At the Prince Street R-Train stop and finding some tiles that remind me of what I’ll look like in the near future carrying my dinner table around the city.
Today in class we had desk crits. Like an exhibition style where half the class shows there work and the other half plays. Katherine also invites one critic from school to come around and talk to everyone about our work. That person today was Ted Byfield. Here is a list of feed back I got from class today:
- Transcribe the recorded dinner conversations. Have each dinner become a book or piece of printed material that stays with the table.
- Low table–representing Japanese culture more. Make the cushions and screen print designs onto the fabrics.
- Web Presence: Have the survey be online for friends to fill out prior to the dinner. start branding the project.
- The table is an Identity, there are sections for everything and everything has a purpose.
- sounds, soundscape of the dinner
- Handles for the sides/different ways to transport.
- Make the food? Personal thing for friends, more meaning to the project
- Make an accordion booklet/sketch book that stays with the project for each dinner. Past (my history, history of project); Present (what they write, the participants); Future (how it went, reflection…)
- Modules or sections so the table can be either high or low, or be longer for more people?
- Dovetail tutorial online to put the pieces together.
- The table is my identity.
Feedback from Ted:
- The dynamics of the conversation depend on the number of people. How many people do you want to have?
- Think big, but how big? how many is too many? how many people do you want to have here at once?
- Are there more possibilities with more people?
- Maybe it changes based on the environment?
- Is this an Urban Intervention? A new style to approach design?
- How do we define this device? (It is an art piece)
- Affordance, enables you to do something
- Is this design with a social orientation? enables groups and becomes open source?
With the feedback from my classmates and also from Ted I have some new things to think about. Mainly how to position my project and talk about it to other people so I explain it as an art piece and the table itself being an intimate object that I share with myself and friends. I also think that I will further the idea of making it made for different numbers of people. Also looking in to lowering the table to bring another level of intimacy and culture into it.
More things to think about…
Over winter break I went back home to Maui and it was the perfect opportunity to share my thesis with my friends. Throughout the semester I was able to think about and have informal dinners with friends in New York, but I really wanted to have a dinner with those people who have been in my life for a long time.
These friends in the video have been a part of my life since I was age 10. They were the first friends I made when I moved to a middle school that was outside of my district and they have remained and became some of the best friends I have ever had.
As we all moved away for college, and now are all on different post graduate paths, we rarely have a chance to get together. The holidays brought us all home, and my thesis brought us all together.
The planning for this started before I got home. My friend Marisa first initiated a get together since we would be home for the holidays. I thought, what a perfect opportunity to also experiment for my thesis. Enlisting the help of my friend Ali to host a dinner party at her house, we made a plan to not tell anyone this was also for my project.
As part of my past, I also brought the table to dinner. I took our kitchen table from home and had another friend haul it over up to our dinner site. This was the table we used at our home for over 30 years, so I couldn’t imagine not having this dinner on that table as well. I extended the leaves to its largest configuration (something we rarely do at home), to accommodate the large group.
I enforced the rule of no phones at the table by having everyone put it in a box. The uninterrupted time together was probably one of the most enjoyable times I had with them in a long time. Although we have not seen each other in a long time, when we get together, it’s like we were never separated.
It was interesting to see different people’s reactions to having a cellphone-free dinner. Some people were down for it, and others questioned, but everyone participated. They were great sports and overall the dinner was fun. I didn’t think about not having my phone with me, but rather focused on the people at the table. Without a phone in my pocket, there was no temptation to pick it up and look at it.
At the end of the night, everyone got their phone back after they filled out a short survey for me about their experience. They wrote on the placemats that I placed on the table. I also gave my friends a pre-addressed and stamped envelope with a card in it. This was for them to take with them as a reminder of our dinner, and as a favor to me. I asked them to do this again with other friends, or maybe even one another, and write to me about their experience. This is one way they can help me share this family dinner ritual with others.
Overall, I was very pleased with this intervention. What started off as a gathering of friends who have been away for a while, turned into a memory that we will all share for a lifetime. Not just because I have all the documentation to prove it, but because the stories, moments, and conversation shared around the table will have an unforgettable memory.
The model is slowly starting to look like what I imagine it will be in half-sized form! Both ends open up like a drop leaf table. I am starting to like it and seeing the potential for other sections on the inside.
I also had a talk to Claudia today. Professor of another class I have but also a DT alum. I just wanted to get another perspective on my direction. She brought up some good comments. Like… How will I exhibit this? How to document the dinners? Is it all about the conversations and if so, how can they be replayed in the exhibition setting? Is it a constant replay of the recordings? How do we determine what gets eaten and are there other ways to preserve the “artifacts” from dinner besides just the sound and video? Or will that just get dirty and gross?
Overall, a good list of things to think about. As I prep for desk crits tomorrow, there will definitely be more to discuss and reconsider.
I found this project by way of a friend. “Sharing Dinner” was done in 2005, by artist Marije Vogelzang. Her idea brought together many people at one large table. It became a complete experience. The artist beautifully describes the concept on her site. What is especially interesting was how the guests were giving different portions of food, so they were intended to share their meal with the person across of them. They were also connected by one giant hanging table cloth, so they were all one, in the experience they had with each other.
This is a beautiful and thoughtful project. I would have loved to be a guest.
Thesis is ending in the next coming months, and here is the road map I’m taking to get it done.
This week was my first week back at school and I figured a few things out for thesis:
1. Create a scale model of the mobile dinner table.
2. Have a pre-dinner survey.
3. Thesis paper will be written in a series of books: Past, Present, and Future.
4. Videos take longer than you think to edit.
5. In a few short months, this year long project will be coming to an end. Seems so quick!