Final Project: Project Development Body Storming

The interaction space from the outside

As the temporary space for our intended “booth” set-up, we sectioned off a small corner of the class using a large cardboard piece as a makeshift door. We left the white shirt and the set of instructions on the door surface itself.

A close-up of the door, complete with the instruction sheet and white t-shirt

There was meant to be another black shirt for the participant to choose between, but we did not manage to find one in time for this Bodystorming session, hence there was only one white shirt.

A close-up of the instructions
Inside the interaction space, where a mirror and makeshift “photocell” is placed against the wall

We taped a mirror where the participant would face, as well as a makeshift photocell which would be the trigger for the recordings.

A speaker from which the recording plays, hidden from the participant

We hid the speaker from the participant’s view – and as what the recordings were actually going to say was not confirmed yet, we simulated it through saying the words out loud through the door, as seen in the video.

1. What did you learn from the process?

Natalie: I learnt that for the sake of the interaction, it was important not to have remarks directly related to race in the recording as it was a little bit on the nose and not directly applicable to everyone who wears the shirt. I also learnt that we would have to figure out a way for the participants to make the associations to race on their own while we focus on making the interaction about the shirt colours. Furthermore, we realised that having a completely enclosed space would be helpful to the intention of our interaction. In this lo-fi version and for the sake of being able to record, the participant was not enclosed at all.

Sherneese: Through this body storming session, I got to see my project from a third person’s perspective. Void of bias and preconceptions, and purely based on the instructions and set-up we have put together using cardboard and paper. I also managed to see potential confusion that the audience may experience with our project that we otherwise would never see from the creator’s standpoint. This process opened my mind to other possibilities and suggestions from both users and bystanders that we can incorporate into our final project. It also made me realise that what I may want my audience to experience may not necessarily pan out the way I want in reality. It is through such testing that we can visualise the variables and work them to our benefit.

Additionally, I’ve realised the importance of the deliberate layout set-up, pre-interaction and post-interaction. They are all equally as important as what happens during the main interaction experience. Every minute detail makes a difference. As our project was meant to be take place in an enclosed space, it had to be verbalised to our audience during body storming as the video taking meant that the door had to be open, causing our audience not being able to experience what we wanted them to go through. 

Another aspect of body storming is that we were not using final materials to create our objects/space and thus it was difficult to achieve certain qualities that are reliant on quality/type of material/context created through objects.

2. What surprised you while going through the process?

Natalie: Some members of the audience noted that making the conceptual leap from the colours of the shirts to the colours of people’s skin may be a somewhat of a mental reach. I did not foresee this problem as while conceptualising, we started out with making directly race-related comments corresponding to either the white or black shirts.

Sherneese: 
How the public viewed my project differently from what I thought. What may seem clear to me – since I contributed to the creation of this project – may be obscure to others. Realising this point was really important to me because this hitch in connection with the audience can cause the entire project to fail/not achieve the desired outcome. It was also made apparent that different people have different thoughts and suggestions with which we can use them to our advantage.

3. How can your apply what you have discovered to the designing of your installation?

Natalie: We need to ensure that the space is completely enclosed, such as sectioning off a part of the classroom and making sure the top is covered as well, or using a cupboard as the interaction space. We also need to think of a solution to the shirt situation to make it easier for the audience to make the association to race without directly mentioning race it self, such as putting mirrored “labels” on the shirts that the participant will then be able to read when they face the mirror.

Sherneese: 
Able to understand from feedback given on how to make concept/what I want the audience to get out of this experience more obvious. Have an open mind and use suggestions given to suit concept better.

The interactivity between creators and audiences allows the project to be pushed further, to piece the finer details more complexly and intricately.