Final project phase 1

The question that you would like to study

 

Knitting or fiber crafts in general have always been deemed women’s crafts, in a derogatory sense. If this is true that means that women reclaiming knitting or other crafting in a positive sense is a powerful act of feminist retaliation. The question I want to explore more is: how can I combine knitting and technology to further or embolden knitting as an act of feminist retaliation? Specifically using sound as a kind of “highlighter.”

The method/idea that you will engage to study that question

I know that I want to use material studies since I am starting with the idea of knitting (yarn) or fibers in general. I like the idea of working backwards from here since this is all I really have right now. Additionally I would like to incorporate ideas from adversarial or speculative design since I think I would like to main “point” of my design to be more discussion provoking than actual function. I also really enjoyed the Verbeek reading and I like the concept of considering how design my script actions into users, I think it will be important to consider how knitting/crafting already does that and furthermore how my proposed design might do that as well.

Your plan for the two weeks

Focus my idea more. Focus in on the politics I’m addressing more and figure out how I feel/what I want to say about that. I think this means spending my first 6 hours doing a lot of reading and also brainstorming exercises to help me focus as well. My next week will be spent sketching and designing around the idea I formulate, and starting to hone in on exactly which materials (yarns or fabrics) I want to be using.

Short description of how you plan to document the work

I think I will keep physical samples of all of the different materials and prototypes I run into. I also think I want to try to make myself journal and sketch about the different readings I come across when researching knitting and making as I go. If I end up really focusing on the material studies route then I want my final work book to be really tactile and interactive.

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Probes!

My three probes were: a) Draw one of these: a rose, a golden retriever, a vw beetle. b) draw your childhood blanket or stuffed animal. c) shuffle your ipod and write down the first three songs that come up.

Photo on 10-25-17 at 10.13 AM #3Photo on 10-25-17 at 10.13 AM #2Photo on 10-25-17 at 10.13 AMPhoto on 10-25-17 at 10.12 AM

For the song reply the person listen the three songs all of which are relatively contemporary, but they include both rap and alternative rock, which is an interesting mix.

For the stuffed animal/blanket probe they drew a dog.

And for the drawing probe they drew several roses.

The responses were as I expected I think this was my probes were pretty bland and so there wasn’t a lot for the person to work with, I didn’t leave a lot of room for creativity or introspection. I think the drawing one was the most telling because it most likely reflected because I tried to pick things that most people would have drawn as a child and haven’t drawn since and I really enjoyed seeing all of the different ways the person drew a rose. I think you can also make some speculations based on gender of lifestyle based on which object the person drew.

I unfortunately lost the drawing of my design sketch but it luckily wasn’t very visual. I really liked the idea of drawing these kind of elementary school icons and tried to run with that. Early education is a time where everyone is frequently doing art and they’re kind of unaware of the concepts of it being “good” or “bad” or even realistic. Kids seem to be super okay with getting their ideas out onto paper and not worrying about the quality of the drawing. This kind of mentality seems like it would be massively beneficial to adult creativity as well, but it’s much harder for adults to move past the insecurity…so i thought let’s make a newsletter daily or weekly in which a random child’s artwork or written story is sent out and adult person interprets and analyzes that child’s art and extracts a prompt from it, using the child’s art as the example. 567956a5e83cecb5eade054c2571572b--scary-fish-art-art

This kiddo art project is actually super sick and probably a nice creative prompt for tons of people out there but by using the kid example instead of an adult example it takes the pressure off.

I had several ideas for this project, because I felt like I was really struggling to come up with one, original idea. Of the few ideas I had, I was pretty stuck on the idea that yarn gets knit into something, in retrospect I wish I had stepped outside of this box more.

In reflecting on the act of knitting I thought of yarn (or knitting needles) that can tell if youre stressed and then your phone spits out yarn until you are no longer stressed. Encouraging knitting as a healthy way to deal with stress.

I also thought about a scarf that had gps sensing embedded, it could alert you if someone you wanted to hide from was near by and you could convert the scarf into a disguise.

