Guided Imagery

March 30, 2010 at 10:15 am (Thesis)

When researching related topics on my dissertation, I found the topic of guided imagery seemed to have some parallels with it.
It is an alternative therapy used to help people with various problems or illnesses. For example it can lower blood pressure, lower stress levels and can help you to reach goals such as weight loss and quitting smoking.
How it works is you imagine a certain image and all associated senses with this image where the goal is to get you into a relaxed and focussed state of mind. The idea is that you mind and body are connected so if you can alter your state of mind relating to your illness or goals it will have a positive physiological response.
This guided imagery has a similar concept to what I am building for my dissertation project. (See Dissertation Blog). The idea behind what I am building is that patients will have an enjoyable experience during the display. It will relax and promote feelings of joy and happiness with both palliative care patients and the elderly. The use of images and stories could have the ability to aid with the patients state of mind and induce a more peaceful mood.
For more information on this see links below.

Guided Imagery Simply Explained……
http://local.yodle.com/articles/guided-imagery-visualizing-a-healthier-life

Here’s a link to a video on Guided Imagery. I’ve tried this and its so effective!……

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What it means to be a designer.

March 29, 2010 at 4:24 pm (Uncategorized)

For me being a designer means creating something that people will find interesting and fun. Its great to have the power to create something that will impact on people lives whether it’s for fun or for a purpose.
As a designer I really enjoy manipulating photos and images and creating something different and visually interesting. I have designed wedding invitations and cards for friends which I love doing. If I have time I enjoy, making photomontages and scrapbooks for family and friends. It’s so nice to give a finished product to people and see their reactions to things you have spent time and effort creating.
Something I would like to do more of is video. I don’t have a lot of experience with it but I’m learning more and more as this year goes on. It helps having great creative people in the class that are always willing to help out.
Web design is another hobby I really enjoy. Ideally I would like to get some industry experience in this area and improve my skills as a web designer, although I wouldn’t hold me breathe in the current environment!
I find designing very challenging because as a designer you have a certain vision and want to apply this to your design but your customer may want something else. You have to have the ability to relate to what your doing and put yourself in their shoes. You also have to be able to really listen to what they want and create something representative of this. The biggest challenge I think is trying to find a middle ground to merge your ideas with theirs without compromising your vision or their expectations.

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Mindmapping

March 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm (Uncategorized)

Mindmapping is an extremely handy way to organise your words and ideas around a central keyword.
I had a look at mindmapping and applied it to this semester in college.

I find this very useful as I work in a very visual way and I like to see things represented using words, colours and images. It gives me quick and easy feedback on a certain topic. With college it helps me to gather and organise my thoughts and see what tasks need to be performed and how many. It also gives me a way to clarify and solve problems with things in general. The real beauty of the mindmap is that it’s so easy to learn. Anybody can use them and cheaply. There is no need for technology or particular software even though these are available.
Here are a few other examples of mindmapping….

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Art Installation 26/03/10

March 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm (Contemporary Art in the Public Realm)

Yesterday we had our art installation in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in UL. There were five groups from our interactive media class with each group using archive material and presenting it in an interesting and interactive way.
We choose to build musical chairs to add a fun element to our work.

The idea was that when somebody sat on one chair, the audio would be activated and the video would be projected in front of the chairs. Then if another person sat on the chairs more video and audio would join and so forth for the other two chairs. We wanted people to feel like they had control of what they were seeing and let them create their own vision. The nature of the video we created was very hypnotic and immersive and we felt had the ability to draw people in and really experience the archive material in a new way.

Technical Stuff….
To start we choose material both audio and video from the archives. We then manipulated the videos in Logic Pro to give them a kaleidoscopic feel. Here are a few examples….

We choose a flute, piano, harp and some vocals for our audio and blended them to interact with the video. The software used to do this was Max Msp. The next step was to build the Arduino, which would communicate between our chairs and the computer. Here’s Brian trying to attach the wires for the Arduino…

We had four chairs so four input/outputs on the Arduino. Each of the four wires on the Arduino went to each chair. We concealed cabling with duck tape and decorated it with piano keys.

Each chair had a concealed micro switch, which activated when pressure was applied. We used a spring loaded hole punch to ensure that the switch would activate but not be damaged when somebody sat on a chair.

These switches and hole punches were concealed using padding and decorated upholstery. The legs of the chairs were decorated with stencilled musical notes, white on black. We choose to place a UV light in front of the chairs to make the notes and piano keys standout.

The video was displayed using two projectors mounted on the wall behind. The use of two projectors really gave an extra dimension to our display as it spanned nearly the entire wall.

Some Thoughts….
The feedback we received from people was really positive. Children in particular loved the seats and kept bouncing from one to the other. They seemed enthralled by the video and kept trying to touch it.
Micheal O’Suilleabhain came to visit our exhibition and was very impressed by our installations. He enjoyed our audio so much he even started singing along with it, which we managed to capture on video! Link coming soon…
He suggested getting a piper to play along with our tracks or a contemporary dancer to add something extra to the experience. It was fantastic to see somebody of his calibre enjoying and getting involved with something we had created.
Overall we felt people really took delight in the whole experience with some people returning a few times to experience our installation again and again. This was great reinforcement that we had created something interactive, fun and interesting for people to see. The only downside was we could only keep it there for one day and taking down after that short time was kind of a let down. There is some consolation in the fact that we will get to display it again in a few months at the buildings official opening, so that’s something to look forward to…J

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