From A to B from You to Me was part of the Creating Action Spaces workshop at the Magdalena Festival in Maribor, Slovenia. Our half of the workshop was about people, places and things and how we combine all of these in our daily lives.
Interaction design at its very root level is about exchange, about doing something and something else happening. Its about designing processes, not just things. From A to B from You to Me was about taking us through how we make and experience places, thinking about means of exchange and how the mix of virtual and real in our lives isn’t so easy to sort out a lot of the time. Our jobs as interaction designers are increasingly more about systems than applications, and that’s what A to B from You to Me is about.
You will be put into groups. You won’t really have any choice what group you’re going to be in. I get to pick. It might be arbitrary or it might be deliberate. You can not change your group.
With your group pick somewhere near the workshop. This is now your group’s home. You have to have a reason why that is your home and you have to in some way, shape or form, make it your home. How you do this is up to you.
Pick a place, anyplace that isn’t your home. This is Place #1. You have to be able to walk there though. Meet someone there you don’t know. Create an exchange with them. You might carry their bags for 5 minutes of phone talk time or you might tell a joke for an ice cream. Be creative, that’s your job. Have some fun.
Pick another place. This is Place #2. This place you can’t walk to within reason. It might be in Africa or it might be the post office in your home town. Meet someone there you don’t know. Create an exchange with them for something. Maybe you trade stories, or maybe you answer a question they might have.
Now create exchange with your new friend from Place #1 and the other person in Place #2. Maybe its direct, maybe its indirect. Maybe its physical, maybe its not. What this exchange is or how it takes place is up to your group.
Now go to the other group’s home and try to exchange something from Place #1 or Place #2 with them.
No money or national currency of any sort is to be exchanged in this workshop.
You have to present your system to everyone else. Use whatever you got. It might be software you make or it might be a castle made out of cardboard. Either way, you have to make something that is not a slideshow and is expressed physically.
Ideally, whatever you come up with should be fun. Fun is valuable. What fun means is up to you, but you better have a pretty good explanation.
Try breaking your system, or try breaking someone else’s system. Push your system to see how it degrades or see if it “fails well”.
Design is not just about solutions to problems. A plumber can solve problems. Design is about considered and meaningful solutions to problems.
Here’s what Sara, Nikola, Helena, Josip and Oleg came up with