Pleasurescapes


Behind the veil of online anonymity, users can and do engage in fairly intimate, video-based interactions with strangers that appeal to our ineffable, primordial senses of pleasure: ASMR, slime, cats, etc. My project imagines a set of sensory accessories connecting the pleasure obtained from this kind of online content by complementing it with a tangible expression of the sensory experiences represented on screen.


Process


Wk 1-2 Immerse:

Introductory making assignments utilizing live streaming software and equipment for hands-on experiential research and conceptual experimentation.


I’m pretty guarded about my identity online. The biggest way “liveness” features in my life is through my dog Bobo, photos of whom I post incessantly under the Instagram handle @bobos.mommy. So for my first round of making I stuck with what I know best and took the opportunity to strap a GoPro on Bobo, which I had been wanting to do for awhile anyway.


In the second round of making I put together a garden tableau including a quaint flower bed, rose petals for scattering, and a spoonful of peanut butter for Bobo to interact with on camera. I described the scene as being a “pleasurescape” built for him.



I refined this concept by incorporating a bubble machine, slow motion, and Gaussian vignette.

Wk 2-3 Project Proposals:

Use your making assignments and research to propose 1-3 possible project directions for your final project. These concepts must be based on your introductory making research and conceptual experimentation.

Reflecting on the material I’d made up to this point, I saw how my pleasurescapes fit into a broader genre of online content. The pleasurescape genre emphasizes aesthetics and environmental qualities above all else, with very minimal narrative qualities if any at all. In this sense it’s very voyeuristic; it makes an audience feel like participants in a moment in a stranger’s life that’s at once utterly mundane and strangely intimate. Lots of things fall into this category, even though at first they seem unrelated.


Wk 3-5 Prototype/Model:

Narrow to one concept direction based on feedback received in class and use iterative design processes to further develop your concept models and interactive prototypes.

Wk 5-7 Refine:

Refine your project’s final live stream and exhibition.

Materials Used:

  • Unity

  • XFur Studio (Unity asset)

  • Mesh + Object Deformers

  • faux fur

  • GoPro Hero7

  • Adobe Premiere

Project Brief

Broadcasting, narrow-casting, ubiquitous cameras (visible and hidden): increasingly, we are all on camera in one way or the other, nearly all of the time. For many years, however, this phenomenon was understood mostly as something we were all subject to, rather than as something we embrace as a vital part of our social and cultural unedited everyday.


In this studio, we will be considering all aspects of the our new “on camera” existence as subjects for design. The experiential elements of your online presence, your face and body, your in-and-off camera environments - these are all being rethought and remade according to a new brief that addresses not just one, or dozens, of users, but audiences of thousands or millions.

After quickly considering some historical precedent and perspective on this topic (and there is quite a lot: including traditions of theatricality in architecture, costume/masks/makeup/drag, evolutions of metaphor in UX design, set design in film and TV, live-edited sports broadcasting, early experiments in live hosting on the web, etc.) we will survey current and emerging manifestations, from live-hosted massively multiplayer online role-playing games, Twitch channels, IG Stories and Snap and FB live, and more.


At the center of this studio will be making. All students will be expected to throw themselves into some aspect of this topic, resulting in an effectively realized project for final review by outside jury, including some form of “live” manifestation to be shared worldwide.