Posts Tagged ‘activist design

The Fun Theory: Reassessment

24, نوفمبر 2010

The Fun Theory: Piano Staircase

by teamWill

Negotiations

Incentive and Social Change:

In the past, companies relied on penalties and extra costs to keep customers behaving in a way that is beneficial to the company. This method of thinking created a a chasm and disconnection between people and organizations. As a result, when companies attempted to inspire change for the better – for the environment, society, or individual – the citizens they hoped to inspire ignored them. People adopted the mindset that big companies were out to squeeze every cent from their bank accounts, and were very reluctant to trust these companies if they had a genuine concern. In reaction to this, companies have recently started to give incentives for good behavior instead of penalties for bad behavior. As an example, All State and several other car insurance companies currently offer incentives for not being in a car accident over a specified time. This simple change in approaching the customer has made customers much more willing to trust these companies. As this trust has built, some companies have jumped from encouraging behavior benefitting the company to encouraging behaviors benefitting society. In the Tin Drum Asian Café located in Tech Square, consumers get a discount for choosing a healthier meal option. The unique aspect about the Fun Theory experiment is the seemingly idealistic nature of the project. Each new experiment in the contest has no connection with buying Volkswagon, which is a completely new way of approaching advertisement and social obligation.

Cost and Functionality:

Often a deciding factor in business ventures, the relationship between cost and functionality is a delicate one. If the costs outweigh the benefits of the pursuit, then the idea is often dropped. For decades, cost-cutting in the area of environmental responsibility led to today’s environmentally degraded situation. Often, the benefits of a good idea are unforeseen and unexpected, and this unanticipated aspect of life is not accounted for in the design process of new businesses, products, and ideas. Perhaps part of the beauty in the Fun Theory is its facilitation of a more unassuming mindset. Though not purely philanthropic, the Fun Theory is also not purely business focused. The ideas constructed through the Fun Theory challenge seemed to overlook cost, at least initially, to bring about change.

Taxonomies

Activist Design:

This experiment is taking an active role in changing our world. The idea behind the Fun Theory is that fun can inspire change. The Piano Staircase seeks to surprise people who do not expect to see a staircase that they use everyday turned into a functional piano. This will cause the everyday commuters to be thrown off their daily routine of a quiet, faceless commute into something exciting. Curious, the people will want to walk up the piano stairs instead of the escalator, which most of them ride every day.

Community Design:

The concept of the Piano Staircase was conceived out of concern for the community. The community’s issue of choosing easier routes over healthier ones that required exercise was decided as an easily fixed and potentially very beneficial project idea. From start to finish, the design was made for and relied on the community.

Enjoyability Factor:

For the Piano Staircase project to have the desired effect on the community, it had to be enjoyable. Without the factor of enjoyability or fun, no change would have occurred. Travelers would have looked at the stairs and seen a change, but would not have been inspired to change their own actions. The success of this project relied on the enjoyability factor.

Incentive-driven Change:

In Government, there are two main lines of thinking about change. Change can come from the stick method or the carrot method. The stick method pushes citizens to change through fear, force, and punishments. This is very effective, but once the coercion is removed, people rarely continue doing what they were forced to do: they had seen it as a burden for so long. The carrot method gives citizens benefits for good behavior. This method can lead to results even after the incentives have been removed, because the people associated the action with reward. The Piano Staircase takes the carrot approach. By offering the incentive of a fun experience, the Staircase may make people think twice every time they look at stairs, giving the desired effect.

Social Philanthropy:

In the Piano Staircase, no benefit can be seen for the workers and funders of the project. There is no money that seems to be flowing back to them for their investment. Their work, though, overflowed with social repercussions and benefits. This project was basically an outpouring of money for the social good, improving the local community and inspiring others to do the same.

PART 1 of ASSIGNMENT 1:

Improv Art is the conceptual idea that perpetuates the artistic and innovative design creations of Jason Eppink. Many of his projects including his Take A Seat campaign involve the New York City subway station as that is his main mode of transportation. Because he is always in the subway stations, he seeks to make the experience of waiting, boarding and passing through a subway station more enjoyable for the average American. Eppinks projects in general are focused around the concept of community involvement and bettermen; he seeks to create Universal Design that all experience and appreciate.

