‘Blessed Parenthesis’ is an explorative project & interactive installation, a result of my fascination with the space created between a piece of design and its audience. My studies have led me to explore and speculate on the interactions which take place in that space. ‘Blessed Parenthesis’ challenges traditional notions of user experience by focusing on the participants’ physical presence as the vital element within the designed interactive experience. All of my findings throughout my studies have determined me to develop a piece of design that is only truly effective when someone else is there to experience its properties, which, in effect, is what all design pieces are, but they wanted to explore making this concept more poignant. Inspired by Olafur Elíasson’s use of unusual materials, and Georges Perec’s writings on embodiment within the human experience, I experimented with employing a material that can only be generated by the participants involved: their own body heat. Through research and exploration, I have developed a conceptual site-specific, print-based installation, constructed out of three layers: a large-format poster of one of Georges Perec’s quotes; a thin acrylic sheet covered in thermochromic black ink which obstructs the text from the viewers until they interact directly with it; and the viewers’ own heat-emanating hands, alongside the actions they perform when interacting with the installation. In this context, interaction and experience become a means of uncovering modern yet fundamental truths about the desensitized nature of their experience. Through the way the typographic elements are arranged within the installation, and through the touch sequence the participants choose to use, they uncover different areas of the text that expose sequences with different meanings, thus rendering each interaction unique. This negotiation that arises within the designed piece and the audience creates the experience itself, a design avenue that has been (and will continue to be) at the forefront of my explorations.
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