Christiane Holzheid

Archive for the ‘RESEARCH QUESTIONS’ Category

One Moment

In RESEARCH QUESTIONS on March 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Visualizing / telling a story in a book format. Although I made this project for a class called “Visualizing Dynamic Systems” this theme falls into my thesis direction. Collecting an every day story and portraying it in some way. This book is a collection of information about “How one moment spreads into this crazy spider web of actions… connections…” it is more like an information journal with hints of emotion. The collection includes, phone bills measured in inches, “get better” soon cards, pictures of flowers, graphics of getting surgery and people involved, insurance information….. and as you go along in the book things start to reappear and make connections.

ONE MOMENT – the story about how one moment can morph into a web of uncontrolled actions. By C. H. written, illustrated and printed in Los Angeles, March, 2009

look inside:

015

022

031

05

06

07

081

091

10

11

13

14

15

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Roommates / your space / my space / our space?

In RESEARCH QUESTIONS on March 30, 2009 at 9:24 am

I went to five different apartments, where roommates share a space.

It actually all started that my roommate and I somehow without ever talking about divided the table into two. I never sit on her side… it is rather strange. Things just happened in a way, but we never talked about it.

So I wondered how in roommate situation people share their belonging. How do you keep your things private, or maybe you don’t even need to or want to. What do you share… where is the line… what duties does everyone have… you talk about it… ?

So I invaded their private space with a video and photo camera and asked them all a set of questions. At the end of each session I took a few photos, especially the fridges and then asked them for a portrait with their most private object which they would never want to share with a roommate.

I made a rough floor plan of the apartment/house

I am still working with the footage, but here is a little taste.

The questionnaire:

being a roommate – having a roommate

the art of living together with best friends, strangers, foreigners, bankers, musicians, … how do you still feel comfortable, have privacy or don’t you…

– Say your name and city you live in
– How long have you lived in this apartment
– Are you the lease holder, landlord, subletter
– How many people live here
– What is the shortest amount of time that someone lived here

Common area – living room
– How about privacy / common areas / rules
– Do you have a common area
– How much of your private belongings are in this area
– How do you keep your things separate from everybody else’s  – or do you share everything
– Do you buy things together for the common area. How do you handle this?

Kitchen
– How are things divided in the kitchen, do you have your own shelfs…. plates, cups…
– How about the fridge? Do you share, have labels, do you shop together. Do you eat your roommates food?

Bathroom
– Do you share a bathroom? How are things divided

Rules
– Do you have cleaning rules
– What about the dishes
– The trash
– Is there anything else that might be different, pleasant, horrible, strange…. here than to any other living situation you ever   experienced… or in general something you would like to add

First apartment

houseplan_liz013

liz2 chris1 mat1 julia1 michael1 erin1

how I am going to portray all of this I am not sure yet. I am going to edit the video in the next days. I actually can’t wait to do it.

Where I am at, ideas/goals/work…. October to now

In RESEARCH QUESTIONS on March 30, 2009 at 8:38 am

The last time I really posted my thoughts and where I was standing with my work was a while back, October 1st. Since then a lot of things have happened and I must say I feel way more confident about my work now then 5 month ago. I think a lot of things have led me to this point now… and no I have not all figured it out yet, but …
Let me start in October and guide you through my journey of strangeness.

October 1st:

“…From objects and their behaviors and tricking people – to fragmented stories and interactions (words, ideas , facts, statements). An interest in evoking narrative and imagination by tapping into peoples’ dreams – concentrating on GESTURE / PSYCHOLOGY / MATERIALITY / TACTILITY

I was thinking quite a lot – not really getting anywhere – being interested in word plays like “accurate forecast, almost never, back seat driver, … wearing many hats… caught my attention…
I watched PULP FICTION (for the fragmented storytelling)  – what does fragmentation add to stories or give to the viewer?
what do I want people to walk away with – what do I want to add as a designer?
How to connect reality with the unreal…
and once again I ended up looking at Michel Gondry‘ work – he is all about “… child like explorative eye, my work is my playground, tells stories about people and their lives while questioning our reality NATURE / SOCIETY / MIND…”
I also like things and like to create things, where you look at and have a certain expectation, but when you look closer or again you are surprised and actually it is totally not what you have expected.

