CINEMA AS SKIN

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Cinema can be seen as skin when it is an embodiment of a phenomenological enquiry, also when it is the confluence between inner and outer. The short film called He Took His Skin Off For Me is asking an ever-present question about love with the leading actor without skin. The main character – husband in this story, takes off his skin just because this is what his wife wants. The story itself is surreal, the husband can take his skin off by himself and still stay alive after that, one of the differences happen after he taking off his skin is people around him feel uncomfortable with his look except for his wife. Life of this couple does not seem to be changed a lot by the take-off skin, but the husband does suffer from the change of his appearance, and their financial situation is getting worse as well. The husband takes his skin off out of his love of his wife, so what will happen when life gets harder because of the take-off skin? The short film ends with the scene that the husband trying to help his wife to take off her skin, which seems to be the answer to the question.  With the take-off skin, the film is trying to exaggerate the phenomenon that people can do really crazy and insane things for love, at the same time it is asking how crazy people can really reach for love. The skin in this film not only talks about haptic experience but also psychological experience and philosophy.

Cinema as skin can also be intercultural disclosure. The usage of skin in Royal Tramp is combined with text, and the skin that is used is on soles, which is really uncommon in cinema. Siu-bo, the main character of the film, is a member of Heaven and Earth Society, which is a society aiming to re-establish Ming dynasty. Every member of Heaven and Earth Society is asked to stab the phrase  ‘rebelling against the Qing and re-establishing the Ming’ on their soles. In Chinese, it pronounces as ‘Fan Qing Fu Ming’, and Siu-bo did not stab the same phrase on his soles, what he stabbed is ‘Qing Ming Chong Yang’, which has two same words with the defined phrase but means entirely different, this phrase means two holidays when people need to sacrifice their ancestors. When Siu-bo is caught by the government of Qing dynasty, he was asked to take his shoes off to check whether there is ‘Fan Qing Fu Ming’ on his soles, so the government could know whether he is from Heaven and Earth Society or not. Fortunately that he did not stab the correct phrase, he survives from the interrogation. This film plays with body and text and explains the history and culture of Ming dynasty to people from other countries and culture backgrounds.

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The last film about skin that I want to talk about is Paprika, the skin in this film is the literal skin. One of the negative characters discloses the real identity of Paprika by dilacerating her skin and showing the body of Atsuko, so the audience finally knows that Paprika and Atsuko are the same person in this story.

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Reference:

Baidu Tieba (2011) Available at: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1157786910 (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Ben Aston (2014) He Took His Skin Off For Me. Available at: https://vimeo.com/116498390 (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Guan, S.Y. (2015) The News Lens. Available at: https://www.thenewslens.com/article/13213 (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

Royal Tramp (1992) Directed by Wong Jing [Film]. Hong Kong: Golden Harvest.

‘Tiandihui’ (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiandihui (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Visual Reference:

Ben Aston (2014) He Took His Skin Off For Me. Available at: https://vimeo.com/116498390 (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

Royal Tramp (1992) Directed by Wong Jing [Film]. Hong Kong: Golden Harvest.

Cinema as Mirror

Cinema can be seen as a mirror in three cases. When the mirror in a film is set as a narrative device in cinema, when cinema signs as a mirror and when cinema works as it stimulates our mirror neurons.

 

When the mirror in a film is set as a window on the unconsciousness, it is actually a narrative device in cinema. This characteristic of the mirror in the film reminds me of an animation film done by Satoshi Kon, which is called Paprika. there are lots of fantastic usages of mirror in Paprika. The first picture below is the main character talking to another identity of herself. The character has different identities in the real world and the dream world. To push the story forward and to reveal the connection between those two roles, the mirror in this plot acts as a narrative device which could makes the relationships clear, and the role inside the mirror, which is seen as the subconsciousness of the main character, can disclose part of the character’s inner world to the audience. The second picture below is when the character in dreamworld meets someone she dislikes, her performance is the exact opposite of what she really feels. The four parallel mirrors show the real unconsciousness and feeling of the character, which is a clever and amusing usage.

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Sometimes viewers’ safe distance to film is challenged by modernist self-reflexivity, and this is when the cinema signs as a mirror. In this case, cinema is reflectively doubling what is being seen or felt, and it is seen as an expression of experience by experience, spectators are self-reinforcing the experience while seeing film.

