Investigation 1 - Creative Project

That Which is Hidden

tl;dr: Explore a spooky line of design inquiry that reveals an aspect of a system that is hidden. Make (an aspect of) a hidden system visible, tangible, perceivable, or discussable through a designed artifact.

Due: Tuesday, Feb 1

Submit Documentation: Gallery Pool - That Which is Hidden


Due Date Deliverable Details
Thursday, Feb 2 Project Present your prototype in class as a 1 minute video
Friday, Mar 5, midnight Documentation Deliver documentation of your creative project

Brief and Goals

__Explore a spooky line of design inquiry that reveals an aspect of a system that is hidden. Make (an aspect of) a hidden system visible, tangible, perceivable, or discussable through a designed artifact. __

The goal of this exercise is to showcase your skills in imagining and prototyping creative technologies. As the project is just one week and individual, you should scope your effort accordingly. The project — while we’re remote — is a way for us show our individual skills and interests,to get to know each other through making, and to find affinities, interests and creative approaches.

You can take any approach to preparing this designed artefact that you feel is appropriate. This should be of reasonable fidelity to give form your your proposal, but will reflect your skills with prototyping interactive systems. This could include:

  • A diagram, rendering or map
  • A performance
  • Poetry, collage or other creative formats.
  • A critical design/design fiction
  • A working demo/prototype i.e. a rough but interactive version
  • A experience prototype i.e. a rough but a non-interactive version where interaction can be demonstrated e.g. tangible paper prototype or a Wizard of Oz/mocked up workflow
  • An experience simulator
  • etc.

The possibilities are wide and varied. But you should:

  • Make - i.e. test your ideas and give them a form.
  • Research - i.e. uncover theory, ideas, and precedent projects that inform your approach. We’ll do this through think pieces.
  • Experiment - e.g. don’t just prototype the device and interactions but simulate/construct the data it might produce or use;
  • Document - e.g. test your ideas on yourself or others, how do you or others experience and encounter the device, what are your reactions and responses, document how you respond to it, what values it offer, and why it might matter to you or others.

Unusual approaches, left-of-center thinking and impracticality is encouraged!

Learning Objectives

This exercise is designed to develop knowledge relating to memory and technology and help to develop a body of knowledge as to how memory can potentially be supported with new forms of ubiquitous and pervasive computing. As part of this exercise, you will:

  • Develop your domain understanding of explainability, everyday systems and ubiquitous computing.

  • Investigate technologies which can be, could be or are hidden, opaque, complex or veiled either in operation and functionality, explainabiltiy and interpretability, infrastructures supporting them, economies and labor driving them, etc.

  • Speculate on potential approaches to revealing the hidden qualities of everyday systems from the practical to the outlandish (strongly encouraged);

  • Develop a hands-on exploration that begins to tease-out the broader considerations and opportunities for building spooky-technologies

  • Work individually to highlight your existing skillsets, expertise, and perspective within the context of this course and understand how they might contribute to an interdisciplinary investigation by making work.

Constraints and Considerations


  • You must work individually.


  • What are the everyday systems that are hard to explain? What is spooky or unsettling about our encounters with tech and systems today?
  • How do you materialize and reveal hidden parts of systems in ways that are compelling and invite conversation?
  • How do you trigger/craft an experience with a system or process that might challenge explainability? And what cues are effective or provocative?
  • How does explainability change for different people?
  • What does data say about our relationship to technology? What stance does it take and what statements or critiques can it make?
  • How can you remix or build on an existing project or system to add a critical layer to it?


  1. A design artifact or prototype in any form you choose.

  2. A 2-minute video that presents your outcome. These videos will be screened back-to-back in our first class.

  3. Supporting documentation (200 words per section). See below.

Final Documentation Requirements:

Include a write up of the following:

  • Intent: Write about the big ideas behind your project? What are the goals? Why did you make it? What are your motivations?

  • Outcome: Detail what you created. What methods or techniques did you use? What tools and technologies were involved? Include images, code or video.

  • Process: Outline your approach to the project? What ideas did you generate and how did you refine or reject them? What did you research and explore? what were the design choices? What challenges were encountered and how did you resolve them?

  • Reflection: Critically assess the project. Did it build the conversation you hoped or meet the intent driving the work? Why? What worked and what didn’t? What did you learn? What would you do differently?

  • Attribution and References: Reference any sources or materials used in the documentation or composition.

Each of these sections should be no more than 200 words max. and well illustrated (images, videos, etc.)

For the Project Info’s goal description: it must be tweetable - summarise your outcome in no more than 140 characters