team xanadu ::
“a fantasy, a musical, a place where dreams come true”
frankie, valentina, and kimi
personal health and team meeting ::
cybernetic model ::
abstracting the cybernetic model ::
exercise and music. “let’s get physical.”
variance and surprise. the lost sense of time. contrex.
participatory design and the meta-designer.
user scenario ::
nytimes blog, “does music make you exercise harder?”
nytimes article “the once and future way to run”
hara defines exformation not as “”making known”, but “understanding how little we know.”" in the age of information people are inundated with facts and media; and we strings these bits of knowledge and reference into our perception of the world and communication to others. but in this world it is all too easy to forget how little we truly know, and to challenge ourselves to think about these topics. hara’s argument resonates with lev manovich’s piece on the ”anti-sublime ideal in data visualization”.
manovich wrote that traditionally data representation has been ”driven by the rational impulse to make sense out of our complex world, the world there many process and forces are invisible and are out of our reach”, but there exists a need for data visualization to capture the sublime nature of art as well. so there is a scale from the anti-sublime (utilitarian) to the sublime (aesthetic) within dataviz that the creator needs to balance. like hara both demonstrate a need for creative works to not only present with clarity what we do know, but to explore the ambiguous, sublime topics of wonder and lack of knowledge.
subterranean city :: how do we see a place? specifically, when asked what does nyc look like – what are the images that come to mind?
geography. landscape. building. the above.
transportation. grid pattern. engineered. the underground.
relying on google maps and other applications to navigate our exploration of a city we’ve become accustomed and indeed never question the fact that the perspective of the city is from an aerial or top-down view. as a human being, an animal, my everyday perspective of nyc is from the ground, and the limits of my eye permit me to only see 100 meters across, and 100 meters up and down, and as hard as i try i cannot see through solid objects such as the pavement on the ground. meaning the skyscrapers and towers of the urban landscape that city above 100 meters often escape my attention, and what lies below the city surface is a mysterious environment. yet i traverse through it every day in my capsule of the subway; i view it constantly from this alien, panoptic perspective displayed to me that is not my own.
if we assume the way we see our city and how we move through it from the perspective of a machine (an algorithm, a satellite, a map inspired by electrical circuit maps, etc) can we truly “see” the city? specifically, in the context of the subway what if we could see the subway – not from an arbitrary perspective – but from our own, see the complex networks of trains running beneath our feet in real-time?
similar to the maps showing the landscape in the ocean deep – a world that i have never experienced and know little about – i want to visualize the landscape of urban altitudes and depths. what are the various altitudes of nyc? what does it look like from the perspective of depth? in real-time? or imagine if the sidewalks you take everyday suddenly became transparent. like glass-bottom boats the unseen complex network of the nyc subway was apparent; you could seen the trains flow beneath your feet.
dunne ascribes para-functionality of objects when “function is used to encourage reflection on how electronic products condition our behavior”. the phrase “form follows function” is applicable to traditional industrial design practices, as dunne argues design discourse historically emphasizes the functionality of the object rather than suggesting “a role for design objects as discourse where functionality can be used to criticize the limits that products impose on our actions”. we view our iPhone as an object to perform certain functions (for example, finding our location on a map and getting directions from point A to point B) but how often do we contemplate how the design of the application and its affect our behavior? (how are the directions are selected? at what criteria is this route determined the best? by following these algorithmic recommendations what possible journeys am i missing?)
for this exercise, i wanted to investigate para-functional objects as eccentric, absurd, even pathological – the emphasis on the object’s purpose is not its function (or ability to accomplish that function) but that it provokes reflection and arouses emotion on part of the user. like panamarenko’s objects they “rarely work, provoking the viewer to think about the nature of the invention and the desires that motivate it.”
the aspect of provocation and contemplation in relation to the body led me to think about an aspect of health that is strongly gendered and can arouse discomfort when discussed, menstruation.
[sputniko!] :: menstruation machine
sputniko’s piece is a wearable device that creates the experience of menstruation for the user. the metal girdle tightens around the abondem recreating the sensation of pain, and even bleeds. sputniko featured a transvestite boy wearing the “menstruation machine” in a music video. the object sparked a strong reaction by the community on questions regarding what it means to be a women, our discomfort with publicly revealing the mechanisms of the female body’s monthly cycle, and what menstruation means to humans culturally, biologically, and historically.
