As part of NYCxDesign, the students of the MFA in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts present MISSION CTRL, a suite of interactions that explore how we come together to experience and share new design. The interventions turn common gestures of digital, social networking into analog artifacts and performances, critiquing our dependence on new technology and providing alternatives for timely communication and wayfinding. Through a playful series of dynamic, participatory installations, MissionCTRL celebrates the design community at large, and invites visitors to put away their devices and interact with each other in real life (IRL). The work comes out of a 10-week class called Design Performance taught by Sinclair Smith, which explores design exhibition beyond the pedestal, focusing in on interaction, participation, and staging new behaviors.
#Fan - As a way to physicalize the "like" button in a new and compelling way, visitors to the exhibition are given a hand-screened, chipboard paddle—called a fan—which takes its cues from the auction world. When visitors see something that they like at Wanted, they “give a wave,” voting with their fan by holding it up alongside the exhibitor—who have been provided with a deluxe model. Together they are able to draw attention to the exhibitor’s work, creating a new gesture of approval and appreciation.
#Following – This staged happening is inspired by following people on social media. A group of three plus a post barrier will choose a person that seems interesting to follow around for a moment through the exhibition. The followers mimic the actions of the person being followed while looking at all the things the person is checking out around the exhibition. The combination of post and following aims to create trends and moments of fame around the people and the objects being shown within the exhibit.
#Post – Seven roving vertical signs travel the vast expanse of the exhibition space, allowing visitors to "analog tweet" in real space and in real time. Messages can originate from the Mission CTRL booth, or can spontaneously be created live on the fly. Students work with visitors to help them construct messages, engaging them in conversations around social media and point of view. POST provides a large, low-tech, and mobile affordance to help people get their messages seen.
#Press – Creates an analog experience that provides a rich, interactive way to create messages. Posting to social media can be so easy that messages can often be unconsidered and rushed. #PRESS builds in time and labor into the process, carefully stamping out messages to be displayed throughout the Wanted exhibit on mobile signs.
#Portal – physicalizes the digital experience of “logging in.” By stepping through the #PORTAL each visitor is surprised by a unique sound triggered by internal sensors that lets them know they have officially arrived.