Research Report: ListeningCups

We welcomed our first artist/designer in residence, Audrey Desjardins in September. Preliminary discussions between Timea and Audrey about possible project ideas quickly had developed in a direction that combined both Audrey’s interest in data captured by smart home technologies and Timea’s interest in translating the lived experience (for example, body motion in space or memories of home) into objects with texture and pattern.

The dynamics of our conversations was inspiring to both of us and thus we decided to collaborate. The week in the studio was intense and extremely focused and it went by quickly. Early on, we decided to limit our prototype project for environmental sounds, which were captured, logged and parsed according to the relationship between human speech hearing and sound volume. We had lots of options for making this data information manifest on the form but decided to focus on writing the gcode directly.

After many iterations, coding and printing tests and refinements, we managed to develop a successful workflow and had a vocabulary of textures at our disposal by the end of the week.

On Audrey’s final day in the studio we were printing a family of cups, which serve as research prototypes. The project, of course does not stop here. There were additional ideas coming out of nearly every step of the way and we tried multiple ways of recording the process as well. The project also gave us an opportunity to seriously investigate the nature of user data captured in our daily lives and the way object, context and narrative shapes the interpretation of this data.