 

When cinema works as it stimulates viewers’ mirror neurons, it mirrors their empathy and sympathy. In Andy Coghlan’s research, it is said that the movie cigarettes can mentally light up people and arouse the parts of the smokers’ brain needed to smoke simultaneously. This circumstance is done by mirror neurons in our brain. A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another, and then it tries to mirror the behaviour that it observes. When this science knowledge works with philosophy, filmmakers can produce films which are more able to arouse audience’s echo of sentiments and plan the plots in a more suitable way for audience to enjoy and get the empathy. Neurological films are born with this usage of science and philosophy. Neurological films tremendously utilize the relationship between cinema and mirror neurons, filmmakers examine different conditions of viewers while they are watching different parts of films and summarize the data, then they get the most workable template and use it to produce films which possibly caters to most viewers’ tastes and get high box-office.

 

Reference:

Badt, K. (2013) The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-badt/mirror-neurons-and-why-we_b_3239534.html (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Coghlan, A. (2011) New Scientist. Available at: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19980-movie-cigarettes-make-smokers-mentally-light-up/ (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

‘Mirror neuron’ (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

 

Yan, B.R. and Shi, Y. (2016) Zhihu. Available at: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/22896726?utm_campaign=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_content=title (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Yan, B.R. and Shi, Y. (2016) Zhihu. Available at:  https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/22931636?refer=brainresearch (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Yan, B.R. and Shi, Y. (2016) Zhihu. Available at:  https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/23025737 (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Visual Reference:

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

Which is more real: Sound or Image?

Film sound is one of the basic elements in film elements, which turns films from purely visual media to audio-visual media. Silent films use only visual elements to express relatively space-time structure, with the help of film sound, films turn to use both visual and acoustical elements to present relatively space-time structure.

 

There are usually two sources of film sound. One is diegetic sound, which means the sound happens in scenes, including characters’ conversation, sound made by objects, musical instruments and so on. Diegetic sound can help films to be natural and realistic, and can focus on characters’ and audience’s subjective consciousness in the perspective of storytelling. The other sound is non-diegetic sound, which means sound happens out of scenes. The most common usage of non-diegetic sound is using music to push narrative forward.

 

Space of sound film is made of light and sound. The camera records three-dimensional information, imports them into the two-dimensional surface, and then projects them onto the two-dimensional screen to create three-dimensional moving illusion. The audio recorder records and plays original acoustic waves in space. Mono can present the spatial features of sound such as distance and vertical motion. , while the stereophonic sound system can also present the horizontal movement of sound. Therefore, sound enhances the three-dimensional illusion of film. The omnidirectional transmission of sound and the omnidirectional reception of human’s ear form an endless sound space, hence no matter it is in diegetic space of non-diegetic space, sound does not have the division of on-screen or off-screen, only the sources of sound has the division of on-screen and off-screen. The short animation A Different Perspective is an interesting example of film sound showing the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. The background of this animation looks really flat, however, with the different sounds to show the distance of the characters, the three-dimensional setting seems to be acceptable, and the contrast of the two-dimensional drawing and the three-dimensional sound effect is really interesting.

Space that sound can present includes events, diegetic space and non-diegetic space. In events and diegetic space, the invisible sound can form profuse spatial variation and create various atmospheres. Light and shadow, saturation, sound, and especially musical sound have really subtle psychological relation with each other, so what directors need to consider about in films is the saturation level of the combination of sound and vision. One of the fighting clips in Kung Fu Panda 2 really impressed me for its perfect combination of background music and fighting motions. The weapons are consciously made to be ones of the musical instruments, which makes the atmosphere more humorous.

The other short animation called Little Wild uses sound in a different way. There is a specific electromagnetic wave sound which only appears with the motions of the main character and the flying fruit. The overall sounds in this animation are quite peaceful and mild, which makes the electromagnetic sound really stand out, and because it only appears with the main character and the fruit, it conveys a mental suggestion to the audience that there are some specific relationships between them.

All in all, I think we can not say image is more real than sound or sound is more real than visual, because they together make films more three-dimensional and more convincing to audience, and sound should be one of the elements which make the sequence of images more real.

 

Reference:

‘Film’ (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

 

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) Directed by: Jennifer Yuh Nelson [Film]. United States: Paramount Pictures.

