Why Create New Tools?
As researchers and educators ourselves, our motivation came out of the frustration with the rigidity and assumptions of existing slideware (google slides, keynote, powerpoint, etc.), and with the need to switch frequently between multiple windows and applications when preparing and presenting materials.
As it turns out, leading office tools today still implicitly carry the outdated assumptions on which early day office publishing software was based on (flat hierarchy, strict separation between presenter and audience, isolated exports). Trying to shoehorn the often iterative creative research process into the office tools paradigm, results unsurprisingly in inefficiencies and scattered materials.
With the MultiModal project, our goal is to design for real-world practices around research, collaboration and pedagogy. We want to create a digital ecosystem that is as conducive for creative writing and thinking, as it is for discussion and presentation. We believe that flexibility when it comes to modes of engaging with the material can minimize or altogether eliminate administrative overhead, allowing attention to focus primarily on creating and sharing knowledge.
How to Install
Please download the latest beta version or subscribe to the newsletter to receive the latest updates, we hope to release a stable version by the end of 2021.
git clone https://github.com/periode/multimodal.git
npm run pack
npm run start
How can I contribute?
Here’s our current production to-do list
Live note-taking and drawing HTML and PDF export
- Fuzzy search to find and retrieve pages and sections across any documents
- Embedded metadata for imported assets
- Master version and branch versions of documents
Not a developer? No problem!
- To be a beta tester, please contact us.
- We are seeking funding, do you know of any grants we should apply to? We’d love to know!
Background & Contributors
Pierre Depaz (project founder) is an academic, developer and artist. He is currently lecturing at NYU Berlin, the Filmuniversität Babelsberg Konrad-Wolf and Sciences Po Paris, while completing his doctoral thesis on the aesthetics of code under the direction of Alexandre Gefen (Sorbonne Nouvelle) and Nick Montfort (MIT). His academic research revolves around how software systems create representational frameworks for inter- and intra-personal organization.
Tobias Schmidt is a freelance software engineer with a decade of experience of building software at Soundcloud and is an active contributor to the Prometheus and Kubernetes open-source ecosystems, amongst others. Over the last few years he has helped to integrate Prometheus in SoundCloud’s infrastructure and worked with product teams to deliver more reliable and secure software products.
Pat Shiu is a freelance UX engineer and the former Associate Director of Design at Rhizome, an arts organization that champions born-digital art and culture through commissions, exhibitions, digital preservation, and software development. At Rhizome, worked on the Webrecorder project, an open source suite of tools for web archiving.
Credit is due to the following thinkers whose writings have inspired this project:
- “One Damn Slide After Another”: PowerPoint At Every Occasion For Speech, Erica Robles-Anderson and Patrik Svensson.
- Software As Ideology: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of Microsoft Word and SmartArt, Gunhild Kvåle.
- The Humane Representation Of Thought, Brett Victor.
- The Educated Mind: How Cognitive Tools Shape Our Understanding, Kieran Egan.