RESTLESS FREETIME is a playful investigation into the use of down-time in objects. Conventional interaction design focuses on the high-level and productive interaction between man and machine. This project opens up idle time of electronic objects as an opportunity for meaningful experiences. The methodology is inspired by current trends in "emotional design," "techno-biology" and "anthropomorphism" which result in seeing electronic objects as pets and friends. Instead of presenting entirely new product concepts, RESTLESS FREETIME strives to expose and shift the owner-servant relationship we have with our objects. As a result, the objects in this project, during their "free time," exhibit different behaviors that are not productive but rather full of character. The biggest potential to this concept is that in the future, people are able to appreciate all objects in the world just the way they are... including those that are electronic and man-made.
The video component of the project defines and illustrates my definition of different states of electronic objects.
- Work time: when the objects are being used.
- Free time: when the objects are powered but are not in-use. They have the potential to "do something."
- Unconscious: when the objects are unplugged / not powered.
The meaning behind the use of silhouettes:
By using silhouettes, I was able to divert the attention from formal and functional qualities of objects towards their behavioral qualities; the focus is not on how easy it is to operate or interface with the objects or how pretty the buttons are. Through this video, the viewer is advised to think about the interaction between the user and the object as well as the object's charactor.
This set of visualization opens up a deeper and more speculative discourse regarding different "modes" electronic objects could have between "ON" and "OFF." Each dial focuses on different topics I had dealt with during experiments.
- work, play, and everything in-between.
- things objects can do as an extension of work for themselves
- things objects can do as an extension of work with their owners
- labels objects could have from the view of its owner
- labels for my "designed objects"
This iteration of the Electronic Profiling experiment was made as souvenir items for my exhibition. With information on how much free time everyday electronic objects have, and whether or not they are powered during those times, these cards communicate more the charactor/story of each object. In order to construct its written component, I have considered their form, function, and interaction with the people and items surrounding it.
Basic format of information on the back side:
Object name, characteristics, free time in hours per week, powered during free time?
As items that have been prototyped, I have created a couple of objects that would embody and ask some of the research questions I have been asking myself. By creating physical prototypes, people who came to the exhibition could experience a couple of layers of my concept, first-hand.
The (ob)SERVER is a fan that follows the motion of people in front of it.
When it is on, it is the SERVER, a considerate servant who wants you to experience maximum cooling. On the other hand, when it is off, it is simply OBSERVING people in front of him. Some people find it alarming to have an inanimate object with sharp blades to watch them.
Timer after Time
This timer is never bored with counting. Or is it keeping its counting brain sharp? Does it feel like it has to be counting all the time? Does it get that "workaholic" quality from us?
When it has free time, it listens to other things in its environment and translates that into counting. As soon as it feels like someone is about to use it, it sets itself back to zero, getting ready for work.
The Talkative One
The Talkative One definitely is the most talkative one in the house. It likes to give news, it likes to be heard, and spoken to. When it is bored, it tries to get its owner's attention by recording sound from his environment or from other phones that are networked to him and relaying it to the owner. When the red button is pressed, the owner can hear the message that the phone has left him.
By omitting the environment and keeping the objects at the eye-level we are used to, I attempted to create a
scene where the objects seem like independent, stand-alone beings that are more animated and conscious than we are used to now.
With the help of the three animated object examples, the research information on the object labels, and play/work modes on the wall, people were expected to imagine what the non-animated objects could do during their freetime.
This brochure is a cumulated printed piece of different visualizations I have done during the experimental stages. The process-side of my thesis is shared using this printed component of the exhibition.
The content include:
Freetime chart of electronic objects,
Work time chart of electronic objects,
Bibliography / reference map of the thesis journey,
and written elements explaining the thesis.