Who Doesn’t Know Kevin Bacon?

Recently when at the cinema to see the new Bond film “Skyfall”, I was surprised when this advert came on representing the new EE ad. Last Year for our Change By Design module we were asked to read “The Tipping Point”. In the Tipping point Malcolm Gladwell explains how everything is connected by 6 degrees. For this example he uses the actor Kevin Bacon.

In the advert Kevin Bacon uses Gladwell’s theory using himself to connect to a dog called Rover! He explains how he is connected to the dog through a long string of actors and tv shows which I thought was quite funny. When this advert came on I was a little more excited than what I should have been, but so glad I knew exactly what he was talking about and had a little smug smile to myself!

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Assignment 4 – Interviews But Not As We Know Them

From previous investigations into people’s mannerism and behaviour we are now looking into different forms of talking to the public via interview. For assignment 4 we were given a range of questions to pick from, the question we chose would then be used on the public. I decided to choose,

What object do people treasure the most? Why?

This topic relates to a talk we were given today by Maria Maclennan who is currently doing her PhD in forensic jewellery. Maria explained she has been researching different ways that jewellery could help identify people in both natural disasters and forensic crimes. With many case studies touched upon, the connection between jewellery and identifying a victim of a fatal crime were close linked. Would this make jewellery and important object? With establishing existing forms of identity such as DNA, dental records and fingerprints, jewellery can also withstand environmental factors and still be unique to one particular person. With the growing trend for a hollywood smile people identities are becoming inhibited i.e. dental records, compared to significant jewellery that could be recognised instantly by a loved one. I found this idea very interesting and eye-opening. She then explained how jewellery can be linked to a geographic place and time with the hallmarks or engravings, showing locations or movements of a person. There are however some flaws, for example a natural disaster can cause the wearer to be separated from their jewellery. This was given as an example of a victim’s family from 9/11. Most bodies were not recoverable however some items such as glasses, medals, watches and other withstanding objects managed to survive and provide comfort for the families. Maria explained she had conducted research related to the DVI form that must be filled out when a body is being identified by the victims families. She revealed how some questions were of a sensitive disposition and looked into SAI (self-administered interviews). These are forms that can be filed out by witnesses or people with important information themselves. She described, once a person is asked to remember the context of an incident they are more likely to remember in more detail the events that took place and minor details that occurred.

This talk was a start to my investigation on what objects people consider important to them. Whether it be of physical or sentimental significance.

and back to assignment 4…

I made a quick mind map technique that I learned previously from semester 1. I tried to think of emotion provoked by the objects itself, whether the item brings back old or new memories. Memories of a time or place or even event?  Is it an essential object, i.e. a car which helps people get from A-B or a mobile used to connect people? Is it a family air lump or does it have some historical reference? Was it a gift from a loved one or does it represent something e.g, a wedding ring. I tried to consider all of these aspects.

Now it was time to find people to interview, I had to decided in advanced how I wanted these interview to be conducted. There are many service tools that could be used for this task. We were introduced to the idea of drawing a story board with touch points in which the person being interviewed would draw and image representing their experience. They would show the different points of the procedure based on their memory of that process. To show where the service is going wrong the person is also asked how they felt at each specific point, this eliminated good practise and pinpoints service that needs altered.

Another tool I considered was creating a persona. We were given a chance to practise this idea at a workshop with Lauren Currie who is a service designer. You had to create a personality which related to your product, from their favourite shop to holiday destinations. Once everyone had revealed their persona in groups the variation of results were funny and interesting. Mini people had been created, this helped when developing an idea to improve a service as you have to appeal to a range of different people.

I decided to allow the person I interviewed to write their object to help engage them into conversation, I would then write-up myself what other details I could find out throughout the short interview and try to connect them. I thought it would be quite difficult at first, but once I got started i was surprised the amount of information people would give me in such few sentences. I also tried asking the question on my Facebook account to generate some replies aswell.

