Assignement Week 7+8 – Part 1

Part 1: Write a response to the exhibition “Future World”.  Keep in mind the following questions – What is experience design and what are the possibilities of responsive environments? How might this change the way we think about the world around us and the ways that we communicate with each other?

Response regarding the exhibition “Future World” I visited on Thursday, September 22nd. 

The slogan for the exhibition Future World is “Where Art meets Science”. It is indeed what I witnessed during my visit. As soon as I walked in the exhibition, I was instantly immersed into darkness. A darkness in which music met visual effects to create a perfect blend. In other words, I had set foot in a totally immersive experience.

The first room was one of the displays of the exhibition which impressed me the most. At first I was wondering why people were laying down and just staring at an animation which seemed to be going on forever. But then I tried it, I sat down and finally decided to lay down on the floor. It took some time but the atmosphere succeeded in carrying me away. The music, the visuals, the colors, the way the screen were displayed (forming a quarter of an octogon), everything that was there, felt right.

First room of the exhibition
First room of the exhibition

This is what the whole exhibition is about, immersing yourself in a world, an environment, and most importantly being able to interact with it.

It was also the case with the last display of the exhibition, the crystal universe. I entered a room not knowing what to expect and suddenly I found myself surrounded by lighting effects, as if I was being transported to another dimension. And the experience got even more interesting when I realize that I, the person walking inside of it, could control this universe I set myself in. This was possible by selecting the desired universe on the iPad at the back at the room and swiping it towards the crystal hallway. A few seconds later, I had succeded in changeing the (shared) universe.

Crystal universe
Crystal universe

To be able to interact with your surrounding but also in this last particular case to be able to control it, feels very empowering. I also felt to some extent that it gave me responsability, in that I was responsible for what  the people standing inside the hallway were going to see next.

I also enjoyed the display in which you could make interact physical objects with digital objects (see picture below). First of all the technical aspect of it impressed me, since the physical object was just a simple disk of wood, but also I couldn’t help but imagine other kind of games/animations you could create with this concept.

Physical-digital object interaction
Physical-digital object interaction

This exhibition made me realize that, when designing an interface, it is vital to take into account all the senses (all the relevant ones at least). For example if there hadn’t been any music the first room, the experience would have been totally different and most likely a lot less immersive.

If you take almost every display in the display, taking away one element, would completely change the user/visitor experience. The fact that we can immerse ourselves in it, and interact with the environment is key here.

Take for example the drawing workshop. If it wasn’t for the interaction part (scanning your drawing and seeing it appear in the environment on the screen), it would just have been a basic drawing workshop where we would have taken our drawing home, without necessarily showing it to others. Probably just because we were not really proud with it (or simply didn’t want to share it). But the fact that we could interact with the environment made us want to share our work to the world.

The sketch aquarium (Image courtesy of teamLab website)

In a way this is how experience design and immersive design could be helpful to people. It could help suppress people’s fear of being judged for their work, since everyone interacts with it the same way, everyone is seen as equal. And in a way even to have the courage to share and interact is sufficient.

It could be a new way of communication, instead of describing our product with words, we could just show it by modifying our environment. This brings me to mind the example of the hologram. We can display what we wish by making it appear as a physical object in our environment.

Hologram for more efficient communication

Author: Florent Ziegler

French Exchange Student. Industrial Design Engineering

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