Interval Research Shuts Doors
PALO ALTO, CA -- Interval Research Corporation, a laboratory and incubator which had included artists in its pursuit of far reaching new ideas, was closed a few weeks ago by co-founder, Paul G. Allen.
Founded in 1992 by Allen, who started Microsoft in 1975 with Bill Gates, in partnership with computer scientist David E. Liddle, Interval fostered artist/researcher projects where, unlike the artist residencies implemented by its neighbor Xerox PARC, the artists were offered full time employment.
However Michael Naimark, who Interval hired in 1992 for arts and media projects "with the intention," he explains, "of demonstrating that a small dose of art practice would provide value in a research lab," told Arts Wire that Interval's arts efforts "represented only a tiny bit of Interval's overall budget."
"The artworks produced, by several others as well as me, were relatively lean and frugal, on time and on budget, and played by the rules but were as open and non-secretive as possible -- e.g., several patents were generated but everything was publicly exhibited. "I had really hoped we would be exemplar," said Naimark, whose Interval projects included BE NOW HERE (WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD) an immersive virtual environment about landscape and public places, and SEE BANFF! which offers visitors the chance to browse through a series of stereoscopic moviemaps that depict the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
According to an announcement -- which has replaced the company's web site at http://www.interval.com -- approximately 30 of the staff will be offered an opportunity to join a newly formed Allen venture, which will focus purely on advanced development for his Vulcan Venture's broadband-oriented portfolio companies. Many of the projects which were underway at Interval Research will be continued and further developed at the new organization. Others will, as appropriate, be offered to universities and other research-oriented institutions for completion.
David Liddle left Interval in 1999 and is currently a partner with U.S. Venture Partners, a consulting professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, and a director of the New York Times Company.
Paul Allen's new ventures include a London-based filmmaking and music studio to be known as The Hospital because it rises from the deserted ruins of the former St. Paul's hospital, and the Experience Music Project which will open in Seattle this June. (see "Elsewhere on the Internet" in this issue of Current)
Other artists' projects originating at Interval included Brenda Laurel's PURPLE MOON software for young girls, initially nurtured at Interval Research Corporation where Laurel spend 4 years researching the lack of computer games for girls; and Rachel Strikland's PORTABLE EFFECTS: A Survey of Nomadic Design Practice Concept and direction, which captures and displays information about what individual visitors carry with them.
In the early nineties, Interval also hired Lee Felsenstein, co-founder of THE COMMUNITY MEMORY PROJECT, a non-profit which developed public-access information-exchange systems beginning in 1972.
Michael Naimark is currently working on KUNDI -- http://www.kundi.com -- a "nervous system for live content" which he instigated last year with several graduates of New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and with the help of Red Burns, ITP Chair.
"The idea is to provide a mechanism by which people can alert each other about interesting events as they happen, which we call hot now," he explains. "This mechanism is based on system dynamics and biological modelling principals, and we believe it will allow communities of people to very quickly propagate alerts. Examples may range from weather and environmental events to animal and people cams, but ultimately this is under group control. Kundi is Swahili for swarm, flock, or herd."
In response to a question about how the closure of Interval would effect his current project, Naimark told Arts Wire "So far, not enough to stop our momentum."
INTERVAL RESEARCH CORPORATION WEB SITE -- http://www.interval.com
PAUL ALLEN -- http://www.paulallen.com
DAVID LIDDLE -- http://www.usvp.com/news/releases/20000217.html
"Purple Moon Software for Girls Shuts Down"
BRENDA LAUREL -- http://www.tauzero.com/Brenda_Laurel/Severed_Heads
KUNDI -- http://www.kundi.com
"ART AND INNOVATION: The Xerox PARC Artist-in-Residence Program"
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