Weeknote 14.0

Roundtable critique, scriptwriting, and coming down to the wire.

“You can watch nature age quickly, tying that to human behavior is powerful.” —Tamara Giltsoff

This week, we participated in another roundtable session of critiques with faculty: Chloe Gottlieb, David Womack, and Tamara Giltsoff. I struggle to describe my project with models and diagrams alone, I wish to have the device and user experience video in-hand as an illustration. Despite, I received positive feedback and critique. Chloe asked what the significance of knowing biological age. The answer: someone with a biological age greater than their chronological age reaches death sooner. In January, I had apprehension taking on death as a central theme of this project, wanting to focus on aging. By February, I recognized death is the ultimate consequence of aging. However, in presentation to faculty, I didn’t mention death at all. In future presentations, I must make death as a consequence explicit.

Introduction—The user performs a biological age test.

Conflict—Days later, she receives a mobile alert that her test results are ready for viewing.

Conflict—The sensor display comes to life; a data viz is displayed (Idle Mode); she sees that her biological age exceeds her chronological age.

Conflict—In response, she begins practicing healthy behavior.

Conflict—The system provides feedback.

Conflict—Over time, her biological age begins aligning with her chronological age.

Climax—Her biological age aligns with her chronological age.

Resolution—In time, her biological age becomes less than her chronological age.

Fig. 1

I began scriptwriting last Friday. I’ve written several scenes. The most ambitious occur over weeks and months at a time. Classmate Benjamin Gadbaw observed: “Showing time passing in video is really hard.” Agreed, and vexing. I hope to depict an interaction model that occurs over days—tomatoes synthetically ripened in a period of 24–48 hrs—, and how the display can affect behavior change—which occurs over days, weeks, months. Other shared characteristics: scenes follow a classic narrative arc (Fig. 1) and occur in a variety of settings. This week, I’ve been scouting several locations: a fictional Apple Store, a design studio, a kitchen. In the Apple Store, an actor and voiceover will introduce each of device’s touchpoints; in the design studio, a connection between a clock—an appliance designed and pre-configured for a single use—and the device.

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

On Monday, I scouted Studio Chameleon, a professional photography studio. My criterias were space, backdrops, and controlled lighting—things the location of the previous shoot lacked. (Fig. 2) The north corner of the studio also had the potential to be transformed into a studio setting. (Fig. 3) It was perfect. I promptly made a downpayment to shoot all day Saturday with Paragini and crew.

Fig. 4

The remainder of the week involved recruiting and managing others: camera operator and video editor Yasunari Rowan agreed to fill the Director of Photography role, Christine Wong-Yap agreed to wrangle the shoot. On Monday, I received word that fabrication of the device, the essential prop, was behind schedule. Thesis advisors Jen Sutton and Martin Sullivan were scrambling to ensure that it would be in my hands by Wednesday. Half of the parts were delivered by then, the other half arrived the morning of the shoot. It is incredible how weeks of design, iteration, and fabrication came down to minutes. Assembling the device for the shoot was the first time I’d seen it in a form other than a 3D rendering. (Fig. 4)

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

The shoot went went smoothly and the footage that we captured exceeded my expectations. I worked through the night and morning prior, condensing the script down to two settings: the fictional Apple Store and a design studio. In the process, I killed many darlings, the biggest of which include scenes depicting behavior change occurring over long periods of time. Instead, I focused on depicting the prototype simply existing in an adjacent future. (Fig. 5) We arrived at the studio at 8:30 in the morning and shot until 5 in the afternoon. The actor, Paragini Amin, appears stunning. Yas Rowan captured shots I would have never thought of. (Fig. 6) And, Christine Wong-Yap worked tirelessly behind the scenes.

We packed up exhausted, dropped off all of the equipment and props my apartment, and ended the day at the Bohemian Beer Garden.

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