Work log of my Degree Project which is about city and memory. If you are interested in this topic, please contact me: zhangyancghen(at)gmail.com
the final concept is a service for preserving stories. More details will be released in the coming days.
It is a bit guilty to say that because i was so busy that i did not update my blog. But last couple weeks, most of my time have been spend on programing and modeling. They were not exciting at all.
Now, it is so close to the end. Presentation will be on Wednesday. Good luck!
btw, i finally came up a name for my project, now I call it “I WAS HERE”
The finial concept is coming from these sketches… hmmm, which one will be the winner?
long long time ago, I did two brainstormings. You may ask why does every design process involve this section? that’s a good question, but i am not gong to talk about it in this post.
Since brainstorming is not a new method in the ideation process at all. I would like to approach something new.
Here is how I did one brainstorming ONLINE.
Basically, the way how to do it is very easy. I shared a google spreadsheet for multiply editors who participated in this brainstorming and they can see each others’ ideas and build on it in a real time. It is much more connivence to share links and rich medios than the original one. It is also has the advantage to invite people who are living and working in other cities.
It is also a bit weird that it is my first time to a brainstorming without talking…
"We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror."
At the beginning of the this project, my initial motivation is based on our experience that most aspects of our daily lives have been changed by network. Digital content as a new medium has been used widely as memorials to remind a person, an event or a period of old time. Since all the date probably will exist a much longer time than our life. It becomes a first time in the human history that we could be a history registrar of ourselves and talk to the future in an easy and simple way. When I was traveling from Tibet to India since I was interesting in Buddhism at that moment. During the trip, I had some chances to visit and talk with some followers of the Buddha. By chatting with them, a basic Buddhist philosophy caught my interest. They believe a philosophy that the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, return to live in a new creature body, which could be a new human body or an animal depends on your sins in present life. There are several precepts that all followers of the Buddha must observe if they hope to be reborn as a human being. Although there is no any clue to approve the reincarnation exits or not, the ethics influence their daily life. By visiting them, I was thinking the relation between the spirit, memories and data.
Actually, the first thing I found from research is that human memories are not just data system. They are much more completed. A number of research revealed when we recollect our past, such constructions are often inaccurate, they are changing all time, depend on our new memories and circumstances. So, the data we record and store with the system are better thought of as cues to trigger memory processes and help people to re-experience the past.
There are three main reasons that why people like to keep things.
1. Defining themselves and framing the family, like their photos no matter whether they are shown in public space ot hidden way in attic.
2. Connecting with the past. This reason is my main focus in the research and ideation section.
3. Forgetting, just because they are out of sight or they are not deleted.
I draft two personas who are story teller and supporter.
Job: he is retirement, but he still works as a photographer, because he like it.
He lives in Norsjö for entire life. There is 3 generations in her family. Besides one boy and one girl, he also has 2 grandkids and 2 great grandkids. All of his kids are living in the south of Sweden, One of his grand kids is living in Us. When his kids are young, they made an appoint with the family every summer. They traveled almost the entire Swedish countryside.
In his bedroom, he presents his family photos, souvenirs and some collections on his two bookshelves. Before moving into the elderly home, he has a lot of collections that his children kept most of them now.
He would like to documenting and collecting old stuff, he also got a lot family achieves from his mother. When she was young, she told him that they have a relative living in US, but he did not follow up with more questions at that moment. When he got curious late, he does not have main source to ask. Because his mother was gone few years ago. So now he likes gathering facts, stories what they have been told or what he remembers to describe for the sake of next generations.
He is always enjoying being asked about these stories. Because his job, he can use computer for downloading photos, writing emails and browsing internet. But he does not use any social networking.
He used to teach public social studies, mathematic, religion and geography. He likes reading and also wrote a book about the past of Norsjö to know the history and facts. He adores some stories like find out the reason of giving a name to a street. He participate in a project that started 20 years ago, to write down a specific year of Norsjö. He thinks if he does not write them down, next generations will be much more hardly to find out these stories. So now he is gathering these facts, stories what they have been told to describe. He also contact other elders or his old friends to reflect their past. He like writing more than talking to tell a story, because the slow procee makes him thinking. When he using paper and pen to write things down, he ofter asks himself how to keep up with technology, and how can we keep and protect the digital and physical we treasure.
She grows up in Norsjö, but Living in Stockholm for a better job opportunity. Because the population of Norsjö is decreasing, there is not many job requirements as before.
Few years ago, she had a kid. She went to Norsjö with her family and her parents were so happy to meet their grandkid. They were planning to move to Stockholm after retirement too, because they would like to live close to their kids. but she thought an opposite way that she would like to move back, because Norsjö is a safe place to raise children.
She has a good memory about her high school in Norsjö. She hopes it will be a hub of Norsjö. Since there are so many unique working places like forestry and milling. They could specialize education towards these ones, like the center of milling education.
She contact her parents who still living in Norsjö once a week via skype, also talk with them through telephone via telephone several times per week.
She likes taking photos and also shares them through sms or public them on her blog.
Regarding to blog, she is not really comfortable with expressing everything of herself, then she finds her own way of writing. On her blog, she does not talk about herself much, She talks about things in her head, like speculation! She also use some internet service to develop some digital photos that she takes every year, before print them she writes down notes for each photos and the order albums from these services.
On computer, she organized rest of them year by year and event by event.
She also preserves toys for his kid, she would like to preserve a tangible link for the children to their former lives in the future.
People, that is the word which has been mentioned most frequently from my interviews about finding out the most important thing Norsjö inhabitants are concerned with. Of coure, it is people. Otherwise what it should be? But before seeing this word clouds which is made by wordle(www.wordle.net/), I guess it would be company, family or even forest.
