the BBB (Becoming Branded Brains) workshop was the dual impregnation of interaction design with fictional ideas and realistic scenarios. in a nutshell, we used design as a medium to explore conceptual and practical issues rising from recent developments in biotechnology, and the influence it might have on our everyday life.
to know more about the workshop's theme read the proposal..

we wanted to learn fast, digest fast, work fast and communicate fast.
we wanted to fuse different perceptions, experience and knowhow.
we wanted to see if we could think naturally on ideas that seem unnatural at first, if we can embed fiction and obscurity into an existing realm and more so, into existing material.


April 6th, a sunny Wednesday morning, the Israeli Design Center, Holon, Israel. Adi, Amir, Dana, Efrat, Gadi, Guy, Hanan, Meir, Nissan, Revital, Tair, Amnon, Stefano and Eyal. design professionals and students, a clinical psychologist, a computer scientist.

four teams of mixed expertise. two design assignments. an introduction, then (short brief+design work+4 minutes presentation) x 2. then discussion. tasty breaks in the middle. 10 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon.

 

intro

goals

task01: the booth

a few unpolished thoughts
for Adi_Nissan_Efrat, the BFP test takes place on the move, laterally, that is, in the elevator, that is.
utilizing an existing mechanism (lateral vehicle) and an existing need (to enter the mall, to get to a higher/lower floor) they turn the confined space of the elevator into an information temple, attaching value to the entire experience. want to take the stairs? by all means, do, only know that while walking, your eyes will feast on quitea few branded infopieces ..you choose.
intro

goals

task01: the booth

task02: the toy

another type of companionship is offered by the parrot conceived by Hanan_Amir_Dana. an interactive toy that sits on the child's shoulder, spotting (cameras, microphones) and identifies (any number of existing technologies) bits of information the child is lacking and passes it on to its adopter. the parrot is, in a very MacLuhanesque manner, an extension of the child's body and mind, alerting him, or rather teaching him, of the world around him, interacting with him playfully and emphatically.

a machine as a pet, a machine as a teacher, a machine as a mentor, a machine as a surrogate friend.

Guy_Gadi_Revital have come up with the "Acclair Kit":
a computer-based tool to get you adjusted to the BFP and all that it stands for, in the good old spirit of "if you can't beat them join them" routine. each Acclair member will have a personalized kit on his PC to help him interact with the system and get adjusted to its values, as well as for the system to study him better. we generally feel much safer at home, no reason why this feeling of ease and comfort would not contribute to constructing our selfhood, the acclaired self.

in Tair_Meir's world the very active, physical game of "catch and capture" becomes "Catch and picture the brand", as kids form two opposing teams, wearing brand tags on their necks (metaphorically enough), tag their opponents and capture them, with the ultimate intention of completing a family of brands.
(the picture below introduces brands of israeli snacks mostly, names like "TimeOut", "Egozzi", and the eternal "Kit Kat".

interesting how the cognitive, memory-based connection between brands and consumers can be reinforced in a bodily manner, through a basic and almost universal kids' game.

A few unpolished Thoughts

first thought. the workshop was a successful-yet-not-entirely-satisfying experiment. in the future, we need to have more of everything, especially time, to develop the ideas into platforms for thought and execution so that they could become meaningful projects.

second thought. Interaction Design methods (mixed people/mixed media/basic technology/hands on/narrative driven) are useful in developing futuristic yet feasible situations. such scenarios can be contemplated for days, but producing ID concepts help create the necessary heuristics, cutting down to the essential questions and challenges. i'm not saying it's the only way, just a useful one.

third thought. we can review the ideas featured here one by one. we will discover that for every enigma they solve there are at least a couple created. to me, therelies the magic. design, especially when utilized by a heterogeneous group, is a medium for provoking thought in an accessible, almost undisclosed, manner. as Dunne and Raby would have observed, we have dealt with the culture of consumption, not that of production. think about it.

fourth thought. so what next?? - up to all actors involved: organizers, participants, designers, financiers, the political system. the impact of a single event, even a series of such events is limited. to take advantage of a momentum and to create value for design the educational system, cultural domain and commercial markets, a linear (and then parallel) process should take place. it should begin with more, and better constructed workshops. then local collaborations which generate projects to be exhibited, communicated, sent to competitions, get sponsored, perhaps commercialized, and visa versa. you all know the drill. no short cuts. we are working on it. step by step.


