4. Feedback for Initial Prototypes

I presented 2 ideas on which I had been working on the past week. My first idea was on the topic Meme Culture in Social Media where I started by explaining how I had been interested in memes as a social and cultural form of communication for a while. I began by mentioning my research and what responses I was getting from people on that. I also talked about memes in the context of language and communication, and how the understanding of memes requires a higher level of communicative understanding which comprises understanding humor and sarcasm. Following this, I moved on to my prototyping process which was about me asking my friends to send me a meme about trending topics and then writing a blog article about how someone in the future with no understanding of meme would interpret that meme and write about the history of earth from that.

I got really nice feedback on this idea. One feedback was about exploring different writing projects and styles which other artists have taken up for writing. Another was to study more about social interactions (which relate to both my prototypes) and carry on some research about how people interact with each other and what particular instances from that might be worth looking into.

Other than my crits, a lot of my classmates provided me with good references and ideas for the next steps. Joseph gave me a great link to a discussion thread in Reddit where people were discussing some references to an old meme and the history and origin of that meme. The people involved in the discussion were very serious and as such were talking in a lot of factual terms and the language that I myself was targeting. Shuhao also forwarded a book by Limor Shifman called memes in Digital Culture, which is about the mechanism and history of memes. He also gave a link about the evolution of Pepe the frog, which is worth looking into. May also gave a couple of links for a documentary about Pepe the frog.

I felt for this idea going ahead it would be great to do some research and explore the works of other artists. I think it would be really helpful to me in the long run if I can figure out what would be a bigger direction or end goal for this project and what might this look like in the form of a complete thesis project.

Next, I presented my second prototype which was about a new kind of social media in which I started by telling how I had been wanting to combine social media and tech and explore what technical futures can happen in the realm of social interactions. I showed how I was looking to build simple everyday social interactions in an AR setting with the aim to build a social media platform in AR. On this prototype too, I got some really helpful feedback. One thing that I specifically connected with was that I should focus on building a concept beyond AR. I should target to bring out what interactions, and what concepts I’m trying to explore and then use AR just as a medium to showcase that. Some other thoughts were that both prototypes were more connected than I thought and both could potentially merge. I foresee both directions to be linking in terms of human interactions and social communications. It would be interesting to pick the playful and comical nature from first and build something technical and exploratory like the second. Another feedback relating to the next steps was to find very specific precedents that really mimic the idea I wanted to explore.

I feel in this case, I should step back and try and figure out what concept I wish to build further on. I guess this prototype was more about understanding the tool rather than building a concept and now that I’m familiar with the tool I should focus my energy on building my concept.

Overall the critic was very helpful for me as it provided me with immediate and long-term next steps for both the directions that I was exploring.

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