About my blog

I am multithreaded, and sometimes the threads get tangled.


a Studiolab production.


food design course at TUDelft
I blog in Italian
I have a LinkedIn profile
my lab is Studiolab!
I love Jasper van Kuijk's product usability weblog

the wind I am enjoying


De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.

the Hip Hop fallacy (#2)

it can be summarized as the following statement: everybody wants to make music: I will give them the means to. This fallacy leads to a host of unfortunate, if occasionally amusing, design projects featuring benches, walls, stools, buttons and buttonoids, bus stops, bicycles and teddy bears that emit sounds when people variously interact with them.

Hip Hop fallacy projects tend to be illustrated by videos with happy youngsters dancing, if at all possible wearing very broad pants or very tight pants or no pants at all, depending on the current fashion. The videos last three minutes, which is also about the duration of time such a design stays interesting. No regard is ever paid to the fate of the bystanders: you know, the other people that are waiting for the bus, or want to use the park… and maybe do not like your music. Or sounds.

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As you listen to the above classic piece, please consider the following four commonly available facts (no users have been harmed in the process of making them available: I just opened my eyes):

(1) right now, everybody in the Western world has the means to make music or can obtain them for a sum in the ten Euro range. There are online musical instruments, every computer is powerful enough to make music, you can buy supercheap Chinese-made keyboards and guitars. If you are into percussions, there is even a fine tradition of making your own instruments. It is not a problem of availability. It hasn’t been for quite a while – if you have the time, look into the origins of American black music.

(2) Despite this fantastic availability of means, most music we listen to is made by -let’s face it- professional musicians. Much as I would love it to go out of the IO Building in TUDelft, and just stumble upon improvised orchestras, ad-hoc marching bands and even occasional choirs, this just does not happen. Most people do not want to make music. Or maybe they want, but in the same vague sense in which I want to visit Bejing sooner or later, but I have not made any actual plan to do so. This situation was different in the Buddenbrook-era past, when live music was the only music, and every offspring of a good bourgeois family was simply required to be able to play and if possible sing.

(3) third,  making music is difficult, as anybody can easily find out when sitting down for the first time at a piano keyboard. You press a key and a sound comes out: you press many keys, together and in sequence, and crap comes out. Don’t even think about instruments like bagpipes, violins or trumpets, where to even make a sound come out you need significant training. But I know what you are thinking right now: I will use samples!And the results will suck just as bad. Even assembling samples, as any competent rapper or contemporary musician will tell you, requires skills. Just try. As an example, look at these people:

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highly trained musicians, very difficult montage. Genius director, who is also a bastard because he makes it look so good and so damn easy

(4) Fourth commonly available fact, easily discoverable through summary You Tube exploration: most amateur musicians or makers-of-music suck. They have a tiny repertoire, and their technique is not so good. Which is not bad in itself: it becomes a problem only when you give these amateurs the possibility (technical and social) to inflict their not-so-good playing on the innocent. 

At the same time, there is a large population (all the people who bought Guitar Hero) that likes to pretend they are making music, just like other like to pretend that they are space marines. But one should not confuse the desire to pretend with the desire to be.

Recover from this revelation by watching Rapper’s Delight.

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