Future Creature…Almost There!

I have pretty much completed the heart of my probe kit!  This is part of the “Future Creature” Kit that I’ll be using next term. Details to come soon regarding the kit, but for now, here are some fun photos!

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Good News!

UPDATES!
I met with Paula Goodman, Director of the K-12 Programs in Public Programs here at Art Center of Design. She gave me some great advice about Design-Based Learning. I will be attending the Summer Institute for Teachers as an observer starting next week. There, I will be introduced to Doreen Nelson, a professor at Art Center College of Design and California State Polytechnic University and will also have a chance to talk with some teachers.

I met with Bonnie Chau of 826LA, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. They are based out of the Time Travel Mart in Echo Park. We will be working together on developing 1-3 workshops with participating youth. I will be running a probe-based workshop basically getting youth to speculate about the FUTURE! using an LED hand-made creature and a few other great creative writing and drawing techniques! 

Almost done! The probe for the 826LA workshops is almost done. I will post photos before next week! In the meantime, here is a sketch of the probe I am developing for my workshop! It’s almost ready! Keep a lookout for it on my blog!!!

Probe sketch

War of the Worlds!

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I listened to Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds radio show while I was out on a walk the other day. Back then, he scared a nation into thinking aliens had some to eat them and take over the planet. Today, no one would believe him. The broadcast was extremely entertaining and conjured up ideas for my own work. Storytelling has always been an interest in my work, and it really got me wondering how I could integrate a similar idea into the work I will be doing with youth next semester – perhaps a series of podcasts? Perhaps a fake radio show about the future? What will it be?

Redirect!!

Thesis isn’t just about picking something you like and running with it. It’s not about whittling down your understanding of a proposed topic into a precise outcome. It’s a push and pull. It’s about shifting your perspective from one day to the next. It’s about putting some things on the shelf, about exploring things that are hanging on by a thread, about going backwards, projecting blindly forward, and dancing around a bonfire of ideas until something emerges from the ashes.

There’s that old saying that Mother knows best. Well, Chairperson knows best too. I had a meeting with her a few weeks ago and she threw, what I call, a Golden Wrench into my work. For the last, roughly two and half weeks, I’ve been re-evaluating my explorations in relation to my interests within and beyond this program. I’ve been exploring things in relation to light, natural phenomena and it’s relation to human phenomena. I’ve mapped out past interests in relation to these current explorations, but in the meantime, had put other skill sets and endeavors to the wayside. While in the program, I’ve also been heavily involved in design research methodologies, social issues and design in education. What happened to those areas of interest? I have several answers for this. The point, however, is that I found a way to bring them back into the mix! This has caused me to redirect my focus on my thesis in ways still related to my explorations, but with a stronger emphasis on design research practices in relation to a pro-social agenda. 

While I was exploring light and natural/social phenomena, I was also exploring social structures of neighborhoods and communities. I didn’t post much on this blog about the social aspect of my exploration, but I was researching and examining how my experiments could situate themselves into urban environments, into societies. 

Current Standing:
My thesis project has been shifting towards developing a design-based practice in relation to social issues
. In specifics for this particular project, I am going to use Design Research tactics (both new and old) to understand how we can get youth and educators to think more critically about the future state of their world (“their world” being relative to the activities/workshops within which they will participate).  Through the creative means of a designed probe and workshop/series of workshops in collaboration with youth groups and educators, I will spend the next following weeks exploring ways in which we can get younger minds to spend time understanding the importance of speculation and asking questions. We are often taught to ask, Who, What, Where, When and How; but what about “What If?” 

How can I use the “future” as a jumping off point for this project? What creative and fun ways can we talk about the future? 

Can I start uncovering ways where design-based learning projects become a portal to a global workplace and/or society that values collaboration and creative means of developing ideas? Can the imagination situate itself in intellectual or academic arenas? How can I, as a designer, shape this effectively?

Water Creature Prototype II

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Worked on getting the “Lillites” into the water today. These are just rough experiments using silicone molding. It came out looking a little like a jellyfish, or some sort of bioluminescent creature. The good thing is they are waterproof and buoyant! That was my goal for this round. Now it’s on the the important stuff – form and communication! More experiments to come! I’ll keep you posted.

“Lillites” Pre-Prototype

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Spent some time making these tiny things today. I decided to call them “Lillites” for now because they’re only 1-inch in diameter. I’m going to prepare to try and get some swimming in the water! More to come…