A collection of prototypes, photos, illustrations and experiments.
All at once
All at once I felt it.The cold air against my cheeks. The hard ground beneath my feet. People talking, breathing, *being*.I was part of it all. A vessel intersecting with those of other momentarily, perhaps unknowingly more often.But I was there.Part of the mundane.A fraction of existence.And in a blink I would not be.Yet that blink had yet to be blinked.And I was still me.This is it.
There's something quite special about traveling at night by train. The world is darker, quieter. Things are being tided up and put away. There is a calmness to it all.I enter the train and flip out the little laptop tray, hoping that this one doesn't have food or old gum attached. The carriage is empty and the light flickers gently. This feeling of going from one place to another reminds me of a lecture I had a few years ago on liminal space."To be on the threshold of something new, but not quite there yet. The physical space between one destination and the next".A sense of nostalgia floods the train.
Waking up never used to be this difficult. I had to drag myself out of bed today, Sleep Cycle telling me I had a solid 6 hours of blissful sleep (minus the apparent sleep talking and outside storm). The last couple of days has been a complete contrast from the perfect weather we had a few weeks ago. Never-ending wind, gales and rain. Perfect weather for huddling (retreating?) inside and focusing on the work.Boil water. Clean pot. Crush beans. Make coffee. Drink.Today is a polishing day. Lots of small or half finished tasks that have been on my to-do list for a while. Also have to find some time to do my taxes. Taxes, wonderful, wonderful taxes.Connected some new form fields from the MOSS booking form to Airtable using Integrately. I tried switching to Make (previously Integromat) after their huge (entirely underwhelming) rebranding but was left with more questions than answers and a wasted weekend. I even sat down with a developer friend to go through it. No idea. Integrately, while terribly designed, is a surprisingly fantastic Zapier alternative; at only a fraction of the cost. Took a string of ID’s and was able to easily map it to Airtable’s reference fields.
Reflecting upon focus
For the last 10 years I have been freelancing in practically every discipline of design. Starting in my late teens I would take any work I could find, scrounging for cash and hungry for experience. If the current project was terrible there was always the next one. And the next. While many of these endeavours never really went anywhere, I was building my skillset, intuition and craft. It is only in the last 2/3 years where the projects have started getting bigger that I can reflect on this journey.
A new page
I reached the end of my notebook today. It is leather-bound with replaceable paper. Since a year ago or so I used only moleskins (or a cheaper variant), and have quite a collection of them sitting on my shelf, holding weird thoughts, ideas and past versions of myself. They date all the way back to my first day of art school where my handwriting was smaller and lines thinner. I found, however, the cover either too hard or too soft and wished for something which I trusted and depended upon, but that could be refilled once full. The creative process is a fragile one. Ideas are delicate and ethereal things, birthed in thought and often too abstract for the spoken word.
It was a hot night. The type of heat which seeped under your skin and boiled from within. The air hung thick and heavy as rain poured down and smouldered against the thick, metal roof. While the wail of the night siren had been called a couple of hours ago, small blinking dots could be seen scattered around the airport.Joel lay on his mattress blanketed by a thin sheet and listened to the tapping of the rain. The heat made the wound on his arm ache. It was too dark to see anything, but as he ran his fingers over it he felt a scab forming, tightening the skin around it.
An Interview with Franklin Heijnen from Deloitte
We are getting older and living longer. However an aging population brings a set of perils, regardless of the financial implications and economic impacts. Professors at the Free University Amsterdam (VU) noticed that while we’re getting older, we are also becoming increasingly lonelier. We are so intrinsically connected to technology in our lives, why not use it to our social, human advantage?Enter Alice, a social robot developed to aid the elderly in their daily routine and achieve a better quality of life. VU professors Johan Horan and Ellie Konijn did the initial ‘in-vitro’ of Alice. Then, Deloitte came on board to take it further. I was able to talk to Franklin Heijnen about working on the project.
Time Capsule 1 – The Butterfly Ballot
In 2000 George W. Bush ran against then vice-president Al Gore in the closest presidential elections since 1876. After an incredibly competitive period, the eventual outcome rested upon the state of Florida who’s votes were deemed “too close to call”. Bush led the election-night vote count in Florida by 1,784 votes and became the 43rd President of the United States.Although the President of the United States doesn’t have almighty power, they are still a massive global influence and arguably, holds one of the most powerful positions in the world. By tracing the most significant events to its smallest denominator, a single piece of paper became the catalyst of a domino effect of decisions.
