2013 graduate students in the Gutenberg-Intermedia Master Programme of the University of Applied Sciences, Mainz, German
Students experiment with the human as machine. Each student selects one letterform template and writes down a rule for other participants to follow in order to complete the letterform. Letters are passed assembly-line style to other classroom participants who follow the initial rule as they work to complete the letter. No discussion is allowed. Once each letter has been passed 8 times, it returns to the original person who completes the letterform and prepares it to be shared digitally.
SHARE A SECRET PROJECT
Each class member must tell a previously untold story and then distill that story into a single word.
Each of the five groups must design an artifact using all of these single words. For the purpose of the project, these words can be translated into images, sketches, or sounds—or they may remain as words. The artwork to be used in the artifact must be solicited directly from your fellow classmates.
Tuesday Afternoon: Class members tell their stories and reduce each story to one word. Each group should then meet and brainstorm 1) the form of the contribution that you wish to solicit and 2) the artifact that you will build with it. Pay close attention to the constraints that you provide for your classmates to follow as they generate the contributions. Provide enough constraints that the task will be quick, fun and doable in the limited time available. Remember, each student will end up generating 5 different versions of their story word. (Storytelling and brainstorming should take around 1 hr)
Groups then present sketches of 3 concepts for discussion. After the discussion, pick one concept and request contributions from classmates. Requests must be submitted to classmates in writing. (Discussion of ideas should take about 30 minutes. Students will complete their contributions by tomorrow morning.)
Wednesday Morning: Each class member should bring finished contributions for all the groups. Each group must then design their project using the contributions. Envision that this is a project that could be repeated in graduate classrooms around the world. Attempt to design a scaleable system.
Wednesday 2:00-2:30/3:00 Present final projects for discussion with the class. Spend the rest of the afternoon working on your Translations projects.
• Experience participation both as a designer and as a contributor
• Bring the class together through their knowledge of these shared secrets
Key Points to Consider:
• Well-Designed Artifact?
• Unites the Group?
• Fun To Contribute?
• Rewards Contributors?
• Clear Instructions?
• Recognizes Individual Contributors?
• Requires Contributors?
Other Things to Consider:
• What did you contribute to the project as a designer? How did you affect the process and the final outcome? How did your expertise one into play?
• What would you change if you did this again?
• How did it help to know the group well?
• Could other grad students in other studios replicate your process? Why or why not?
• Think about the audience. What projects are specifically appropriate to this audience more than another set of grad students?
• How did your project change when you started working with real contributions rather than imagining them?
• How did your system accommodate contributions that didn’t follow instructions?
• What contribution was most difficult for you to do?
• How can your artifact be used by the class together?
• Does the concept of a “secret” play out in your artifact? (It doesn’t have to but this is one possibility to consider)
• How can you apply this experience to your own projects?