I decided to conduct my interviews as,

“Semi-structured – these follow a plan but you can deviate to follow-up interesting comments in more detail. You may have questions written down as prompts or general topic areas”

I wanted to be able to dismiss irrelevant information and be able to delve into more interesting and informative topics.

1. Male/21. When I asked the first question “What object do people treasure the most? Why?”

 Without a hesitation he replied, “A family photo most definitely”. When I asked  why his answer was so definite and had he been asked the question before? He then told me that he was in the army and had been to Afghanistan. This revelation allowed me an insight into why he choose this specific object. It obviously had a huge sentimental value for him and was seen as the most valuable possession, this he must realise as personal objects are sparse when in the army. He then told me he carried it everywhere with him during his time in Afghanistan. I felt this response was very personal and intimate, this object was of personal and sentimental value. When I asked him what the photo was of he told me “It was a photo taken during a holiday”. This would have been a fond memory, one valuable enough to be picked from many others, a memory of a specific time or place where he would remember his family together and happy.

2. Female/ 19.”What object do people treasure the most? Why?” 

She told me “The song reminded me of my parents when I was younger. (the lighthouse family was a big band in the 90’s, I was a fan). My mum and dad used to play it when they had people coming over, it reminds me of them socializing with their friends and having a good time.” Music is a good source for memories and reminiscing, a particular song can take you back to a specific place and time in your life. I have a few songs that rekindle particular memories related to certain events, I can be taken back to remember such details as what my bedroom was decorated like to waiting at the train station for the train to college. I could relate to this choice. She also told me about a photo frame which was a physical object, she was given it as a gift when her grand parents moved. She was able to describe the cherubs on the frame and even the order of photos. “It had a photo of me on top with individual photos of my mum and dad underneath”

3. Female/ 20 “What object do people treasure the most? Why?” 

When I asked another female her opinion she said “My phone, I can’t live without it”. Most people have this connection with their phones with the amount of information about themselves stored in it. It can be seen as a form of identity, everyone has one and they  all contain information essential to us. When I asked “Is there any specific reason to why you choose your phone?” she then replied “I’m from Ireland and I realise how much I need my phone when I moved here, I need it to keep in contact with my family back home”. This object can be seen as a necessity, a lifeline to her family. The meaning of her phone means more to her than say, someone who lives native to Dundee if they lost or broke it.

All of my results were varied although they did have similar connections, all the objects were related to a sentimental and happy memory. A memory that is specific to each individual person but could re-create another memory for another. Once asked about these objects I was able to be given a minor glimpse into that person’s personality, what kind of things they thought were important, their values and interests.

I recently read an article on BBC news “What is nostalgia good for?”. researching more into why people keep old possessions or memories the article states that nostalgia sells and that people like remember a fond memory every now and again to make their lives seem meaningful. This related to my results, each persons object inked directly to a unique memory they had stored.

“”Nostalgia is a way for us to tap into the past experiences that we have that are quite meaningful – to remind us that our lives are worthwhile, that we are people of value, that we have good relationships, that we are happy and that life has some sense of purpose or meaning.”

When I discussed my results with my co-designers,

What object do people treasure the most? Why?” 

This question was asked to another group of people, we discussed our answers as I had also used the same question. This should be interesting. It was shown that many people referred to their iPod as their most precious item. This reinforces the nostalgia that music can create. With an iPod you are spoiled for choice to which memory you want to be refered back to. Or you could put it on shuffle and surprise yourself on a long train journey. Music can have a great impact on memory if people can relate to it, this reminds me of that time… I remember we sang this… I remember this was on when…

Each persons object is extremely personal and I feel grateful that I was allowed to hear some stories that made me smile.

Friday Lecture

Todays lecture was about the culture of design. The idea that design is not an object but infact people themselves. For example a phone is a design tool which connects people but it is the communication between caller A to caller B that is important. The phone is the facilitator, this helps me reminisce to my very first phone, a Nokia 32-10 all my friends had the 33-10 so already i was lagging behind on the style front. There were no applications on this mobile, i was lucky if it even had the famed pixalated game “snake”.

