I presented my Future Creature concept to the Illuminations: Lighting class last week. The class is comprised mainly of Product Designers and Environmental Designers. I was able to get a lot of feedback about my project, and I also recruited a few people that offered to help with my thesis! Because this was a lighting class, we focused a lot on how the object could serve other purposes. We also discussed other observations about the behaviors of the object.
Here’s some of the feedback:
– It’s really entertaining and considerations should be made to turn it into a product.
– Color and math games can easily be attached to this object.
– The object seems alive. The smaller light balls seem to have a personality when they roll around together.
– A good starting point to evoke imagination and storytelling (YES! This is what I wanted to hear!)
– Consider other materials – i.e. what if it was softer, what if the outer capsule was made of silicon, what other colors could be used, etc.
– What would it be like if the balls were different sizes too?
– People liked the sound of the clicking tilt switches – it sounded like a very low level of communication between the balls
After the presentations were over, I went home and took some photos of the object in the dark. Enjoy!
Here are some photos of the Future Creature Probe Kit in it’s most finished form! The plan is to make multiples of these for each participant. This will be the jumping off point for the workshops I will be running with youth and, hopefully, with some teachers/educators later on! The kit provides a simple way to get an LED functioning, and is meant to work in conjunction with other activities – i.e. creative writing, sketching, scripting, illustration, etc.
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!
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!!!
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.
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?
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.