Music and Life – Alan Watts

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Random bits of thought

Brain – When we fully focus on something (playing an instrument, riding a motorcycle, dancing, sports etc) things start dissolving at the back of our heads. When we are not fully focused, we have so many things in our minds. These thoughts, combined with the constant connection, wears us down and does not allow us to concentrate on the job we have, thus not giving any break to our minds. Even flow state is where things dissolve in the brain (even though it is considered to be a “non time present” state.

Degree- Doing a slow design project about slowing down, when there are so many factors and paces in your life that you can’t determine turns out to be a meta project. I am trying to understand and balance my rhythms to the world around me. In the inside, I know that every individual has their own ways of doing things (own pace, own process) but due to the “appraise the fast and the busy” culture, we are too afraid to listen to our inner rhythms.

Flower bloom or waiting till the end to come up with “the thing”. This approach is seen like a “procrastination” or “non structured” approach and it is looked down upon. Whereas some people have clear steps on the way, others solve and grow things internally which does not put out and tangible outcomes. The search for inspiration of these people is seen as procrastination.

Process – I did not have a workshop, cause I did not feel like it was time for it in my own schedule, even though I am sure it was “almost mandatory” in the “design schedule” especially if you wish to conduct a project involving user participation. I would love to have a workshop next week and bring people together around the subject, but until then I choose to talk to people one on one, and even though it seems to be a continuation of research, it was also an introduction to conceptualizing and ideation.

Procrastination – the act of putting off essential task until a later time, most of the time non essential tasks are done in lieu of the more critical ones.

Things are not what they seem to be – Ideation in 3 hours. Looks like a fast ideation but it is actually a combination of all the slow process. So what is the difference? Difference lies in the awareness. Choosing to do it instead of just find yourself being pulled by “others”. Whatever you do, make it into a concious choice and own it.

Addiction – “I am addicted to the clock, the time, the “it is time for eating” etc.. It is making me very nervous. When a meeting is cancelled i get an immense joy cause it feels like i gained 1 hour of my life to whatever i want to do.”

All that is written above are just random bits of thought that don’t claim to be meaningful 🙂

Some inspiration

guerrilla-graphics-09hAnna Hillman – Guerilla Graphics
Guerrilla graphics involves chalking up messages to question, suggest or simply just to point out something about the immediate environment, in order to share what you’ve discovered with others who might be passing by later.

happy-show-time-off-stefan-sagmeister

Stefan Seigmeister – Power of time off
Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh their creative outlook. He explains the often overlooked value of time off and shows the innovative projects inspired by his time in Bali.

delayomatHolger Klapperich – Delay-o-mat
The delay-o-mat is a vending machine with two opportunities of delivery: Fast or delayed. In the slow track,the can is handled with care and the performance and the delivery is entertaining. When the user chooses the fast delivery, the quality of the experience is poorer.

slow_stamp_600Inna Alesina – Test Kitchen for Change
Test Kitchen for Change produces participatory bread making events that encourage people to embrace slower processes in their lives.


More to come…

 

John Cage quotes

They may be not directly related to my topic, but in them I feel the essence of my process.

“I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I’m doing.” 

“When you start working, everybody is in your studio- the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas- all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.” 

“If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.” 

More quotes on here and an interesting video where Cage performs using various “instruments” on here

Notes from Momo

The book Momo by Michael Ende has been a great inspiration to me. I loved reading it and there were some real nice quotes that I wanted to note down in order not to forget!

No, what Momo was better at than anyone else was listening.
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“You see, Momo,” he told her one day, “it’s like this. Sometimes, when you’ve a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept.” He gazed silently into space before continuing. “And then you start to hurry,” he went on. “You work faster and faster, and every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder, and you panic, and in the end you’re out of breath and have to stop — and still the street stretches away in front of you. That’s not the way to do it.” He pondered a while. Then he said, “You must never think of the whole street at once, understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else.” Again he paused for thought before adding, “That way you enjoy your work, which is important, because then you make a good job of it. And that’s how it ought to be.” There was another long silence. At last he went on, “And all at once, before you know it, you find you’ve swept the whole street clean, bit by bit. What’s more, you aren’t out of breath.” He nodded to himself. “That’s important, too,” he concluded.
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People never seemed to notice that, by saving time, they were losing something else. No one cared to admit that life was becoming ever poorer, bleaker and more monotonous. The ones who felt this most keenly were the children, because no one had time for them any more. But time is life itself, and life resides in the human heart. And the more people saved, the less they had.
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They were highly expensive toys such as Momo’s friends had never owned, still less Momo herself. Most noticeable of all, they were so complete, down to the tiniest detail, that they left nothing at all to the imagination. Their owners would spend hours watching them, mesmerized but bored, as they trundled, whizzed or waddled along. Finally, when that palled, they would go back to the familiar old games in which a couple of cardboard boxes, a torn tablecloth, a molehill or a handful of pebbles were quite sufficient to conjure up a whole world of make-believe.
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There were no hands or numerals on the watch face, Momo saw, just two very fine superimposed spirals rotating slowly in opposite directions. Every now and then, minute dots of light appeared where the spirals intersected. “This watch,” said Professor Hora, “is known as a crisimograph. It accurately records crises in the history of mankind,
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“No, my child, the watch by itself would be no use to anyone. You have to know how to read it as well.”
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“If people knew the nature of death,” he said after a moment’s silence, “they’d cease to be afraid of it. And if they ceased to be afraid of it, no one could rob them of their time any more.”
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She would stop running away, Momo decided. She had done so in the hope of saving herself. All this time she had been preoccupied with herself, her own loneliness and fear, when it was really her friends who were in trouble. If anyone could save them, she could. Remote as the chances of persuading the men in gray to release them might be, she must at least try. Once she reached this conclusion, she felt a mysterious change come over her. Her feelings of fear and helplessness had reached such a pitch that they were suddenly transformed into their opposites. Having overcome them, she felt courageous and self-confident enough to tackle any power on earth; more precisely, she had ceased to worry about herself.
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MORE HASTE LESS SPEED,
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That, of course, was the secret of the district with the snow-white houses: the slower you went the better progress you made, and the more you hurried the slower your rate of advance. The men in gray hadn’t known that when they pursued Momo in their cars, which was how she’d escaped them.
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Children played in the middle of the street, getting in the way of cars whose drivers not only watched and waited, smiling broadly, but sometimes got out and joined in their games. People stood around chatting with the friendliness of those who take a genuine interest in their neighbours’ welfare. Other people, on their way to work, had time to stop and admire the flowers in a window-box or feed the birds. Doctors, too, had time to devote themselves properly to their patients, and workers of all kinds did their jobs with pride and loving care, now that they were no longer expected to turn out as much work as possible in the shortest possible time. They could take as much time as they needed and wanted, because from now on there was enough time for everyone.
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Preparing cultural probes