 

‘Sound Film’ Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_film (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

 

Taiwan Wiki (2013) Available at: http://www.twwiki.com/wiki/%E9%9B%BB%E5%BD%B1%E8%81%B2%E9%9F%B3 (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

 

Zhihu (2017) Available at:  https://www.zhihu.com/question/39402948/answer/141501624 (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

 

Visual Reference:

 

Caleb (2011) Little Wild. Available at: https://vimeo.com/12128138 (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

 

Chris (2015) A Different Perspective. Available at: https://vimeo.com/120438150 (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

 

Kevin (2013) Kung Fu Panda 2 – Po Fight With Wolves. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fePiGyCsWFc (Accessed: 4 February 2017).

Doors in Paprika

Doors in films can be seen as the metaphorical entry into “another world”, doors can move spectators toward an awareness of entry and transition, rather than the fixed state of witnessing a display. The lecture Cinema as Door reminded me of Paprika, an animation film which has lots of scenes with doors.

 

Paprika talks about a crime which started by DC mini, a therapeutic equipment for treating mental disease. DC mini works in dreams, it can connect a doctor’s dream to a patient’s dream, so the doctor can find out the crux of the patient. The whole story of Paprika happens in both real world and dreams, and door exists as a really important element in plots transformation and film editing.

 

Below are the collections of doors that I summarize from Paprika.

 

First is the continuous four scenes that appear four times in Paprika. Every time this series of scenes appear, the different pictorial tension shows the difference level of treatment of the cop character. Satoshi, the director, cleverly used doors to link those four scenes together. For example, he put Paprika and the cop in an elevator, when the elevator arrives at another floor, the elevator door opens, outside the door are different scenes, which are corresponding to the continuous scenes in the cop’s dream. Or in another plot, the room door in the train scene is set as the door leading to the corridor scene. Those doors are designed as the metaphorical entry into another plot of a dream, they connect plots together. And the door at the end of the corridor is seen as the crux of the cop.

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Another example of doors linking one dream to another is when Paprika is trying to find out who the criminal is in a doctor’s dream. Those doors connect from Paprika’s dream to the doctor’s dream, and then to the criminal’s dream. The way how Satoshi design doors is really interesting, they could be anything, like the broken glass in street, TV screen, screen in the cinema, or even entrance of a cave. The doors also convey the idea that there is no boundary constraint among dreams.

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Doors in Paprika also exist as channel links from the real world to dream world. In the beginning of the film, when Atsuko (Paprika in the real world) is trying to find out who the criminal is, she finds a door going to downstairs, which leads her to one of the criminals’ dream. And the website that the cop visits starting with a radio club door, when he clicks on ‘Enter’, he’s already on his way to his dream world. Every time he follows Paprika to exit the radio club door is when he really enters his dream world. The radio club door is a point of entry of dream world, it also represents the beginning of the story.

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Doors exist as thresholds between real world and dream world, and also the thresholds between dreams in Paprika. Usually, cinema screen is conceived as a doorway to film world, but in Paprika, the cinema screen is interestingly set as a literal doorway to another space. Doors in Paprika are different from the doors that were introduced in lecture, which I think is really funny to dig deeper into.

 

Reference:

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

 

‘Paprika’ (2006) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paprika_(2006_film) (Accessed: 30 January 2017).

 

Zhihu (2017) Available at: https://www.zhihu.com/question/29361830?sort=created (Accessed: 30 January 2017).

 

Visual Reference:

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

World Series (Sekai Kei) – How Films Effect Spectators

In the first class of Moving Image, we talked about the relationship between films and spectators, and what effects films could bring to spectators. Films can change people’s lives and their worldview, they can have very personal and private meanings, but they can also attach themselves to various public discourses and ideologies in order to dominate, transform and distort their significance, this idea reminds me of a type of animations which are named Sekai Kei, or World Series in English.

 

World Series is defined as a group of work that only concentrates on the relationship between two leading actors, and links them to some big abstract matters such as world crisis or destruction of the universe, without taking any sociology and real world background into account. Using the methodology to erase social studies is one characteristic that World Series has. In the narrow sense, World Series’s mode of thinking is the only thing that matters in the world is you and me, which means except the leading actors, nothing else in the world matters. In the wide sense, World Series is conveying the ideology of trying to control the world and refusing to accept the concept of growing up. The progress that human beings understand the society starts from other people, and then goes to society, and then goes to the world, and finally goes to themselves. However, the way how World Series understands the society skips the section of understanding the society. Two leading actors meet each other and then both are involved in unusual events. They then go and meet, understand the world together, and fight for the world together. This is how World Series connect others to the ego.

