Art & Culture

Wherein I write a rambling tribute to Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino

Well, where to start when writing a tribute to this multitalented, brainy, considerate, funny, knows-where-all-the-coolest-stuff-is, amazing and strategic-thinking woman.

Hmm. Guess that list of adjectives was a tip of a tip of the iceberg, but one has to start somewhere.

I first met Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino in Singapore, at a policy summit on digital technologies and the arts. I was jetlagged like I had never been before and staying awake in the 100% humidity was mostly a feat of will. Then Alex started speaking and I sat straight up, captivated by her presentation on how she founded the design studio Tinker! in London and how she was evangelizing for open hardware all over the world. I have to meet this woman, I thought to myself. Fortunately, I did, and a few years later she’s now a partner at Really Interesting Group, working on high profile stuff for Mozilla, and working on a fascinating project about emotional robots for a major European Union funded research group. I also invited her to share her expertise on the Internet of Things and speculative design at my latest Blowup event at V2_. You can read her text, “Is this thing on? Identity, robots, and spying through everyday objects” in the free, downloadable e-Book that accompanied the event.

So yes, she’s a heavy-hitter and every time you chat with her, you’ll learn something. Chances are you’ll laugh, too. Her dry sense of humour comes out in many of her design projects, including this one, Curious Scarves, a way of advertising your relationship status and which gender you are seeking, because “it’s hard being single in the big city”:

Ada Lovelace Day or not, it’s just high time I wrote a little tribute to Alex, my friend and colleague, who is basically number one on my speed dial** when I want to know what’s what in the worlds of design, internet of things, robots, and future thinking.

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. This is my contribution for 2011.
My previous contributions were:
2010: About Eva Schindling
2009: A little story about Anab Jain

** – OK, she’s not really on my speed dial, because I hate the telephone. (I really hate the phone… don’t call me. Please.) We need some kind of new way of expressing the symbolism of speed dial, but for email and Twitter DMs and whatnot. If you think of/invent/know of a term like this, lemme know.