5 Things We Learned... Dev Joshi
DEV JOSHI, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY AT RANDOM INTERNATIONAL
Dev Joshi is a great sounding board. If you're tinkering, toiling, or playing with creative ideas, he'll hear you out, get excited for you, and offer his support in whatever way he can. He currently leads the creative teams at Random International in the design, technology and production for the studio's world-renowned interactive artworks. As a creative technologist and budding photographer, he investigates the interaction and balance between culture, machines, and humanity. What I find especially unique about Dev is that his interest and attention to the natural world matches that of his preoccupation with machines (and love of sci-fi). He's just as enthusiastic to chat on the merits and downfalls of artificial intelligence as he is to chat on the diverse wildlife and landscape of Madagascar. In addition to his work at Random, Dev serves as a visiting lecturer for technology & strategy on the Innovation Design Engineering program at the Royal College of Art and is the founder of Headless Ghost, which sells an innovative display emulator that was fully funded on Kickstarter.
Here are 5 Things We Learned about Dev.
What made you...you?
I watched a lot of science fiction as a kid, especially the mad-inventor-does-a-thing kind – Robby the Rascal Robot, Back to the Future, Short Circuit, etc., etc. There were always lots of things to tinker with in our house when I was growing up (a side effect of having engineers and educators as parents) and I have fond memories of watching The Secret Life of Machines. Doing, making and understanding have been things that I have enjoyed for a very long time.
When are you happiest?
I think I’m happiest when I have a puzzle to solve. The anticipation that surrounds not knowing something is just as fun as going through the process of figuring it out. I also love a project: having something to work towards and being able to measure the thing and myself along the way is very pleasing. Usually though, it’s the sort of thing that can only be enjoyed after the fact: the contrast when looking back in this way makes the pay-off all the better.
Would you rather have a muse or be a muse?
Have a muse, for sure. I like finding them in odd places and being inspired by sideways things. Having a muse provides a jumping-off point to learn new things, which is always fun. At the base of it, I think I prefer observation and then action to action under observation.
Who do you admire?
The team at the studio: they do so much incredible stuff without huge budgets and eons of time. It floors me every single day.
In a boarder sense, I admire folks who are capable of everyday magic, much like the studio team. Everyday magic happens when someone is so enamored by something that they aren’t even thinking about how it works anymore - rarer and rarer these days. If you’re experiencing something without questioning it, it means that someone, somewhere has done a really, really good job at whatever they are doing. Exposure to craft like that, of any kind, is what pushes us to do better.
What is important?
Yes, what is important, but so are how and why and when! I think it’s important to question things now more than ever. Between the fake news and the production of more unnecessary tat, we should be mindful of our actions and one way to do that is to question them and be able to defend them.
It is also important to ‘bump the lamp’ for both yourself and your craft: whatever it is that you might be doing. Opportunities to do something so pure and to do (them) because (they) can be done are rare and I think it's important to seize those chances and relish them.
Dev gave a nice talk last year at It's Nice That. Follow his and Random International's work at:
Images from left to right: Dev Joshi; Rain Room (2012), Random International; Zoological (2017), Random International; Close up of sticks from Swarm Light (2010), Random International; Swarm Study / IX (2016), site specific installation at Hauptbahnhof Chemnitz, Random International; Duplex, (2011), Random International