In answering the first question, yes and no. I kind of got stuck on one part of the life cycle, the part where the yarn becomes knit into something. But my scope here was quite limited as this is the obvious application of yarn. I should have thought of the before a little more: what other purposes does yarn have other than knitting? How could it go down a different life path? One idea I wish I had pursued more when looking at my specific yarn was that it looked quite different before and after being knit, as I was analyzing some strands that had been unknit. It took on a kind of helix patter after being knit, I liked the shape of the helix and I thought it could have gone playfully with something biomedical or helix “focused.”

My material “is” also an activity especially to me because I like to knit. I was hard to see outside of that box, i think interacting with a material and learning its inconveniences and limitations as well as it quirks is essential to coming up with new ways to use a material. If given more time I think it’s a super great way to really push yourself to think outside of the box. In general switching up your starting point seems like a great way to reinvigorate things design wise.

Walking Algorithm and Perception

My Algorithm:

  • exit classroom
  • if you reach a blockage, turn left
  • if you reach stairs go up one level
  • if you reach an elevator go down two levels

My Design:

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I was really intrigued by the idea of exploring the building we have class in, or other buildings on campus for that matter. I wanted to write an algorithm that would force the other person to see different levels of the building that they wouldnt have reason to see on their way to class. In retrospect the algorithm was pretty poorly thought out in the context of the building and I feel bad that the person who did mine likely got stuck in a loop. In doing the algorithm I was given, I primarily noticed that walking backwards is scary and I did not like it. I also did a lot of doubling back over the same stretched of hallway or street due to how the algorithm was written. I found it interesting how I predominately looked to one side when walking one way, and the other side when walking the other way. When trying to look for details it’s amazing how different the same little stretch can look when you’re walking different directions in such a short span of time.

I had a few ideas brewing during our design time but my favorite was: ultra-polarized glasses! Essentially the glasses would distort your vision when looking at any sort of digital display but actually help you to see the natural, non-digital world better. Firstly, these glasses literally enhance or amplify your vision, your interaction with the world. Hopefully providing the user with the ability to notice more detail and vibrance. Also, I think that these glasses would amplify the ubiquity of technology in our daily lives. Annoyances happen to stick in the memory better that conveniences and if you have an annoying visual distortion bothering you every time you try to interact with technology, whether intentionally or not, it aids in amplifying those moments, helping them stand out. The more a person can be aware of something the easier it is for them to think about it critically. And I think that is part of what these glasses “script” they prompt the user to think critically about technology and in doing so that prompts the user to, hopefully, want to use it less. The visual annoyance is a negative response to technology and so it should hopefully carry of this negative association toward technology in general and aid in relying on it less.

Wearable Self Defense

My catalog is Athleta, a women’s active clothing catalog

I modified the catalog to feature wearable self defense tech for women.

  • smart undergarments
    • Underwear that can only be removed by wearer
    • Bra that has a gps locator and help button
  • Thief-proof purse, gps/cut proof fabric/help button

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I created a fictional, dystopian universe in which crimes against women were not taken seriously by law enforcement at all which is really more of an exaggeration of reality than a fiction. Either way, it was a universe in which women had to “protect themselves” through being more modest but also employing personal security technologies. I sarcastically made comments of the clothing being modest or shoes being good for running. This was designed to reflect on the idea that most women when catcalled or even assaulted are told that they need to “use the buddy system,” “dress to not draw attention” etc. Is it fair to give such advice or should the discourse be more focused on societal change? In all reality this exercise helped me to see both sides, I was already more partial to the idea that the idea of women having to protect themselves and put up with these problems was unfair. But I actually do think that part of the positive and necessary societal change would be through women being able to protect themselves better, possibly with tech like this. If we make women less vulnerable, we empower them and maybe that empowerment is where ideological change can come from. If I had more time I would have liked to think about the actual technology a little more, most of what I was able to come up with in this amount of time already exists, maybe not in wearable form, but these aren’t far fetched ideas. It would be nice to dream of crazier designs like laser shooter lipstick spy gadget things and what not.

