By placing a dynamic shock mount floor in front of the Eames Dining Chair Wood in the RISD Museum, the object becomes more understandable in a tactile way.
Below please find my final slideshow, my process book PDF, and documentation of my final process book. The steps I took to complete the project are included in these materials.
Process Book PDF (In spreads)
For the Site Intervention project, I began by making two maps. The first was of the first to second floor stairs of the design center, and the second was of my desk, and the mental connections I had made between all of the items. Both of these maps lacked hard data from the actual site; the stair map relied too much on outside research and incidental observation, and the map of my desk did not lend itself to an intervention that would be applicable to others.
For the next week, I refined the stair map by sitting in front of the elevators for a few days and recording who rode the elevators and how. I observed that many people would take the elevator up to the second floor, and then take the stairs down. I calculated the ratio of stair-to-elevator takers, and used that hard data (in addition to a bit of relevant research and anecdotes) in my new map. I then put together the below slideshow with interventions based on my findings. Through this project I learned the importance of spending real time with the problem you are going to solve. Speculation, anecdotes, and outside research don’t always complete the picture, and visiting the site was key to further developing ideas. Below please find my modified site map and presentation of proposed interventions. They would not upload as a gallery, so I have included them as PDFS. I am sorry if this causes any inconvenience.
For this project, my process was not particularly linear, and it took a lot of running into dead ends before I reached the final product. However, in the end I reached a relatively simple and presentable solution to the problem at hand. Those first few dead ends helped me to realize that sometimes a simple idea can be a lot more executable and interesting, and is potentially more appropriate in this time frame.
Initially, I began by looking at overarching themes from the introductory slideshow. I identified cuteness as a common thread in a lot of the examples, and thought it would be interesting to build a meta-machine that generated cuteness for other design objects. I researched the science of cute, and mapped what that meant on a personal and research level. Unfortunately, cuteness is an idea that is way to complex to tackle over the course of a few weeks, and in crit it was pointed out that building or mocking up a cuteness generator was not feasible.
After, I wrote out three proposals for new ideas and consulted with John. These ideas included a machine that provided canned responses for internship interviews, a machine that picked the simplest or shortest ideas (the ‘underthinker’), and the Jewish Mombot. Each of these machines were rooted in personal and sometimes awkward interactions. John helped me to pick the Mombot, and I started to develop the idea further.
For the next week, I built a proof-of-concept in the form of a crontab. I recorded my Mom saying what she was comfortable with, and set her to voice to run at intervals throughout the hour. I also mocked up a prefpane icon. My first presentation relied heavily on my verbally explaining my idea, which was problematic. As such, I then went on to develop a slideshow that would serve as a visual aid and show the settings of the Mombot. Critique helped me to realize that a solid, comprehensible deliverable is still important when communicating an idea, and pulled me away from getting lost in the intricacies of attempting to execute it in full.
Below please find the promotional slideshow explaining the Mombot.
I began the ethnography project by spending time with Emily and getting to know her better outside of a formal interview. In radio, we were taught that you should always ask a person what they had for breakfast before starting the interview. The question invariably elicits a response; even people who do not eat breakfast have something to say. It serves the purpose of making people more comfortable. My unrecorded conversations with Emily were analogous to this breakfast question; getting to know Emily outside the space of the assignment allowed me to portray her more accurately.
As we began to speak food became an immediately apparent theme in Emily’s life. Everyone eats, yes, but Emily has a special understanding of food and cooking. She can put together things that are healthy and tasty, and she enjoys doing so. Emily’s love of working with her hands in addition to her penchant for structure and organization carry over in her cooking, and so framing the video around that seemed like a natural decision early on. What appealed to me about this angle was that there was a step removed between what Emily was talking about and what I showed her doing.
At first, I struggled with length and editing the film down to a size that would hold the viewer’s attention. My original draft was meandering, and I was still trying to tie some of the imagery directly and literally to what she was talking about. Emily is vibrant and friendly as well as serious, and while a meandering movie captured her seriousness, it did not capture that vibrance. In addition, for a long time I could not quite figure out what note to end on. While I liked the cooking concept, it seemed as though there was no immediate narrative that jumped out at me– it would be easy to discuss why design is like cooking forever. Up until this last draft, I also assumed that everyone would assume that the cooking theme applied from the start. It was highly useful to hear in critique that this was not the case. It allowed me to create a better outline for the content: Why cooking is like design, followed by Emily’s methodologies, followed by a reiteration of how those two carry over as Emily reiterates why graphic design fits her.
If I were to do this over, there are certain things I would change, and certain formal and process elements I would keep. I believe that the cooking concept was successful, and that certain shots (such as the aerial of her adjusting the stovetop) worked. However, better film quality would have allowed those more successful elements to come through stronger. I used my iPod as a camera because that is what I had easily at my disposal, and a technology that I was familiar with. Early on I made the decision to spend my time collecting interviews and structuring a narrative, as opposed to learning a new technology. The same applies for the program I chose to edit in, iMovie. Unfortunately, that decision meant that the shakiness, grain, and lack of color balance are constant presences throughout. Like I mentioned in class, I do not want to blame my tools for poor quality. However, I also believe that I did not use my tools with enough an intentionality that would allow me to justify the result.
I am really glad that this project allowed me the opportunity to get to know Emily better. In addition to learning more about one of my peer’s processes up close (it’s easy to think that your process is the only one when you hole up in a corner with your earphones in to do work), I also feel really lucky to have been paired with such a wonderfully committed, interesting teammate.