Monday, 26 January 2009

Jayne Wallace-Cultural Probes

This morning we received a lecture by Dr Jane Wallace who is a contemporary jeweler working now with assimilating digital technology into her work. She currently works with Culture Lab in Newcastle.

Jayne talked to us about the cultural probes she used within her practice and gave us a really good insight into how to adapt and develop our own probes. I loved the rosettes she gave to people with first prize printed on them. She asked people to say what they would want to win first prize at. Although she later gave people a pack with second prize rosettes, I liked this even better as I feel it gives the user the chance to reveal their dreams and wishes in a more realistic setting. They might omit to mention something of great importance to them as they recognise they could never be at the top of the game, but they dream of making a positive contribution and to enjoy whatever task it is even though they no full well that it is impossible to be no1.

Whilst speaking to Jayne about my project we came up with a few cultural probe ideas. I like the idea of having a washing line set up with items of clothes attached. People can come along and choose a piece of clothing and along with this item will be given a pack of customising tools and a disposable camera and a way of recording their thoughts and feelings while interacting and wearing the item. This will either be a lining which the user could write on or perhaps a small roll of paper hidden in a pocket or attached to a label. I want to find out why people become attached to an item of clothing and why sometimes they do treat them as disposable. Is it the cost, the material, the design, the fact its a one off etc. When the week is over the user will return the garment to the washing line with their camera, their 'storey' of their attachment to it and how they have changed it and photos of how they wore it and when and the feelings that the whole experience conjured. It will also be interesting to find out if they are willing to part with the item easily or if they have grown attached to it and why they feel that is.

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