By Alison Kotin
Students at the Dynamic Media Institute
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

The Design Studio I assignment asked first-year students to explore place, space, and time through the language of mapping and information architecture. My final work for “You Are Here” is a playful interface for users that combines the visual language and rules of play of Tetris with a collage of sounds gathered from my daily commute.

The goal of the finished piece is to explore how simple digital games can evoke a contemplative state, in response to my own experience of a work and commuting schedule that precluded opportunities for reflection or meditation. My research process involved exploration of two parallel but (at first) unconnected areas of interest: opportunities for portable digital devices (phones, iPod, etc) to act as tools for meditation and contemplation, and the repetitive and cumulative nature of a routine commute into and away from the city. These ideas became one when I was inspired by Arnold Pacey’s Meaning in Technology (Cambridge, MIT Press: 2001): “Something about puzzle-solving and certain other challenges also, encourages an especially engaged and focused kind of thought.” After conducing an exercise in contemplation through repetitive motions with the help of my classmates, I determined that the familiarity and simplicity of Tetris made the game an ideal vehicle for my project.

Please visit dynamicmediainstitute.org/projects/you-are-here for detail project infromation.

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