for Design Society opening exhibition 'Minding the Digital' at Sea World Culture and Arts Center (SWCAC) between 2017.12.02-2018.06.03

The design project by Hong Kong based creative studio Stickyline aims to promote an urban vision of collaborative society as part of the opening exhibition at Design Society, Shenzhen. It is an experimental spatial intervention which injects communal creative energy into Stickyline’s evolving mathematical paper installation. The algorithmic generation will also be representative of the Pearl River Delta’s urban condition.

Digital Design for Social Purposes Shenzhen and the PRD region are known for its hardware, digital design products and manufacturing industries. However, what forms the backbone of the economic growth also paradoxically leads to other urban issues such as congestion, pollution and isolation. Through this project to be located within the Main Hall of Design Society, digital design will be turned around as a tool to engage the society to reflect upon the urban condition.

It shows the untapped potential of digital design to promote social reflection and cohesion. Participatory design, facilitated by digital processes, is a way to confront urban problems in the future. This paper installation hoping to create a test bed for participatory design which encourage people to engage and involve into social issues that around us.

Critical Making in PRD

In relation to the described need for tactility, the project also experiments with the right balance between the use of digital tools as well as handicraft. The idea of critical making by Canadian scholar Matt Ratto is described as the promotion of hands on productive activities that link digital technologies to society.

This intriguing interplay is a shadow of what the Pearl River Delta is needing –when mass production is being challenged by the uniqueness of maker culture.

While Stickyline’s practice and experimentation informs the foundation of the design, but the audience participates through making shapes from computer numeric controlled cut paper.

Experiential Data Physicalization

In a digital world where screens are dominant, designers have been returning to tactile media to promote a stronger connection to the real world. Through making, touching, folding, audience can build a stronger connection with the design and its inherent meaning.

By translating intangible light data into an installation, design acts as a tool to offer an experiential representation of the urban condition. This encourages dialogues between children, elderly and wider audiences. Design can raise the awareness of the environmental issues to local and global residents.

Through the additional input of multimedia, the paper installation would not only be a pure spatial intervention. At the same time, it will also not be screen-based data visualization. The designers aspire to test out how the combination of media could generate a more powerful, engaging impact in the exhibition space.

Impact of this project:

1. Objective:

- To showcase the power of digital design in addressing urban issues through cross-disciplinary, participatory design as well as critical making practices

- To experiment and demonstrate an experiential, augmented form of urban data visualization which acts as a site for social reflection. Such experimentation is a new horizon for Stickyline.

- To engage with a wide audience into both emerging design practices and social issues

- To showcase the power of co-creative design

2. Goals:

- To enhance social awareness in the PRD community through this spatial intervention and workshops. There would also be talks organized on the balance between digital fabrication and craftsmanship as well as participatory design. This shall take place before and during the exhibition.

- To demonstrate and educate the public about the power of digital design in addressing social issues through the promotion of the exhibition across Chinese and international media

- To go beyond the creative boundaries of parametric design in spatial intervention

3. Desired impact of this project:

Renewed Social Awareness and Cohesion

With community members participating in this paper installation, a continuous discussion of urban issues would kick off from the preparatory stage to the exhibition period. It encourages people from different region, different age group and background to work together on social issues in the PRD region.

Enhanced understanding of design’s mandate

While the PRD’s design practices still remain production-oriented, the project showcased in the major design institution can enhance both the industry and the people’s understanding of what else design can do. It encourages both practitioners and general audience to jump out of the manufacturing model and think about design in terms of social impact, cultural influence, and its relations to craftsmanship.

Design tools can be liberalized to the community and therefore a culture of sharing and creating would be enhanced. It opens up avenues for the empowerment of people’s capabilities through design.

ON/OFF currently displayed in the Main Hall Gallery of Sea World Culture and Arts Center (SWCAC).

Material : Paper / Metal Structure / LED lighting

Size : approx (L)5000mm x (W)5000mm x (D)1500mm *

collaboration : Samantha Wan@Space By Case Design, Jakub Říha

parametric modeling : Jakub Říha

interactive design : Lawrence Lau@Phenomena

text credit : Design Society

photo credit : The Light Particles, Design Society, Ka Ming Li

/ 2017

Minding the Digital Exhibition Dec 2017