Part 2: Body Storming Exercise with Participant here.
What did you learn from the process? Rui Hong: Bodystorming made us realise how much more meticulous we must be in our assignment. It was difficult to deliver the experience without the designing the environment and contextualising it. It gave me a deeper understanding to my dark object as well, allowing me to be more open to ideas that will enable the general public to have correct interpretations of our work. The technical aspect also had to be reviewed. We wanted to use photocell sensor, vibration motor, flex sensor and sound from processing as we thought they were integral in making the object work. Once bodystorming was done, we realised that the flex sensor was rather unnecessary and made the object more prone to malfunction. Taking out the flex sensor did not change the experience for the participant. Daryl: Overall, I learnt that thinking through our interactive process is not enough. The way a participant might interact with the object may differ from what we expect, hence changing the outcome and the take away of the interaction. By materialising and breaking down the interactive process, we found some flaws and missing information. Firstly, we got some feedback that the entire interaction felt like NS-life simulation, which was definitely not what Rui Hong and I intended. Secondly, we the participants might not get what the exhibit is suppose to represent if the message is not clear enough. And lastly, not all the component we wanted to add with Arduino was necessary. We ended up removing the flex sensor from the intended set up in the iLBV.
What surprised you while going through the process? Rui Hong: I was surprised at the importance of bodystorming on a prototype. Initially I thought that bodystorming could have been done without. However, it allowed me to test my object without implications. I was able to evaluate the successes and limitations of the prototype and therefore make some changes to my design to reduce the flaws. During the bodystorming, I was also surprised at how positive and open my classmates were about trying out the object; which was uncomfortable to say the least (because the object was heavy and they had to squat, besides being confused and made anxious by the war sounds). This may not be the case for participatory installations with the general public. Daryl: What surprised me most was even though we were confident and thought that the exhibit was already well-thought out, many flaws surfaced during the testing. Mainly, we should not have assumed that everyone will understand the importance of a Grenade Safety Drill and that the participants might not want to participant. We did not dummy-proof our plan which is important as some or maybe majority of participant might not understand.
How can your apply what you have discovered to the designing of your installation? Rui Hong: I managed to pick up many good pointers from the bodystorming process. This includes designing a space that resembles daily spaces (such as in the MRT or library) on the projector to change the environment the participant is in. It was difficult to visualize two settings in one installation until we have completed the bodystorming. Our intention was to allow spectators to view the flashback of a war veteran or someone who has had a traumatic experience. After which, they will witness the ridicule faced. This has gone beyond a simple object, it has become a short performance which thrives with accurate contextualisation. Daryl: From the overall feedback, we have made a few improvements and changes to the set up and the interactive process the participant/s will go through. First thing, we removed the flex sensor from the set up as it was redundant and might be obstructive. If the participant choose not to follow the grenade safety drill and crouch on the floor, the interaction stops and the vest is pointless. However, if we allow the recording to continue without the feedback from the flex sensor, the explosion sfx might be enough to cause a reaction from the participant. Secondly, we realise that having a set design can get the message across clearer, hence, we decided to project some images on the screen while the participant is in the vest. We also added the component of a observer/spectator to be part of the exhibit. Lastly, we have decided to be part of the exhibit as crew members. This ensures the participants knows what to do in case they get lost. All in all, we have found more areas we needed to work on, especially on delivering the message across.