– STORYTELLING
– TACTILITY
– INTERACTION BETWEEN PEOPLE
– BRINGING THINGS TO LIFE – it was pointed out to me that maybe I interested in MAKING AN ILLUSTRATION IN REAL LIFE? very interesting this thought has never crossed my mind – animating life – but not being an animator.
– cause some kind of disruption, disturbance, stirring something into motion… maybe break some sort of circle / system and have the viewer walk away a little confused….
– SYSTEMS – there is a clear part for the audience or the individual viewer – he/she is part of the story – only with them is the story fully realized in its own way.”

Here are some sketches to this thought process.
Everyday objects / everyday stories – how connect both of them.

objects0081little doodles I put on paper while brainstorming. Everyday objects…. buttons, film….

objects009-copy1… a fan, what else could a fan be or do? Or maybe a hat… playing with words… “wearing many hats”…

objects007I looked at metamorphosis – morphing objects and stories – what can morph, how do things morph, how do we morph things (every day objects). Objects that are made for special purposes how do we morph their behavior.

Got this book for my birthday.

Design by Use: The Everyday Metamorphosis of Things (Board of International Research in Design)

31vm2tkruhl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_1

“This publication explores and analyzes a very special kind of design – the phenomenon, as normal as it is wonderful, in which people with no formal training in design take things that have already been designed and reuse them, convert them to new uses, in short, “misuse” them in the very best sense of the word. Non-intentional design (NID) goes on every day, in every area of life, in every region of the world. Redesign through reuse makes things multifunctional and cleverly combines them to generate new functions. It is often reversible, resource-friendly, improvisational, innovative, and economical. It can become a source of inspiration for design, provided professional designers look up and take notice of what actually happens to all the things they design when they are used.”


I am looking at everyday objects. Their build, their history… I am basically creating a little object library with the idea that it’ll come in handy for inspiration and a better understanding about shape, structure, materials, technology, maybe even electronics… wishful thinking.

objects012toaster02toaster01toaster03objects010

Once I am doodling I sometimes tangle into these strange little things. I saw a post card a while ago it had a jelly toast and another slice of peanut butter illustrated and it said “we go together well, don’t we”. It just delighted me and this image sticked with me, so I drew this.

objects011While I am at I might as well share what else delights me – although it has nothing to do with my thesis… well who knows, maybe it does. It delights me and when I get a responds from people it is even better. So I doodles these postcards, inspired by a song from Simon & Garfunkel. I suppose I am collecting data in a strange way… here check it out.

My friend from London would rather be a spoon than a chicken!

chicken1

flowerseah

girbee

zippernail

stallion

Back to were all this is coming from and going to… so in October I had an accident and had to wear so huge sling for a few month. I felt like this sling was a conversation starter. At random places, strangers started talking to me and telling stories about their accidents, bad experiences or  misfortune their friends gotten into. I felt like a walking memory trigger… I started recording their stories, collecting the emails and messages from friends with accident stories. I wanted to make a project out of this collection but something didn’t feel right. I started looking into memory triggers, stories, why we want to share stories, listen to stories…. what are stories, what is so special about them some and why sometimes they draw you in and you cannot let go.
I came across Ira Glass. His take on stories is very great. (I have a link and notes on my inspiration post) ever since I am observing the stories on “This American Life” as well as listing to “NPR
Try to find a story where you can feel – yes, this would be exactly what it would be like, to be that person, to be in this situation, be able to imagine yourself as this person,. IT NEEDS TO FEEL REAL.” we need to be able to connect. And I think for example my huge sling that just looked like a bad accident had happened to me, made people connect to me and think about all their bad mishaps….

A few weeks ago my friend Mari and I got the lucky opportunity to go and record with “Story Corps” south of Los Angeles. What a cool experience! I was particularly interested in the whole sound set up and recording. Following this program for a while… this is one of my favorite story:

sheboughtmeblowupbrapic

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Merging objects and stories

What would the reason be? Why? What does the object add to the story? Is it educational.. fun… who is the target audience. I went to one dollar store and picked up some silly looking objects. At home I took them apart and tried to look for similarities, or better what that object reminded me of and maybe what story it could tell….
here a few silly sketches.

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objects0042

objects0051

objects0061

Basic RGBBasic RGB

this felt a little too tacky so I never physically build it.

