On 12th July 2016, we (Larissa Pschetz and I) organised the Design meets Synthetic Biology workshop, where we invited biologists, engineers, designers, artists and social scientists to design domestic artefacts through the lenses of synthetic biology, also considering issues of representation, access and perception of this emerging field.
I created two video clip from the individuals interviews we made of some of the participants during the workshop. We asked them to share their vision of the future synthetic biology, their hope and fears… The result gives an overview of the range of practitioners gravitating around the discipline. The long version (18m10s) is aimed to be used as an exhibition piece. The shorter version (6min14s), is to publicise the workshop, be shown during lectures and presentations.
This project aimed to track and visualise the movement of six players in the annual Uppies and Downies mass football game in Workington. One of the last remaining football games of its kind, the match is played throughout the town centre in an unpredictable game without rules. Using small GPS devices to track the movement of 6 players (only 5 recorded GPS data), the visualisations will reveal some aspects of the game and in particular the irregularity of the pitch.
The final project is composed of 3 different pieces. A printed ‘map’, a replica of the ball engraved with the tracks, and a video drawing the game dynamically with footage in the background. Each of the three pieces convey a different dimension of the game. The map, recalling survey maps, is intend to describe the ‘pitch’. It is a visualisation of the ‘objective data’.Moreover, it gives a reflection of the game from the players internal point of view thanks to the ‘hidden’ interview based text. The video gives an immersive and dynamic vision of the action. However it is also an outside point a view as it is filmed not by a player but a spectator. The ball represents the symbolic aspect of the game, perceived as the ‘Graal’ by the players.
This game could be described as a tactical, organized chaos. Everyone knows in which team everyone they are, even if there is no visual distinction; they have ‘secret’ tactics (like key words, touch codes…) to communicate. It is all about the group and how they are going to move together to get the ball on one or the other side of the town. Jen asked an interesting question regarding this during one of our discussions: how is moving together different to moving individually? The tools used were GPS watches and the result is individual tracks; they are ‘so much about the individual and often visualised as an individual trajectory’ (Jen’s words). What we wanted to convey and study with this work wasn’t the individual interpretation of GPS signals, but how they work in relation to each other. There is something quite unusual with this game as it is both about groups and individuals – as they all play for the same goal but at the end only one player can throw the ball and can keep it as memory of the victory.
Finally another interesting element of the game we talked about during the project was the evolution of the pitch in relation with the modification of the geography of the town and how it modified the game. Some fields are now a construction site, buildings have been demolished or constructed… And because the town, or even further (as there is no rule and no boundaries defined) can be used by the players with no limits. A parallel study of the evolution of the game and the geography of the town could be very interesting.
Here are the 3 elements of the final work. Soon the pictures of the exhibition itself.
I conducted a quick study on the job of Lifeguard. As previously said, I know this job particularly well as it was my student job for 8 years. In the mind of people, it is easy you just spend your days waiting. It is true for the last part, you wait a lot but it is not easy. Your body is in pause, but you have to fight to not put your mind in pause too, as you have to constantly be alert to detect if someone need help; the noise is also very tiring. Moreover, most of the interventions are preventives. It is like ‘Minority report’ you alert or even punish before something happen, trying to visualise what could happen in the future, preventing potential accident to happen.
As the Lifeguard do, should we all keep an eye, not on people swimming, but on the planet and prevent disaster ? Could we all become PLANETguard. The question is how to get people to watch and prevent the disaster ?
What I have done so far is ask my college in France to answer 10 open questions, like I would have done in an interview, but by sending a form it allow me for a first stage to get more answer from more people, with taking little of their time instead of 1 hour. I managed to get 5 answers. The results are in french and anonymous.
The questions are around the way they invigilate the swimming pool, how they manage to stay focussed, if they choose to prevent or wait for a problem to happen, and how they detect that something bad could happen. Finally I ask if they needed a tool or an invention to help them to do a better job. In the answers I had, they insist a lot on the prevention, someone even say that it is a bit like being a voyeur. Concentration comes with experience because you can detect problem before they arrive, they develop a 6th sense. One person told me that first she use prevention but if the person doesn’t care she wait for the problem to happen so the public take consciousness of the risk. To do the job well they recommend to move, be in action, fight agains monotony, and prevention is the key word. The would suggest camera under the water, give a better education to the people, and a good one is create bionics ears to detect calls for help.
From the answers, I should find something to educate / create a detector of danger / an alert system / a way to see under the planet, listen to it more carefully / foster mobility.