Proposal for Interface Fall07 Final Project : Part02 Proposals Research and Concept Sketches

Write a narrative description of the project(s). What is it, who is it designed for, what is it designed to do, what kind of technology does it explore, why should we care about it, where will we see or what is the project’s life beyond the classroom, how does it make a difference?


The main motivation for the project is out of my personal curiosity about a small metal space called ‘Elevator’. It is an essential instrument for transportation vertically floor to floor in high-rise buildings and skyscrapers in the modern society. In our daily life, we have been using elevator so much that we take it for granted. As technology progresses from the last decades, elevator has become much safer and faster. Stairways are left isolated and only serve as the emergency escape. Office works waste lesser time traveling, and buy more time working and making money, the true capitalist ecology.

However, the approach of this project is focus on more psychology and sociological ideology behind elevator. The objectives of the project are basically trying to answer the following questions;

- What is the relationship of human behaviors and emotions within closed space(elevator)?
- Why does people closed themselves to others as the strangers in such place?
- Can design and technology help easing personal tension and create the ‘instant’ communication and relationship?
- Is there anyway to encourage being in the elevator as the gathering place.?

The installation within the elevator will be the vehicle for exploring the possibilities of technology regarding to the answers of these questions. Particularly, this installation will consist of 4 elements;

1) Participants: Visitors to the elevators
2) Hardware Setting : Screen or other decorations
3) Media : contents within the screen, (interactive or non-interactive)
4) Controller : computer automation and feed back system

The foundation of this project will be developed from the communication design point of view via the combined narrative and interactive techniques (visual and sound), and using technology as a tool for delivering these ideas.

TARGET AUDIENCE (Who is it designed for?)
The primary target audiences are the ordinary New Yorkers, those who live in the modern lifestyle ; university students, office workers, businessmen(and women), delivery boys including everyone who use elevators as the daily transit space. Particularly, we will focus on the target group ages from 18 to 40 years old, the average income owners.

Although, the behaviors of people in the elevator could be assumed to be in the similar pattern, but the cultural differences must be taken into the account, as the level of interaction are arguably differed in each countries/locations.

OBJECTIVES (What is the design do?)
- To encourage interaction between strangers (Triangulation, interaction appitizers)
- To eliminate the awkwardness within the closed space
- To loosen the high level of tensions, pressure and forcefulness in elevator
- To create the sense of ‘instant community’
- To create the new experience in elevator riding, warming up the frozen cage
- To experiment on the idea of civil inattention, proxemics and human behavior
- To explore on the narrative approach to human centered design and everyday problem solving.

TECHNOLOGY (What kind of technology does it explore?)
The excepted technology for this project will be in the realm of visual/audio, screen based technology within the environmental design aspect. Real time feedback technology from the visitors as well as the movement of the elevator will be explored. The performance would be trigger by the visitors as they took the dual roles of performers and audiences. Note that the technology apply here, will take the role of aiding to strangers’ interactions, rather than being an aesthetically pleasing art work. Furthermore, the networking features could be added in the further stage, which will enable to ability to share activities/results between elevators within the same site or through the internet.

Why should we care about it?
Have you ever question yourself why do we all suddenly act so strange when we get on the elevator? To the users, if it is not the essential vertical transportation vehicle, there is not much of desire to ride one. The elevator acts as the closure to the outside world, concealing the privacy of those who ride alone or with friends, on other hand, it became a metal public cage, where strangers are forced to share the small space regardless to their desire, and often the personal space have been violated. The word ‘civil inattention’ was given by Evering Goffman as a part of ‘behavior in public places’: “After a quick but open glance at a proper distance, the participants’ looks are lowered for each other and raised again only at the moment of passing. They neither signal a recognition, promising an openness for contact nor should they be full of distrust and hatred.” (Hirschauer, 1997).

The elevator has become the place of sociological experimental ground for the study human behaviors, interaction and violation of personal space. Therefore, via the use of visual design and communication what can be done to this small space, in order to breakdown the ideology of elevator.

Locations of Implementation
The implementation of the project is aimed to the public building’s elevators where the visitors are mostly different in occupations, status and genders. The building such as public library, department stores, museums, hospitals and even hotels are the target location.

However, with the time limitation and other technical constraints, most of the prototyping section will be conduct locally at Parsons’ elevators. The target audience will be shifted from the public to university students as well as the unevenly distribution of visitor ages. Under this above circumstance, the conclusion of the projection will not be reached; in fact, the primary goal is to achieve the project valid guidelines for the further execution stage.

Life of the Project
The installation of elevator project will be temporary within the period of 1 -3 weeks, due to the insufficient amount of media and the repeated visual pattern for regular visitors. However, for the final implementation stage, the installation can be permanent depending on the management and update of media. The predicted lifetime time of a set of media could be at maximum 4 weeks. The real measurement will be finalized during the prototyping stage.

How does it make a difference?
The strength of this project can be found on the objectives. It is the idea that installation can act as the third identity within the elevator and to encourage communications between strangers in any forms visually or verbally (create triangulation within the space). It also emphasizes the sociological outcome and the process of interaction the participants.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site www.blogger.com
Is this possible?