This is a collection of my research over the semester in Norah Zuniga-Shaw’s Interdisciplinary Research Studio. I joined her studio to hone in on my interest in Humane Technology. I feel there is a movement in the early stages of rethinking how we use technology to improve our lives and redefine what that means.
I have always found it useful to my process to go back to the beginning lists of goals to review what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve learned and what I’ve let go. This is a list of goals I created at the beginning of the semester.
My commitments for the beginning of the semester were the following:
1. Looking to the future for my path. Every choice I make will lead me forward to after graduation to have a successful and happy life (happy by my definition). For this reason, I have chosen the mantra “I will receive good willingly.” The only way I will keep this in my head is to write it down somewhere so I will see it every day. I interpreted this mantra, for me, to mean adjusting my life to be positive and meaningful. Something I have already started doing so this will help me focus even more.
2. I will journal every Friday morning, at least, to keep track of my thoughts on my research.
3. Take 2 hours every Thursday evening to update my website so by the end of the semester it will have all my work updated.
4. Continue to work on my Thesis writing and project at my designated times. I have also reserved time in the MoLab for viewing that I will share with the class if anyone wants to stop by.
5. Continue to work on my Dementia Project. I will be going through my previous research and writing what I have taken from that, discovered, or hope to use in my project. In the second half I will start working with Vita and Alex to fine tune the project. At that time, I will have even more to share.
6. Continue working on my stop the micromanaging madness research. Brainstormed this week to think it may be a workshop for finding a way to balance living with technology.
7. Create a video about my animation and dementia project for the spring show, theme of empathy.
How I have addressed each of these goals at the end of the semester.
1. The mantra “I will receive good willingly” made me look at where the negative elements in my life were building up. It is always easy to get caught up in what is easy, such as allowing others to control your mood or lead you down a path because you fear taking control of your own choices. But in the end, we all have choices and to “receive good willingly” is a choice we have to consciously make.
2. By the end of the semester journaling every Friday morning still was not happening for me. This is something I will continually still strive for, especially as my life challenges change going forward. This website is part of that process. However, I have started a digital journal to organize my research links and have been keeping a small handwritten journal for notes.
3. My websites are a continuous process. I am pleased with the state of this website as of 4-26-18 and as the summer progresses toward graduation my work will slowly start to fill in the gaps.
4. My thesis writing has developed more, and like my website, will continue to completion as the summer progresses toward graduation.
5. I have been doing lots of research for the Dementia Project in all areas, script, technology, story, expanding ideas on which direction it will go. I also continue to work with a (growing) team on making this into a useful experience.
6. I have done a lot of research and reflection on the micromanaging madness research and have come to some conclusions that I find valuable to myself. I think continuing this research would be useful but also feel I need to focus it down to one particular need. This may not be a workshop as I originally thought but may be producing useable technology that integrates these concepts into the world and changes our habits for a more humane way of thinking.
7. Instead of creating a video for the spring show I created a poster that highlighted my research. I did not include the dementia project but showed a 3-panel projection of my work. It did help me to visualize other ways I could show the work to enrich the experience or make it more accessible and portable.
I had a hard time getting past the fact that the “speakeasy” had nothing to do with speakeasies. Now, it must be noted that Joel Voyeur knows all about speakeasies, he used to go to them in the 20’s, and told me all about them, so naturally I questioned it. It was really what is called an open mic. I can only assume that there was an open mic night at a cafe called “Speakeasy” one day and the audience started associating the name of the cafe with open mic night. What’s funny is that what we were doing was exactly the opposite of speaking easy! We spoke unscripted and freely, no audience feedback or criticism, and into a microphone, maybe this should be called open speak?
Anyway…this kind of thought process is what lead me to share my thought process during the open mic. I often think of the why (“The 5 Whys” actually). I dig into the timelines of events and evaluate why something exists or why has it happened? Why do we call something that has nothing to do with speakeasies, a speakeasy? I look for changes in culture, language, advertising, laws, the way we are teaching children, the tools or technologies we are using to teach them or ourselves. For the open mic I talked about connections between my gender role investigation, dementia, and micromanagement push of the current culture and just explored out loud what those connections may be in my own life. What lead me to be interested in these 3 areas and how are they connected?
At first for the creative knot I wanted to share my dementia project and explore ways to represent how memories may be surfacing in the brain of a person with dementia. I planned to have a bucket of phrases that each person would draw randomly. I would have two lines on the floor, one straight and one jumbled. Each line would have a series of points that would alert the participant to verbalize their phrase. This would be recorded with a 360 camera for documentation. Right away I realized there would be a lot of constraints with this approach. Emotion versus memory, versus timeline sequence, triggers, etc. I wasn’t’ sure how it would work and because the group I was working with were very free spirits in their practice I decided putting constraints on them would, perhaps, just result in a very awkward study. I wanted to really use their skills to my advantage. Which was body awareness, movement, creativity and play. Going with the theme of this class, which is self-care and love I decided sharing my animation in the round would not only be informative about the way they were moving in the space but it would also be fun because they were getting visuals to react to. For documentation I used the 360-camera hanging from the ceiling as if looking into a fish bowl. I did this so I could later go back and observe how we were moving around the space.
Video 1 – research class views for the first time with an awareness of how they are moving around the space
Video 2 – research class views for a second time and verbalizes their movements in the space and whatever thoughts they want to share
The feedback from the class was extremely positive and helpful in thinking about movement in the space and how I can use the movement to enhance the points of the story. They also shared their personal interpretations of the story which is so valuable to validate what I am doing as a designer.
I think the most important thing in looking ahead is also looking back. The research I did in this class focused on my process as a designer but also as a human being. Before I entered this class, I began looking at goals I had as a child and addressing where I had veered off or accomplished them. By doing this, I found I got a sense of hope back, a little spark that reminded me what path I had planned to follow. I think the most valuable take away from this class is “giving permission” to stray off those paths but also to stay on them. That is the backbone of self-care. My investigation into micromanaging only drives home the idea that when you allow others to micromanage you, it is easy to veer off those original paths you had set toward your dreams and plans for happiness.
It is good to show emotion, even though others may tell you it is unprofessional. We are human, not a business.
You have permission to stop pushing forward. Stop. Focus. Absorb. And listen. We are human, not a business.
Listen as a practice, not only as a desire.