Physical Computing Vs Contextual Behaviors
“Techlogical stimuli that trigger human behaviors that trigger technological stimuli that trigger human behaviors ...”
Social Interactions is a collection of design experimentations in which I reflected on the relation between technology and society. All this projects happened while I was living in Doha, Qatar and they are all projections of that specific cultural context. The research trajectory of the Social Interactions is from micro to macro, from individual habits through collective citizenship to global identities. The individual level is addressed with the project "The Doha" rider, the hacking of a camel races jokey to be carried around on a Vespa scooter in Doha's streets in opposition of the locals' sparkling supercars. The citizenship level is analyzed with "Social ECG", a little device able to operate an health check on the Qatari society. The machine was translating public opinion in heartbits giving a real time feedback on the effectiveness, or irrelevance, of the present social pressure and control. Finally, with the "Priviledged Digital Manufacturing" necklace, I was pointing at the need for reconnecting design digital tools within which the products are created. The major research question in this project was: "Is true that coding and digital manufacturing can happen anywhere but, as a form of craft, do we want that cultural anonymity?".
* The Doha Rider is a basic automaton, inspired by the little robots used as jockeys during the camels’ races in Doha. Main feature of this local artificial jockey is a sort of stick mounted in the place of its arm and capable to spin and whip the animal when the camel’s owner activate remotely a radio command. The Doha Rider, in spite of riding a camel, will ride a scooter interacting with the lively and folkloristic Qatar’s streets activity. The Robot will react to two different inputs: one is the car flashing, a beloved and very passionate local hobby, and the other is the super-cars’ rev up, evident symbol of local masculinity. In both cases The Doha Rider will react whipping the scooter, and the driver, as an instinctive sense of competition. The funny robot and its ridiculous reaction symbolize the projection of the equal odd and sometimes ridiculous local behaviors.
* Priviledged digital manufacturing is a little experiment on globalism and new technologies’ ubiquitousness. The neckless on the left has been created through a generative design process in which one of the parameter is the geolocation of the machine in which the code reside and the related GDP of that specific country. While digital manufacturing is promoting the idea of production delocalization, this project wants to re-root digital design to specific cultural contexts. If you run the code in Qatar for example, your necklace will be full of “diamonds” while if you run it in Congo, where actually most of the precious stones come from, you will barely have a little one to embellish your neck.
* Social ECG is an interaction design provocation aiming to stimulate dialogue around pressing issues in context with high-level of social control. The intent of this prototype was to monitor the state of health of a society and its citizens. In the context of this project, a “healthy” society is defined as a place where we can observe a vibrant public debate and the will to partecipate in the social discourse. The machine has two components: the ballot board and the electrocardiogram device. People were invited to ask challanging questions and write them on the board. Anonimously the partecipants could express their preference. Everytime someone was expressing their opinion, the ECG was recording a vital sign, indipendently from the preference.