Another IxD for Objects and Spaces project that evolved from some really powerful early explorations was the Confessions of Market Street by Laurel Deel, Katy Law and Justin Ponczek. They began by looking at different ways of provoking people walking along an under-appreciated block of Market St. One prototype involved putting the receiving end of a two-way radio inside a small stuffed animal positioned in the middle of the sidewalk. Laurel, hiding behind street furniture would ‘animate’ the stuffed animal by having it say provocative things to people walking by. Eventually the team pivoted to confessions after placing a confession book on a podium in the middle of the sidewalk which got prompted a lot of pedestrians to pause and read and surprisingly often, fill in an anonymous confession. Another confession prototype involved hanging bottles with rolled-up messages from a tree. Each message was a prompt to encourage a confession.
Eventually the focus of the prototyping became an audio-based confessional where you speak a confession into a receiving box and listen to distorted version of a random previous confession in a distributing box. I like how the subtle shape of each box creates an affordance to prompt passersby to either confess into the ‘megaphone’ or listen into the ‘gramaphone’.
The working final prototype is here. While I think the extended cut of this project in action shows a few too many of the flaws (when pedestrians try to open it up get a little confused) it reveals some really magical moments in watching what happens when a project is deployed and left for total strangers to discover.