Simplicity Symposium I

01.09. 10:30-13:30

Simplicity Symposium I
curated by John Maeda
Paola Antonelli (IT, US) Walter Bender (US) Sam Hecht (UK) Hugh Herr John Maeda (US)

A simple life. Mankind’s constant search for simplicity is unavoidably connected with the boredom that rears its ugly head as soon as this wish is fulfilled and complexity once again begins flaunting its charms. This dialectic of simplicity and complexity has harried human beings in all areas of life. Thus, in order to even be able to deal with the world of the computer, we have to just accept a degree of complexity that we are unable to definitively grasp.
A stellar lineup of speakers will elaborate on the many different aspects of simplicity—and complexity no doubt as well. How do we live? How will we be living? What do we fear? What do we yearn for? Together, we’ll organize, reduce and synthesize a catalog of knowledge upon this podium of trust, and hope that, as a result, everyone taking part will be able to make his/her own choice of a path to simplicity or complexity.
This fall, John Maeda will be publishing a book that deals with “The Laws of Simplicity.” For two years in Maeda’s simplicity blog (, the contents of this publication have been at the focal point of a public discussion that will now flow into the Simplicity Symposium, whereby one area of particular emphasis will no doubt be the issue of appropriate design strategies to allow simplicity and complexity to converge.

10:30 – 10:45 Intro John Maeda
10:45 – 11:15 Sam Hecht
11:15 – 11:45 Walter Bender

11:45 – 12:00 Break
12:00 – 12:30 Paola Antonelli
12:30 – 13:00 Hugh Herr
13:00 – 13:30 Discussion

Moderator: John Maeda

Detailed information on the symposium by curator John Maeda

Sam Hecht (UK) studied industrial design at Central St. Martin’s
College of Arts and Design and received his degree in industrial design from the Royal College of Art in London. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes, and his list of clients includes Muji.

Walter Bender (US) heads the Gray Matters working group that deals with technology’s impact on an increasingly elderly population. He is a member of the MIT Media Lab’s SIMPLICITY Project, Things That Think and the Digital Life Consortium. Bender is currently president of the software and content division of One Laptop Per Child, a non-profit organization that is developing a technology designed to revolutionize how the world’s children are educated.

Paola Antonelli (US) is curator of the architecture and design department at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Her “Mutant Materials in Contemporary Design” exhibition (1995) garnered high praise. Her latest offering “SAFE: Design Takes on Risk” (2005) deals with objects that aim to protect our bodies and souls.

Hugh Herr (US) is Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at
the MIT Media Lab. His research activities concentrate on ways in which principles derived from muscle mechanics, neuronal control
and human biomechanics can be applied to the development of biomimetic robots and rehab devices.




© Ars Electronica Center Linz Museumsgesellschaft mbH, Impressum,