Graphic Design Arnhem Summer Session — Tokyo

The Summer Sessions is a mobile summer school program developed by Graphic Design Arnhem [GDA], ArtEZ University of the Arts Arnhem.

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What

“In this edition of the Summer Sessions, we will use the context of Tokyo as input to explore these new pattern languages. But even more so, we will speculate on how we can dream, build and live with them."

Objective

“To introduce participants to the concepts behind contemporary (graphic) design research, speculative design and design critique, as well as how to integrate these ideas into one’s own design practice.”

Timeline

2 weeks, Summer 2017

Study Abroad

 

Week 1: Research + exploration

 

Week 2: Further Research + Prototyping

There was such an abundance and variety of greenery which lead me to wonder if there were any plants that are illegal to own. I combined this research with the idea of tattooing/tattoos. Tattoos, located on the most visible organ of our bodies, are hidden and highly-stigmatized in Japan due to their association with criminal activity and the Yakuza. I created temporary tattoos of 8 plants that are illegal to own in Japan, juxtaposing deceivingly innocuous plants with an actually innocuous, yet controversial medium.

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To get a more direct sense of Tokyo residents’ relationships with the greenery around them, I conducted ethnographic interviews with locals living near the studio we worked in. My questions revolved around plant ownership and Tokyo's green spaces. This was an interesting experience because of the language barrier.

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Responses

Responses

Final Project: Merging Nature + Technology

After researching the motif of plants in Tokyo, and being introduced to Akihabara, Tokyo's electronics district, I decided to merge these two seemingly contradictory motifs: Nature and Technology.

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To do this, I designed a device that allows plants to use technology to feed themselves, thereby subverting the narrative of both the passive plant and the separation of plant and computer. Using a moisture sensor, motor, and a Freaduino (microprocessor), the device lowers and raises the plant into and out of a basin of water based on the moisture levels of the soil.

Research Wall

Research Wall

Initial Sketching

Initial Sketching

Using a screwdriver to simulate the motor

Using a screwdriver to simulate the motor

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Moisture sensor

Moisture sensor

Planned Code

Planned Code