Bodies in Space: Touching Stuff /Making Things
Design Challenge: How can designers reconnect with their bodies as tools for creating empathic design?
Duration: 2 weeks
Role: Co-workshop and exhibition designer, facilitator, researcher
Project Overview: Bodies in Space: Touching Stuff/ Making Things was a process based design research exhibition and workshop hosted at the Hubbell Gallery in San Francisco. The project investigated how human’s innate and embodied understanding of their surroundings can drive creative practices. Working with a collection of consumer objects, participants used these objects to explore new ways of thinking about and relating to the built world. After spending time connecting with their bodies, participants reflected on how this new awareness could help drive their design practices.
The exhibition was comprised of a collection of everyday objects that were selected on the basis of their tactile and aesthetic sensibility. During the week before the workshop the objects were aranged on the floor in a grid. On the day of the workshop, the research was divided up into two parts. Touching Stuff and Making Things.
On the day of the workshop we lead participants in a body scan to help them connect with their physical selves.
They were then invited to touch all of the objects. Using a workbook we created, participants engaged in a series of physical research exercises, documenting their experience both graphically and with words.
After exploring and documenting their physical experiences with several different objects, participants used that information to design new objects. These objects were meant to be centered on the physical experience of engaging with them. Their process was documented in the same style as their research.
Our goal was to help designers reconnect with their bodies as tools to aid in the design process. So often things look good, but feel horrible or are unusable. Through reconnecting with physical sensations, designers are able to create more empathic and usable products.