RTD2015 17 Experiential Manufacturing: The Earthquake Shelf
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Experiential Manufacturing describes a design led investigation into uncovering the latent values that might exist in data that describes our experiences. By learning from the ways we engage with meaning and memory through material encounters, it aims to create more intrinsic, and aesthetic experiences of biographical data, and to provide meaning beyond the recall of information.
The Earthquake Shelf is a designed provocation that implements this approach. It monitors live data feeds for earthquakes at a specified location, and whenever one strikes, the shelf will shake. Depending on the earthquake’s magnitude, the objects placed upon the shelf may fall, being damaged to leave behind material evidence of a remote event. This tangible rendition does not describe a person’s previous earthquake experience, but by evoking it, seeks to allow for the reconstruction of memories, and for their association with ‘new’ objects through the action of the device.
This paper describes the design process behind the Earthquake shelf, and reflects upon the experiences of the research participant. From strong visceral connection to the past, to empathetic connections to remote locations, and eventually frustration, the Earthquake Shelf revealed the ways that design might engender a variety of emotions and responses.