conditional design / unit xvi critique


Wednesday, April 6th, we were introduced to the new unit. With an exercise emphasizing making. We had a great discussion about the role of the designer as developer/innovator/critical thinker and individual. Our first exercise is to choose a word based on our reflective question generating for Unit XV (my question was: “How can design serve as an impetus for creating community and sustaining direct human interaction?”) and then, using a set of parameters (physical location, content, material, technique, etc.), generate a lot of making. For Monday, we have to present all of our making in a way that is self-explanatory of our process, descriptive and plentiful – showing not telling. We won’t be allowed to explain or talk about our process or results.

I am excited about this new type of process. I chose the word community. And set up the following restrictions:

  1. Installation
  2. Black masking tape
  3. Pronouns

I have already made two of the three installations I have in mind, and after finalizing the documentation, plan on devising a way of presenting my results. The only parameters are that we can’t talk and that we must “fill a table.”

I am one who typically spends a lot of time thinking and planning and ideating, this was a good exercise to force me to start making. Obviously, installation takes a lot longer than one plans it to, and I had to act fast in the amount of time we had. I had vague ideas around each installation and then just ran with it and started putting the tape up and playing along. It has been an enjoyable experience. I really like working in public spaces and making installations, also playing with large scale typography is fun.

Monday, April 4, we presented our final result for Unit XVI. It was awesome to see everyone’s work, we paired up with Ben’s section and had Lucy and John (for part of the critique in the Commons) as guest critics. The critique got kind-of heated at times, in terms of presentation, but it was really constructive and insightful overall. Really encouraging and inspiring to see how everyone drew a unique and different experience out of the RISD Museum experience. Some people drew farther outside the museum than others, such as myself, but working within the parameters of the museum didn’t seem to limit the range and results produced.


I believe my presentation went well; it was very constructive. The question of the necessity of an app such as memo was brought up, something that I had felt conflicted with during the final process of creation. While it pertains strongly to what I was interested in, memory and physical locations and deautomating a digital sharing experience to promote sharing and exploration in the real world, the design could have been more eclectic and unique to that experience. memo was criticized as being designed to “corporate”-like; using the formal visual language of any other start up and “facebook blue.” I was encouraged to emphasize the uniqueness of memo and play that up in the design. Looking at other, more innovative and challenging apps, that really make us question our interactions and user experience on a digital platform.

I do agree and believe that memo would have been a lot stronger and more compelling had I further developed the idea in that direction. Despite the project being 6weeks long, I still felt limited, especially towards the end in terms of form making. I wanted to create something that allowed me to delve into narrative storytelling through a promotional trailers, get some experience in identity design and front-end UI design and wireframing, and present all this in a way that conveys the idea behind memo. And I do believe it was successful in that respect. However, to make it stronger there is the opportunity to push it further (of course).

There potentially is the option of pursuing this for Unit XVII, but I feel a bit fatigued and burnt out with it currently. I want do design something that focuses more on design for social good, or bringing people together in a different and unique experience. However, I am trying to keep myself open to the process and see where this unit will take me.



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