CIID, Design playground, Thoughts

Project update 4 : Thoughts and Experiments…

Its week 4 of my project and I am in the process of building up the experiments I spoke about in my last post. But before that I wished to take a step back and talk about whats brewing in my head now

“My challenge in this phase would be to design and test meaningful experimental setups to explore possible symbiotic relationships between people and electronic objects in the natural and electronic climates we live in today.

These experiments would serve to see how symbiosis introduced in interactions could affect behaviour in the test subjects in terms of a more involved sense of attachment and reverence towards these objects. It would also be interesting if these experiments impact his/her awareness of the environment they are part of.


I wished to come up with experiments which would explore these relationships within the context and perspective of a single human being, his social network and the environment .

The starting point would be that of the defining experiments with the objects (as illustrated above)  and to see how relationships would radiate from that circle towards the environment and the human being.


In thinking about symbiosis and how I could design experiments , I decided to look at networked objects and the two realms we tend to reside in today.

In order to talk about what I have been thinking , I am using the illustration below , which speaks about the physical and digital space :

An essence of our physical selves permeates through the membrane towards the digital sphere where our online avatars and persona’s reside. In a similar vein it is interesting to think about digital objects whose essence permeates through the membrane too.

‘The Internet of things’ and ‘ambient intelligence’ in objects around us are a couple of terms bandied about which come to mind when this kind of permeation is talked about. It is already being done as is illustrated with twitter accounts given to bridges etc (!/imlondonbridge) , which is quite interesting.

What if these objects / devices could not only sense and perceive objects in the physical domain, but also your activity in the digital.

Could they then be perceived as digital spirits of objects ? …

This was an interesting question which popped into my head, and reminded me of the notion of Yakshas/Ganhdarvas in Indian mythology (my grandma used to tell me tales about them when I was quite little) , or the Kami in Japanese myth , who were benevolent and sensitive entities said to reside in the arts (music , literature) , elements(sun , wind , rain , certain fires) , rocks , wells etc.

There was a certain reverence attached to them , not in terms of worship , but in terms if a give and take between people and these entities which needed to be maintained in order to keep a balance. This balance was crucial in maintaining order and good fortune .

These aspects of benevolence, sensitivity and balance are something I want to bring to the table in terms of the experiments to be conducted


Crafting the first experiment:

The very first setup is of the ‘Poet’ , a fish feeding system/ device which exists and operates in both the physical and digital space, speaking to the person who owns it and also feeding off his social network , which it needs to survive and continue feeding the fish in its care.

More about this setup in the next post …


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