EVOKE Lab and Studio



AmpDamp is a knob that lets you control the volume of social media updates. Designed specifically to work with Twitter, it provides an analog interface for controlling the volume of specific voices in your digital information stream. Users can identify accounts in their Twitter feed that are too noisy, and use the knob to “turn down the volume,” causing these voices to fade from the screen. When the user is ready for more noise, the knob can be cranked back up. AmpDamp helps keep important messages from getting lost in the crowd.

AmpDamp Project Team:

  • Amelia Acker, UCLA
  • Matt Burton, University of Michigan
  • Melissa Chalmers, University of Michigan
  • Thomas Lodato, Georgia Tech
  • Grant Wythoff, Princeton University

ampDamp’s design challenge: Polyphony and Emerging Configurations of Knowledge

Herotodus and Rabelais have been held up as writers of ‘polyphonous’ works – texts that incorporate multiple voices without the voice of the author making judgments between them. Polyphony seems to be a natural outcome of web-based writing, with the widespread practices and possibilities around commenting on, revising, and otherwise marking up text presented online. Even articles in the form of a traditional single-author voice become polyphonous when they are linked and spread among communities that have the opportunity to comment on or contribute to the work. However, conventions of presentation and fragmentation lead these multiple voices to cacophony rather than a rich multiplicity. Your challenge is to design an object or piece of software that leverages the possibilities of large and various numbers of voices and contributors in a graceful, rich polyphony.

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