Graduate studio (thesis)
Phone call, post its, marker
Graduate Media Design Practices Studio (Pasadena, CA)
To make something out of the (messy) intersection of design, architecture, play, skating, skaters, museums, museum guards, and power plays, I made a tool that would help me generate potential projects as a way to just test things out: because sometimes you hit a point where you are just so stuck, that you need to unravel to move forward.
After playing this game, I would say it is a good method to get out of a creative rut, and discover through-lines that were previously untouched. I would recommend it to my future self when I am in situations where I need to pivot. The outcome of the activities (the 50 design briefs) need some lifting to become refined into actual research questions, but does definitely provide some interesting and crazy conceptual directions.
Adapted from a chat with Sevan Gatsby.
How it works:
1. First, take about 10 minutes to write down as many relevant problems (research questions) that you have right now. Or problems that you care about and want to advance in some shape or manner. Then, do the same to write down as many relevant facts (observations or insights) from your current research. These are essentially things that you have learned and would want to develop further.
2. Randomly pick one problem (P) and fact (F) and juxtapose it. For instance:
There is not a lot of opportunity for play in museums. (P)
Security cameras have blind spots. (F)
Together, these two elements constitute a potential design brief, or hints for potential design projects.
3. Go through steps 1-2 until you have 50 of these.
4. Work a bit more on the briefs so that they become useable. For instance:
How can blind spots of security cameras become an opportunity for play in museums? What are other blind spots that exist in the museum and can they be activated as well? (refined brief)
5. Do this process with all of the 50 briefs but do so as you identify the ones that seem most relevant, conceptually new, or provocative. Some of them you will find impossible to refine so you can skip these. (For instance, in my list of 50, you can see I skipped developing #4)
6. Analyze and choose the ones to move forward with. Sometimes you will move forward with none in particular but the process might have given you new through-lines or questions.