Tag Archives: class

Simplicity class notes

Tangible interfaces for a bar
Tangible interfaces - simplicity studio class

For some reason I never got round to making a contents page for my web responses to the class tasks set by John Maeda, Hiroshi Ishii and Chris Csikszentmihalyi in the Simplicity design studio I took while I was a student at the MIT Media Lab. The studio was John’s Simplicity consortium in the making – exploring ideas of what simplicity can mean. From the simplicity class page:

Intellectual Goal:
To develop a method for making concrete the process of designing for simplicity across interaction, aesthetic, engineering, and cultural concerns.

Core methods tested, debugged, and invented together with exercises from Design Fellows and Instructors. Skills culminate in a final competition of small teams.

So here they are:

  • P1 more to less to more to less – creating visual scales of More to Less (set by John)
  • P2 haiku to concept – write Haikus and create conceptual pieces based on it (Chris)
    • frozen chicken bird feeder was the highlight for me
  • P3 two parts rum – sketch a tangible interface (Hiroshi)
    • I proposed a cocktail mixing bar projection that would augment the bar top with instructions and advice
  • P4 weather reports – after a presentation from Alexander Gelman and a look at the IDEO design methodology, we were asked to design interfaces for weather information
  • P5 Tablepaperâ„¢ – after a session with Charlie Lazor we were asked to re-design a product that doesn’t ‘work right
    • I decided to redesign placemats as a disposable magazine format for reading, decoration and note taking while eating
  • P6 A onedo flutter – I forget exactly what the brief was for this one, something about process I think
    • I’ve always wanted to make an animation using bank notes. One frame on each note, spending the artwork after scanning it in. I chose ubiquitous materials (spray paint, money, porn, halftone print) and made each frame unrecognisable. It is only in motion that the result is clear. I loved Hiroshi’s feedback in this class – he said the low resolution animation on $1 bills suggested higher resolution on higher denomination.
    • Check out the money animation making-of images
  • P7 hello … hi … hi … er … hello … – create an algorithmic system for generating sound, images or motion
    • I chose sound. My piece involved standing in the MIT infinite corridor with a microphone and recording the first utterance from each person who passed (mp3). This recording was later published in the Ephemera issue of Thresholds magazine.
  • Exhibition
    • Our final exhibition in the foyer of the E15 used simple packaging (brown paper labels and boxes) as its theme. I designed the poster – you can see it on p11 of this pdf of some of my visual work at the lab.
    • My first pieces in the exhibition was a brass map using the Buckminster-Fuller projection that could be carried in the pocket. the idea was that over years, like a favourite sculpture, the map would be polished smooth in regions that the user pointed to often. I’ll see if I can find a picture of this.
    • My second piece was a video of faces to accompany my audio recording, installed inside one of the boxes in the exhibition.