Eyal.

 

kids collect stuff. kids cherish and value the stuff they collect. kids trade the stuff they collect with other kids, negotiating not only materialized merchandise but self esteem and social status.

Adi_Nissan_Efrat's kids collect symbols of brands in the form of garments. you get them, you aggregate them, you cut them, you put them on your hand for show. it is so extremely clear who's "the man" - the one with the most pieces, the one with the most valuable pieces.

the physical manifestation of the idea is simple and universal, the motivation is clear, so is the learning process..

Guy_Gadi_Revital used 3D modeling to represent a space, a place, where features of brand/s surround the children, literally, at all times. with meaningful visuals on the walls, the kids travel through the corridor with nothing but corporated stimuli and each other to keep them company.

by creating such a space, G, G & R are generating a complete and utter exposure to predetermined set of messages, effectively designing substitute parenting, as they argue.
Coke as the caressing mother, Nike as the cool sportive father?

TASK 02. imagine a kindergarten for BFP underachieving kids. they are 4-5 years old and very cute and smart in so many different ways, but their caring parents are concerned with their BFP performance and the impact it might have on their future.

we have to, absolutely have to, design a toy, game, or some kind of educational tool for these wonderful kids, something that might bring their BFP up. we asked the designers to think practical, think dark.
"high-techishism" is not an advantage unless justified.
we asked the designers to bring back an eco-scenario and the model (single/mixed media) that goes with it.

It's winter in Hamburg. the "Acclair ride", according to Meir_Tair, is car where the family rides in a Disney World of brands and interacts with the wonderful spectacle around it. riding the car is educational as much as it is cool and cool as much as it is efficient and time-saving.
a true experience for the entire family.

intro

goals

task02: the toy

a few unpolished thoughts

 

TASK 01. BFP tests have become part of the landscape of everyday life. you go to your local mall, you enter a booth, you take the test, your card is loaded with your credit points, you step outside and enter the Diesel store near by. a few moments well spent.

we asked the designers to design the booth (or is it a booth?) in the mall in which such activity will take place. we asked to consider the location, the form, the looks, the process. but mostly we asked them to depict the experience, to tell the story: is it private or public? individual or shared?
delightful? scary? magical? ordinary?

they had 75 minutes to bring back a model (single/mixed media), a scenario, and a presentation.

from plasticine, paper and a chair's bottom Hanan_Amir_Dana have built a lounge, a chillout zone in the midst of the hectic temple of consumerism. kids can safely play, parents can easily relax, unwind, read a magazine.. upon request a playful BFP mechanism comes down from above, and after the brief use disappears into the ceiling.
nothing to it, just another day at the mall.
Delightful Totalitarianism at its best.

 

BecomingBrandedBrains
An Interaction Design concept workshop
06/04/05, The Mediatheque, Holon, Israel

intro

goals

task01: the booth

task02: the toy

a few unpolished thoughts

 

 

               
(1) the Holon Mediatheque's inner yard. part of it, anyway (02) nine thirty in the morning. people are gathering (03) inside the "egg", the colorful conference room (04) we're a go. Adi, Efrat and Nissan conversing (05) so are Meir and Tair (06) Dana, Hanan, Amir and Half of Guy (07) Guy, Gadi and Revital (08) (09) down at the basement (10) (11) (12) a brandily car (13) (14) a chillout zone at the mall, made out of plasticene, paper, strings,
       and an old chair
(15) (16) "the file was there...it couldn't have...this is not happening (17) some elevator love from Adi and Nissan (18) Meir and Tair's "Match a Brand, Catch a Brand" game in preparation (19) (20) (21) (22) how does what work? (23) the parrot, of course. (24) (25) the parrot in its full splendor (26) (27)
(28) collecting pieces of consciousness via garments
(29) "Catch the Brand" game part one (30) (31) (32) part two (33) approaching the end. can you tell? Photos 17, 27-33 by Efrat Shaked