Locative Lab

researching locative media

Workshop

Format

Over the years I’ve given many locative media workshops. Most of them creative sessions where the objective was to create locative concepts using hands-on tools in teams in the form of a design competition. In the end teams would present their final work petcha kutcha style and a winner would be selected. Below are the cards I often use for participants to remember the different steps in concept development including some projects for inspiration.

download the pdf

Workshop Techniques

Some workshop techniques from Proboscis..

Step by step Interaction Scenario
Create a step by step scenario on paper in which you clearly describe the different types of situations that can take place in your project.

Bodystorming
Bodystorming manifests ideas into objects and situations to reveal the kinds of relationships that occur through social and cultural interactions between people.

Unlike brainstorming, bodystorming is the transformation of abstract ideas and concepts into physical experiences. Fun and tactile, this approach allows us to investigate different qualities that an idea may have when applied in a physical setting. It enables rapid iteration and development of ideas and relationships through a dynamic, continuous and creative process of trial and error.

We also develop playful bodystorming experiences for demonstrating and researching ideas and situations with groups of people. Like a game it reveals the tensions and pleasures of limits and rules. Using props and take-home materials generated by the participants, everyone shares ownership of their experience.
http://research.urbantapestries.net/bodystorming.html
http://www.spaceandculture.org/2004/11/play-and-bodystorming.php
Understanding contexts by being there: case studies in bodystorming – Antti Oulasvirta Æ Esko Kurvinen Æ Tomi Kankainen

As a research tool
Proboscis uses a technique called bodystorming to rapidly iterate and test ideas. Ideas are brainstormed then turned into material forms and situations to reveal the kinds of relationships that occur between social and cultural interactions between people, places and things. Bodystorming is the transformation of abstract ideas and concepts into physical experiences, a tactile approach allowing us to investigate different qualities that ideas may have when applied to physical settings – part of a dynamic and continuous process of trial and error.

As a public experience
Proboscis has been developing a playful experience to engage people in the broader issues surrounding Urban Tapestries. Like a game it reveals the tensions and pleasures of rules and constraints. We use props such as a large floor map taken from a 1930s London guide, pre-authored Urban Tapestries threads to suggest the kinds of things people might annotate about a place, different coloured Post-It notes as the authoring tool and Proboscis’ own custom Urban Tapestries’ DIFFUSION eBooks to annotate each participant’s threads.

The experience is intended to offer a gentle, non-technological, introduction to the concepts of mobile public authoring – to provoke and cajole unexpected and unintended ideas for what Urban Tapestries could be for different people. It creates a collaborative framework for testing our own assumptions and pre-conceptions about public authoring and social knowledge – about what happens when ideas become technologies, practices, and relationships. Bodystorming allows us to ask questions in an open and co-creative environment, where all the participants are responsible for their experience as much as we are for facilitating it. The event allows us to investigate:

  • what happens when people become co-creators and not just consumers of information
  • what kinds of knowledge will they want to share with their neighbours and fellow city-dwellers
  • how do people articulate and share their experiences of inhabiting the city
  • how people interact with ideas and situations on physical, emotional, intuitive and intellectual levels.

So far we have run eight events with a wide range of people: from senior citizens and teenagers, to artists, academics, civil servants, community workers, business consultants, technology professionals, designers, writers and teachers.

From http://www.spaceandculture.org/2004/11/play-and-bodystorming.php

Before place-storming, there was bodystorming. Developed by Proboscis, one of my dissertation case studies, bodystorming experiences are one of the ways these UK researchers and designers “challenge notions of interactivity” by bringing the physical and material to bear on the creation of the digital and virtual:
“We use bodystorming within our project teams to act out issues, techniques, interfaces and designs. Bodystorming manifests ideas into objects and situations to reveal the kinds of relationships that occur through social and cultural interactions between people.

Unlike brainstorming, bodystorming is the transformation of abstract ideas and concepts into physical experiences. Fun and tactile, this approach allows us to investigate different qualities that an idea may have when applied in a physical setting. It enables rapid iteration and development of ideas and relationships through a dynamic, continuous and creative process of trial and error.

We also develop playful bodystorming experiences for demonstrating and researching ideas and situations with groups of people. Like a game it reveals the tensions and pleasures of limits and rules. Using props and take-home materials generated by the participants, everyone shares ownership of their experience.

Bodystorming experiences create a collaborative framework for testing assumptions about ideas, relationships and technologies. These experiences are a way to learn more about how people interact with ideas and situations on physical, emotional, intuitive and intellectual levels. More than just a research tool, each bodystorming experience is an exciting and enabling event in itself.”
You can learn more about bodystorming and other ways of stimulating creativity and innovation in the Proboscis DIFFUSION eBooks.

Update: I just learned from the Urban Tapestries blog that HP Labs (another of my case studies – I really must pay better attention!) also developed their own version of bodystorming, called Model-storming. I have to admit that this particularly appeals to me because since childhood I have dreamed of being small enough to play inside architectural models. In the past year alone I was quite overcome by the urge to crawl inside a model of Price’s Fun Palace at the CCA and all of the Archigram models at the Design Museum…

And since we’re tracing out the genealogy, Proboscis’ bodystorming experiences are inspired by IDEO’s bodystorming methods – based on brainstorming, this involves using physical experience as input to the design process. (On a somewhat related note, I recently ordered a new book from IDEO, Extra-Spatial: Technology, People and Spaces. But more on that later.)
http://research.urbantapestries.net/bodystorming.html

Understanding contexts by being there: case studies in bodystorming – Antti Oulasvirta Æ Esko Kurvinen Æ Tomi Kankainen

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About

Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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