Posted on Tue 2 Aug 2016
We're going on a National Treasure Hunt, we're gonna catch a BIG one
The end of month one, the beginning of some ideas...
After the first week my head was full with ideas of who the people using my device would be, and what this would all mean. I suddenly had visions of the residents of Scunthorpe wandering the streets with flags, ear-phones and National Treasure Detectors (not actually a thing just made it up)...
But of course, I was still dead full of worry over what this tool kit might contain, and what these tools might be, and how the hell someone as analog as me was gonna be able to figure all this out....
This is what led me to the idea of 'assignements'. I'm super aware that it can't be me who picks out the national treasures for a town I barely know, but some set of instructions or guidelines that could tap into the imagination might be a great way for Scunthorpe locals to find these treasures. I also like the idea of using assignments because it's associated with structure and seriousness, but I'm using it as a way to find something poetic and abstract.
The tool required for this assignment is a flat pack, portable bedroom window. The window requires assembly in a place of the user's choosing.
Think of somewhere in Scunthorpe that you wish you could see outside your bedroom window everyday. This could be a place that you hang out at all the time, a place that's special to you, or just somewere where something really funny happened once. Set up the portable bedroom window in front of your chosen scene and take a photograph. send your photograph report with a written caption beneath.
I looked into a bunch of ideas for designs, firstly looking at curtains, window frames, blinds etc. Eventually, I was still dead set on living in my Japan dream world seeing as the whole concept of National Treasures as a response to decline in cultural heritage comes from there. I had a look at images of round, eternity windows in Japan and light screens in use instead of fabric curtains.
I'm super keen to create 3 tools in the treasure hunt tool kit - one for finding people, one for finding places, one for finding artefacts. I figure that old bedroom window idea up there would be cool for finding a place, so now it's to find something for the other 2. I've been thinking about things related directly to a 'search' or a 'hunt', and got thinking about a search light - but one that could incorporate tech in some way. I eventually came up with a search lantern - some kind of lantern come microphone that is fuelled by the power of voice, so when you interview someone with it the lantern lights up as if to signal that you've found treasure.
I was still pretty loose with design ideas, so I had a hive mind in the studio where a bunch of other residents helped me hash out my ideas:
The session was super helpful - and there was resounding feeling that, rather that wait until I have made the toolkit to visit Scunthorpe, I should go to Scunthorpe this month and talk about my existing ideas. It was suggested that I could run some workshops with residents over the theme of national treasures before the tool kit is ready. I think this could be really interesting - a storytelling workshop or exercises into the imagination with a focus on heritage and identity.
Since the hive mind I've been thinking more about the toolkit, and more about the sessions I could run. I am visiting Scunthorpe from the 18th - 22nd with the help of Hayley, a Scunthorpe artist who has already been great for putting my idea out there and rounding up the troops to join in. My aim from now until then is to work on a National Treasures guidebook with the Japan story and assignments, and a few tests and designs to discuss with the various groups during my visit.
I am envisioning some kind of sliding box with different compartments for each tool and a compartment for the guidebook:
TATA for now!!
Posted on Fri 15 Jul 2016
Reflections on my first week as a resident here