Quick and Dirty Thesis Show

To mark the middle of the semester, our school hosted the Quick and Dirty Thesis Show where we exhibited our work so far to get feedback from the community.

We were each required to make a poster describing our project. I saw this as a good opportunity to start thinking about branding. I chose some colors from other visuals I had been working on over the semester. I used blues because blue is the most common color associated with the future (as described in this podcast). I find the structure of knitting really beautiful, so I included an image of a knit stitch diagram. The structure has it's own visual rhythm that represents the physical rhythm that I am hoping to capture.

My Quick and Dirty Thesis Show Poster

Since I just changed my idea, I didn't have much for people respond to. Instead of showing a sketch or model, I posted my mood board. It was just enough visual aid so I could talk about my project without being too prescriptive with the design yet.

My Mood Board

I also made a small poster with the question "Will cyborgs knit?". I am still unsettled on using this formally as a thesis question, but I see a lot of value in using it to start a conversation. For me it is the same as asking if there is a point in time where technology will be so advanced that we no longer perceive value in making things by hand.

My Secondary Poster

What I wanted out of it

Since I had just changed my thesis idea, I was very nervous about how to talk about my project. My previous idea was very straight-forward in comparison, and I had a lot of experience talking about it. This new idea presents a lot of new complexity, which made it difficult to explain, but also touches on a lot of topics that are important to me and that I've been researching for some time.

My corner during the Quick and Dirty Show

I really wanted to get feedback on a demo, but wasn't able to pull it together. The circuit I sewed together was shorting due to the hand movement, and I was still making sense of the sensor data, so the sound wasn't coherent.

What I got out of it

I immediately felt support from the people who visited my station. Even when I was initially stumbling over my words, I got a positive response and had a lot of really valuable conversations. One student referred to my project as an exoskeleton.

One question I was asked was about why I chose sound. I think it needs to be clearer why sound is important to this piece. It also means I should spend more time thinking about that aspect, and if sound is an appropriate interaction for what I want to say.

My classmate Justin was really drawn to my question "Will cyborgs knit?". His response was "can't not knit". He mentioned how the structure is so ingrained into the world, it's impossible to imagine a world that could ever forget or reject it. I think then it is important that we continue to produce it with our hands and pass that skill along, so that we don't risk losing it.

One little user-testing discovery was that people kept putting my glove on upside-down. In future iterations of user testing I will make sure the interaction is clearer.