For some reason I wanted to build a model train and inside the window I wanted to have it play a video of two people having a conversation. I was searching for content and interaction ….

train011

train02

train03

train04Something was missing, the interaction did not make sense to me. So around Christmas time my friend and I jumped on the train to San Diego. I was hoping to find something, an idea, an inspiration, an answer. It was great, the ride is really beautiful and I can only recommend it. So after a while just acting and goofing around no answers… so we just started asking people for if they would tell us their most favorite travel experience story. Or a memory on a trip which they will never be able to forget. Quite the challenge to randomly approach strangers with a camera in your hand, but surprisingly enough some people were into it and told us their experience. That day I collected stories about a “cockroach killing in India”, “flying to Mexico instead of San Diego, because of bad weather”, “an excited dog tail leaving a mark on his face for days”, “a daughter traveling Mexico with her Dad”….

From there on I took my camera with me and asked my friends for unforgettable travel experiences. I started contacting my friend all over the world, mainly with Facebook to meet me on Skype or Ichat and they did. I have over 30 travel experiences now and they are all very special and amazing. The only constrain I have given me story tellers :

“Tell me a travel experience, sad, funny, bad…. which you will never be able to forget. But no longer than 3 minutes”

01

02

trains_test

still from video


moving away from the model train – what others ways are there to support these travel stories. If I bring the stories back into physical space,

1: of all WHY

2: would anyone want to listen to them

3: how to draw the audience in

4: what physical interaction would for the audience would add to the experience

5: what every day object would add something new to the stories

mapsThe people telling me their stories over Skype and Ichat… they told me the location where they were sitting in that moment and the place where they traveled to. My latest idea then was to have an interactive map which would show you where the people are located and a line of LED lights going to the place where they traveled to on the map. Yes, the map and the LED’s did not add anything for the users experience, since most of us already know what a lap looks like and we can also make the connections of for example “London” and “Australia” in our heads… unless I provided the audience with a little bit more interesting or new… maybe history on the place…. it was time to scratch the LED map.

Thinking about specific location. This project could be at an airport, or a train station, it could be a travel advertisement, it could live online and give people the opportunity to add their stories to this…. or just a gallery.

In a gallery: Like a time capsule, 3 D, with interactive screens, you could walk around it. (with the LED-map on the bottom, video still)

capsuleAt the Airport: on the wall, people sitting in the window of the plain telling their story, listener is able to change seating arrangement and pull up new people and listen to more stories.

blue-sky

sky02

bored waiting at the airport….

sky05No more boredom at the airport.

sky03

sky04

sky01

it still feels like the “train”, the “plain”, and the “time capsule” are just some housings (packaging) for the stories. But they don’t add anything new to the experience…. oh dear….. not the most genius ideas…..

ok lets get away from the videos. The stories need to get out of the boxes…. so at first I just played the audio without the video and then  I transcribed a few of the stories. I stepped away and then red them…. yes they were nice but something was missing. All the amazing accents of storytellers got lost. The audio was nice, but I seriously missed the gesture and mimic of the speakers… ok it needed to be in video form!

Turing this long process I met with a lot of professors… and one said something I thought was super important which I didn’t even consider… ” you need to treat these videos with respect. They are already great! You need to consider the peoples feelings in the videos and them opening up and telling you a story….”

a moodboard of two people having a conversation at a cafe… I needed to get a sense of feeling and over all tone.

moodboard

I am trying to creat a feeling of speaker and listener sitting down with each other and …. I am building a “story telling device”.At first I thought it would be nice if the device would be standing and acording to the person telling you the story the screen would move to the persons real hight giving the listner the feeling of someone really telling him/her a story. The screen would also be moving acordingly to the gesture of person in the video. But standing and listing to a story seemed like a rush…. when do you like to listen to stories? When oyu have some down time, a break, you are relaxing, you are comfortable…..

So the “cafe” scene and everybody sitting seems to make a little bit more sense.

Print011

021

04just in case the screen is too heavy

03material list. Which of course already changed.

On Friday I met the artist Brett Doar. He is great and helped me out a lot. Told me to get a beefy motor – the motor is on my desk. I’ll post a photo tomorrow and some opto isolators…. my friend Matt brought me a Ryobi today so I could see some motor moving action.

machine

Seriously everyone is super helpful: THANKS!

The guys in the shop are amazing. My table top is nearly done. Taken me about 5 days longer than planned. I think I build it in the most complicated way ever.

First I laser cut the cube shape on 5 boards. Glued the boards together mad the cubes. Bought a vintage table. trimmed it for the cube-board to fit in. Glued the board in, nailed the table back into one piece. Sanded the hell out of it. Bought a piece of cherry formica. Glued this on top of the table to make it look one piece. Trilled hole through the formica where the cubes need to be and then took the router and cut out the wholes….. Build a box under the table, coated it with formica – for my electronics.

