Thoughts on Zimmerman’s four concepts

Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games: Four naughty concepts in need of discipline  by Eric Zimmerman

It was an interesting read to see someone lay out varying definitions of these 4 terms (some more familiar than the rest), discuss them in depth, highlight the overlaps and limitations before eventually tearing apart the very definitions and explanations he had built. It felt like we know these words, yet not really.

What struck me most was the point regarding play. Zimmerman urges creators not to forcefully direct a play experience but rather to design a system and structure with the potential for play. We as creators cannot incite play but can instead create an environment which encourages and supports it.

Zimmerman also highlights how there is a narrative to be found in all media, games and creations. It teaches us a new way of viewing creative products, searching for the overall stories and ‘micro-narratives’ in each move, sequence and activity.

Project idea: Month

A month is a period of time that we share universally. What happens in a month? How much of the past months can we recall? When we recall a month that has passed, what comes to mind?

Perhaps it’s characterised by events; public holidays, birthdays, one-time occasions (i.e. marriages, celebrations, funerals, world events, injuries, natural disasters). I feel that a month really flies by and the days blend together and become indistinguishable.

This project will invite users to document the most significant thing that happens each day. Users would record a single piece of media in any form (images, music/sounds, words, article/headline, website link). The system will record the submission each day but will not show posts from other days of the month. Users will only be able to view these daily submissions at the end of the month, as an entire month and collated experience. The arrangement of the daily posts will also correspond to the layout of a calendar.

The posts would be anonymous, with no identity, descriptions or captions. Unlike social media, perhaps not having an audience which knows us personally and only viewing the happenings of a single day would reduce the level of curation; i.e. reduce our urge to document our month according to certain cohesive themes/colours/forms etc. or document only the ‘nice sexy moments’.

Ideally, the project will have users from all over the world. The database would store the ‘months’ of users around the world. People can access these ‘months’, and have a glimpse into the lives of others. These experiences may vary from the intimate and personal to a collective experience. For example, on 23 Jan 2016, posts from Singapore may include a sound clip of a birthday celebration, failing a school assignment or a picture of a large tree. On the other hand, many people in the US may post pictures of the blizzard which hit the east coast, showing snow covered cars and streets. The significant-happening-of-the-day can be something that shook you personally, or an event that shook the larger global community.

On a side note, experiences and happenings seem to dictate the tone of the month. Hmm… I wonder if other more subtle aspects can be recorded, like feelings and moods.

Stationery Radio

Documentation for Stationery Radio using Max 7, teabox and assorted sensors. An interactive stationery holder that allows easy control over your sound system while keeping desk supplies organised.

This player incorporates basic desk stationery and 4 different sensors into the interface. The eraser acts as a switch to start and stop the radio by playing with the light sensor. A ruler is used to changes between tracks. It triggers the bending sensor when it’s pushed into the ruler slot. The slider determines the duration and end point of each track. Volume is controlled using the infrared distance sensor and pencil holder slots. The 4 slots correspond to 4 increasing volume levels. Uses mainly buffer~ to control audio. A very engaging first project;

20160125_205249 (3)     20160125_212406 (2)

Thoughts on interdisciplinarity

I typically like using traditional media to create art but being in IM has allowed me to stretch my skills and control of media. Learning programming, max and all these other really new and fresh fields is no different from drawing or painting. All are mediums used to create art equally but add so much more to my appreciation and application of these individual mediums. Applying the logical to painting and vice versa makes art way more flexible and feels like I get to dip my fingers in many different pots of honey.