Rejecting and embracing cookies

The first approach our group took was “rejecting” cookies, we wanted your average internet browser to be able to navigate an internet with cookies easily and with awareness. We concluded that most people are creeped out by the ideas of cookies but are too lazy to do anything about it, so we came up with Breadcrumbs to make dealing with internet surveillance a no brainer. Breadcrumbs is a chrome extension you can add to your toolbar that allows you to enable/disable cookies as well as several other features; turn on/off a vpn, receive alerts about what data a site is collecting etc.

I also looked into it and there is a cookie disable chrome extension available already but it only allows you to turn off cookies for one page at a time, if the page refreshes you have to re-turn it on. It doesn’t seem to offer any other benefits, but I still might download it, better than nothing!

Our second idea is named “Cookie Monster,” which is designed to embrace cookies. It suggests to the user, the best deals, sales, stores they might like based on their browsing history. It also uses past data (past dates of sales, store anniversary dates etc.) to warn you not to buy something from a store if there might be a sale coming up. This widget was attempting to reclaim and appropriate cookies, to utilize it’s creepy, capitalist forces for good.

 

Do Not Duplicate Key

For my authoritative technology I chose my house key, which has the words “Do Not Duplicate” printed on it. At first I thought this was a passive way of enforcing this desire, but it actually makes it pretty difficult to get a key made without going out of the way..I reimagined this key by trying to make this design more democratic, as in designing a compromise between the two main parties involved: tenant and landlord. img_2312.jpg

In the drawing above, you can see how all of the moving parts connect. Tenant, landlord, etc. I wanted to design something that was reusable, easy to use, and allowed for transparency. Thus I came up with a fob key, that allowed for it to be given a unique code. This code could be erased by the tenant at any time and reset. Theoretically this ket would be secure, so it couldn’t be duplicated. For example, if you had a significant other and gave them the key and then had a messy breakup, you could just wipe the key from your phone. The landlord would be able to view who currently has key access and reset the keys at the end of lease to make sure that no one is left with access to the unit. This accounts for most of the safety issues I thought of when considering key duplication. This leaves locksmiths and other key makers out of the picture so they don’t have to assume any responsibility for potential problems. And allows the tenant more freedom and convenience.

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The key would also have an interface that communicated to the borrower what their “status” was. As in if they needed to return the key etc.

I was trying to think outside of the app realm. But ideally, this idea wouldn’t need a fob key and the unique key codes could be sent to phones which would act as they key. This would have added benefits because if you needed to remotely allow someone access to your place and then later be sure that they no longer have access, you could simply send the code to their phone and later wipe it.

Inverting Metaphors with Artsy

This article seems to make the assumption that having a taste in music is the comparable to having a taste in art. While not blatantly stated the article seems to assume that most people need more help in developing a taste in art than in music. It also seems to aim to help people develop a more sophisticated taste in art, so it assumes that this is what people want. Art education and information are central to their mission their values seem to lie around this. It seems like they aim to make art more accessible to people of different socioeconomic backgrounds. 

My inverted goal was both to make art the opposite of data points, as in unconnected, mysterious, physical entities and to cater to “lowbrow” tastes. I came up with a mobile app called ‘Found’ that generates and art scavenger hunt for the user to go on. The user doesn’t get to know what they’re going to see, there’s no way to search for or connect the different locations of art in the app. Additionally the app directs users toward all kinds of art not just museums and galleries but comic shops, street art, soda can labels etc. It assumes that people want a surprising and tactile experience with art, it assumes that they’re open minded when it comes to “what art is,” they they’re open to both the high and low brow. The values of this would be to make art inconvenient, something one has to work to enjoy. It also makes art less pretentious because it’s more open about what art might be considered.  

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The biases I uncovered were about location, that this app isn’t accessible to all people. Some places might not have enough art resources to span the full high and low brow spectrum. Most art is concentrated in more affluent areas and this kind of plays into the pretense that the app is trying to challenge by keeping users in those areas. 

The principles it supports from Sengers’ “reflective design principles” would be that I inverted metaphors and attempted to cross boundaries, through making art the opposite of data point and including both high and lowbrow tastes. As well as used reflection to uncover the limitations of Artsy, through inverting the metaphors and values I was able to understand better the biases of Artsy in terms of its pretense. 

https://www.wired.com/2017/05/inside-artsys-quest-make-love-art-much-music/