Now I just need to put little magnets in the two cubes, the wholes in the table and the electronics….. alright!

The robotic screen holder will be my next thing. But I need to take it slowly, I don’t want to mess it up and ha, I have never done anything like it before. So I guess it’ll be like learning how to swim.

cube02

cube01first user tests

table

movingscreen

like a roller coaster ride

In RESEARCH QUESTIONS on October 1, 2008 at 11:10 pm

Right now I feel like everyday I am moving on with my ideas and the next day I am at point 0 again… very frustrating. Well maybe it is a little bit more like taking a tiny step forwards, 10 steps backwards, and another little step forward… O.K anyways. From objects and their behaviors and tricking people – to fragmented stories and interactions  – to… This is where I am right now. And actually this maybe is a whole step forward. Lets see.

There are a few things (words, ideas , facts, statements) I have collected throughout this few weeks, that I think are true, make sense, and I need to hold on to.

Ok lets revise a little first.
So I was talking about my interest in evoking narrative and imagination by tapping into peoples’ dreams – concentrating on GESTURE / PSYCHOLOGY / MATERIALITY / TACTILITY

I wrote last week:

“… your personal dream of the impossible – the magical – the bizarre – super natural powers -giving you this special kind of feeling, power, thrill – that brings something unexpected.
but not in a cheesy way  – the words that come to mind are – charming / humble / playful.”

I was thinking quite a lot – not really getting anywhere – being interested in word plays like “accurate forecast, almost never, back seat driver, … wearing many hats… caught my attention…
I watched PULP FICTION (for the fragmented storytelling)  – what does fragmentation add to stories or give to the viewer?
what do I want people to walk away with – what do I want to add as a designer?
How to connect reality with the unreal…

and once again I ended up looking at Michel Gondry‘ work – he is all about “… child like explorative eye, my work is my playground, tells stories about people and their lives while questioning our reality NATURE / SOCIETY / MIND…”

I also like things and like to create things, where you look at and have a certain expectation, but when you look closer or again you are surprised and actually it is totally not what you have expected.

Ok so where does this leave me and where did this get me?

My collection:

– STORYTELLING
– TACTILITY
– INTERACTION BETWEEN PEOPLE
– BRINGING THINGS TO LIFE – it was pointed out to me that maybe I interested in MAKING AN ILLUSTRATION IN REAL LIFE? very interesting this thought has never crossed my mind – animating life – but not being an animator.
– cause some kind of disruption, disturbance, stirring something into motion… maybe break some sort of circle / system and have the viewer walk away a little confused….
SYSTEMS – there is a clear part for the audience or the individual viewer – he/she is part of the story – only with them is the story fully realized in its own way.

… I am picking a dream I want to do magic!

fragmented storytelling

In RESEARCH QUESTIONS on September 26, 2008 at 12:31 am

Something new to think about, which really excites me:

Telling stories and allowing people to alter / play / individualize these stories = every person walks home with a different story / experience.

Maybe my whole search is not about objects but rather about

GESTURE / PSYCHOLOGY / MATERIALITY / TACTILITY – which might end up in some kind of object…

maybe it is about DREAMS ,not the dream where you wake up all sweaty in the morning, but rather your personal dream of the impossible – the magical – the bizarre – super natural powers -giving you this special kind of feeling, power, thrill – that brings something unexpected. (maybe by taping into peoples dreams one could evoke some kind of narrative and imagination)

but not in a cheesy way  – the words that come to mind are – charming / humble / playful.

fragment / fragmented / fragmenting

reduced to fragments
– existing or functioning as though broken into separate parts; disorganized; disunified: a fragmented personality; a fragmented society

– A small part broken off or detached.

– An incomplete or isolated portion; a bit: overheard fragments of their conversation; extant fragments of an old manuscript.

– To break or separate (something) into fragments.

– To become broken into fragments: After the election, the coalition fragmented.

