We made our protoype and the presentation. There were many issues with the prototype but the main issue was that we didn’t know the materials we were working with.
So, the prototype gears were not turning well with the servo because of the surface friction and also because we made the shafts by hand, they were too uneven. We decided to do a field research and find the materials and electronics.
We bought metal shafts, the wood surfaces, electronics and pulleys. ( With some help from my dad, we realized that we no longer need to use gears underneath the surface, we could make a pulley system. This is also a good time to thank our families for all their help! Thank you!!)
We connected the wooden planks to make a small box. We put our pulleys to the shafts and we connected the shafts using rubber bands.
Next thing to do is to put gears on the top surface and make it work with only one servo.
This week, we were more concerned with the technical problems. There was one thing that we were sure about: We are going to use motors for our project!
We decided that if we want to make the gears work we would have to put each gear a motor of their own. So that, even there’s only one gear, it will keep on turning. We were sure about the motors but we didn’t know anything about them.
After quick visit to xLab, we found some motors that we can work on.
We also tried to make 10 servo motors work at the same time.
We have decided to make a machine that will represent the book Metamorphosis.
We started doing some research on the projects we might find useful. We found a very inspiring project called Mr. Time. This project inspired us to think about the functionality in everyday objects.
Another thing we found interesting was the Rube Goldberg machines. These mechanisms does simple tasks by making the progress very complicated. We found this concept of over - complex structure very similar to our idea.
We also started creating sketches for how our project would look like:
We were thinking about how the machine would look like and how can we design the interaction. Another concern was the more technical one: How can we design a machine that will keep on working even though we remove some parts of it?
Here are some questions we had in mind while we were sketching:
- Do buttons give more clue to the user? Can we build an arcade gaming cabinet? - What happens when all the gears are taken out? - What will we do with the gears we take? Should we toss them? - Colours?
We have been fairly busy this week. Last week, we chose some of the best ideas we had and tried to turn them into a more tangible design projects.
There were many ideas to explore so at first we wanted to see all of our options. We made a diagram of ideas and we realised that we could actually categorize them into two main ideas: being in between (limbo) and authority.
We discussed what did it mean to be a human for Gregor. He had the body of a insect now but his mind was still a human. He was stuck in between until the climax of the book : he chose to keep his painting in his room so he chose to keep a part of him that is still human. We discussed what this painting meant to him. That was one the first things he mentioned at the beginning of the book. When his mother and sister wanted to take it away from his room he asked himself: does he really want his room to turn into a cave that will erase all of his past ? Apparently no. These objects are what made him human, these objects defined him.
Also the other theme was the “wish to be a person”. Both Gregor and his sister was in a metamorphosis on their own. Gregor was a person but then he lost it. He had this wish to be a person again. Grete on the other hand, wanted to be a person and she tried to gain it by having the courage to feed Gregor and then working and then making her own decisions. She became a person at the end of the book.
We figured that the house was acting like another character in the book. Its rooms defined other characters boundaries and it kept Gregor away from his family. Also buying a new, smaller house was the goal of the family.
Another pattern we noticed was that there is a power dynamic in the household. When Gregor became an insect, the father became the leader of the house, he became the authority. Gregor’s death didn’t affect him. “ The death of the person, set the authority free.”
Probably the most interesting thing we noticed in the book was that Gregor stopped existing for others when he stopped being useful. His family was more worried about the money when he changed. So usefulness is more important than existance for them.
After we wrote these ideas down, we started to do some research on experience design projects. When we saw this project online our direction became clear: we wanted to focus on the idea of being useful.
What does “useful” mean in a capitalist society? It clearly defines who we are now. We keep telling each other what our jobs are or in a way how useful we are to our society. What if these jobs are not actually useful? What if we are working for a machine that doesn’t create anything? What if we removed some parts of this machine? Will it keep working? Are we actually *that* useful?
At this point we imagined a machine that doesn’t do anything but it is working. If you remove some parts of it, it will keep on working. How can we make such a machine? Hopefully we’ll figure out soon.
During our first weekend we decided to read Metamorphosis again in detail. We looked for the themes, symbols and motifs as well as the visual clues in the book. We also did some research on Kafka. We found some of his letters to the publisher and his friends about the story and we were surprised to find that he actually had some suggestions for the books cover. We both took some notes during our readings and started thinking about them.
Some of the highlights: Dreams and nightmares, family, communication, being a human, fear and reaction, rooms and doors, contradiction, absurdity etc.
Here are some of the concepts that we found interesting:
Dreams: The whole story feels like a fever dream. Everything is nightmare-ish and absurd. The main character becomes an insect which is the most common thing we see in the nightmares.
Rooms and the House: We thought of the house as another character in the story. We analyzed how the mood of the characters changes according to the room they are in.
Also the relationship between Gregor’s room and Gregor is very interesting. We find out at the beginning of the story that Gregor locks his door every night. So his room was once a place that he felt secure in, but later in the story his room becomes his jail in a way. Grete locks him up everyday and even though she didn’t, he couldn’t get out. He is desperate.
At the end of the story, family starts looking for a new house. A house that is away from Gregor and the memories.
Communication: Even though Gregor was still a human ( he could think like a human, therefore he could communicate in his own way) his family denied it from the very beginning. His appereance became more important than what he actually is. This reminded us the Space Oddity and Major Tom by David Bowie.
Shifting Authority in the Family:
Death of Gregor set the family and the authority free.Once Gregor became an insect, there was a shift in the authority in the family. He was once the breadwinner so he had the most power. But when he became a bug, Grete was the one to take care of him so she became more powerful. She started working and taking her own decisions. She was becoming an adult, she was also in a metamorphosis. Death of Gregor
While we were thinking about the authority in the house, the pattern reminded us a small hierarchical community. Gregor and the maid represent the working class. Thats why maid was not disgusted by his presence and she was actually friendly with him. The tenants were absolutely angry with the fact that they live with Gregor (who is at the bottom of the pyramid) and they represent the
In Limbo (between human and insect): Gregor has the body of an insect but the mind of a human. He was stuck in between. At one point in the story, her mother and sister wanted to take his painting from the wall. He had to make a decision between giving his humanity away or keeping it so he has a part that is still human. He chose to keep the painting therefore his humanity. We questioned this: “Are the objects that are making us human?”
These are the concepts we found interesting from the book. Next week we will eliminate the best concepts and start thinking about how we can translate them to our project.
Hello everyone. Welcome to our project development blog.
We will be documenting the entire process of the development of our school project Metamorphosis on here. The project is based on the book Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. Our aim is to create an experience design project inspired by the book.