-organization: Jason Eppink is a communal designer and artist who’s goal is to design for the needs and appreciation of ALL rather then SOME. Eppink’s work is featured on Investing in Social Art Projects art blog.

-procedures He is spontaneous in nature who is inspired on a whim and acts on those points of inspiration instantly. Most of his designs have a ‘prankster’ attitude about them as well.

-the people involved Jason Eppink is the designer who creates universal design that is meant for all to utilize. To put the “take a seat” project in context the videos below are portrayal of several of this other projects.

http://friendswelove.com/blog/art-we-love-jason-eppink-pixelator/

-the situation within which it takes place Eppink’s designs happen many times in subway stations or just in natural city settings as well.

**ANALYSIS OF TAXONOMIES**

social design: the main focus of this design project is to provide seating/comfort to a wider audience range at any given time (to lessen the physical stress of traveling via subway)

community design: design that will benefit the entirety of the New York subway riding community regardless of age and socioeconomic status. (everyone can appreciate the comfort of sitting over standing for a long period of time)

innovative design: creative design, unique, while also aimed at solving a widely felt problem

environmental design: environmentally friendly design because it takes someone’s trash that would have been left to decay in the streets or to rot in the landfill and recycles it by reassigning its purpose/situation.

PART 2 of ASSIGNMENT 1

Previously, we identified several design negotiations in Eppink’s Take a Seat project

*Finalized Design Negotiations List as of November 17th:*

Comfort vs. Clutter- comfort of people in subway station vs chairs being clunky and taking up limited/valuable space

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: too broad/clutter is not really a pertinent issue just not aesthetically pleasing whereas some of the other negotiations are more pertinent in the safety/life of the person experiencing the subway space.

Flow of traffic vs. increase of sitting spaces- chairs limiting walkways for the cause of creating sitting spaces

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: too broad again-need a narrow and pertinent negotiation to further analyze.

Individual (introverted) experience vs. group (extroverted) experience- standing (annoyed, waiting for a bus, anxious, nervous, stressed) is more of an introverted experience while sitting and congregating comfortably is more of a group event in which dialogue is more likely to occur (breaks the tension/ice and is a stress reliever)

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: an abstract concept whose pertinence is diluted by more obvious design negotiations-possibly a final decicion

Timeliness vs. Friendliness- being on time for destination/job-being prompt and on time vs. sitting, relaxing, losing track of time, conversating

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: WE LIKE this one because it makes the abstract idea of the individual vs. group experience more tangible and easier to grasp. Standing and being frustrated allows people to think individually while also enabling them to complete the task that they set out to do in a timely manner where as sitting and being comfortable opens up dialogue and friendliness that could cause a detour from the original time itinerary.

Comfort vs. Safety- comfort of sitting vs. hazardous clunky objects in subway space

**REASSESSMENT as of November 20th: WE LIKE this concept because many of the previous concept related to this concept at their core, also it is referred to in the video posted on our initial site (it is listed below) as many people protested this design for safety measures-definately a FINAL

After a series of debates, trying to determine what would be the best and most important negotiation to mention, we concluded that the negotiations timeliness vs. friendliness as well as comfort vs. safety are the main points.

::FINAL Negotiation BreakDowns as of November 23rd::

TIMELINESS vs. FRIENDLINESS: this is the major design negotiation because people are in subway stations for timely and efficient purposes-to go from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.The environment of standing and waiting passengers helps to perpetuate this timeliness. This chair project changes the level of time efficiency as people get more comfortable in the chairs and become increasingly more friendly with one another-as people talk more and become more friendly, the efficiency of the subway station changes. (people lose track of time in their comfortable state and negotiate their timeliness for their comfort-enables distraction)

COMFORT vs. SAFETY: Again the concept of comfort is key in these design negotiations as implementing a seating system is meant for the sole purpose of lessening the load of the people waiting in the subway stations. However, this argument is based on the fact that having extra chairs in the already small and limited space of an underground subway system is hazardous to people’s safety within the subway situation.

