The following was an interview of Josh Nimoy done by Martin Gomez of Philweavers and is the copyrighted property of Philweavers.

Joshua Nimoy / New Media Artist
Design | Media Arts : Digital Cultures and Technologies, UCLA
Visiting Researcher, MIT Media Lab
Interactive Telecommunications Program Graduate Student, NYU


01. Who are you, how old are you and what do you do?

I'm Josh Nimoy, age 23, and I do things that make myself and others happy.


02. Do you create for the web or just present on the web?

Both. I present on the web more frequently than I create for the web. Sometimes, it's documentation of a physical thing simply using the web as a gallery space. Sometimes it's hard to define. For example, I might create for the web, which will then be presented visually in the physical space - whose physicality is then documented and put back into digital perception. The two
relationships interplay, and there is almost no difference between the two if you think about what the web is.


03. What is design?

To design is to invent, to devise, to plan out in systematic, usually graphic form. To design is to create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect. It is to have a goal or purpose - to intend. It can also mean to execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner.


04. What is the difference between a designer and an artist?

I think that for some people, the word "designer" and the word "artist" intertwine to make a greater whole. Others consider the idea of being an artist to be a completely - or even opposite thing from being a designer. Some draw the line financially - by saying that non-design art happens independent of money. Others look to history for the distinction - by saying that design starts with the original Bauhaus, Paul Rand, ancient Egyptian
hieroglyphics, and cave paintings. Once, a photographer-artist Michelle Cane told a beginning college student that her picture was very "designy." She had taken a picture of a flatly lit black umbrella on a white background. It looked like a silhouette of an umbrella. Perhaps it reminded Mr. Cane of logo paste-ups, or geometric formalism. Another time, I brought forth a typographic print design that was very complex in its layout relationships,
resembling a kind of impasto, only done by combining symbolic imagery. This was considered by my colleagues as being a very art-sided design piece. It would be unfair for me to declare any distinctions between art and design.


05. What is the difference between good design and bad design?

Bad design needs to be patient.


06. What are the fundamental skills of a designer?

Think critically, feel genuine, be patient, and stay healthy.


07. How did you get started as a young designer?

I was a drawing and painting artist and illustrator from the late 80s to the late 90s. In that time, I also did a lot of sculpture, photography, writing, and musical composition. I was often publicly awarded for my paintings. In college, I found my new digital pieces being rejected from the Fine Arts classroom, so I officially changed my college major to design. I still cannot
tell you what the difference between art and design is, but you know it when you see it.


08. What is digital design?

Digital design is the act of devising a system or communication that exists or co-exists in a discreteness. The hand game "Rock Scissors Paper" is digital design. Each composition is carefully symbolic while a pure communication is sent.


09. What is digital art?

Some artists equate the word digital exclusively with pixels, and auditory with sine tones, square waves, and other part of our reality contrived with electronics. Other artists see digital to mean a network of relationships between anything. The act of establishing discrete separations, or making a judgement concerning the control society at all can be considered digital


10. What is new media?

New media is the title given to experimental research about media. It can also be seen as a descendent genre of video art and experimental conceptual works by such artists as John Cage. It can also be seen as humanist technologist culture.


11. Where does web design fall under (digital design, digital
art, new media, etc)? Why?

Web design falls under digital design, digital art, and new media all at the same time. All of these things are so new, that it is too hard to assign this sort of semiotic hierarchy. You could also call it web-development, web-art,, web-programming, and internet communications. These modes of thought can be used to describe each part of any human process.


12. Where is new media headed?

Towards the sun.


13. How important is the role of the academe in new media?

I think higher academia plays a socially and financially supportive role in new media, but I also think that academia plays a role in everything.


14. What is your opinion towards the current state of design

Right now, it is changing drastically, and a lot of people are getting very excited. Both negative and positive energies are


15. . and of science/engineering education?

I don't know much about science and engineering education. My training has always been art-oriented.


16. Are hybrid engineer-designers born or made?

Both, and neither - depending on who you ask, and depending on how you define identity.


17. How important is innovation?

Innovation is important to me because I dream a lot, and because I think innovation is something that humans have, that is uniquely theirs. I like to celebrate being human.


18. Evolution or Revolution?

Deadlines or coffee?


19. What are your views towards software packages such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash?

These are carefully crafted screen based user interfaces, widely used for the automation of affecting digital forms within a fixed, proprietary system. I think designers are free to use any tool they want to, so long as they remain honest about themselves, and continue to appreciate the past and future. I
think the next step in digital art/design/media is the dissolving of methodological oligopoly, and the further break-down of protocol. In plain English, it means that these software applications will grow less integrated with each other as more people create a larger range of software applications for a larger splintering of target users. It is important to learn how to learn, and to be more compassionate towards your expression
than the tools you depend on.


