develop a moral compass

That you welcome loners, cellists, and poets

That you are flexible. That you are open.

That you can laugh at yourself. That you are kind.

That you consider why natural phenomena seduce us

That you engage and have a wonderful time

That this will be 2 years for you to expand- take advantage of it

Appolinaire said: - Come to the edge, -It’s too high, - Come to the edge, - We might fall, - Come to the Edge, - And he pushed them and they flew


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