 

The concept of World Series is based on metaphysics’s idealism. Ignoring social ideas, extremely self-consciousness, the world that only has you and me, destruction of the world are the main themes of World Series. Otaku, a Japanese term for people with obsessive interests, commonly the animation and manga fandom, they have one similarity which is being too self-conscious. This similarity helps World Series work to get popular in otaku. For example, in Code Geass, Guilty Crown and Valvrave the Liberator, the over self-consciousness of the leading actors is affecting and controlling the development of the whole world. World Series easily wipes off social backgrounds and social studies and let spectators, especially otaku, to enjoy the world setting that they want to have in these work.

 

In conclusion, films not only can be attached to public discourses and ideologies but also can ignore them and create a whole new life system to let specific spectators enjoy their world view in the work.

 

Reference:

 

Araki, T. (2012) ‘Guilty Crown’ [Cartoon]. Animax Asia, 22 March.

 

Matsuo, K. (2013) ‘Valvrave the Liberator’ [Cartoon]. Animax Asia, 26 December.

 

‘Otaku’ (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku (Accessed: 30 January 2017).

 

‘Sekai Kei’(2017) Wikipedia. Available at: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B8%96%E7%95%8C%E7%B3%BB (Accessed: 30 January 2017).

 

Tang, Z.Z. (2016) Dajia. Available at: http://dajia.qq.com/original/japan/tzhzh160926.html (Accessed: 30 January 2017).

 

Taniguchi, G. (2007) ‘Code Geass’ [Cartoon]. Animax Asia, 28 July.

 

17173 (2013) Available at: http://acg.17173.com/news/12262013/143524241_all.shtml (Accessed: 30 January 2017).

Double Diamond Design and Stanford Design Thinking

Design thinking is a methodology of how design works, the first stage of it is discover, which means discovering problems and challenges that exist, and then they would be defined on the second stage. And the next step is to discover the defined problem again to see what potential solutions are there to solve the problem. Last but not least is to define the solutions and pick out the best one and deliver it to the one who asks for it.

In the research of design thinking, I found another design thinking system which is a little bit different from the one that we were taught in the class, it is Design Thinking from Stanford D.School. This Design Thinking system has five steps, which are empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. It focuses more on the visual thinking than the double diamond design system, and every project that is produced basing on Design Thinking must think about its own social influence.

Empathize in Design Thinking asks designers to observe, engage and immerse. Observe is to view users and their behaviour in the context of their life, and understand what users can do, what they want to do, why they want to do that and the chain effects it might bring. Engage is to interact with the interview users as if you are not the designers. And immerse is to experience what the users experiences. Meaning to empathize is to uncover needs that people have which they may or may not be aware of, identify right users to design for and discover the emotions that guide behaviours.

The next step, define, is a mode of “focus”, which has the same function as the defining part in the double diamond design. The define mode is to capture the hearts and minds of people you meet, define your own point of view and let other people clearly know what you want to achieve with the solutions you come out from this part.

Then the designers should to the ideate part, which is the same as the develop part in the double diamond design. Designers need to brainstorm as many solutions as possible and increase the innovation potential of the solution set. The theme of this part is “Go for Volume” and “Go for Variety”.

And then the designer go to the prototype part, which is again quite similar to the second define part in the double diamond design. Prototyping in Design Thinking is getting ideas and explorations out of designers and into the physical world. Users could experience and interact with prototypes, and the designers could receive useful interaction information from the process and therefore get deeper empathy and shape better solutions.

The last step is test. Designers need to review designs through testing the prototype, sometimes designers need to refine the decided point of view after testing.

All in all, double diamond design is quite similar to Stanford Design Thinking system, they both ask designers to think in users’ position, develop designs and define designs more than once. But Stanford Design Thinking asks users to develop a prototype to test before really define the final solution.

Bibliography

Peng, Y.H. (2014) Zhihu. Available at: https://www.zhihu.com/question/21481878 (Accessed: 03 December 2016).