Just came across this workshop, whatever this mean and they are doing but I like the description:

“Describes four storytelling activities which help students learn a skill and develop their personalities: (1) guided imagery, (2) fragmented storytelling, (3) creative dynamics, and (4) drawing. All techniques appeal to the students’ emotional and imaginative potential, evoking a highly emotional and affective response, thus overcoming students’ silence and boredom. (Author/PJM)”

another article:

Confusing story telling with narrative

An interesting article I found by  |
http://www.cognitive-edge.com/2007/06/confusing_story_telling_with_n.php
“In effect this is a form of story-telling within the tradition of scenario planning. If people tell a story, they construct a sequential account of history or a hypothesis about the future, they tell a story. They will start to own that story, it will represent their perspective on what is happening, it will be fundamentally influenced by their hopes and fears and the cultural patterns of the people they live and work with. The group is likely to norm their response to the story even when asked to challenge it, any challenge is limited. Its a known problem with Devils Advocates and Blue/Red teaming. The challenge takes place within the range of what is considered possible to the participants in the process. The more complete the stories, the more it is context bound to the limits of their imagination. Such approaches also entail massive cognitive bias, the patterns of past experience of the participants will determine the way in which they construct the scenario. Giving them libraries of material to place in the story is even more scary as it restricts what they use again. This type of approach came from the attempt”

Behavioral Storytelling Theory

David M. Boje
New Mexico State University
December 24 2005; last revision December 28 2005
http://cbae.nmsu.edu/~dboje/690/behavioral_storytelling.htm
Behavioral Storytelling Theory is a revolution in storytelling organization concepts, methods, and practice. Behavioral Storytelling focuses on the behaviors of storytellers, and how they consummate stories, as well as collective memory (Boje, 1991). A behavioral approach to storytelling is not about folkloristic or narrativist collections of story-objects, like butterflies pinned in an album. The focus is on studying in situ story behaviors, patterns of intertextual storying and counter-storying intertwined with organizational storytelling complexity. The thesis is it is time for story to be released from narrative and folklore’s prison. For example, our living-stories intersect in our class meetings with expected petrified narratives of what ought to go on in a graduate seminar, with institutional demands about what to do and say, and how we record it for the files and transcripts. There is an epic serial, an epic-story. Yet there is no whole story, only an interplay of our living-stories which are not wholes either.”

How can I stimulate / activate / play with someone’s senses

In RESEARCH QUESTIONS on September 23, 2008 at 8:14 pm

For the past view month I was tinkering with the idea ‘how a third object can change family conversation, body language, gestures, and spatial relationship’ and turning its interface into some kind of provocation / rebel.

‘Provocation / Play / Interaction’
We made “the third object” which was acting as a rebel inside but its skin was all nice and soft. Also it had bad behavior our family members wanted to hug it – in order to control it again. We thought they would get mad at the object for taking over their telly, but instead they got mad at each other.  Was it because the object’s good looking and soft skin or do we in general rather get mad at each other instead of objects…. Would the whole scenario have changed if the ‘rebel object’ would have looked ‘horrible’ and ‘unfriendly’ from the outside, but then would you still want to engage with it. It would loose its appeal, wouldn’t it? How can the skin of an object change our behavior, trick us, and most importantly provoke everything but a picture-book situation? Playing around with this concepts and these questions I ended up with this main focus ‘HOW CAN AN OBJECT CONNECT OR DISCONNECT TO THINGS OR PEOPLE?’
I created the ‘two people interactive phone’. It looked like a phone and partly acted like one, but its constrain was that two people had to operate it together in order to make it work…

For now I am starting to look at a lot of things that a controversial and play with peoples mind, are literal, and have a twist to it, playful, engaging, interactive, and strange.

I am giving myself little assignments. I have no idea right now where this will take me, but I just need to go for it and out of my experiments maybe I’ll find the answer and something else will come up that I have not thought about. Maybe looking at my “related work” and my “inspiration” might help.

My assignments 1:

Find 5 everyday objects

– alienate their skin but leave their original interface (very abstract, out of its content and with different materials)
– alienate their interface but leave their original skin (change its personality)

during this period I will research materials and their behaviors.

constrains:

– the object need to be

1. playful

2. allow interaction

3. tricky / mischievous / little frustrating

AND somehow the objects need to have a story

Once I have this I’ll take the two most successfully once and build them out / test them / put them in different places / locations / environments

5 Interactions…

… that communicate a story with crazy, different materials, but at the same time allow people to create their own stories or add to it.

“ambiguity creates imagination – the less influence there is the more imagination will be” Phil Van Allen

– every idea needs to be different – every story needs to tell something else and a different behavior

– try to stimulate – touch / hearing / sight / smell / taste

~ maybe it asks you to play and make things possible that you normally can’t

~ travel in time

~ wake up lost memories

~ associate smells with a history

In RESEARCH QUESTIONS on September 16, 2008 at 2:02 am

How can an object connect or disconnect people?