This past week at ITP, I was one of 16 lucky students to participate in a workshop on “Intervention/Interaction – Multi-person Interface” hosted by the co-creators of the awesome design firm Antenna Design. Sigi Moeslinger (ITP Alumna ’96) and Masamichi Udagawa led the workshop over 3 days. Our task was to create an intervention of some type in a public space, keeping in mind that the focus of our interactive experience should be on people.
Along with Nien Lam and David Phillips, I created an intervention in the Bobst academic library at NYU. Our proposal was a type of “relaxation station” that transported the users to different natural environments. It was targeted towards busy students needing a short break from their studies, but could still be unobtrusive enough to still be situated within the library.
As I mentioned, each station would be based on a natural theme, which were organized by the floors of the library. So, the ocean-themed station was on the 2nd Floor, which the night sky-theme was on the top floor. Within each station, students would be able to participate in the shared experience of being transported to another natural environment, complete with enhanced oxygen and sound design that would become more complex depending on how many other students were also sitting in the station. Each station would also have some type of visual aspect, since there would be some type of overhang to each bench or seating area, that sort of resembled a bus stop. What I specifically worked on was the sound design aspect, which I found I really enjoyed from the sound editing assignment in Communications Lab. Additional credit goes to Nien for developing the 3-D software model of our station, and David for the presentation and photo-manipulations.
I really liked our project, as did many other students. The breaking point for us was spending several hours in the library and simply observing the behavior of students there, and taking careful consideration of what would really be feasible in that space. I’m really proud that we were able to come up with something really nice in just 3 days. Nice job David and Nien, especially for putting up with my paranoia and perfectionism! 🙂
Design an intervention (= installation or an automated machine) for “interactive services” in public space which will generate a new interaction amongst people.
An “interactive service” is a “mechanism” which provides some service or product for people. It is a kind of hybrid object/environment, such as an automated vending machine, information or entertainment kiosk, street furniture, etc.
The task is to go beyond an interface between a system/object and a singular user, to coming up with an interaction amongst multiple people mediated by the new system/object.
In this project, the essence of design is to “activate” people who encounter your intervention. The design should be safe and enjoyable, help people become more curious, more intellectually and/or physically active, cultivate relations with others (strangers, family, community, friends, colleagues, etc.) and grow as humans. It sounds obvious, but people must always be the focus of design.