Last week, we had a research presentation. Six weeks have already passed. From This week, I am moving to an ideation phase.
In this post, I collected some projects from other talents that are interesting and impressed.
Give a Minute is a new kind of public dialogue. It only takes a minute to think about improving your city and publish your ideas online.
This project from RCA student has a very similar startpoint that is to explores notions of storytelling in relation to a near future in which objects around us are electronically sensing the world.
As a sensor device, SENSOR POETICS could record wind, light, temperature, humidity and air quality. How would we use this data to tell the stories of these moments? How would we share these stories with our family and friends? and so on.
Ondon-based design studio BERG has developed ’little printer’, a compact, inkless, thermal printer which can produce receipt-sized miniature newspapers, notes, or images directly from a cellular device.
The new way how to access information without screen is a pretty interesting direction.
We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion. It continually harvests sentences containing the phrase “I feel” or “I am feeling” from the Internet’s newly posted blog entries, saves them in a database, and displays them in an interactive Java applet, which runs in a web browser.
We Feel Fine collects around 15,000 new feelings per day, and has saved over 13 million feelings since 2005, forming a constantly evolving portrait of human emotion.
The Quantum Parallelograph is an exploratory project by Patrick Stevenson Keating examining the scientific and philosophical ideas surrounding the theory of quantum physics and multiple universes. The device delves into the multiverse, and allows users to glimpse into their “parallel lives” – to observe their alternate realities.
Last week I did a probe-kit trying to find out what people would like to put in a time capsule for future and who will be the receivers.
In this leaflet, people has been asked to record one day for 2022. They can do three things includes:
Take a photo of yourself
Take a photo of a place you love right now
Write or draw a message to the future (in box below)
Record/ Broadcast what is on your mind.
Shoot a video about your daily life
Photograph an object that is meaningful to you
The results are collecting this week and I will publish them soon.
These days, I have been browsing some students’ projects for inspirations.
This project explores how we can use Pay-and-display parking ticket machines to make cities more responsive to the needs of those who live in them, and proposes a service through which ticket machines become a communication channel between citizens and their local authorities.
Here is the link: http://www.mayonissen.com/work/citytickets/
This 5 mins long video shows an overview of my interview and where I am interested in.
In order to get a whole picture of people’s life in Norsjö, I did 17 interviews there. The youngest interviewee is only 7 years old and the oldest one is over 80.
Last week, I also interviewed two elders who are participating in a project about writing down the stories of their hometown that happened in the past. That supports my brainchild that people need a tool or service to help them to record and share their memories in the digital age.
At the end of last week, I tired to pick out the highlights from all videos I have record from interviews and compose one documentary film. Considering some interviewees are not satisfy about publish their videos online, I wrote down some answers from those interviews below that includes three big questions I have been asking myself for a while
“What does Nordjö mean for the inhabitants living there? ”
“Is there any dilemmas they are facing? ”(I hope these problems can be solved by design, especially by interaction design.)
“How people share memories in the digital age? ”
Here are some highlights from interviews.
1. How do you describe Norsjö?
Calm, quite, comfortable, safe and close to the nature. “It (Norsjö) feels like home”
2. What do you love about your city?
I love that it´s a small city and every one knows each other. People help each other a lot because of the close connection.
It is small that each one has the possibility to be a part of the community like working in various organizations as volunteers.
Lakes and forests.
3. What do you not like about your city?
I do not like that it is a small city and every one knows each other. (sounds contradictory) Because you can not be anonymous in this city.
Rumors spread fast.
“It’s nice to be here, but get a bit confined”
4. What place do you visit in your spare time that brings you some good memories?
Lake, Stadium, forest and summerhouse.
“I love playing beach volleyball.”
5. What is unique in your city?
Snow, space and a lot of woods and milling industry.
“Sports put Norsjö on the map”
6. Which city will you choose to live in the future?
Norsjö, I would like to live here, because it is close to my family, friends.
I will leave norsjö, because there is not a program I would like to continue studying, or It is hard to find a job position here to fit my education or background (these answers are from most young people)
7. What are the big problems in your city?
(From the view of inhabitants)
Population is decreasing that influencing on job opportunities. No privacy
(From the view of municipality)
“How to attract new people come and live in Norsjö?”
“It is hard to let the entire community to know what we do and why. Because some public think we are wasting their tax on some projects, typically some research projects.”
“Lack of time to make a good research to support decision making”
8. What triggered talking about memories?
“When meet the same people from the same area”
“I may tell the past in certain situations, when my kids start complaining, for example, they do not want to do practice, I would say, I used to ride my bike for 10 kilometers for playing soccer game, then I start to talk the past”
“In big family reunions, they talk about memories.”
9. What is your most beautiful (happiest) memory you would like to share?
Childhood, marriage and the moment Norsjö beat other big football team in the history.
“At Sundays, during the time, 11 o’clock, the church bells start ringing. As a child, I laid down on a slope, laid there and observe. If it is a nice weather, birds fly really high up; if it is a bad weather, the birds fly a little low, close to the ground…
my friends went to the bay where we usually store grain and hay. And we would like to dig ourselves down to the hay and listen the wind flowing the timber walls and make music like a sinfonia… ”
During these days, I have heard a lot of heart-touching and interesting stories. Now what I can do for them?
I am in Norsjö this week for doing user research. Norsjö is a small town located in the north of Sweden. There are 4400 inhabitants, half of them living in two urban areas of Norsjö. And there are 500 companies registered in the municipality, half of them are one man businesses.
Since it is such a small city, almost everyone knows each other. So I am the only stranger here and become the headline on the local website:)