Field Experiment: Can we initiate interaction with simple shapes and without written signs or verbal cues?
Plan: A 3D “puzzle” with black 2-sided triangular pieces, each with a slot to fit onto another piece, placed in the park and left to the elements and the passers by.
Goals: To draw peoples’ curiosity with shapes unfamiliar in the park setting. To observe how they react and/or interact with the shapes. Will they notice the cluster of black shapes? Will they try to build something with them? What will they do with them? To compare how effective these are in different locations in the park, ie. in the grass, in the path, in the fork of a pathway.
In the grass some people looked curiously at the shapes, but no one ventured off the pathway to get closer. The shapes kept blowing around in the strong wind that day because they were made of black foam core, which was a decision we made based on our budget for these first-run field experiments, not considering how ridiculously light they would be. The movement of the pieces was unintended, but at some times was sort of interesting how they rolled, or how a small piece attached to a larger piece would wave back and forth like a hinge.
In the pathway people also looked at them but did not feel compelled to touch them at all, except for one kid who kicked them. Maybe in the pathway they look too unintentional? Like parts of something else that have blown from somewhere else or been abandoned.
In the fork of the pathway more people were interested, stopped and took photos, but still were very unlikely to pick them up. Though one mother and son did walk over to them and pick them up with interest/confusion for a short minute. We think this location was slightly more effective because it was directly in the line of sight as people chose one direction or the other, and yet looked more purposeful than when they were in the middle of the path.
Improvements for next time: There were very few responses to this project. The pieces need to be a lot larger- the next iteration will be designed in such a way that the pieces can be assembled on site, because transporting them even at this size was a challenge. They also need to be weighted or designed to move in a certain way with the wind.