Institute of Design at Stanford (2016) DESIGN THINKING. Available at:http://dschool.stanford.edu/?s=Design++Thinking&submit=Search (Accessed: 3 December 2016).

Naiman, L. (2016) Creativity at Work. Available at: http://www.creativityatwork.com/design-thinking-strategy-for-innovation/ (Accessed: 3 December 2016).

Brown, T. (2016) Design Thinking. Available at: https://designthinking.ideo.com/ (Accessed: 3 December 2016).

Tour

We first went to visit Blueprint Office, where many creative furniture were displayed. There was a phone booth in the middle of the office, which is called Framery Q. Framery Q is a personal soundproof space to make private calls or concentrate on personal work. There is a air ventilation system inside to make sure the air is circulating and also keep the balance of temperature inside the booth and outside the booth. Though people inside the booth could be seen by people outside, the technology to keep the sound staying inside the space gives the users the sense of security from no letting others hear what they are communicating about. And the quiet ventilation helps to create a more comfortable working environment for users.

After visiting the modern Blueprint Office, we went to visit a cathedral nearby. The cathedral was basically the same as other cathedrals I used to visit. It had religious decorations, like Christ on the cross, rose windows, peaceful organ music, dim yellowish light and burning candles. The space inside the cathedral was really different from the outside. When we were standing outside the cathedral, we were surrounded by noise from all directions created by vehicles, machines and people. The moment we stepped into the cathedral and closed the gate, the gate seemed to completely cut off the noise from the cathedral. And with the warm yellowish light casting down, the slow and gentle organ music coming in to our ears, the the unique rose windows that only cathedrals would have, my mood was gradually changed. It was more and more peaceful, and for the religious and solemn atmosphere I could feel and the super quiet environment, I naturally slowed down my pace and try not to make any noise. From what I saw, what I heard, what I emotionally felt from this space, I just spontaneously changed my behaviour for the environment.

Then we left the cathedral and walked to a exercise park. There were some free and public exercise machines in the park, which were in light green. And the handles of the machines were black, which was a really obvious contrast of colour that could let users easily know where to grab and have the conceptual model of how to use the machines. There were explanations of how to use the machines properly on the pillars, which told users the correct usage of the machines. But even we played with the machines without reading those instructions, we could feel whether we were using them correctly from our physical feeling and the movement of the machines. If we felt some parts of our muscle were being used or the arms of the machines were moving then it meant we were probably using them in a correct way. So the design and mappings of the machines told us how to use them and we had knowledge in our heads of how to operate them. With the instructions we learned knowledge in the world, which was the correct way of using them. And after we used the machines, we perceived the changes of our body and the machines, and we understood what happened and compared them to our goal of using those machines to see whether they were working as we expected.

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After playing with the exercise machines, we went to a small park to experience different textures of ground with our eyes closed. I was led by my partner by holding her arm, and I could not get really specific directions that we were going to in this way. I felt some shadow casting down from trees and leaves, even though I know it was created by the leaves, I was still quite afraid of bumping into a tree. And when we moved from grass ground to cement ground, I could feel the soft texture turned into the hard one immediately. And when we were walking on fallen leaves, the crushing sounds that we created gave me a really clear perception that I was on leaves and I automatically formed the scene of feet surrounded by fallen leaves in my brain.

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We changed our behaviour and used the exercise machines with knowledge in our head, and we perceive the change from our physical feelings, or in the case of the cathedral visit, we did not get any complain from people inside the cathedral, from this appearance we could evaluate whether we were doing things in the right way. From the walk in the last park, I knew how important visual sense is in our senses and how senses work together to build up our whole sense of the world.

 

Bibliography

 

Norman, D. (1988) The design of everyday things. Revised and expanded edition. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Exhibitions Visit

Glastonbury: Land and Legend’ Exhibition

 

Before I stepped into the first showroom I saw the signs outside the room in handwriting style, this font already gave me the natural and free feeling before really visiting the exhibition.

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The first thing I noticed from the exhibition is not the thing that I could see, but the natural environmental sounds that I heard. There was one screen showing the environment of the Glastonbury festival, and there are sounds of birds, winds coming with the scenes. I did not even need to see what’s happening on screen to gain the feeling of nature. Then I saw the sculptures displayed nearby the door. Being displayed in such a dim environment and with the spotlight casting down, the material and design of the sculptures expressed the sense of wildness and nature.