Time Capsule 5 - Her
Her is 2013 film directed by Spike Jonze staring Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, a man tasked with writing meaningful and emotion letters to other people. The story is a moving tale of a Theodore’s evolving relationship with an ever growing artificial intelligence. Throughout the film there is strong references towards the Singularity theory.However, I would like to focus upon the films aesthetics and world and how it can inspire designers.
Time Capsule 2 - The Moonshot project
*With this artefact I am cheating slightly as the artefact itself will not be launched until 2020. However, due to my own fascination of the subject, I think it is worth the risk.*Cancer Breakthroughs 2020 (previously known as the Moonshot Project) aims to help cure the collective group of cancer by improving the sharing of information between various hospitals, research centres, biotech companies and conducting several clinical trials in the field of immunotherapy, with as many as 20,000 patients. These trials are intended to later be followed by larger trials.The project was first mentioned in January 2015 during a speech which Vice President Biden made in the Rose Garden, triggered by the death of Bidens’ son to cancer. On January 12, 2016 during his State of the Union Address, President Obama officially announced the goal stating “Let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all”.
Time Capsule 4 - Playful code
How many smart devices have you interacted with today? Whether you woke up to your smartphones alarm, checked into the train using the digital gates or visited your daily websites chances are you used a digital device. These devices have become so intertwined and ingrained within our culture and society that we do not question their place, yet only a fraction of our society knows how their invisible, code-based language works.
Useless Machine - part two
Those following the adventures of the Useless Machine project will know of our quest against utilitarianism: design often takes a formulated approach and steps away from its artistic roots. We decided to form a small rebellion against the powers at be, yet, after writing our last post the three of us suddenly felt very lost.There were so many directions to explore and pools of information to dive into, we needed to understand the essence of what we were doing. So, we took a step back to view our thoughts at a distance and remember why we started this project in the first place. We regrouped in the meeting room and mapped the bits of data from within our brain on to the large whiteboards.Us three stooges have been driven by the idea of the value of instilling life into an artefact, and are fascinated by our species’ ability to form emotional bonds with emotionless objects. What urges us to connect to our surroundings so much - even when it’s about lifeless things? We wondered if, by replicating this attachment within objects that we created, it would result in a form of value for the user.
Depression and Biometric Feedback / Week 3
This week ends on a positive note. We are now approaching the halfway point of the project, and while we don’t have much to show, the foundation of what we have built is sound, and the team is excited with the ideas. I am glad that everyone has something that they can work on, and feels motivated to do.My team and I have decided to focus upon two main deliverables and seem to be on our schedule.The first of which is a dashboard for the therapist. This consists of reading the biometric data gathered from the patient and transforming it into a visual interface for the therapist which can be used to read the patient more clearly and understand how they feel. Luis’ class on processing ties here nicely as I imagine that we can transfer the data received from the biometric sensors and visualise it. I am not sure how this would work within Unity and if this is even possible, but it’s something that we’re experimenting with.
The Useless Machine - part one
The Useless Machine is a series of blogs documenting the process of designers Jolijn Friederichs, Rowan Verbraak and myself.In contrast to the corporate and serious projects that fill our day-to-day life, we needed a project that was more playful and open. Something that tickles our sense of humour and fills us with joy. Our inner rebel wanted to design against the status quo. That idea quickly turned into a stance against solutionism or, in other words, designing for uselessness.
