"Hacking public space" - Open Set Summer School 2015


Popkalab was invited to facilitate a workshop for graphic designers students as part of the Open Set Summer School here in Rotterdam. Open Set is a two-week intensive series of workshops, lectures and studio visits emphasizing on the interaction between noted Dutch and International graphic designers and artists. The theme of this year was "Designing Experience: moment, Stage, Memory". 

We developed a special one day workshop  inspired by tactical urbanism and urban guerrilla strategies. The workshop happened at V2 - Institute of Unstable Media. We started with a presentation of projects that challenge the use of public space. After being inspired, the participants had to use sound and interaction  to create new ways to experience the city and change our relation with it.

They formed groups and worked collaboratively to create pieces using the Audio FX Sound Board from Adafruit and speakers. The sound should be trigger using a switch button made with Aluminium foil. 

The outcome was very interesting and was great to see the students stepping out of their comfort zone and experimenting with new techniques and technologies. Despite of the short time they could develop working prototypes with strong concepts. 

One group created a blanket with embedded soft buttons that, when pressed, broadcast sound of nature. The idea was to create a device that brings nature closer to us by recreating its sounds in another context.

The second group was inspired by the trees in Rotterdam and created a piece where you seat in a interactive pillow next to a tree and start listening the sound of they imagined conversation. 

The third group created an urban intervention by covering part of the street floor  with an "invisible" switch. When someone step on it sounds of wild animals played on the speakers, surprising the pedestrians. 

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