- Bolor Amgalan
The switch: prototyping exercise
During an in-class exercise we switched projects with a partner. We interviewed each other to understand each other's concept in detail and then took 10-15 minutes to make a quick prototype for their project.
I was partnered with Queena and below are my notes from the interview:
Who is it for?
Where will your project be shown?
What is it?
An immersive experience that would get shoppers to leave their house and go to a physical retail store.
What are your motivations and design values?
Going to the physical store enhances human connection with one another.
What is a possible precedent?
Nick Cave's soundsuits (see below).
Some ideas that came to mind when interviewing Queena
Daily tasks that people perform already without thinking hard about it - habitual tasks - such as:
- Putting the kettle on the stove
- Opening the fridge to get the milk out
- Taking the trash out
Interesting questions that emerged are:
- How can we use these moments to reveal to people that if you take small steps each day, you can eventually accomplish something big?
- How can such seemingly insignificant tasks be used to reveal to people that persistence can be easily attained through small steps?
- How can mundane everyday tasks be used as opportunities to practice craftsmanship?
- A 'kettle on the stove' action weaves one stitch. After 100 days, 100 stitches are woven. After 2 years, 730 stitches are woven. Slow making?
The conversation from the exercise was fruitful for me personally as these are ideas I got more for my own project while interviewing and talking with Queena.
WHAT I MADE FOR QUEENA
For Queena, because she wanted her audience to think of retail stores as the better way to experience shopping-like experiences, I wanted to focus on giving the audience a reason to go to the store. One of the many reasons people go to physical stores is to share an experience with the people they are with. Often friends shop together, and family members such as a daughter and a mum would shop together because the experience is better when it is social. Having someone next to you also gives you the chance to get their advice on your purchase.
Often when people go shopping together, they also eat out together. So in this sense, food and shopping are interconnected.
My prototype for Queena explores this idea of a shared experience whereby the physical presence of all parties involved is essential to creating the experience. Below is an origami form that resembles an interface, of some kind. It invites the audience to squeeze it with the attached sticks.
The motion is similar to holding chopsticks and it can be imagined that the squeeze will trigger some kind of effect. What makes the experience a shared experience is the possibility of adding two sticks on the opposite side of the ones in the images above and have another person use them to create a 'squeeze' effect with their hands as well.
Since the sticks function similarly to chopsticks, the prototype could also be used as an ideation tool for combining shopping with food.
WHAT QUEENA GAVE ME
Queena's prototype for me was a sketch of a program that would take users through the process of knitting - essentially an educational tool. The program would have a database of different stitches and an option to upload a design that the user would like to knit. Once the design is uploaded, the program will create knitting instructions for the user who will follow these instructions to create digital knitted artifacts. These digital artifacts could then be posted on social media which will feed into the existing DIY maker culture.
From this prototype emerged the idea of a knitting console. Can a game console be designed specifically for knitting in-game items? This is an exciting idea to explore.