Intellectual dating in Manizales Columbia- Tariq Emam meets Roger Malina


In our Creative Disturbance project ( ) one of our goals has been to set up an intellectual dating

service- how to enhance serendipity and synchronicity on line. The idea being to provoke connections between people who

happen to share peripheral mutual interests or obsessions. The kind of accidental encounters where you are sitting next

to someone on a bus and start talking and discover you have a mutual interest that results in a long term productive

collaboration. On Creative Disturbance we have been recording podcasts of people thinking aloud, and we know that

this has led to a number of connections, we just welcomed a new podcast producer who is a Chinese Australian woman in Sweden

who happens to play on line computer games with one of the creative disturbance production team in Dallas. Cassini Nazir our

designer on Creative Disturbance checked out all the available dating software, and its useless. You can never itemize

the peripheral obsessions you have that are only activated through a chance encounter. And the social media platforms

are useless. I have stopped connecting with the people suggested by linked in or the other systems.
Any way here is what just happened. I am currently in Manizales Columbia at the amazing Balance Un Balance conference – I gave a talk  (

Beyond the Two Cultures A crisis in Data Representation. The next morning a young composer and sound artist Tariq Emam

He asks me for the copy of my talk as he is interested in some of my presentation on creating ‘data forests” where

we have been building interactive visualisations and sonifications where you can wander through the data in an oculus

and hear the data as you approach and wander through it ( yeah we have data frogs). We start chatting. He is doing a PhD  at the University of Hull

on music by composition called the Yorkshire Sound Scape Project

We start talking and it turns out he has been recording sound scales in the Yorkshire Dales- well it turns out my mother Marjorie

Duckwork was born in Elslack, Yorkshire – about 2o miles from where he has been recording. And I went to a secondary school

nearby for four years. We get into a deep discussion because in our project at the University of Texas at Dallas we are sonifying

data, we have a number of mutual interests. I ask him where he was born and he says Scarborough, which is where my aunt Thyra used to have

an apartment , and our family used to go there in the summer 60 years ago. I have childhood memories of playing on the beach ( in cold english

summer). Ok so here is a zero probability event. An american living in Texas meets an Englishman in Manizales Columbia and discover they share

an esoteric interest and passion on experimental sonification. My colleague David Peat teaches a course and has written extensively

on Synchronicity . Ok so I am a confirmed atheist and positivist/scientific realist and I have

never had much truck with David Peat’s work on Synchronicity. Or is it a zero  chance encounter. With big data developments on social

networks, and deep learning algorithms one can maybe start anticipating chance encounters after all given our individual obsessions it could

maybe be anticipated with non zero probability that we would both attend this conference in Manizales, Columbia. So if anyone has software

we can install on Creative Disturbance- we would be very keen to talk to you so that we can give a real intellectual dating service. All  I can say

is to date I have had so few on line chance encounters of value that I would rather just travel to Columbia. By the way, the President of the University

of Caldas in Manizales, Felipe Londono is doing an amazing job here creating an innovative program that promotes transdisciplinary work in

art/design/science/technology. Yeah I met him for coffee 15 years ago in a cafe in Lose Angeles during a SIGGRAPH program when he was a young

architecture and design professor. Put that in your deep learning software.

Roger Malina