In studying how space and context can shape an experience, I created a temporary exhibition featuring an artist currently on exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art. For this project, I chose Charles "Teenie" Harris, a photographer who captured Pittsburgh's historic African American community. In creating the exhibition, I focused on how technology can augment content, increasing learning, and make the museum more interactive.
Fall 2020, 1 month
View my full process here.
As Teenie Harris's work was heavily based in historic Pittsburgh, my exhibition focused on bridging the gap between using explorative technology and commemorating historic African American communities. How can technology be used to enhance one's understanding of both the past and the present?
1. Allow viewers to become immersed in past moments in time to create a richer understanding of the complexity and richness of the Black community.
2. Connect past issues of exploitation of the Black population to ongoing gentrification in Pittsburgh's. Hill District.
To begin brainstorming visual direction of my exhibition, I created a mood board featuring some of Teenie Harris's work to build out the exhibition concept.
Storyboarding the Interactions
As I began to develop the interactions in the exhibition, I focused on sound, sight, and touch as key directions to creating an immerse experience within an environment.
I started developing interactions that would use motion sensors in the walkways of the exhibition to trigger light and sound from the photographs to animate the past into the present for a moment
Afterwards, I created a parti diagram to design the navigability of the exhibit and continued mapping storyboards so I could shape the user's experience based on the interactions.
Here, I also storyboarded a second interaction for the Hill District Interactive Room, which featured a floor map that allows the viewer to step on a floor map to view a past and present comparison of Pittsburgh's Hill District to understand the ongoing exploitation that Teenie Harris's work emphasized.
PROTOTYPING THE INTERACTIONS
Using Tinkercad, a 3D CAD tool, I prototyped my motion sensor interactions to understand the feasibility of my concept. These field sensors act as the base idea of my interaction in which a person moves into space and Teenie Harris's work essentially "comes to life" with light and audio.
Digital Prototype & Annotated Diagram
CRAFTING THE USER EXPERIENCE
As I continued to further develop my interactions and details of my exhibit, I created an experience guide to outline the goals of each "stage" of the exhibition. This helped me identify a clear narrative within the space and ensure that my design decisions align with my goals and concept.
BRINGING THE EXHIBITION TO LIFE
After developing my parti diagram and interactions, I started modeling my exhibition in SketchUp using visual inspiration from my mood board. Using angles from my digital model, I photoshopped lighting and figures for better representation of the space. I also decided scale all of my tech interactions larger to create a more immersive experience for the viewers, giving them one-on-one engagement with the figures in the photographs.
3D Modeling the Exhibition
To get a better idea of scale, I also created a physical model for my exhibition for size and navigability adjustments.
When working with projects that feature interactive experiences and explorative technology, it is critical to first build out a coherent concept. As my exhibition focused on commemorating Teenie Harris and his work, I had to prioritize the sensitivity and relevance of my content.
As I flushed out my concept, I had to continuously ask myself: Does this interaction enhance or overpower the user experience? Factoring in aspects such as lighting, navigability, scale, and color played a crucial role in crafting the user journey. When designing experiences within space, every consideration counts.