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Cultural probes, or design probes, are a window into the life of the user. Since in many cases it is impossible to track the user every minute, these mini kits ask them to track themselves throughout a set time. Most of the time they consist of a diary, a camera, daily tasks and other probes that would engage people to participate, such as maps to mark where you visit, stickers to evaluate objects around you etc. Even though conventionally they are used in paper form, the use of digital probes is also increasing.

Since many of the users I wanted to get information from is abroad, I decided to create a digital probe that consists of daily tasks and reflections that are sent during the day via email. In addition to having daily mapping of the speed of the user and their feelings around their pace, I also added daily challenges, imaginary situations, cards and sketch interruptions to send daily as both a reminder and a “poke” element. I am hoping the digital probes will also give me the chance to tailor my daily questions according to the users to get a deeper understanding on their lives, experiences and feelings.

For the users that I can reach physically, I am preparing both physical and digital elements for the probe to understand the pros and cons of the digital probes. The main aim with the probes is to get a glimpse of the paces of daily life in different areas and to collect inspiration for the future steps.

Cultural Probes was developed by Gaver, Dunne and Pacenti in 1999. They were inspired by the art movement Situationist International. This technique does not follow the scientific approach. It follows the artistic approach, which is characterized by being irrational, uncontrolled, getting inspiration, and cannot be analysed systematically. (Ref. Wikipedia)

Research objectives and plan

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My aim is for this project to be experimental and iterative in nature. This unknown territory scares me as well as it excites me, but I believe school should be the place to explore and learn. So regardless of its final outcome, I trust this project will give me a wider perspective and help me to understand interaction design better and uncover design fields that I haven’t set foot on such as participatory design, slow design and generative design research.

The secondary research about slow movement, sociology, time perception as well as slow design, participatory design and technology has been going on since the beginning of the project. It is now followed by primary research with a focus on the indications and inspirations to understand better the feelings, thoughts and habits of the people through interviews, cultural probes and workshops.

Even though the project is divided into three main parts, research, ideation and design, the line between these parts will get blurry due to the experimental approach taken. All the phases will be feeding each other throughout the project, though the focus will shift depending on the desired outcome. 

bubblessResearch Areas

The initial area of research is kept wide spread to understand the field of opportunities. With time and further research, the interest areas will be identified and some areas will be eliminated.
research-process
Reflection:

Determining the steps for your own process is harder than working in a group and following a more or less structured design process. I know that I need to improve my prioritizing and structuring systems, since I tend to ask too many questions and blur my focus. Having this in mind, I will try to understand my main direction during the research phase and structure my process accordingly.

Project: Slow

What is this project about?

We are living in a world that gets faster every day. Not that I don’t like our fast moving, information rich world, but I believe as we move into the cities and get disconnected from the land, many of us forget how things take time in nature. This is why I want to explore what it means to slow down in urban life and can we actually do that?

So, with this project, I am hoping to create tools or spaces that will empower and inspire people to embrace slower processes in life.

slow-01

How are you going to do that?

Well, I actually don’t know yet : ) But I know that I want the outcome to create conversations, question the existing ways and inspire people. Throughout the project I aim to take interaction design as my main vehicle and explore methodologies from slow design, slow technology and co-design to see what the process will gain from this collaboration.
slow-02

What is slow?

As Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement, puts:

“Being Slow means that you control the rhythms of your own life. You decide how fast you have to go in any given context. If today I want to go fast, I go fast; if tomorrow I want to go slow, I go slow. What we are fighting for is the right to determine our tempos.”

Kick-off

DSC02360We had our 4 minute kick off presentations that marked the start of the Degree Time. Since we had a few weeks to work on the briefs, we had started with a bit of preliminary research but now it is time to dig deep; Phase 1: Explore! Read stuff, talk to people, try to see a road forming in front of you instead of a general direction.

The brief writing course was quite helpful in defining the direction, though my brief ended up quite much longer than I would prefer it to be. During the presentation preparation, I had the chance to really look into the topic and structure it in a way that people will understand what I am trying to do. As a result, preparing the presentation helped me a lot. Oh, and listening to over 30 people talking about their degree topics was truly inspiring!! May the journey be filled with fun, laughter, learnings, experiences and amazement!

Note to self:

I will try to have in between imaginary presentations in order to tell my point in a short, structured fashion. Also, will try not to forget that “talking” about the topic helps a lot more than getting written comments!