Videos of Things (2017)

As technologies have become ubiquitous in our daily lives, HCI has grown an interest in issues such as meaning, lived experiences and the complex relations among things that make up everyday life. In my research, I’m interested in investigating how designed artifacts can be a part of these emerging relationships. The characteristics and qualities of these relations can be very nuanced and subtle, therefore difficult to describe and represent. Video has the ability to communicate subtle qualities over time and articulating the nuanced, temporal, and subtle dynamics of technological mediations.

I made three videos of speculative design artifacts: the Table-Non-Table (a slowly moving stack of paper supported by a motorized aluminum chassis), the Tilting Bowl (a ceramic bowl that tilts three to four times a day) and Lyssna (a hearing aid for your refrigerator).

In the making of these videos, I explored three narrative strategies that can be used to depict subtle human experiences of artifacts over time. These include humanness, that depicts human qualities from which mediations emerge; patterns in time, that depicts time as a foregrounded element of narrative; and non-humans and ensembles that depicts relations between non-human actors.

“The Other Half” features Lyssna and was made to envision how Lyssna could co-shape more sustainable future food practices. The narrative follows Anna, an organized woman who carefully plans each meal, but ends up with leftovers. The viewer is first introduced to Anna through some of her daily activities, including her food practices. The refrigerator slowly fills up with a half-used eggplant, tomatoes and a zucchini. At the same time, Onno has been texting Anna to arrange a date, but Anna is too busy. One day, Onno surprises Anna by spontaneously showing up for dinner. Anna is shy at first, worrying that she is not well prepared for this unexpected guest. But then she remembers Lyssna and the video portrays how she uses the design fiction to prepare a meal.

Vincent & Vincent was made to explore the nuances of how the Tilting Bowl becomes part of everyday life. The Narrative follows two Vincents as they get accustomed to their new living situations – which includes a tilting bowl. Vincent gets confronted with his own habits, portrayed through his two sides. The video is perceived from the perspective of the bowl through short intervals of everyday situations that end with the sound of the bowl, and a tilt of the shot.

“08/08/2016, Vancouver” follows a morning routine of things in the house. The video moves through different areas in the house and through movement and sound, pictures of natural elements, human actions, automated objects, inanimate objects, and hybrids. It starts in the bedroom, moves on to the bathroom, kitchen, hallway and lastly, the living room with the table-non-table. The Table-non-table consists of a slowly moving stack of paper supported by a motorized aluminum chassis. The motivation for the table-non-table emerged from research on everyday design, which primarily included ethnographic studies of people in their homes and various other everyday practices. The table-non-table was developed to theoretically explore, from a design perspective, what could comprise an everyday design computational artifact and what its effects might be.