CHRISTIANE HOLZHEID



ELECTRONIC OBJECTS AND THEIR PEOPLE

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Social media / design research

Winter 2009 (Thesis Project)

  

View project site here

Through daily use, electronic objects have indiscernibly reached the status of cohabitants within the domestic environment. With a poetic playfulness, Electronic Objects and Their People investigated the effects of this alliance on communication, perception, and behavior in the privacy of home.  Electronic Objects And Their People is a body of work that uses design research to understand technology's influence on relationships with objects as well as people. This study is broken into four elements:

 

CUSTOMIZATION
DOMESTICATION
ANTHROPOMORPHISM
PERCEPTION

 

These elements are threads that run through out this body of work and become a springboard to explore multi-colored directions around electronic objects and people. However the main point, to which they all knit back, is the idea of "home." 

 

 

ANTHROPOMORPHISM - Out Of An Object's Perspective

This video interaction is from the viewpoint of the object and it’s relationship to the user. When we first purchase an electronic object, it is inanimate. Through daily use, we develop a relationship and anthropomorphize the object to the point where we learn about each other’s habits and vices. This project shows the growth of that friendship as seen through the object. 

 

 

I AM... YOU NEED TO BE...

This project is an investigation into the language of choosing a roommate through Craigslist.  A private place is highly valuable for retreat and serves as a psycho-hygienic counter-balance to the bustling urban public space. However, sharing private space is for many people a necessity at some point in their life. Are our expectations towards cohabitants fixed and labeled? Have we assigned cohabitants an object-status? A certain pattern of communication has emerged between the "Room Renters" and "Room Searchers" in order to deal with the complex task of finding the right roommate-match and making the once private space, semi-public. One main pool, which serves as the data source for this project, is the platform Craigslist. This site allows anyone to post ads, free of charge and without any limits on the word count. It is thus a perfect opportunity for the renter to describe not only the space for rent but to add another level of detail for the perfect co-habitant.  The headline, “Two bedroom, close to university…” is only the initial descriptor as the Room Renter develops in much further detail,” I am… You need to be…” 

 

 

I WISH

"I wish" is an animation based from research findings about people's desire to perfect, master and gain control in their private life. When people treat life like an “infinite variable system," does the availability of customization foster our creativity and wellbeing or does it shift our perception and make us more self centered? Is the “modern lego system” spoiling us? The data used for this project has been retrieved by an empirical survey via the platform mechanical turk1, where people were asked to present information regarding their customization practices and customization ideals:  1. Name 5 things in your home that you have somehow customized.  2. Name 5 things that you wish would be customizable in your domestic space.

 

 

COHABITANTS

"Cohabitants" is a research project looking at the domestic life of seven people across two households and their relationships to each other and electronic objects. Through the interview process behavioral patterns emerged that suggested living with electronic objects on a daily basis has a tendency to effect our perceptions of how we interact with our roommates. Without being aware of it, we transcribe/ascribe the ways we handle and communicate with gadgets on to our human living partners. This research is to find out how far we will go to customize, domesticate, tame our roommates.

 

 

PREFERRED STATUS - for Object Well Being

"Preferred Status" is speculative design that asks, how would electronic objects like their Users to function? When an object is not in full cooperation it's misbehavior is anthropomorphize to cope with the situation. Preferred Object User twist this relationship to ask at what point does the User begin to consider the object's well being as something that needs to be nurtured. Could designing an object with non-inanimate attributes allow the User to change their attitudes toward sustainability, disposable culture, and consumerism?