According to analyses of data from NSHAPCxiv: Over 80% of the homeless have experienced lifetime alcohol and/or drug problems. Can public real-time data about the homeless assist in monitoring the health and statistics of the vagabonds, and at the same time gain the empathy of the public?
Mobile phones are a convenient way to connect with our loved ones, friends and family. How can we switch the perspectives of individuals based on the conversations we hold privately with the people who matter most to us? We explored an intimate narrative through the exchanging of words we communicate everyday. The goal of this prototype is to invite users to put on a new perspective on their mobile phones. We selected 4 people who come from diverse backgrounds and documented their every day conversations through phone calls and text messages.
The intention of our game is to share different perspectives about collective values and ideas amongst a group of people playing the game. It takes the form of a card game and photography project. The goal is to promote creative thinking, reflection about important values, and discussion around these topics by prompting the promotion of different points of view.
I was a volunteer at the Future of Storytelling where I assisted UNICEF with their VR experiences. “Clouds Over Sidra” was an immersive Syrian Refugee Film that ‘came to life’. Experiencing a documentary that was narrated through the protagonist as a 360 angled view of her world, it did not provoke any form of empathy to me. The only clear distinction between a VR documentary and a one that could be streamed off YouTube, is the use of the technology and how accessible it is to the user – which does not necessarily leave a bigger impact on the viewer. I enjoy reflective debates over what documentaries do to us by tugging at our heartstrings, but by simply conveying it in a more ‘immersive’ light, does not necessarily mean it will garner more empathy.
An alternate VR experience that altered my perception was The Doghouse. As I looked down at my body with my headset on, I saw how my upper torso had transformed into one that had a large man’s beer belly and how I hastily chowed down my dinner over a dinner conversation with my distraught family. The line between virtual and physical was blurred, and it therefore transformed my perception of not just myself, but the character I was playing entirely.
Mobile phones are a convenient way to connect with our loved ones, friends and family. How can we switch the perspectives of individuals based on the conversations we hold privately with the people who matter most to us? We explored a intimate narrative through the exchanging of words we communicate everyday.
The goal of this prototype is to invite users to put on a new perspective on their mobile phones. We selected 4 people who come from diverse backgrounds and documented their every day conversations through phone calls and text messages.
User enters exhibition room. There are 4 RFID tagged phone cases placed on a table, accompanied by short descriptions of 4 individuals’ backgrounds.
2. User selects character of choice.
3. User puts on case at the back of their own mobile phone, it triggers phone calls and messages at various time intervals.
4. They listen to the conversation that is being held and receive text messages that are being communicated to the selected character.
Video games have taken on a more immersive role, by establishing ideas and behaviors that augment how we draw relation with the real world. This reinforces our perception of stereotypes and the social stigmas we witness at a daily basis – and not just with people of color. The underlying issue is not just about how black, Latinos or Asians are being stereotyped in games, it is also for whites who are often clichéd as the protagonist; how females have a tendency to be sexualised. Fundamentally, the problem is not about the games we play, it is the games we choose to produce based on our own biases. It was interesting when a lady at The Point discussed how she specifically chose to educate kids, because that is the most impressionable age when we are easily influenced by misconstrued perceptions. As a game developer or designer, it is our role to engage with society at a more intimate level, instead of blindly adhering to public expectations.
Empathy is only the first step to engage and problem solve. Rios aptly states that when true relationship is achieved, it inherently transforms us because we cannot remain indifferent to those with whom we are intertwined. We are not just transforming the community, we are transforming ourselves. By displacing the paradigm entirely, this eradicates our standpoint of being associated as the dominant group, and results in a form of mutual respect. Perhaps this is how one should tackle critical design thinking.
What struck me the most is how architecture and space can reinforce meaning and power in particular communities. This is evident in many parts of New York City, where one neighbourhood can be jeopardised, whilst another can be sumptuous. We have to understand that the decisions we make have consequences. Architects have to consider how urban context can not only provide a roof over people’s heads, but how that would leave an impact on inequity.
What is Immersive?
An immersive experience does not necessarily relate to the physical experience of the user — it is the ability to transform one’s senses and create an altered mental state through imagery or a time-based narrative.
According to analyses of data from NSHAPCxiv: Over 80% of the homeless have experienced lifetime alcohol and/or drug problems. We ignore them on the streets because of the social stigma that they use money for toxic abuse. Can real-time data about the homeless gain the trust of the public? Deliverables: Cheap wearable tech, data-driven light signage.
How can we enhance the human interaction in a lift that is a space reserved for silence? How can we eradicate our asocial behavior in a confined area which blurs the lines between personal and public space? Deliverables: Projection mapping, Interactive environments
Ideation 3: The Point
In His Shoes — A user steps into a person’s shoes to view his perspective of a police-suspect battle.
Cross the Line — An empty room where it is split into two, with a line drawn across. Based on the number of people who have stepped into either section, the narrative switches according to area popularity.