Jason Eppink Video Interview of Take a Seat (design negotiation reference)

x736bk_take-a-seat-project-on-ny1_news

The Fun Theory: The Piano Staircase

16, نوفمبر 2010

The Fun Theory: The Piano Staircase

by teamWill



We make choices every day. Whether the decision is about ourselves, others, or the environment, each is important. Often we blindly choose the option that is most harmful simply because it requires the least amount of energy and contains the least amount of resistance or effort. The Volkswagen Company launched a contest opened to everyone in which changing habits are inspired by fun. This is the Fun Theory.

Hoping to inspire innovative ideas and encourage people to implement their own fun theories, Volkswagen carried out many experiments for the Fun Theory. These experiments follow the habits of everyday people in different situations in order to create helpful design to change our sometimes unhealthy choices. These innovative and fun ways help to positively enforce a better habit within a part of society.

The piano staircase is an especially interesting case. It is an experiment conducted in Sweden aimed to change the lazy habits of routine 21st century society by changing the perspective and view point of the ordinary staircase. Though the invention of escalators definitely aided the design of buildings and has altered the way people travel through buildings, it has created some very lazy tendencies. Many people will wait in line to ride up an escalator, even if the stairs located right next to the escalator are open. As we all know, this kind of behavior leads to health problems later on in life. By turning seemingly ordinary stairs into a working piano, the Volkswagen Company sparks interest in physically going up the stairs and encourage more widespread use of the stairs instead of using the escalator.

Watch the results of the piano staircase here. —-> Musical Stairs

This video is taken by a subway customer simply observing people interacting with the stairs. This is very interesting because the film is not edited for dramatic and emphatic purposes. The video simply shows how people react. It starts with a woman who is testing out each step, finding a little joy in this surprising addition to the station. As she carefully steps on each step, another woman walks hurriedly down the stairs. This woman seems to find nothing interesting about the musical staircase. Another woman walks down, with earphones in, not willing to replace her recorded music with her own creation. A man begins to walk up the staircase in a normal, uninterrupted fashion, but turns around to experiment with the first woman. The last woman waits at the top with her two children, turning the stairs into a kind of game. She then proceeds to walk down each step, her children synchronizing steps with their mom. The personal interactions that people have with this little interruption from everyday life hold the power behind this design.

By changing the ordinary stairs into interactive musical keys, the traffic on the staircase increased by 66%! As the video showed, people enjoyed playing and listening to the notes played as they walked up the staircase. What is most important is that people chose to climb the stairs instead of taking the escalator. What awesome results!

This truly shows how important the “enjoyability factor” is an essential element in design for customer satisfaction and usability.

Negotiations:

Incentive and social change

Out-of-the-ordinary and fascination

Routine and change

Laughter and world issues

Inspiration and distraction

Cost and functionality

Links:
http://www.thefuntheory.com/

http://mashable.com/2009/10/11/the-fun-theory/

http://www.resourcesforlife.com/docs/item2212

Take a Seat

10, نوفمبر 2010

Take a Seat

Jason Eppink’s Creative Triumphs

Rooted in New York City subway station, Take a Seat is an ongoing social design project focused on the issue of available seating. By supplying used but perfectly functional chairs from dumpsters and piles of trash, the members of this project were able to reassign chair locations in areas of the station at which subway goers would usually have to stand for extended periods of time. The success of this project dwells on the fact that it makes someones trash another persons useful asset just by the simple idea of reassigning locations of the chairs.

notes: This design project was unique in the fact that it was more of a service then a design. Similar to Eppink’s project that we studied previously in 1060 (the portable wooden bridge built over a messy sidewalk leak), this design is meant for the purpose of serving others without much cost to either side. Specifically, Take A Seat takes used and disposed of chairs and assigns them to a new location and purpose for which they will be adopted and loved which is an awesome alternative to letting it end up in the landfills or to rot as pollution. Putting these used chairs in subway stations is a social design from which all can benefit.

