The Morpholio Project

A new digital platform aims to go beyond portfolio sharing and into sustaining meaningful conversation, critique, and debate with a global design community.

 

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What is the future of critique, the essence of design culture, in this increasingly connected world? Is the speed at which images circulate around the globe, advancing the level of conversation within and amongst design disciplines. When placed in opposition, the time-honored design school tradition of convening public debate around a set of ideas, presents a stark contrast to the typical comment forum found in social media. Taken together, however, the spectrum of valuable means of gathering feedback about one's work becomes visible.

The proliferation of device culture, social networking, and cloud technology are changing the way we work and connect on a daily basis. For designers, this means that technology is not only transforming the process of production, but also the processes through which we share, critique, and organize ourselves around the work we do. "The Morpholio Project is first, and foremost an experiment in distributed intelligence," says Mark Collins, Co-Creator. "By leveraging the 'wisdom of crowds' every designer can see and understand how his or her work is experienced by others". It has been predicted that in 2020, there will be 50 billion mobile internet connections worldwide, the equivalent of seven devices per person. Thus, this experiment is not simply about the existence of technology, but rather why and how we harness it.

The Morpholio app by Anna Kenoff and Mark Collins for the iPad.

The Morpholio Project begins by re-imaging the portfolio. "Although essential to design culture, the current methods of creating and sharing design portfolios and presentations still ultimately rely on fixed notions of media, time and technologies of sharing," says Anna Kenoff, Co-Creator. "The design world is lacking in tools to understand how our work is consumed and experienced by those we most want to reach. The project ultimately asked, What would happen if you could merge processes of presentation, critique and collaboration into a single elastic platform?"

Morpholio begins by transforming the user's portfolio into a constantly versioning, and customizable, collection of images that is more reflective of the way we work today.

In February 2011, the Morpholio team, a group of five architects and academics—Anna Kenoff, Mark Collins, Jeff Kenoff, Toru Hasegawa, and Sang T. Lee—began the experiment with a small collection of collaborators. Software in the form of an app slowly evolved, and in the months following the group quickly expanded to include 50+ designers as well as members of other visual disciplines such as photographers, artists, and television. Feedback from every user influenced the process, goals, and definition of the project.

 
The project ultimately asked, What would happen if you could merge processes of presentation, critique and collaboration into a single elastic platform?
 

Morpholio "Pinup" mode allows collections to be posted for invited viewing, and response. In "Pinup" you make your work public and searchable by all Morpholio users.

Today, The Morpholio Project consists of an Advisory Council of nearly 200 contributors representing a wide range of studios and universities worldwide including both students and professors from Columbia, Harvard, London's Architectural Association, and The School of Visual Arts. In addition, the Morpholio team has recently received the support of Herman Miller, Dyson, and Lutron as sponsors. The software evolves with each new member.

In "Crit" mode users can post work and invite other users to critique it. Set up a critique for your studio, consultants, office, friends or project team.

The Morpholio project has ambitious goals. "We hope, together with our community, to truly reimagine the portfolio as a design utility, globalize critique, and create a horizontal platform for collaboration," says Kenoff. Morpholio Beta 1.0 is now available for download in Apple's App Store, and accessible via MyMorpholio.com.

Morpholio tracks the amount and type of viewing time, "Eye Time," an image receives, and constantly updates a collection of most frequently visited, most zoomed, and longest viewed images.

Morpholio Beta 1.0: Present + Collaborate + Critique
The iPhone and iPad app, along with the MyMorpholio website, provides a unique space in which to collect, share, and discuss your work.

Present
This software begins by transforming the user's portfolio into a constantly versioning, and customizable, collection of images that is more reflective of the way we work today. Capable of communicating with multiple devices, it organizes image collections in a comprehensible and accessible format that makes sharing and presenting work seamless, and infinitely flexible.

Collaborate
Morpholio "Pinup" allows collections to be posted for invited viewing, and response. In "Pinup" you make your work public and searchable by all Morpholio users. You also have the option to send immediate invites to a targeted audience, and continuously update the images they see as you get feedback, and develop ideas. The "Co-Creators" feature allows you to share and exchange image collections with anyone you choose, as well as give them access to selected images. Share image collections with your project team, consultants, or collaborators.

Critique
Morpholio "Crit" allow collections to be posted for private viewing, and response. In "Crit" users can post work and invite other users to critique your work. Set up a critique for your studio, consultants, office, friends or project team. Invited viewers can easily comment on any image by overlaying text, and will soon be able to use other feedback methods that are currently in development. Morpholio also captures and records other forms of valuable feedback for users. It is currently tracking the amount and type of viewing time, "Eye Time," an image receives, and constantly updates a collection of most frequently visited, most zoomed, and longest viewed images. "Eye Time" can always be turned on to see how much, and what kind of attention an image is getting, such as where people are zooming in. This is tracked on the device or on the public network. It tells you how others respond to your work, what drives interest, and where you can improve. Forthcoming features, currently in development, will provide various unique ways of obtaining instant feedback from the many eyes and minds of the Morpholio community. As this project is still in Beta, graphics and functionality will continue to evolve.

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