Since upgrading my phone over the years I now have an iPhone 3G. I have loads of applications, some which I use almost daily, like my dictionary (yes I am one of those people) to a language translator for when I want to show off to friends. I have found that I barely use my phone for well, phoning people. This was discussed in the lecture that objects can change their meaning over time, there was a time where I didn’t have a zombie booth or doodle jump on my phone an I somehow managed  to survive. I was also surprised to notice my irritation when my wi-fi doesn’t connect, I seem to be so used to fast technology that I get annoyed when my internet speed isn’t fast enough. Has progressive design turned me into this monster? I remember my first computer, I would turn it on half an hour in advanced to give it time to load. Now a days I have no patience at all now that I have been accustomed to the new fast paced way of modern communication. This agrees with the point brought up in the lecture that, objects lose their sense of importance when you become used to them.

Once  a products consumer life-cycle had peaked it, it needs revived and improved to help target these everyday annoyances that the modern consumer face. The iPad and iPhone for example, it wasn’t until i was settling down with my new 3G that I noticed a new iPhone 4 had come out. To my anger this new phone had a flash, a device which mine lacked. This was brought to my attention when my friend saw my iPhone for the first time, intrigued he inspected it with a critics eye. All I seemed to hear for the first five minutes were “ohs”,”uh huh” and “hmms”. Once his thorough check was completed, he shook his head and pointed to the camera and smugly stated “And the downfall of the iPhone”.

Adamant that I would not be pressured into this vicious cycle of upgrading I decided to take a stand, only to learn that my mother had purchased the brand new iPad. Better than the previous one because the pictures were more clear or something? Sure. Swiftly followed by my brother who flaunted his new iPhone 4s, the up-grades of this you ask? The “Siri” app (the voice has a name) something to do with talking to your phone and it replying back to you without any form of text needed, this I feel is slightly creepy. I got the last laugh when he eventually realised that no, Siri can’t understand his glaswegian accent. Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges caught on to this and added it to his stand up show.

We learned that:

Design is not the story

Design writes the story

Design changes the story

Design tells the story

Design is not the limit. It’s the start.

Full house! Assignment 3

Last night myself and my fellow textilers Errin Miller and Laura Speirs decided to head to Dundee Mecca bingo to people watch for our assignment 3. We signed up as members and headed through to the main hall passing an abundance of slot and cash converter machines, I have never been to bingo before but already I could feel the pressure to gamble in as many forms as possible.

  

The main hall was a huge flat arena like space occupied with tables of four. The room seemed mildly populated with players scattered around. There were many older players but I was surprised to see some couples and young groups of friends also participating. The carpets were scarlet red with crazy patterns which contrasted with the blue polka dot chairs, the whole room seemed to clash with flashing lights from the slot machines and sound of coins dropping. Once the first game began it was clear that the regulars could be seen from the first timers. The staff situated around the room peered over to our table every so often, we must have looked as confused as we felt. I saw a few older women with 5 cards at a time, the room was silent apart from the rapid dabs from the bingo pens. There was no talking or laughing, this was considered serious. The pace was fast and trying to keep up at first was a struggle, i forgot a few times that i was infact here to watch people not my numbers. The room would be silent until “House!” was shouted, this would be followed by a few murmurs of bad losers. The overall atmosphere in the hall seemed very serious and somewhat sombre, there seemed to be an etiquette that conversation could only be conducted when the game was completely over. People remained generally quiet even when the staff were checking tickets, preparing for the next round.

The positioning of the players within the hall reminded me of a bingo card itself, people were dotted about at random with one person at a 4 man seat with their bingo tickets spread out ready and waiting. It didn’t take me long to get into the swing of things, after the 3rd game i started to get the hang of it, missing out less numbers than i had before.

