temple of self

Design Research | Critical Design

NOTE: The following page provides a synopsis of the thesis, for further detail please visit the MFA thesis website

spin a' yarn: In order to conceptualize body sensing as a practice in future, a narrative based co-design tool was created. This narrative tool is known as spin a’ yarn.

‘temple of self’ is a Far Future research led design exploration, investigating scenarios of mutualism between the biological self and its artificial double in a future when human beings appreciate the possibilities of modification. The focus of this research probes on tracking as a norm in the future.

temple of self is inspired by the Quantified Self Movement, started by Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf. The emerging self sensing and tracking movement aligned well with my interest in wellness. Primary and secondary research on the subject instigated an enquiry about the future of self sensing and inspired by the posthumanist thoughts of Katherine Hayles, I sought to give this science fiction idea a humanistic feel. Combining my backgrounds in design for technology and designing with the people, the project allowed the possibilities for a research led co-design project. Thus, this project is also an exploration in process of co-design or co-creation where I appropriately incorporate into the design making process my knowledge in the research tools from three prominent design methodologies, User Centered Design, Critical Design and Generative Design.

spin a' yarn

At the core of the ‘temple of self’ is uie. This narrative tool known as spin a’ yarn, is a combination of various design and research methodologies; used to engage co-creators in a process of doing, talking and feeling. Undertaking the experience process in unison, the voices of each participant are documented through a series of workshops and interviews. The narratives that unfold using this tool, confront us with startling realizations to about what happens when the body itself becomes the conduit for the artificial self.

The hesitant reflections, cautious decisions and often self recognized contradictions, reveal subtleties of the relationship that the co-creators share with their devices. Living with this hypothetical system and its associated devices, the co-creators begin to experience new lives with their extended selves.

"Sometimes it is nice to press on my finger just to hear myself say there are no to do's."
"It was really strange initially because it felt like parts of my fingers were dead."

"When I was out in the mountains hiking and I experienced the twitches, that moment I realized that I am benefiting from having this system but I also can't escape from it"
"Because it has become such a natural part of my body, so I of thought it was a problem that my body was having and not  something that the system was having"

"…not a place other people would touch, so, sort of my own personal space on my body"
"I started wondering is there a hard drive space, do you clean this up? How much memory and how much back log I want to go through? What is worth recording? What is not?"

"I like the fast pulse, it is definetly like a teacher. It is not whispering into my ears what is wrong but there is enough mystery about it, that it is training me to listen"
""It's like inner Gemma, It just like me but with a more hieghtened awareness of me"


NOTE: This page provides a synopsis of the thesis, for further detail please visit the MFA thesis website

MFA Thesis,
September 2011 - April 2012
Lead Advisor: Ben Hooker
Writing Advisor:  Molly Wright Steenson 
Adjuncts Advisor: Elizabeth Chin and Sean Donahue
Honorary Advisor: Liz Sanders