22/04/21–10/06/21 (7 weeks)
📃Brief: Design a way to materialise the blockchain.
🤝Group Members: Alex Newson, Tatiana Bohsali, Sue Heeyeon An, Yiwei Han (David).
🤘 External Partner: This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll — Charlie Waterhouse, Clive Russell
A Brixspot for Sharing Joyful Things
This is the last week and we have many tasks to complete. The first thing we need to decide is what exactly we want to put in this moveable self-owned store, in other words, what do we want people to share? Should we choose a specific item in line with Brixton people’s wishes? Or do we choose a theme to share a category of items, such as items that make people happy, your favourite recipes, items that have a history, etc.
Once Sue and I had done our workshop with the only Brixton person in our class, we knew that what each person wanted to share was too individual and unique. Perhaps it would be more inclusive to have a category, so we decided on the theme of ‘sharing joy’.
Our group has been on a quest to be truly ‘decentralised’, to really let people decide what they want, but I find this seems very unrealistic. Even if we do hundreds of questionnaires to collect people’s needs, the final decision may still depend on the majority. Some people’s ideas will always be ignored and it will end up being “majority-centric”.
To take a step back, when we decided to design a mobile store peer for Brixton people, this pre-determined decision was already ‘centralised’. But our intentions were good and positive: to let this ‘decentralised’ thing help people to implement their thoughts or rightful power of designing their own community.
Democracy is “government of, by and for the people”. — Abraham Lincoln
But how to realise it?
Improving the materialisation of Brixspot & Blockchain
After a meeting and discussion, we decided to experiment with a thermal printer to materialise the transactions that people make when interacting with Brixspot. The printed photos of the ‘transactions’ were sealed in a clear acrylic transparency to embody the immutable but public and transparent nature of the blockchain. We also decided to use sound to interact with the donor or sharer to reflect the personality and preferences of the store(the characteristics of a self-owned individual). In addition, we want to use the back of Brixspot as an area where people can write proposals as an materialisation of the part of the smart contract.
The next thing we need to do is to figure out the technical questions, the materials, the measurements of our Brixspot. Then cut, install, test and display it.
1.Get the technology right:
2.Get the measurements right:
3.Get the Sound recording right:
4.Get the making right:
5.Get key components right:
6.Get the assemble and testing down:
We managed to complete the production as expected and the presentation went well. Our partners, Charlie and Clive loved our the “word of mouth” idea to connect people. They also appreciated the format and creativity of our materialisation of transactions and the idea that people could decide for themselves to build the next Brixstop. However, Clive pointed out that our name — Brixstop — did not fit with the idea we were trying to convey. Perhaps a more inclusive, open or decentralised name would be more appropriate. John also pointed out the suggestion that the later proposal boards need other forms of engagement to drive people. Also, If we had more time, we could put it out on the real streets of Brixton to let it interact with more people and do a full analysis from the perspective of a real streetscape. Overall, everyone enjoyed our final design and the thinking that was involved.
As John said, it was a very difficult project and topic. We have carried out system design and social design that hide under this brief, and I think we did really good job about these, a lot of thinkging and discussion, collision and iteration of ideas. But too much rigorous discussion and thinking has led us to neglect time management.
Looking back on the whole project, we spent about 60% to 70% of our time understanding and learning the intricacies and concepts related to blockchain, leaving very little time to iterate on ideas, designing and making. Perhaps next time, we need to have a better big picture view of time planning.
There is still a lot to expand on in terms of how to enhance this project, such as creating a visualisation like photo montage or Super Studio. The printed ‘blockchain’ should have a good home, a museum display? To be developed into a book? It is worth thinking about this as part of the materialisation of the blockchain.
Anyway😉, It was an memorable and fulfilling journey of experimental rebellion~ A big thank you to my teammates, the classmates and professors who helped us with our project and our partner TARR who actively communicated with us🤘!