Interviews: Melanie Crean and Mom

We had interviews due today for Writing and Research.

A couple weeks ago I had a chat with Melanie Crean, another professor at Parsons in MFADT.  I call this an informal interview because at the time, I just saw it as bouncing ideas off a new perspective. I didn’t record the convo or prepare many questions.

My other interview was with my mom, Ann. At this point, I have reflected and looking at my own experiences and feelings about family dinner and technology at the table, but no one else. It helped to talk to my mom because usually, we wouldn’t really bring this stuff up on a day-to-day basis.

Project Titles

Although I haven’t nailed down my project ideas, we are still working on project titles. My thesis project for my undergrad degree in Visual Arts was called “Please Remove Your Shoes.” Unlike here on the mainland, in Hawaii, you remove your shoes before entering a home. This project had a lot to do with coming into my “home” that I recreated in a gallery space. This exhibition was also centered around a dining table that I created because it was the space where conversations were held and I learned a lot about my family culture.

This project is a little different because it focuses more on the table, and dinner conversation. I think it is also more related to the relationships formed between the people at the table. For me, it may be the relationship between my mom. At the table, we played by her rules.

I am going to start by listing some (obvious and not very good) thoughts:

  • Dinner Conversations
  • Time for Dinner
  • Dinner Time
  • Five by four (Five people, four sides to the table)
  • FamilyTime (like FaceTime, but not just digitally? bringing back the tech into the idea?)
  • No TV at the table (?)
  • Table Talk
  • Family First
  • Together (To…Get..Her)…yeah that’s useless
  • The Space Within
  • ….still thinking

I like “Talk to me” so its too bad that it was the title for that MoMA exhibit. Shucks!

Interview with Dr. Paul Levinson

On Monday, I went up to Fordham University to have an interview with Dr. Paul Levinson, professor in the Communication and Media Studies program. I first found him through the book Real Space: The fate of physical presence in the digital age, on and off the planet.   I became interested with his thoughts in chapter four where he discusses how we now live in a world with technology that interrupts or lives in our “real space.” (He even discussed how it interrupts dinner conversations.)

From our conversation, I discovered that Dr. Levinson thinks technology is amazing. The new media we have is very exciting, but it is also each persons responsibility to find a balance between their use of technology. We can’t tell people how to use their smart phones or computers, but they will learn from behavior and reactions from peers and others. It is an evolutionary process, just as we learned to live with older media like the radio or telephone.

Dr. Levinson pointed out that technology does amazing things. From amateur YouTube videos becoming famous to self-published authors on the Kindle, we are able to reach large audiences with the help of the advances in social media. For example, if I discovered Dr. Levinson’s book back in the 1970’s, and I had a questions about his work, the best I could do is send him a letter. It would take weeks to get to him and even longer for me to get a response. With e-mail I was able to send him a message instantly and receive a response. This is the immediacy that technology provides us and a perfect example of how we use it for our benefit.

Below you will find a document of questions I used as a guideline, important sections of our conversation, and important take-aways.

Interview Dr. Paul Levinson

Thesis Writing: Jessica’s Current Concept

For our  Thesis Writing  assignment this week , we interviewed a classmate and rewrote their current thesis concept. I got to work with Jessica. Her idea stems from her current long distance relationship.  I wanted to share this on my personal site because of the process she went through in formulating her idea. The idea  stems from a personal experience, but also relates to a problem that many people go through. With apps out there like Pairthe solution seems there already, but Jessica is looking at a different space. It’s not just the communication, but it is also the cooperation and sharing of feelings between one another. Below is what I wrote so far, followed by some design questions.

Writing someone else’s thoughts was a nice step back from constantly thinking of my own ideas. Everyone has their own process and inspiration.

Imagine being in a relationship with someone, but not in the same place. The struggle of communicating, not knowing your partner’s feelings, and daily habits will soon create a disconnect between one another. Many people deal with long distance relationships. Jessica’s current  idea stems from personal experience of being in this exact situation.

Living in New York, she struggles with keeping in touch with her boyfriend in Taiwan. This summer, Jessica went back home to Taiwan to visit her boyfriend. They have been together for years and maintained a relationship while she has been away, but she still felt she has missed a lot of events from his daily life.

Time is another issue that Jessica wants to think about in her project. The time difference between Taiwan and New York makes it hard for Jessica and her boyfriend to communicate. Bedtime her for is  the morning for him and while she may want to talk before bed, he needs to rush out to get to work.  Their schedules do not align well so she wants to create something they can share, regardless of time or distance.

Jessica wants to create a mobile application for distant partners—something two people can interact with no matter how far they live from each other.  Some of  the topics she wants to touch on is the physical vs. digital space and emotions between two people. Since partners are unable to share physical space, they will be able to share the space within the application.  One idea Jessica has revolves around sharing a mobile pet. Both partners can contribute to the growth and development of this character and it will offer a common similarity in their daily routines.

By keeping their thoughts and emotions in the mobile space, the couple will be able to share information with each other through the application. There are  mobile apps out there, like Pair, but it is purely a communication platform. The goal is to create a simple, and not too complex application  so couples can easily communicate with one another across great distances. They will be able to share an experience together even though they are not together in the same place. Jessica wants to give long distance couples the ability to feel like they are together, even when they are miles apart.

Design Questions?

  • What can couples share to boost communication while separated by distance?
  • How can couples interact with each other in the mobile space that allows them to feel they aren’t missing anything in the physical space?
  • Is it possible to create something that brings distant couples closer together while living apart?