Embodied Speculation and Design Futuring at the Public Library
Research Team: Gabriele Ferri, Jason Fu, Shad Gross, Zan Morris, Nancy Smith, Austin Toombs
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In order to better understand the nature and purpose of communal urban spaces, such as the library, we developed an urban game that utilized a science fiction premise, two teams of players who developed their own fictional characters, and an interactive robot prototype. The robot was designed to support our futuristic narrative which suggested that a team of researchers from the future had been sent back to 2015 because they had "lost the ability to learn or acquire new knowledge" due to a breakdown in their universal knowledge databases. Each team was required to bring "objects of knowledge"--however they defined them--back to the robot, and eventually back to their home world. The robot was controlled by one of the players, and had to evaluate the usefulness of each knowledge object that the players brought back. The game was played in the Public Library, and library patrons were encouraged to interact with the players and the robot. Throughout this project, we conducted interviews, character building workshops, and iterated on a number of design and game concepts.