Matthew Diaz

The Mindful Shave

"The Mindful Shave" facilitates and catalyzes the development of meditative experience and habit through physical and digital augmentation of the shaving process.

http://itp.nyu.edu/shows/winter2011/the-mindful-shave/

Classes
Product Poetry: Designing Inter-experience


This semester in "Product Poetry: Designing Inter-experience" with Gary Natsume and Peng Zhao we examined the meaning and values associated with particular consumer products and the ways users perceive, interact with, and assimilate them into their daily lives.

At the beginning of the semester, each student or group chose a particular object with which we each have a strong emotional bond. Throughout the course each team architected a framework of direct and indirect communication to implement between the object and its users, in an effort to create meaning and value.

I chose my shaving kit, including my safety razor, badger brush, and shaving cream: a set of physical products with which I have a very intimate relationship.

The goal of my project is to facilitate and catalyze the development of meditative experience and habit through physical and digital augmentation of the shaving process.

I attempt this in a few ways:

Firstly, I provide the user both visual and sonic feedback while shaving, in an effort to keep them “present” and deepen their awareness of their physical context.

Secondly, I present a system of “shaving artifacts” in an effort to facilitate a traditional western shaving environment.

My project is an installation piece: a small antique dresser, a vertical monitor with custom frame to serve as the “mirror,” and an iMac.

I run a processing sketch on the “mirror” which creates simple motion trails based on movement. My idea here was to extend the “half-life” of each physical shaving stroke in order to offer the opportunity for users to appreciate the dexterity and physicality of their movements.

When a user approaches the piece there is no sonic feedback but as soon as they sit and orient themselves to the “mirror,” the gentles tones become audible. Throughout their shaving experience, the music shifts and modulates in harmony and discord with their physical movements.

The sonic feedback his handled with FaceOSC, a tool for prototyping face-based interaction which is connected via a tool called Osculator to the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) Ableton Live.