Michael Karlesky

A cabinet of wonders. Minus the cabinet. And possibly the wonders.

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A Reckless Statement

I think I’m supposed to put here a nice little elevator pitch for myself made up of dynamic adjectives and buzzwords. Not gonna do it. Instead I’ll make a truer but more reckless statement: I intend to change the world. Or maybe I feel called to such a thing. Laughable, right? I know. But I prefer to just say it than use safer words.

How will this come to be, you ask? By helping us play in new and amazing ways! I call it playful technology. I’m working on it. It’s hard. You should pop over to my site Note the Smile.

Boring Stuff

I’m a Ph.D. student at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering in the Computer Science program, studying Human Computer Interaction with my advisor Katherine Isbister. I work in our Game Innovation Lab, but I’m not actually much of a gamer. Before this I worked over a decade in engineering and software and failed at a couple entrepreneurial efforts too. If my books are any indication, I’m a nerd about: history, philosophy, theology, design, typography, and amusement parks. I’ll grant you that “boring” may not be the appropriate label for that last one. Most recently I cofounded Somaware.

Fun Stuff

I was born at a very early age and grew up in Michigan. In high school I was a briefcase carrying, calculator watch wearing geek. Not a whole lot has changed since. In those days I also performed onstage in ridiculously elaborate skits. Geek and performer came together in my engineering of a rubber chicken launching device and a life-size dummy dropper for the school stage. In college I was the first student in campus housing to have networking installed in my room (should this be in the “Boring Stuff” section?). In an intro engineering class I wrote a paper on theme park engineering and tried repeatedly to arrange a behind-the-scenes tour at Cedar Point (never succeeded). I am a lifelong aficionado of the finest in almost useful knowledge (hello, mental_floss). From time to time, I juggle flaming clubs. For a few years I was an unusually tall triathlete. At the moment I seem to be obsessed with the New York City subway system (confession: I typed in that URL from memory).

A Primer, Should We Ever Meet in Person

If you’ve looked me up and we later meet, at some point I may very well ask you, “Tell me. Who do you belong to?” It may sound like an odd question. It’s my way of asking who’s important to you and by extension who you are as well. It’s a thing.


We should tackle reality in a slightly jokey way, otherwise we miss its point.
— Lawrence Durrell
 

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