Recently I was lucky to be asked, via the brilliant Rachel Botsman, to say a few words at the conclusion of the school year. A traditional evening of speeches and awards, of dux and mensch, of beautiful music, welcoming parents and unexpectedly funny teachers. It was, how shall I say… so much more than I had expected. I also didn’t expect to be asked to share my little speech. But, here is it is. (I have removed the swearing).
Her talks at these events are often gloriously tangential meanderings, yet Google Creative Lab and their workings remain something of a mystery—entities that are ever fascinating, yet enduringly hard to describe. Many of the projects are internal, meaning the ones we hear about are the wide-ranging collaborations with cultural organizations and practitioners. The Creative Lab’s overarching aim is to use Google tech and resources “to enable artists, writers and performers to look at new ways in which we can use all these remarkable digital tools to make art, theater, and music.”
As someone whose career involves developing potentials for the future of reading, including books which can be “owned” and “borrowed” through the use of blockchain technology; and a novel set inside Google’s street view, both as part of Editions at Play, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to find out which books from the past have impacted the brilliant Tea Uglow
What are the secondary and tertiary implications of the emergence of Machine Learning for the creative community? My friend and long term-collaborator, John Gerard’s LACMA research project: Neural Exchange created a perfect chance to sum up my thinking on the topic.
Why aren’t we finding ways of building the information that we want into the way we want to experience the environment, rather than the way we’re told to experience the environment?
Tea Uglow is the Creative Director of Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney, although she prefers a Google (mis)Translate version of the title – Experimental Person in Charge.
Tea leads a team exploring “the spaces between contemporary digital technology and traditional forms of creativity and culture. That might be with museums, galleries, working with artists, filmmakers or writers and looking at what happens when those intersect.”
Pleased that Tea Uglow (Australia) is one of the new 2016 AGI members. She worked on ‘Ghosts, Toast and the Things Unsaid’, a 360-degree theatre experiment that explores what happens when you blend VR experiences with the real world
Tea Uglow is familiar with uncertainty and doubt. But instead of seeing them in a negative light, she considers doubt, ambiguity, and uncertainty to be a central force behind her creativity and innovation.
In a recent talk about her work as creative director of the Google Creative Labs team in Sydney, she asked the audience a tough question to unpack the idea further: “Is there roomfor ambiguity and doubt when computers are in our pockets and at our sides at all times? What happens to creativity if there isn’t?” So many forms of technology are designed to do just one rigid thing, she explained, that it may be stifling human creativity and ingenuity. It’s a concerning thought for many creatives who rely on computers, tablets, apps and software for nearly every bit of their jobs.
Tea Uglow may have the most important job in the creative industries: to discover the tools of the future designer. “I play with technology not to create new forms of creativity but to augment and influence traditional forms of creativity,” explains Tea, creative director of Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney.
.. To ‘record’ the experiences of the dynamic web is like taking photos of morning dew: fragmentary and one-dimensional, unsatisfactory. The future internet, consisting of machine intelligence communicating with speech rather than all these helpful words on ‘pages’, is even tougher to pin down. Every single web experience is literally performative — a machine pirouetting through a dance of information that is unique to you in that moment and then lost forever.
An experiment by Google Creative Lab Sydney’s Tea Uglow
Books you have finished reading may be passed on to your offspring or taken to a used book store, but with electronic books, their ownership is rather uncertain to begin with. This is because the reader merely purchases a license. Books from “Editions at Play” launched by Google this spring are part of a project that uses the distributed database Blockchain, which is the core technology behind Bitcoin. Its developer, Tea Uglow of Google Sydney, questions the future of electronic books through her experiment.
[10 min interview from Feb 2017] Kojo Baffoe is joined by Creative Director of Google, Tea Uglow. She is the brains behind Google’s innovative Lab in Sydney, Australia. Her works varies between non-linear narration and the physical web.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating the powerful, dynamic and creative women of Google. Like generations before them, these women break down barriers and defy expectations at work and in their communities. Over the course of the month, we’ll help you get to know a few of these Google women, and share a bit about who they are and why they inspire us.
In our second installment of the “She Word” series, we hear from Tea Uglow, a creative director in Sydney, Australia who is known for her love of coffee (but not tea), and for grabbing a “quick flat white and a chat.”