After a long posting hiatus, semi-back. To paraphrase Bre Pattis, "You need to have more than one parent for your digital designs." I was happily surprised when a series of individuals on Flickr created derivative art from one of my photos. It was rather amazing to see the creative diversity stimulated from a basic image. But moreso, there was something special about the social nature of seeing a thread of peoples' derivatives from the same source, and something special about the personal acknowledgements of inspiration.
Similarly, in a fun talk about the future of digital things, Bre shared some anecdotes about the digital to physical mashups (and memes) that he's been noticing on Thingiverse, a place where people can submit and share their 3D designs. A simple gangsta spawned the Thingiverse community to create rabbitsta, yodasta, ColbertSta, bobbleheadsta, chessta -- basically any head imaginable stuck on top the gangsta body to create new sta's.
Jumping a bit to a slightly different translation of digital meets physical. Along the theme of thoughts about how we are evolving our culture of sharing, it was interesting to see the story of Jonathan's Card unfold. It was an experiment in collective sharing of physical goods and virtual currency. Jonathan made his Starbucks card available for anyone to use or add to for coffee. Like all things digital and shared on the Internet, unpredictable mashups happened. There was general evidence of generousity as people kept the balance positive, adding and spending $8K within a month. Then came an unexpected mashup, as one individual wrote a script that took and transfered money off Jonathan's card onto his own card (with the intent for the funds to then be donated to a charity, Save the Children). Unfortunately, the end result was Jonathan's card got shut down, but I suspect experiments in sharing across digital to physical will continue to crop up.