Design research and mixed media probe
"Experimental Interventions" was a hands-on investigation to explore people’s motivation when encountering a myriad of objects, signs and interfaces in everyday spaces. The low-tech execution was a way to get our hands dirty and outcomes quickly around the basic understanding about the means to stimulate and test experiences that potential interactive systems could engender; like their social and behavioral effects as well as their cultural implications. We created four "Undertakings", in site specific locations where participants would be forced to interact.
"NO" was our first social site-specific experiment located in the Art Center Library. With pink construction paper taped along the spine of each book, the paper formed the word NO from the top to the bottom shelf. We wanted to see how people would react and engage with something very bold, new (out of place for the location) and loud in a quiet space. Participants were hesitant to destroy the “pretty installation”. No one knew what to make of the word "No" or how to interact with books tagged with the pink construction paper. This new signage became an invisible barrier.
From language (No), we went to symbols and created a large yellow arrow using construction paper on the spines of the books. To our delight, an interaction on multiple levels took place. People were no longer afraid to touch or interfere as they started to flip parts of the arrow to create new mixed symbols. This arrow was an invitation for play. Still the question arose, how do you get even more people to interact?
In the third undertaking, we posted a sign at the entrance to the library and people were asked to perform a task: “Mark your favorite book, person, movie, computer, and/or things in the library!” Once you entered, there were rows of pink paper strips waiting for you to place on your favorite object. From copiers to foot stools to a single book in a large stack to implied content in magazines; the pink tag denoted known things as well as perceived.
The last intervention used a bell and intercom at the door to a locked room. Even thought the participants had keys to the room, we actively tried to trick people into using the bell and intercom in order to enter. We hid a camera in the intercom so when pressed, we could record people’s interaction along with their conversations.