Projects 2008 > Happy Town > Journal
So what do we actually make or do then?
We've been gathering all of the information we can find, on happiness, on people in Bristol, on possible useful technologies, and we've even made some little demos along the way…like this twittering, fidgeting bird
Now, to use a phrase (from an old friend Mr T Ryan) we've got to "Pass the pineapple." It's an aussie phrase about no matter how painful it is, you've got to get it out! We've nailed two directions for developing our ideas - internally directed happiness practices and externally directed happiness through relationships. We've got a notion that it could be done through a special product rather than through the mobile phone -there are so many different phones in peoples hands and therefore highly unlikely we can get a common platform for what we'd like to do.
Here's us prototyping what something might do, and we're playing with sellotape, elastic bands, and tags…thanks to Processing for the opening up of making things work with each other.
What we have decided is that it will be something that is more of a Slow technology - like the Slow food and Slow cities movements - something that is life affirming and actually adds some value to what people already do, and does nothing to embarass them or make them want to hide. We had many tales about either developing Facebook fatigue or being Facebarassed by colleagues and stalkers. We'd like to take a different position, we'd like this to be:
We're writing this as the start of a slow technology manifesto. We're not the first people to talk about these issues - have a look at this interview with Adam Greenfield who is making clear points about the use of ubiquitous computing. Others have different takes on what a slow technology might mean - even really slow acting things. It makes sense of where we've been in the past and how we think now.
Our next steps are to explore the design further from the point of view of relationships and abstracting what gets seen by others, and what meanings are made visible in the interactions. The other is to look at locations and places and see if there is something there to work on too. We've discarded so much - like the map ideas we originally had. We had trouble really identifying who would want a map view of happiness (maybe the council might), so we abandoned that direction.
Happy towns may end up being the effect of the thing we come up with, rather than the cause of it. Making a town happy is a tall order. Maybe just helping a few people to be happy is fine?