 

Once i started to play i got into it, i felt excited and a surge of adrenaline once i realised i nearly had a few in a row! I was gradually getting used to the pace of things and my brain was alert cross scanning for the right digits. If i was slow on finding a number i started to feel anxious, would i be able to keep up?! Once the break commenced a surge of players left the room and headed home or returning players went to the bar. Once the second game started i noticed a dramatic decrease in numbers, it was 9:30, it seemed that the main older audience had headed home proving bingo was at its busiest between dinner time and and 9. With the break giving me time to watch the players i couldn’t help but notice the advertising within the bingo, there were loads of promotions about certain £1 nights, this sort of advertising was introduced to us when we signed up. We were given a welcome pack which included a free game for you and a friend if you returned within the next month.

I looked around an wondered, do some people come here every night? Do they plan their whole evenings around bingo? I was asking myself these questions as I learned in “Snoop” that you can create a who profile of someone from viewing their body language and watch how they interact with others. By people watching you can get a glimpse into a strangers personality, “an individuals unique pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving that is consistent over time”. From a short space of time I managed to watch one older lady. She was sitting by herself and had 3 cards spread across her table, she had a zimmer frame with her. She was organised, her drink was placed beside her cards but not as to shield them when the frantic game began. Was this event to bingo a regular occurrence for her? I concluded it was, she was fast at the game and had her own pen. We had been given a free pen when we first came in, she was a regular. she seemed to know where the numbers were, she had good concentration, perhaps she reads a lot? She won a good few times and held up her card immediately for the routine check, she had won before. All of these little factors of this womans body language slowly priced together a mini puzzle of what her personality could be like.

The game was back on and a drum roll introduced the beginning of the new numbers, this seemed to make it more exciting or maybe it was just our enthusiastic dancing. I haven’t had this much fun until Errin compared this excitement to the legendary Beetle Drives at primary school. You would be asked to throw a dice and each number represented part of the beetle e.g. 1 would be the body, you couldn’t start without a body. You would usually have been placed against and elderly person but age just became a number once peoples competitive streaks shone through!

Everything about the bingo seemed so organised, the games were played at specific times, it wasn’t until we were about the walk through the doorway to the hall that the woman who sold us our tickets told us what order we would be playing in, most people knew from experience. The experiment of visiting the bingo related to what we have been learning about how new environments can make you feel, if you feel welcome and how you react. It is much easier to clock onto what is going on around you if it is a foreign place in which you have never been. Im sure if you asked a regular at bingo what it was like they wouldn’t be able to describe in as much detail as a person with a fresh set of eyes. On my last sheet I managed to get two full rows! I looked at Errin and Laura scared to shout out, to me shouting out draws attention to yourself in a bad way, I wasn’t used to this! I quietly shouted “House” the game continued, stuttering again I shouted a little louder. An older woman across from me replied, “You were too late”. The game paused for a moment and the caller questioned if there was a winner, mortified I raised my hand only to be told that I had stopped the game for a “too late” ticket.

This incident reminded me of a Section I read beforehand from “Understanding Bourdieu”. I also related to Bourdieu’s theory in my recent post about the zoo. In the chapter about the field of cultural production, understanding art is discussed. It then states, “Middle-class people were far more confident than working class people about approach in cultural products and cultural institutions. Bourdieu’s argument was that because they had acquired conceptual skills and social confidence from their families and this middle class schools, rather than because they were born mysteriously possessed with a “natural” love of art.” Basically is this explaining that confidence and traits are learn through experience from both yourself an others? The woman who told me i was too late then went on to win the game herself. She wasn’t a higher class than me, no, but she did have more experience in the game of bingo and she knew the rules. If i had been a bingo pro surely I would have jumped up and shouted from the roof tops, but I wasn’t, the experience was new to me hence my delayed reaction. I didn’t know most of the rules or what even to shout out, what ever happened to shouting out “Bingo” in bingo by the way?

This assignment has helped me use the skills i learned is assignment 1 about snooping and relating them to reasons of why people act the way they do. People can become creatures of habit and see nothing unusuall about their actions or behaviour, it was very interesting to get an insight into something I had never done before.