Where Giants Lay
The bell rung once again. The tone coursing throughout the small fishing village. It seemed right that a storm was coming, for rain and snow to fall. He hoped for a torrent of ever worsening weather, of thunder and of lightning. He hoped for storms so strong that the buildings would topple, for the sea to rise, and a great wave to wash everyone and everything away. He hoped for it all to be swept up and disappear. Today marked the fall of a kinsman, his father. A fisherman of simple standing yet well liked amongst the villagers. He had been a solid figure of a man, stern and gruff, yet carried a kindness which glistened softly. Amund gazed upon the bundles of ropes and hooks that had been piled on the ground, thrown hastily to one side, awaiting their time to be useful again. The rope, which had once been so well wounded, was now knotted and worn, still wet from the sea. The hooks, while sharp, had a lost sense of purpose leaning against the rope as a child would lean against their mother for comfort. A token dangled loosely around Amunds neck, shining with a faint blue. He had been told that the runes had been inscribed by the Lights and the closer you came to them, the brighter the rune would glow. He played with it, almost unaware with what he was doing. The cold rock felt heavy in his hand. The bell rang once more. It’s tone empty and sharp. Bodies huddled together watching a boat set out. His little brother, Bo, towered over the rest of the family. He resembled his father in terms of appearance, yet cried the hardest of them all, great sobbing breaths that seemed to shake the ground. Mother held Bo’s large hand and looked to the ground, her eyes red and shoulders arched. Amund stood still, his eyes fixated upon the little boat. His breathes stilled and controlled. The wind blew fiercely, piercing cold and harsh gusts which howled and groaned. Horns blew. Amund picked up a flaming arrow from the fire beside him and slid it between the string. He pulled back upon the tight string, taking a deep breath as he did so, and raised the bow high. The bow string tugged upon his arm, pleading for release. He had always imagined a great pressure would befall him, yet now he almost wanted to miss. The rest of the village held their breaths in unison as the arrow took flight, leaving Amund and his bow. It seemed to suspend in mid air, lost in time, before suddenly resuming its decent and hit the small boat. Within moments the boat was engulfed by flames, thick smoke rising. Eventually the day grew darker and the flames grew dim. ----- Night drew, and the sky continuing to growl and cry. Through the winds and the snow, a small figure moved ever forward, awake while he should be sleeping. He had made Bo swear to not tell anyone of his departure, and despite his brothers pleas, had escaped and headed out through the gates. Amund had always laughed at the village stories of the Lights, of the magic that they possessed, but now they seemed to call him. They were also far brighter than he could remember, filling the sky with too many colours to count. He shivered uncontrollably. Thoughts pulsated through his mind. The cold seemed to bite through his clothing, chipping into his skin. Each step proved to be harder and harder, the wind ever present, hindering his every movement. Suddenly the ground beneath the snow cracked, caving in as he lost his balance and fell, sinking into the thick snow and freezing water. For a moment a feeling of desperate survival overcame him, and he raised his head as high as he could, gasping for breath. He struggled against the surrounding snow, and felt its icy presents as it quickly seeped into his clothing. He found himself incased, trapped within his icy prison. Then he wept. He cried for all could, for his lost father who returned without life, for his uncertain future and the fear that it brought him, he cried for his mother and how sad she was, he cried for the cold and how tired he felt. He cried, and cried, and cried. Amund cried until the tears no longer fell, and his cheeks were glazed by a thin layer of ice. His throat was rasp, tender and raw and his eyes felt heavy and warm. He stared beyond the sky, up into the heavens as he searched for the morning light. It was in this moment that he felt a heavy connection to this world and questioned his place within it. The Lights span and swirled, circling and twirling around him as he lay locked within the snow. They came ever nearer, their form shifting and dancing around Amund, their colours more brilliant than he could have ever imagined. Suddenly the snow didn’t feel so constricting anymore and he could easily stand. As he did so, shaking the thick snow off, the Lights continued to dance, yet slowly traveling further away. He followed them, his steps light and agile, until the ground shifted upwards and the sky was almost clouded by a large form. The mountains. They radiated a subtle heat and Amund found himself no longer shivering. Up and up he climbed, slowly pulling himself up, his arms aching and fingers sore. The rocks were sharp and warm, some had runes carved deep into their faces which glowed as brilliantly as his token now was. Higher and higher he went, never faltering and never falling, the stars growing ever larger and the ground growing ever further away. At last he pulled himself up and realised that he couldn’t climb higher. His token was now a radiant blue, shining cooly. Amund stood there, overlooking the world. He could just about make out his own village, seemingly toylike and he was surrounded by the Lights. From the top of the mountain he wished. He closed his eyes and wished with all his might. He wished, and wished, and wished.
The door was heavy as it creaked opened, revealing two figures.One lead, carrying a wave of boldness, while the other followed, her eyes focused upon the ground she stepped.Strength contrasted fragility. Frustration contrasted fear.He eyed the ageing menu hanging behind the counter while she looked around.A flickering sign hung from the ceiling, displaying the meal of the day and various other greasy foods. Hamburgers, Beef-burgers, fish burgers, the list continued.
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