Categories:

social design, community design, innovative design, environmental design

Negotiations:

Usability of chairs vs Aesthetics of chairs, Effective increase of sitting spaces vs. Clutter/hazardous, Spontaneous chair bringing (temporal chairs) vs issue of stealing and crime arising from chair mobility, desire for more seating vs surplus of seating (is there a cap on the number of chairs? who will enforce it?)

REWORKED Negotiations:

Comfort vs. Clutter

Flow of traffic vs. increase of sitting spaces

Individual (introverted) experience vs. group (extroverted) experience

Timeliness vs. Friendliness

Comfort vs. Safety

Defend New Orleans

10, نوفمبر 2010

Defend New Orleans

Defend New Orleans is a group which promotes the social, economic, and cultural improvement of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in general. It began in 2003 as simply a t-shirt, which would support those affected by the devastating hurricane. It has grown into a “community focused lifestyle brand”, and recently came out with a new line of shirts, called “Support the Coast”, which was created to support gulf coast communities in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. The idea behind Defend New Orleans is that they will sell t-shirts, stickers, mugs, etc., give 100% of the proceeds to organizations which are actually providing labor support to those in need, and raise awareness to the situation and the culture which it is threatening. Their main media is their blog located on their website, www.defendneworleans.org, where they post anything from animal threats, to flyers for volunteers needed, to invites to social events. They also use videos, which portray the rich culture on the Gulf Coast, by displaying different bands, activities, and people who serve to enrich the culture. It is very clear how much they are striving to preserve the way of life in New Orleans, and the idea that a simple t-shirt design could inspire such a massive movement is inspiring.


Initial Interpretation:

We were really drawn to this project, because of its small scale roots, and its simple but wide spread cause.  Defend New Orleans is not a group whose main objective is to proactively attack problems but rather to raise awareness to the problems and support other organizations that have the resources to physically make a difference with things like rebuilding New Orleans and cleaning up the oil spill in the gulf. We also liked this idea because our generation in general is obsessed with t-shirts. We all have t-shirts from every event we ever participated in throughout our childhood and still love getting new ones. The fact that a small group of friends designing a t-shirt (which most of can relate to from previous experiences) to simple say, “We support you New Orleans”, could spark this much larger network of people committed to the same cause is remarkable and interesting.

Negotiations:

Raising awareness & providing physical support

Small Cost & More affordability (resulting in more money raised)

Reviving Culture & Helping those in need

Popular Product & Inspiration to join a cause

Video Link:

SitBPE | Hannah Williams, Deborah Hudson, Sean Sims, Trey McMillon

The New York Street Advertising Takeover (NYSAT) Project was developed and funded by a group called the Public Ad Campaign.  The goal of the project was to bring public spaces back to the people.  Many of the advertisements seen on billboards in major cities are illegal; yet they do not attract the attention of city officials.  One company that is responsible for 120 illegal advertisements is NPA City Outdoor.  The NYSAT Project set out do whitewash as many of these street level advertisements as possible to bring the public landscapes back to the people and remove the consumerist effects of the ads.

The individuals who were involved in the project are of many different professions and backgrounds. They are brought together by the common idea that public areas should reflect the feelings of the citizens.  During the project, five members were arrested and many of the advertisements were replaced within hours.  Earlier this year, the Public Ad Campaign held the Toronto Street Advertising Takeover (TOSAT) and has expressed interest in holding more of these events in various cities.

We chose this project because of its roots in the importance and significance of public spaces.  The NYSAT Project spread through word of mouth and recruited individuals of many backgrounds.  All of whom were interested in bringing attention to the consumerism and advertising that has been ingrained in our everyday lives (all of which was illegal as well).  It also fostered a medium for which citizens could express their own feelings and spread anti-commercial messages.  After the whitewashing was completed, artists came out to engage the public spaces in ways that would be more personal to fellow users of the space.

