An interactive archive of objects exploring the connections between the material world and memories.
ongoing from February 2019
Together: Research, Ideation, Packaging
Lemon: Laser Cut, Video Animation
Anna: Website Design
The two founders of this project, Lemon Wang and Anna Tsuda, were on the overground on the way back from their third year work in progress show, using their long travel distance into a moment to catch up in the midst of their busy schedules. Through a series of various conversation topics, they resulted in discovering a shared fascination towards lifestyle in the olden days, as well as vintage domestic household goods. This then led to two graphic design students envisioning a possible collaborative project on curating an immersive time travelling-like experience, before they had to part ways to return to their individual homes.
Prior to going into any indepth research and ideation, we created a mindmap to better understand our overlapping interests and our objectives with this project. From this exercise we decided to explore more into the field of history, museums, interactive design, and physical model making.
From then onwards, the research and the ideation process were conducted simultaneously, as our ideas stemmed from our primary and secondary research findings. Below is a brief outline, of our long and meandering process which involved multiple shifts in ideas.
a. Traditional Museums ↦ Unconventional Museums
Based off of our train-ride conversation and mindmap, we first looked into immersive and interactive museums, such as Meijimura (an open air architectural museum), Geffrye Museum, 360 image of the Louvre museum and the Museum in a Box to name a few references.
Drawing inspiration particularly from the immersive and interactive, yet educational and entertaining aspects of these museums, we aspired to design an innovative way of archiving and sharing history in a unconventional museum setting. Our first idea endeavored to design a globally accesible VR museum after filming a 360 video of a handmade dollhouse bedroom interior inspired from 60’s youth culture. In terms of technicalality, we researched about generating virtual spaces using 360 cameras.
b. Unconventional Museums ↦ Interior Design
After pitching our idea at one of the group tutorials, we received some feedback stating that the theme of 60’s youth culture seemed arbitrary in relation to our brief’s objective, and was advised to explore more into bedrooms, one of our topic of interests identified in the mind map. From here we researched widely into the topic of bedrooms mainly through reading books such as Daniel Miller’s Comfort of Things and Ann C. Colly’s Bodies and Mirrors.
Reading books on the material culture of bedrooms and interior design theories inspired us to explore the role played by bedrooms on our affects, namely our wellbeing. In order to achieve this goal, we started to read more about the relationship between interior design and comfort, while also surveying people for their opinions on the same topic.
Our second solid idea was to create an architectural model of an ideal bedroom targeted towards supporting student hall residents to maintain a healthy and positive wellbeing. In order to implement an element of interactivity, we also discussed using Arduino sensors that trigger audio explanations of the room set up when individuals lift up the furniture from the floor of the model.
c. Interior Design ↦ Memories
However, our project shifted focus once again, since as we continued with our primary and secondary research, we discovered that what devises a comfortable (bed)room is more often associated with the people, memories, and emotions that take place within the space, rather than the room arrangement itself, as also supported in one of Colly’s chapters.
After this discovery, we decided to collect stories about objects that people keep in their bedrooms, in order to explore more into the topic. At this stage, we were unsure of the form of our final deliverable. However, visiting the Room to Breathe exhibition at the Migration Museum and encountering an interactive piece about talking objects at the Design Museum, inspired us to simply share people’s stories and memories residing within their personal possessions.
a. Laser Cut
As our first two ideas (introduced above) involved making miniature furniture, we watched online tutorials and decided to laser cut MDF wood. We managed to build a bed and a chair, however, as our concept developed and moved away, these laser cut miniature ideas were no longer necessary.
b. Survey vs Casual Conversation
For our first session that involved communicating with others for primary research, we conducted a survey to understand how their bedrooms impact their emotional state. We also spoke to people directly and discovered that casual conversations are also effective when drawing out opinions. Therefore for our second round of communication, we created a casual fill-in form but also made sure to talk to each individual during the process.
Similar to the way fresh foods are vacuum packaged, we packaged items in sealed plastic bags to metaphorically ‘preserve’ intangible memories that are often attached to tangible objects. We were able to collect some original items from our interviewees, however, items that weren’t accessible were recreated by us. Throughout this process, we were particularly fascinated by how people hold onto items (that may seem like junk) and use these to return to the past through recalling their memories.
We came up with the idea to use barcodes that direct you to an on-screen animated video that shares stories behind each object. Since we had multiple videos to showcase, we figured it would be most appropriate to compile these videos into a single platform of a website. Our initial idea of creating a barcode scanner using our device’s webcam was outside of our coding competency, therefore, we ended up generating QR codes to be scanned via the camera application.
For the final degree show we plan to showcase our website on an iPad with the items layed out on the table. Below is a detailed plan of our installation set up.