The dog and the clock on their way…

Ok so i sent out the dog to London through my good friend Mike who hopefully will be sending this to my friend Karola and then the experiment will start…

The clock is on its way to Montreal, via lovely Sydney who will send it from NY…

Since I havent gotten any answers from Marcos, Im trying to aim for Seoul instead of Tokyo through my friend Aram, hopefulle this can be done this week…

Good things come to those who wait apparently…:-)

Experiment 1: the jar, the clock and the dog.

Ok so from this point onward and starting tomorrow hopefully i will be able to document via this blog the trials and tribulations of a jar sent to Tokyo, a plush dog sent to London and a clock sent to Montreal. This is basically a spin off of the chain letter concept but with a communal twist. People receive these objects, personlize them, then have to pass them on to someone they know after having taken a picture of the object sent to me which allows me to publish the results online and documenting who gets these objects, how they got them and what they did with them.

I am interested in testing a few things here with this experiment. Firstly whether people are opened to not owning, if the value is collective and accessible by all members of the group is enough. Im interested in the modes of personalization which is why i have a fairly blank object (the jar) which needs total personalization, an emotionally charged object with little personalisation capacity (the dog) and a highly functional object with no emotional anchor and with a large personalisation capacity. I am interested in knowing how far these obejcts will travel, how large does the community around these objects get, how interested people are in the destiny of these objects. Will they seek for them? Will they wait till it happens to drop in their hands???

I am sending 2 of these objects tomorrow in the mail and so the games begin!!!!

Simplicité Volontaire

The previous post on the new puritain reminded me of a movement in Québec that started a few years ago called “Simplicité Volontaire” which is explained on this french website and which basically advocates a different and richer way of living that gets away from our conventional understanding of being rich (ie involving money).

What this makes me ponder about is the fact that whatever it is that i am to come up with has to have sex appeal and appeal to people as being in conjunction with their lifestyle and cater to their need for status through it. These are all fairly obvious considerations but very difficult to implement and design for. Perception is a fragile beast.

New experiment on its way…

A next step for me which i shall implement in the next week is aimed at discovering what values come out of sharing a unique object and being able to see the hisory of interactions that people will have with it. Being inspired by the chain-letter phenomenon, i thought i might try a chain-object event and use the web to my advantage for once as a way to link people and as a feedback mechanism. So more to come this week as i decide who to send this to, what objects i will send, what feedback mecanism to use.

The New Puritain

This Guardian article descibes an interesting social twist on current concerns about consumerism.

“So, with a few grand gestures and some high-profile converts New Puritanism offers a powerful escape route from our impulsive, reward-driven lifestyles. It might just have the potential to stave off the horrors promised by an out-of-control consumerist culture in which, according to agrarian essayist Wendell Berry, ‘The histories of all products will be lost. The degradation of products and places, producers and consumers is inevitable.'”

I am not sure turning to the Amish lifestyle that’s advocated here is the best way to get any kind of social responsibility message across but its a start :-)

Interdependant systems

As this IDFuel article adresses, we find ourselves looking at complex systems present in nature and enviously trying to mimick them.

“The natural world has evolved over billions of years to include an unbelievably complex array of interactions and dependencies, most of which are unknown, and many of which are remarkably unexpected. Intentional design, while very much different from evolution, shares a number of common solutions and themes, as we’ve discussed many times before. Would it be so surprising that the same sort of web of interdependency exists in the product design world?”

The web is indeed a stricking example of interdependancy and complexity in a system whose inherent values include sharing, communities, etc. and which are completely absent from the product world. I am really interested in this issue and hope to find more material to inspire a possible real-world application.

Cooperative design

From the communal ovens of europe:

“These common ovens also encouraged diversity for the “loaves going into the oven were slashed with distinct patterns so each family got back its own–really its own, since the grain from which it was made was grown on their farm.” via IDFuel

This makes me think about the power of diversity in communal sharing and the power of the unique results that could come out of sharing an object with particular people. How would an object react to whether you use it with you girlfriend versus using it with your friends.