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There were four posters displayed on the way to the second showroom, each of them showed a different theme of each year’s Glastonbury festival. They were so eye-catching for their large size and some of them even had strong colours contrast. With the content in those posters I had really basic knowledge of the festival.

Then I stepped into the second showroom and I saw the most exciting exhibit in this exhibition, which is an incomplete tent. There were videos showing on the clothes of the tent, both inside and outside, and there were cushions on the floor that people could lie on and enjoy the videos. I tried to enjoy the videos lying on cushions from different perspectives. Then I found that the display of cushions was a bit illogical because when I was lying on the cushion in the middle, I could not see any video comfortably and clearly. And I think the sound could be more surrounded in this environment to let the viewers to feel more engaged. When I walked around the tent to watch the videos being screened outside the tent clothes, I found the angles of the clothes made me feel dizzy and a bit sick.

The posters-wall surrounding the tent gave me a strong sense of the style of the festival as well, though I felt that they could be more or even overspread the whole wall to convey stronger theme.

 

Casper Mattress Pop Up Shop

 

My first impression of the shop comes from its decoration colour. It’s blue, and mainly in baby blue, which is a really soft and comfortable colour for me.

Then I stepped into the showroom to try their mattress and see how the rooms were displayed. The main colour of the room was in blue as well, it conveyed the calm and comfortable feeling to me, which made me feel that it is a place that could make me sleep well. There were two normal showroom for adults and children, both in baby blue. The differences were the one for adults was larger, and the bed was in the middle of the room, while the children one was smaller and with the bed next to the wall. Sleeping next to wall gives people the sense of security, which is what children or people who sleep alone need. There was a small screen on the smaller showroom showing some cute animated moving images, which made the room more for youngsters and more energetic.

In the middle of those two normal showrooms, there was a special showroom hiding behind curtains. Inside the curtains was a bed on the floor. The bed was set quite low, and the inside decoration was like the inside of a tent, and there were soft yellow lights coming through the fabrics in the dim environment, and there was chirp of birds around the space, together they created a quiet and peaceful environment to fall asleep. And the curtains outside the showroom were quite thick and seemed to separate the outside noise and bother from this showroom as well.

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Review of Guest’s Lecture

We were asked to draw a storyboard showing the usual ways we use kettles at the beginning of the lecture, and this is the storyboard that I drew. It shows how I use my kettle to cook eggs in daily life.

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And then we were invited to enjoy a short afternoon tea in another room. Our guest lecturer Silvia first asked one of us to boil water with one of the kettles that she set in the room, and we waited for the water to boil. The first kettle gradually changed colour and revealed pattern on its body. The colour changed from black to dark blue and grey, which are quite peaceful and calm colour. Then we enjoyed some tea with the boiled water and started boiling water with the other kettle. The second kettle made really loud and scary sharp noise while the water was boiling, and one student in our group felt really scared because of the noise. We still had no idea what the afternoon-tea-experiment was for at that time, and Silvia gave us a lecture to explain the project she was working on and explained what was the experiment for after everyone has experienced the experiment.

Her project title is Designing Narrative Product Interactions, which is a study trying to attach tellability to an object. In other words, Silvia was trying to attach certain properties to her design in order to let the users experience certain narrative from using the product.

Designer attaches certain property to an object to make the object an agency which the users can interact with and gain certain experience from. The property that the designer attach to the product actually gives the product tellability. It enables the users to react to the product in certain way.

The two kettles that we used to boil water were all designed by Silvia. She tried to convey the calm and domestic emotions with the design, and with the colour the kettle did convey this kind of domestic feeling to us. What was not that perfect is the pattern, none of us realized the pattern is from knitting, while knitting is a really important element to transfer the domestic feeling.

The second kettle was designed to be a ghost like agency with the rattling sound. With the pot-watcher inside the kettle, the boiling water created really scary noise, we can tell the horrible feeling even without the project explanation, because the hit of the strong noise is really direct for human beings’ hearing sense.

Narrative in design dose not only exist in product design, but also in many other design areas such as architecture design and spatial design.

