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Paige Saez 14 January 2008

Paige Saez

Interaction designer who likes ubicomp, conceptual art, painting, digital anthropology

I am a graduate student at PNCA studying Interaction Design. My background is in art and architecture with a focus on collaboration and community art projects and social practices. I have been a student for a long time. I started college the first time at 16 and graduated at 20 with a B.F.A in digital video and painting, I went back to school at 24 studying architecture and design. I am left handed and right brained and obsessed with design aesthetics. Currently I am learning how to use the left side of my brain. I am first and foremost a visual thinker/conceptual artist immersed in the tech industry–a wonderful place to be. I think programming is fascinating, and happily work at a Ruby shop, a very beautiful language. Programs like hackety-hack, scratch, Alice and Processing make coding seem less abstract and more approachable. But my real interests lie not in engineering but in redesigning our collective environment, as such I think with my hands.

I have worked at homeless shelters, bicycle cooperatives, bars and universities. I have taught painting to inner-city kids, lived in New York, Florida, Holland and Portugal. I have founded an artist residency program, and curated for two galleries. My artwork has been exhibited in Portland, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Istanbul and Venice. I am one of thirteen children from four parents, and a Boriqua. My whole life I have strived to get involved with different communities, explore different ways of learning, diversify my social network, and learn how to live a more grounded, conscientious and socially responsible life.

What are you up to?

Currently attending grad school and working full-time.

With a crazy schedule like this it’s hard to have any free time but when I do I spend it at Dorkbot or hanging out with my radical geek programmer boyfriend Anselm Hook daydreaming about new tech toys, scheming on the next amazing project or going to the studio and working on art. Aside from Dorkbot I help organize a collaborative get-together for the PSU M.F.A’s and the PNCA M.F.A’s so that we can talk about our ideas, compare projects and invest in our collective futures.

I hang out with my mentor a lot and we crunch IxD and UX problems, go to art exhibits and talk about the future of our industry. I ride my bike, sew clothes, read obsessively and watch movies. Clearly I need to get out of the house more and be more physically active!

What are you into?

If it has a culture around it, I am interested in it. I am passionate about anthropology, behavioral psychology, architecture, systems science, sci-fi, horror movies, social practice art, interactive art, sociable media, ubiquitous and ambient computing, human-robot interaction, clothing design, painting and installation art, cycling, hiking and running.

What do you like most about Portland?

Portland has been very good to me. I have a lot of wonderful friends and I don’t see them or thank them enough for their support. I never realize how much I love Portland until I leave. Between the food, my friends, and the green space–the small-town feel of Portland offers so many reasons to really settle in. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Where do you see your field of design in ten years?

I think that Interaction Design is morphing and changing daily and so peoples’ understandings of “experience design” is thankfully changing too. As soon as people stop clamoring for “What is it?” and start working on “How Can We Make This Better?” the whole face of the field will change and our tools, and skills will change with this. Not to say that folks aren’t doing that…I am impressed by the constant evolution around me.

In ten years I see the field involved intimately with Industrial Design, Psychology and Cultural Anthropology–so much so that we do not begin designing at all without including these parameters in our work from the beginning. In the future we will do much less defending of work and much more evolving on the tasks and ideas within our work.

I look forward to the day when I do not have to walk someone through how painful it is to use their interface.

Why don’t you bike as much as you used to?

I have been a cyclist in Portland for the last eight years. When I first moved here I was not a very good cyclist. Then I got pretty good. Then I became a bike mechanic and I got much better. Since then (about 3 years ago) I have slowly biked less and less. The past few months I have biked very little. Mostly it’s because I kind of lost my nerve.

People are DYING on their bikes in Portland. The commuting environment is hostile to cyclists– and so cyclists have become hostile and aggressive with cars. Drivers are “walking on eggshells” around cyclists, frantic and forever in the wrong (not always the case).

Some cyclists act rash and are rude often to other cyclists. I got a ticket for running a stop sign–I deserved it. I attended the Share The Road class–This should be required for everyone; Cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. Holy Cow, what an eye-opener THAT was.

The politics of the road are shifting and it’s scary. I don’t know what the answer is. I know that I should stay on my bike but the wind is knocked out of me.

I don’t want to DIE. I just want to get to work.

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