Friday Workshop : Sub-Culture

On our Friday work shop (2/3/12) we were learning about the different range of consumers and how a product you create could be pitched to a certain consumer. A subculture is a distinct social group that defines itself within a wider culture with both trends and political views. A style tribe is very similar to sub-culture as but only in a fashion sense is the group connected. Five key points that are considered are: identity does the person placed in this distinct group accept their label? Does it come naturally to them, are they a “native informant”. Style – Is the style worn similar to others in the social group, are there certain colours/fabrics that are worn? Commitment – Do these people dress like this everyday or just weekends? Autonomy – Is this way of dressing accepted within the grater public or considered strange? Distinctiveness – Is the style of the group recognisable and linked to that specific group?

There are many style tribes as people have been experimenting and pushing boundaries on fashion throughout the years. Some examples are: The New Romantics which began around 1979 and peaked in the 1981, this style consisted of ruffled shirts and heavy eyeliner and lipstick on both men and women.

Steampunks, it has a certain theme of science fiction merged with historical references which emerged in the 1980’s early 1990’s, this style combines both corsets and goggles. The look is industrial but soft with feminine blouses contrasting with leather corsets. The looks is futuristic and had an element of fantasy.

Deathrockers emerged in the 1970’s and had traces of gothic themes, their dress is made up of black leather and black clothing. Mohicans and platforms boots are also part of their decor.

Hippys are also another example of a style tribe. Hippys emerged in the 1950’s-1960’s. Their clothing is earthy and organic, dreadlocks are commonly associated with them.

With most of these style tribes there is a connection to what people would perceive just from the way they dress. For example a persons taste on music, culture and ethics could be judged from their outward appearance. It is very common and only human to make pre judgements. When people place themselves into style tribes they take on these other pre conceived ideas that are associated with their chosen niche.

We were then given the challenge to appeal to a certain style tribe of our own, whether it be an already existing group or a new one. We had to create a mini mood board with images that would relate to our target consumer. Our images had to be related and reveal what type of people we would want to make our target buyers. When selling a brand this is essential as you must appeal to a range of people in order to be successful. I decided to aim my products at “The girl next door” tribe. For this group I collected images which I thought were appropriate to this genre. From an image of pop newby Lana Del Ray to “This Mornings” presenter  Holly Willoughby. I felt these women had a fresh feminine and floaty look. Their sense of style if very girly and frilly which appeals to me on a personal level, I felt I was able to relate to this style as I admire it myself. The colour palette for my style is pastels and creams with the clothing presented neatly with clean lines. We were asked questions on our worksheet from what would your buyers interests be to which celebrities represent your style well. Here are some images from my mood board below.

Celebrities my girly girl glam style would relate to,

  

Room Raiders – Assignment 1

The first workshop for 21st Century designer was related to the book we had been asked to read “Snoop“. Continuing with the theme of generating an idea of a person by “snooping” through their stuff we were asked to do some detective work ourselves. Over the christmas period we had to collect old photographs/ photos of our bedrooms or childhood photos. We were then placed in teams and asked to analyse other peoples images. We took notes on each persons photos to gather a sense of what they were like, with some guess work we were even able to match rooms to a particular person. The results were quite accurate when we met the other team, I found myself trying to pin point if my inklings were correct by looking at the other group. I tried to mentallly match people to the photographs I had just seen. I thought the task was very interesting and fun, I was however quite nervous about what my room would reveal about me to other people.  With permission, here are the rooms we had to investigate.