 

Single space can be turned into two different types of narrative space depending on the usage of elements. The first one is modeling with ambient conditions. Sense of place always comes from people’s emotions and understanding of natural daily life, with the usage of light, water, wind and ambient environmental landform, space and architecture could arouse people’s sense of emotional belonging and memory experience. Church of the Light by Tado Ando is a good example, it creates a holy space by using light and the structure of the architecture. The second element is forming by the architecture itself. Designer could use different configurations and dimensions of architectures, materials with different textures, closure or openness of space, symbol of elements, axial lines to structure different narrative places, but the design has to concern about site experience and emotions.

 

The spatial experience that architectures convey to people is actually a replication of experience from nature and historical environment, therefore, when the form of architectures is closer to its environment, the spatial emotions it conveys it more sincere. Take Igualada Cemetery as an example, the architect shapes the narrative structure through the control of emotions that people would have while walking across different parts of the architecture and the usage of building materials that perfectly cooperate with the natural environment of the cemetery.

 

Bibliography

 

Narrative Writing in Architecture (2015) Available at: http://www.360doc.com/content/15/1129/13/14689595_516686634.shtml (Accessed: 3 December 2016).

 

‘Igualada Cemetery’ (2015) Wikipedia. Available at:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igualada_Cemetery (Accessed: 3 December 2016).

STAGES OF ACTION

We are doing many actions spontaneously in daily life, we finish the actions without thinking how we manage to finish that task, what procedure does the task contains. In The design of everyday things, Norman analyses human beings’ actions intrinsically, and divide the procedures into different parts and classify them.

 

When we are trying to have something done, there are gaps that we should bridge, which is from execution to evaluation.

 

The gulf of execution means working out how things work, it contains our goal, plan, specify, perform. Goal is what exactly we want to achieve, it could be a really simple action, like buying a cup of coffee, turn on the heater. Plan is how we are going to achieve that thing, what actions would be in the process, and how many potential ways there are to achieve it. Specify is determining the exact plan we want to use. And perform is breaking the chosen plan down into different steps, it could be a long lasting action, or arrange of different actions, depends on the thing we want to do.

 

And the gulf of evaluation means working out what happened, it contains perceive, interpret and compare. First after the thing is done, we feel the difference that this thing brings to us, which is the perceiving part. Then we interpret this change, understanding what is different now. And last but not least, we compare the present situation with our original goal to see whether we have achieved what we try to do.

 

Through the whole execution and evaluation of work, we are feeling the process in different levels. There are three levels of processing, which are visceral processing, behavioural processing and reflecting processing.

 

Visceral processing is the most immediate and basic feeling, such as your hand is hurt by something sharp and you pull it back immediately.

 

Behavioural processing means the subconscious actions and actions with anticipation, which we do without thinking and considering. For example, your teacher tells you to stand up in class, and you stand up, the standing up action is a behavioural processing.

 

Reflecting processing is the slowest one, which takes time for you to consider whether you would like to behave like this or not, and then make the decision.

 

So in the whole process of stages of action, goal, plan and compare are reflective processing, they need people to consciously think about them and consider how they work. Specify and interpret are behavioural processing, and perform and perceive belong to visceral processing, which happen unconsciously.

 

We can see that reflecting processing is more about judgment and opinion, people reflect consciously, which means the reflecting part is more obvious to see in daily life, therefore it is what the designers could change and pay more attention to while designing.

 

After evaluating things we have done, there might be problems arising, which are the parts that could be improved. And the way to analyse those problems is use the methodology called root cause analysis. It works by asking five WHY questions, and each question should relates to the previous answer. With the five question, people can get to the essential problematic part instead of staying in the presenting problem.

 

When talking about knowledge, there are basically two kinds of knowledge, which are the knowledge in the head, and knowledge in the world.

 

We can call knowledge in the head Knowledge OF, which is the knowledge that can be taught. This kind of knowledge already exists in some systems, so they could be taught.

 

And the knowledge in the world could be called Knowledge HOW. This kind of knowledge are not set, it keeps updating and needs people keep practising it. Knowledge HOW is about how to do something, which means the basic rules of how something work could be demonstrate to people, while how to operate it could not be taught.

 

Stages of action is not about knowing how we accomplish actions in daily life, but also about how we could improve our daily life and the design in our daily life. If we pay more attention to the reflective processing of things and use the root cause analysis to assess problems, we might be able to make small improvement to our daily life as well.

Exercise in class:

1233-2

Bibliography

 

Norman, D. (1988) The design of everyday things. Revised and expanded edition. Cambridge: MIT Press.