Prompt 3: Form study on Experiential Time

GSMD-500 | Grad Design Studio 1 
Prompt 3: Discourse

I started the project by reading Ordinary Lives: Studies in the Everyday by Ben Highmore. I was specifically drawn to how he describes familiar everyday objects and our passive interactions with them. He also describes how experiential time is often an overlooked aspect in the temporal dimension of the everyday when it comes to work habits and routines. Combining the insights of familiar objects and habits and routines of the mundane everyday life, I wanted to explore how everyday ordinary objects affect our perception of experiential time.

Observational Analysis of Everyday objects

Window on PH to CA flight
Door closer (groom)
Room Thermostat
Combination padlock on locker
Door lock

I looked into everyday objects I interacted with from my flight from the Philippines to Canada to the various objects I could find in the studio and at home. I noticed how these ordinary objects had certain affordances that their forms influence on how they are to be used. This causes respective affective states in our behavior and then triggers a respective response or action based from the stimulus.

I noted down certain perceptions of time (whether time felt really fast or felt like something took forever), affective states, and the response actions people typically felt and did when interacting with the above objects and their respective contexts. For example, while on my 11-hour plane ride from the Manila to Vancouver, as it was my first time leaving my home country, I had a feeling of anticipation, but because of how long the flight was and having no comparison to prior flight experience in my life, the overall duration of the flight felt long and tedious especially with the window blinds shut the entire time. Certain interactions using the affordances of objects allow for either immediate or delayed responses. When turning the knob on the door lock, there is an immediate sense of security or freedom after the action has been conducted with the influence of the respective object’s affordances in design. When you open a door and allow the door closer to automatically shut it, you are met with either a sense of trust that the door will close, albeit slowly, quietly, or a sense of distrust and worry that the door may shut automatically in a loud and disturbing manner. Different objects in a variety of contexts and environments initiate various emotional and behavioral responses on our end that may affect our perception of experiential time.

List of [time] Perception, Affective state, and Response when interacting with the observed ordinary objects (from left to right).

Form Exploration

I then ideated forms for time Fleeting and Dragging. These entailed listing keywords that would describe the feeling of a lack of time or in rapid succession and patterns for Fleeting and a stretched out unknowing feeling for a tedious prolonging of time for Dragging.

Form ideation of time Fleeting.
Form ideation of time Dragging.
Variations of forms for time Fleeting and Dragging through a visualization of Static and Dynamic forms.
Form studies for time Fleeting (front three) and Dragging (rear three).
Final form for the feeling time Fleeting.
Final form for the feeling time Dragging.

Reflection

This prompt really made me more attuned to my love for time, especially relating it with my background in observing everyday objects we interact with. Creating the relationship of objects and their respective affordances and function to how we perceive time experientially was a unique experience.

The form study allowed me to enhance my form exploration and visualization skills, especially in more organic and fluid shapes. To be able to create physical form for a feeling was not a first for me, but the way in how I approached the process of doing so was. It made me realize a methodical approach to form exploration I have never tried before that I will probably use from now on.

This project made me appreciate the concept of ‘time’ even more and my love for physical objects has heightened and expanded the possibilities of future projects relating to time. I used to see ordinary objects for how they were made, how they are designed, and how they are used. But after this project, I am now able to be more observant as to how normal objects around us are capable of influencing our emotional responses and perception of concepts like time.

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