The Distraction of Anticipation. What is it?
This was the title of my thesis project which was the culmination of completing a Masters in Interactive Media Arts at NYU. While this subject matter is difficult to talk about I felt it was important to do so. My own experience as a disabled person is that I am completely at the command of these issues. The project serves as an art piece to evoke emotions through discursive design and also the first of a potential set of tools for industry and companies that need to gain a deeper level of empathic understanding to help customers with disabilities, which will be all of us at various stages of our lives.
The objective of the project was to recreate the feelings of not being able to have the total lived experience due to the less talked about and more difficult parts of disability that create a constant feeling of a loss of control, in this case bladder control. I created a wearable device that has a timer which is activated randomly. At the end of a random countdown a mechanism bursts a balloon filled with water. The device is worn in a mild stress position, creating a constant reminder of its presence.
Wearing the device creates a feeling of constant anxiety as a result of its random activation and potential for causing the person experiencing it to be subject to the water balloon bursting. This anxiety is a snapshot into how many people with disability live, in a constant state of Distraction due to Anticipation. A state that exists all the time.
The impact of understanding this and other parts of the lived disabled experience will help us as professionals whether that’s in education, in a company or as designers and innovators to dig deeper into how we create meaningful products, services and experiences. I see this project as the beginning of this deeper understanding, a way to get to a deeper level of empathy.
It was a difficult project to execute on from a personal perspective. It would not have been possible to do it without the support of @nyu in particular the IMA program and the Lecturers and Mentors on that program.
This is the link to the project if anyone would like to learn more.