Interaction Designer, Educator, Creative Technologist with over 30 years experience in startup, corporate, research, and educational positions. Interested in the intersection of tangible interaction, media, networks, and the new ecologies these create. Desiging interactions for a range of platforms including the Web, mobile, embedded systems, and interactive spaces. As an Educator at Art Center College of Design, pursuing new educational models, technologies and tools for teaching and learning at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Current research focuses on productive interactions, animism as an design metaphor, and tools for designers.
Philip van Allen is an interactive designer, educator, researcher, and technologist with more than 30 years experience at the intersection of technology and the creative arts in fields ranging from sound recording to interactive media installations. He is a Professor and Core Faculty member in the Graduate Media Design program at Art Center College of Design with research interests at the intersection of tangible interaction, media, networks, and the new ecologies these create.
van Allen began working in the emerging field of digital media in 1988, joining Philips to help develop Compact Disc Interactive (CDi), the first consumer multimedia platform. At Philips, he was Senior Producer and helped develop the first interactive, enhanced music CDs (CDi-Ready) with titles for James Brown, Luciano Pavarotti and Mozart. He founded his interactive production company, Commotion, in 1993 and has worked on CD-ROM, Web, mobile, and interactive exhibitions with a range of clients including USC, George P. Johnson (Infiniti, Acura), The Huntington Art Collections, Interval Research, Philips, Yahoo, Nestlé, yU+co, U2 and Yoko Ono. In 1994, Commotion was contracted to develop one of the first digital publications, Launch CD-ROM Magazine. And in 1996 van Allen founded the Web magazine ArtCommotion.com that focused on the contemporary visual and literary arts in Los Angeles. In 1997, van Allen began an extended contract with Interval Research, Microsoft founder Paul Allen’s research group in Palo Alto. There he worked on design and business development for interactive music and Internet connected book projects with Joy Mountford’s group, and received two patents.
Prior to his work in digital media, van Allen built a recording studio where he recorded a range of Los Angeles talent, including early punk bands such as the Germs, Dils, and Controllers. He was also a software developer, and worked on Nuclear Reactor safety monitoring software for General Electric. He then returned to school to continue his undergraduate studies and graduated in 1988 from the University of California Santa Cruz with a BA in Experimental Psychology (focus on Cognitive Science), highest honors. He was a featured speaker at his graduation.
van Allen has been involved in education throughout his career, opening Santa Monica College’s first time-sharing computer lab at in the early 1980s, guest teaching at McGill University, and returning to Santa Monica College in 1998, where he was an Associate Professor and Assistant Chair in the Design Technology department. In 2000, he began teaching part-time in the Graduate Media Design program at Art Center and in 2002 became a full-time core faculty member. At Art Center, van Allen has developed an innovative approach to teaching interaction design, and created the NETLab Toolkit, a system that enables students and designers to quickly develop projects that integrate media such as video, sound and text with tangible interaction using sensors, motors, and interactive environments. He is also active in campus service work as the Co-Chair of the Faculty Council, member of the Facilities and Technology Committee, and active participant in Art Center’s strategic planning process.
Recent projects include mobile development for a free Guide to Health Programs, an interactive installation for the A+D Museum, an interactive website on charter school performance for USC, interactive museum kiosks for the Huntington, and award winning interactive exhibitions in the major auto shows for Infiniti and Acura. Philip is also the lead author of the transmedia publication (book, website, mobile, and a poster) The New Ecology of Things. As part of van Allen’s ongoing research, the publication explores the emerging world of ubiquitous networks, smart objects & spaces, and approaches to design practice that embrace mythology, meaning making, and embodiment.