20. How did your education at UCLA's Department of Design |
Media Arts shape your path?

I was placed into a large community of people who talk to one another and think together about different things. I learned from the UCLA department of Design | Media Arts that actions speak louder than words, and it's important to get at least eight hours of sleep each night.


21. Please expound the phrase "digital cultures and technologies".

I think the two are inseparable. I use this as a way to describe era and aspect of focus on the way people communicate to one another. I also use "digital cultures" to describe a way of looking at technologies that considers folk or vernacular sensibility towards the post-industrial human experience.


22. Please share your experiences while working at the MIT Media Lab.

I was a visiting researcher in 1999. I learned a lot of valuable life lessons, and met some amazing individuals, whom I continue to respect.


23. How did doing research with ACG and Professor John Maeda change your views towards design and change you as a person?

It made me more aware.


24. Now pursuing ITP at NYU, what are your experiences so far?

I've had a lot of experiences at NYU so far. I am appreciating a great amount of respect between people and a positive regard for personal difference. People at ITP cooperate with each other in a fluid, seamless manner. I am collecting a lot of collaboration skills.


25. Where are you headed?

I face the inside of myself, but I have trouble perceiving movement - and what is inside.


26. How do the extremes of design and computation, two seemingly opposing poles, tango?

They tango with the back legs limping; a yellow carnation in computation's mouth, and pink rose in design's. Neither one leading nor following.


27. Compare a programming language vis--vis paper.

A paper is a sheet of wooden pulp compressed and dried. Different people compress and color different grades of pulp to make different kinds of sheets - for all kinds of industrial use. Programming is the word used to describe a strategic instructing process that a human can undergo in order to cause an established system to behave in a desired way. Both programming and paper are barely tapped technologies of self extension, considering how
long they've been invented for.


28. How do you communicate your ideas?

I communicate my ideas best through making examples, which become
my body of work. When the idea is a performance (for example, a technical how-to) then I try to compose as clear as possible process descriptions. Sometimes, those acts of instruction are a better way of communicating my ideas than making examples myself. Instead of the receivers of the communication simply getting to see a result, it's a whole new thing when you involve the receiver as an active role in the creation process.


29. What inspires you? Who do you look up to?

That changes all the time. I respect everyone.


30. Which of the following do you prefer: Reactive, Interactive, or Static?

That also depends on the ultimate meaning of the problem being solved, or the expression. To draw a distinction between reactive and interactive is to use too fine grain a separation method. I think that in the future, people will not have a convention as to interaction, reaction, intra-action, or just action, because the self and the media will blur. Nothing is static, unless you need
to believe for an amount of time that a thing, idea, or concept will be persistent relative to something else. If it's a question of desktop publishing methods, then I consider all forms.


31. Design must go beyond the screen. What are you doing towards aesthetic physical computing?

These days, I am making an active decision to use non-rectilinear packing forms in my structural relationships. I also enjoy pursuing the meaning of excess or humanization. I think that even the way people perceive "screens" will shift drastically from being seen as a TV, to being seen as a privileged surface. I also focus on heightening subjectivity.


32. How does one create a crucible of creative thought, a force for progress, a place where dreams and generations become reality?

Practice, practice, practice.


33. How does all these change people's lives?

That is the question we should all be constantly asking.


34. What are your thoughts on inter-creative universal spaces for people to communicate through sharing knowledge?

They are not something I think about often.


35. People are always of thinking of the future and thinking of moving forward. More often than not, people tend to forget their past. How important is our past?

I encourage an awareness of the past because the future will come
without you. A "past" is the collective human memory that escapes Darwin, and to connect with your past is to celebrate the human condition. The past informs the future in ways that affects our perception of both of them.


36. Where do you see children in the dawn of a new era in design?

Children in the dawn of a new era in design are in their homes,
watching, waiting. These children are flexible, yet take so much
for granted.


37. Where do you see the Philippines in the greater scheme of things?

The Philippines is important to me because my mother was born and raised in Manila. She came to the States in the 70s before I was born. Last year, I studied Philippine-American politics and improved my Tagalog. I think we are all thriving nations.


38. What can we do right now in order to prepare for the future?

I think that right now, our society could use a little less recording, and a little more remembering.


39. What does it take to be like you?

That's a question I do not know how to answer. I look at myself as rebellious and typical. I also do not put importance in defining who is like me.


40. Any words of inspiration?

Respect your elders.




Interview by Martin Gomez 2003 Philweavers

Copyright 2003

All Rights Reserved