Negotiations:

Marketing vs Expression

Legality vs Illegality

Purpose of Public Space

Links:

http://www.publicadcampaign.com/nysat/

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/26/nyregion/26posters.html?_r=2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKYwJ5wKeCU

Eco-Friendly Design

7, نوفمبر 2010

TechTacular: Sarah Brand, Gita Khote, Hyuk Jin Yoon, Myke Jones

AMPHIBIOUS ARCHITECTURE

We wanted to find a case study that dealt with ecofriendly design and that would have a greater impact on larger cities since we live in Atlanta. Originally we found our idea after listening to a speech by Natalie Jeremijenko on design, engineering, and the ecosystem.  She spoke of a project about “texting fish.” Further research led us to learn about the project Amphibious Architecture which is being sponsored by the Architectural League.  This innovative idea leads to interaction between humans, fish, and their shared ecosystem.  This project uses a network of floating tubes in rivers that measure and monitor water quality, presence of fish, and human interest.  This system is currently in use in the East River and Bronx River in New York City.  These tubes float in the water with three feet above and three feet below.  At the top of the tube there is a light that glows different colors to convey changes in water quality. When dissolved oxygen is high, the light shines a blue-green color, and when it’s low it shines red.  The light also turns on when a fish swims under it, letting passerby beside the water know how abundant the fish population is in that area. People can also interact with this system by “texting the fish.”  When one sends the message, the floating buoy will blink twice to confirm that it has received the message.  The person will then get a response that contains the current status of the river (changes in oxygen levels, quantity of fish).  This project allows people to interact with and show an interest in their ecosystem.  This project is currently being presented at the ‘Toward the Sentient City’ exhibit at the Architectural League.

The taxonomic categories that we placed this project in are Bio-Interactive Design, Social Awareness Design, and Scientific Design.  These all show the different facets of design this project covers.  Some negotiations involved in this project might include how to implement this design without adversely affecting river life and traffic, how to financially accomplish this project on a larger scale, and how the materials and equipment will hold up against the water in the changing seasons.

This video is where we found both of our chosen design projects.  It discusses several other eco-design ideas as well.

Sources

http://www.ted.com/talks/natalie_jeremijenko_the_art_of_the_eco_mindshift.html

http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/16/view/8977/the-living-amphibious-architecture.html

http://www.sentientcity.net/exhibit/?p=5

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/280190


NOPARK GREEN SPACE

As previously stated, we focused on case studies that deal with eco-friendly designs that can impact large cities such as Atlanta. As before, our second case study, a project know as “No Park”, originates from Natalie Jeremijenko’s “The Art of the Eco-mind Shift”, an address to correct environmental woes by combining art, engineering, environmentalism, and biochemistry to create real-life experiments that enable social change.  This innovative idea, designed by Xclinic (the environmental health clinic + lab) of New York University, is about landscaping the no parking fire hydrant spaces with mosses, grasses, and other vegetation. This environmental design provides several benefits, especially in cities, where many pollutants exist on streets. These micro-engineered green spaces prevent storm water run off; stop pollutants from traveling into estuary systems; stabilize soil through use of foliages; and provide durable low-maintenance surface cover. More importantly, these green spaces will decrease carbon dioxide levels by sequestering some of the airborne pollutants while at the same time infiltrating all road-born pollution. Furthermore, because the surface cover is filled with mosses and grasses, fire trucks can still park in these spaces for emergency. The flatten plants will be able to regenerate after the emergency situation, and continue to infiltrate pollutants during normal, non-emergency days.

Taxonomic categories

Activist Design, Urban Space Design, Environmental Corrective Design, Micro-Landscape Design, Fire-Hydrant Garden Design

Negotiations

Negotiations include: who maintains these green spaces and how they are maintained; how pedestrians and commuters treat these spaces; how the project is financed into who pays what; and where will these spaces exist and for how long.

Sources:

http://www.ted.com/talks/natalie_jeremijenko_the_art_of_the_eco_mindshift.html (speech)

http://www.environmentalhealthclinic.net/projects/nopark/

Video:


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