[brigitte coremans] :: life clock & menstruation clock
another artist using the topic of menstruation for her work is brigitte coremans. coremans has created two pieces. the first [on the left] is a “menstruation clock” and is essentially a visualization of body temperature data written out on a un-windring scroll of paper [similar to seismograph machines or lie-detectors]. the piece “aims to reconnect a woman with her own personal rhythm, which itself is sensitive to various factors, including stress, exercise, under- or overweight and artificial lighting.” the second [on the right] are a string a 500 ceramic beads. every 28 days a bead is dropped, representing a woman’s changes for conception. over time the beads change in color reflecting the dimmed chances of a woman conceiving past the age of 40.
like sputniko! coreman’s work does not serve a strict functional purpose. rather they seek to provoke contemplation and thought in the user on what is the meaning of menstruation to defining identity as a woman, provoke contemplation and awareness on a topic we often consider private and not for public display, and the context of control and contraception.
1. Cruise Control :: the system used to maintain a desired speed while driving.
2. Lose It :: a mobile application to track caloric consumption and exercise to help users reach a target weight.
3. Pedometer :: the classic pedometer that measures the number of steps a person takes.
4. Dynamic Speed Displays :: speed limit signs coupled with radars that display in real-time the car’s actual speed. good article here from wired.
a new target behavior
this week i chose to re-run my behavior challenge with a new target behavior focusing on simplicity and an external audience. a good friend – i’ll refer to as v. – has been trying to include meditation in her daily schedule. she has a busy work life as a professor, and wakes up early. when she gets home she often wants to nap rather than dedicating time to meditate. her original goal was to meditate 30 minutes every day after work.
motivation, ability and triggers
v.’s motivation to mediate was moderately high. she knew it improved her mood and ability to relax after a stressful day, and she believed she was more productive after meditating vs. napping, which tended to make her feel lethargic. however, her motivation at different times of the day varied. when she felt rushed and exhausted after a days work her motivation was low. while we were discussing the benefits of meditation her motivation peaked.
and there were several barriers in her ability to mediate; including time (she often felt she had too few hours in the day to dedicate 30 minutes to meditation), mental and physical effort, lack of routine (her regular naps after work had become part of her daily routine), as well as a physical area dedicated for meditation.
i decided to work with two types of triggers – facilitators and sparks. as karen pryor states in her book don’t shoot the dog ”you can’t reinforce a behavior that’s not occurring.” so my first goal was to facilitate v.’s ability to meditate, and through hot trigger reminders and positive reinforcement encourage the habitualization of meditation to v.’s daily routine.
v.’s original target behavior – to mediate for 30 minutes every day – was a “purple path” behavior. meaning it was to “increase a behavior from now on”. a bit of a daunting task. which in part was why v.’s initial attempts had failed – the task was simply to big. i changed v.’s goal to a familiar behavior, something she already does regularly, deep breathing. i also limited the duration to one week, and kept the target goal simplistic – to breathe deeply for 20 seconds every day for this week. v.’s target was now reduced to a “blue span” behavior.
8 steps to persuasive design
breaking down my process into fogg’s 8 steps to persuasive design. the target behavior was simplified from “meditating once day for 30 minutes” to “breathe deeply for 20 seconds every day this week”. the audience was v. a young working professional who often feels rushed and stressed. reasons v. wasn’t performing the target behavior were fluctuations in motivation, barriers to ability like time, lack of routine, and the mental/physical effort. using a technology familiar to v. – her mobile phone – i used SMS as the hot trigger.
the initial step i took was to facilitate the occurrence of the desired behavior. i know a barrier to v.’s ability was lack of routine and the effort it took to mediate. i’ve observed v. had mediated in the past when certain environmental factors catalyzes her desire to do so. specifically, when her bedroom was clean she tended to be more calm and meditative. and when the room was messy she found meditation to be less appealing. after v.’s room was cleaned i SMS’d her after work asking her to breathe deeply for 20 seconds and text me when she was done. within 5 minutes v. texted me that she had done the task! i followed pryor’s positive reinforcement model and expressed my enthusiasm through a positive text message.
over the course of 6 days i texted v. after she got home from work reminding her to breathe deeply for 20 seconds – the hot trigger. and the results were positive – she usually completed the task within 20 minutes of the text message. she reported that she felt positive after practicing the breathing exercise. but there were no tendencies to increase the behavior – she did not begin meditation over the course of the week, nor did she extend her breathing exercise past 20 seconds.
i consider the test a success, but i need to expand the next iteration of testing. if the deep breathing for 20 second exercise induced positive experiences to v. then through increased reinforcement and stimulation v. could expand that 20 seconds to v.’s ultimate goal of 30 minutes of daily meditation. for one, applying social encouragement – for example, meditating together would affect her motivation vis social pressure. and taking note of pryor’s comment that reinforcement often needs to be varied to be stimulating i believe i need more than just a positive text message to encourage v.’s behavior. i’ve noticed that physical artifacts – a chart, log, or even aesthetic representation – of other behaviors v. has been working towards – such as, daily exercise and diet monitoring – have been very effective for v.’s desire to progress forward with every check box mark she fills in by hand. i believe the act of just representing and marking v.’s patterns of behavior towards her goal will have a powerful effect towards it’s progression.