We described the rooms in quick key points

Photos 1

Modern, french bed, white room, female, some pink, punky edge, rock poster, butterfly light, My Chemical Romance, teenage room, teddies. keyboard in corner – musical, items on top show it may not be regularly used?

tv not in actual bedroom – not facing bed, modern desk and matching chair, tidy, art papers on the floor, fairy poster, fantasy element, wine on top – age range 18+, home

Photos 2

modern, organised, tidy, pengiun, artistic, folio, white sheets – clean person, hair irons, female, student accomodation

pink, girly,ornate, flower fairylights, organised, perfumes and deoderants, likes to smell nice? loves penguins, mirrors – takes care in apperance

Photos 3

grafitti, spray paint, florecent colours, pink, female, slightly tom boy, maniquin, photos, sociable, sentimental, storage- organised, irish flag, family photos

very femminine, audrey hepburn poster, pink, girly, vogue, fashion aware, tidy, beauty products, pride in apperance

Photos 4

social, cluttered, genuiune – food plate and mug not tidied for photo, out a lot, vodka 18+,  female, photos

white room, plain, bed unmade, flora duvet, shelfs full, laundry pile, chair covered  with clothes

photos 5

These photos were quite difficult as the location changed and they are of when this person is younger

family orientated, active – karate, sun loungers in background, hot weather, on holiday, lived abroad?

maybe lived on a farm, visited one? likes the outdoors, close to dad/male figure

photos 6

very big family, foreign, very organised, smalll space, loads of books, child thrown party, old photo?

very cluttered, vhs – back in time, loads of storage, ornaments in cabinet, childrens room, old computer, decoration

When we met up with the other team (team 6) we told them our suspicions and they were surprised. Some of our questions were answered and it caused the photographs to make more sense. For example the girl in photos 1, when we asked why her telveion wasnt facing her bed? (this was strange to us) she said if the cable was long enough it would be, we thought she might not watch tv all that much. When we asked the person from “photos 5” if they traveled a lot because her photos all seemed to be taken in sunny places, she then told us she grew up in Greece. Although our genaral assumptions did hold some true references some didnt and were easily explained proving we might get some ideas wrong.

When getting feedback about my own room, team 6 told me my room was very tidy (this I agree with, I am known as the housekeeper in my flat). They knew it was a girl from the make-up and jewellery, and general decoration. One girl knew it was specifically my room due to my photographs of my 4 dogs on my wall. I must talk about my dogs a lot! They were surprised by my electric guitar in the corner, im currently taking lessons and the bottle of vodka on my desk, I happened to be going out that night when the photo was taken, the vodka is not a regualr occurance! The inspection of my room wasnt as bad as I though it was going to be, it was strange allowing strangers see a glimpse into your personal space but I thought overall the task was interesting by showing you how other people lived.

 

The Personality Test

For our thursday lectures we have been asked to read “Snoop” by Sam Gosling. The book discusses how your personality can be shown through your objects, materials and daily possessions. Looking around someones bedroom, office or personal space may give more information about that person than a 10 minute face to face chat. The author explains how some material objects on display can reveal snippets about a persons morals to political views. Our everyday “stuff” can give out lots of information about us without us even realising it. The book talks about “The big 5 personality test”. You can do it online I decided to take this test to see if it was an accurate representation of what I think my personality may be, good or bad here are my results…

What aspects of personality does this tell me about?

There has been much research on how people describe others, and five major dimensions of human personality have been found. They are often referred to as the OCEAN model of personality, because of the acronym from the names of the five dimensions.

Openness to Experience/Intellect

High scorers tend to be original, creative, curious, complex; Low scorers tend to be conventional, down to earth, narrow interests, uncreative.

You enjoy having novel experiences and seeing things in new ways.

(Your percentile: 84)

Conscientiousness

High scorers tend to be reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful; Low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable and negligent.

You are well-organized, and are reliable.

(Your percentile: 64)

Extraversion

High scorers tend to be sociable, friendly, fun-loving, talkative; Low scorers tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet.

You are relatively social and enjoy the company of others.

(Your percentile: 79)

Agreeableness

High scorers tend to be good-natured, sympathetic, forgiving, courteous; Low scorers tend to be critical, rude, harsh, callous.

You find it easy to express irritation with others.

(Your percentile: 32)

Neuroticism

High scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; Low scorers tend to be calm, relaxed, secure, hardy.

You are a generally anxious person and tend to worry about things.

(Your percentile: 84)