Monday, December 8, 2014

Degree project proposal

I was always that kid that had to touch everything. I can still hear the reminder “remember Monica, LOOK, don’t touch,” bouncing around my head from all the times my parents had to tell me that when I was little. Sometimes the urge still strikes me when I’m out and about, or traipsing around a museum to just touch something. I’m guessing we all have this occasionally, we’ve just learned to suppress it after years of training.

This has lead me the idea for my degree project, I want to explore how design can impact/interact with the human senses such as sight, sound, and touch (I’ll think I be excluding smell and taste, but I’m open to experimenting with them if it seems appropriate).

I’m thinking about working on a series of project, where each project would be based upon one sense. Or possibly focusing on one sense and making a variety of projects based off of that.

Either way, I’ve found myself gravitating towards exploring tactility and interactivity and how they can impact the way people interact with art and design in general. I think we live in an ever increasing no touching world, as people become more attached to their digital devices the more disconnected it seems we get. 

Yet on the other hand, there is a growing world of interactive design popping up in museums to malls, to sports arenas that are meant to be touched and interacted with.

I also am interested in possibly exploring a fine art, gallery setting. I feel like these scenarios are often meant for only looking, and I want people to interact with the objects I make.

I’m not exactly sure what the end goal I would want out of these would be, possibly just getting people to enjoy their experience, and getting them to put their phones away for a few minutes.

As for applications of these things, I’m imaging a blend of digital and analog applications to make this all possible. I think I’d like to explore working with arduinos for the digital side. Arduino' is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for anyone making interactive projects. Arduino senses the environment by receiving inputs from many sensors, and affects its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators. I see a lot of potential working with arduinos because of their many different applications and uses that relate to the human senses. There is also a huge community online with tutorials and ideas for auditions that I would be able to reference for help.

I've actually purchased a makey makey, which is a very simply arduino geared for simply inventing. Here's a video of what it can do.

For the a part of the analog side I’d like to see myself somehow incorporate knitting in with one of these projects (most likely a touch oriented one). Knitting has been a passion/love of mine for a long time, and I think exploring this form through the lens of design would be fun for me. I think it could spark some pretty interesting conversations around the stigma knitting has (usually being associated as a craft hobby, mostly for elderly women). I’d like to break this stigma by making an artifact that people can interact with, that they would remember in the future, and possibly get them to think about knitting or touching things in the future.

So to boil it all down I guess I want to make something that is entice for people to interact with, be thought provoking, and memorable for those that do interact with it.

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