Calm Technology

by appointment only

Our world is made of information that competes for our attention. What is needed? What is not? We cannot interact with our everyday lives in the same way we interact with desktop computers.

In the 80s and 90s, artists, anthropologists and technologists at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) investigated a future in which many devices shared each of us, and how we might make smarter humans instead of smarter devices. The term Calm Technology was coined in 1995 by Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown in reaction to the rise of increasingly complex information technologies. Calm Technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user’s primary task is not to compute but simply to be human. Their insight into our intrusive present is crucial to our relationship with technology.

Featuring an original collection of papers by Brown and Weiser, along with lecture materials on its strategic implementation by Amber Case, the Calm Technology installation in the Meeting Room at NAVEL looks at notification styles, information compression across sensory networks and principles and patterns for ethical product design.

Make an appointment to visit the exhibition by emailing

Link to Calm Technology Reader
Link to Calm Technology Tutorial by Amber Case

Books on display:

Case, Amber
[Calm Technology: Principles and Patterns for Non-Intrusive Design. O’Reilly Books. 2015.]

Case, Amber and Aaron Day.
Designing with Sound: Fundamentals for Products and Services. O’Reilly Books. 2018.

Case, Amber
[An illustrated dictionary of cyborg anthropology, Createspace, 2014]

Amber Case lives in Portland, Oregon. She exhibits, performs and works at the edges of technology, humanity, art and design. She is also the author of Designing with Sound and An Illustrated Dictionary of Cyborg Anthropology. For more, visit