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Best and Worst of the AGO April 20, 2010

Posted by Christina Mary Dery in : Check it out, Exer5 (makeup): Experiencing AGO, Exercises , add a comment

AGO logo

Having been to the AGO many times, this trip in particular opened my eyes to the positive areas of the ago as well as those that need to be improved on. My first impression when i entered the AGO (entrance) was that they have a quite attractive design in the lobby with clear signage for each area and where each thing is located. They have the signage in both English and French (which most likely excludes many people in Toronto, since it is so multicultural). The one thing that I really like about the design is that the ramp is designed in a fun, unique way (but may be annoying for people in wheel chairs because it has a winding path). Another thing i like is that they use nice bright colours for the signs above the areas. Although the lobby is always quite busy, this visit was extra busy with all the various school trips.


AGO ramp

Inside the AGO there are various architectural  elements that are really quite fascinating. The winding wooden staircase is my favorite part of the architecture. It not only looks nice but also doubles as an attraction where on the upper levels the staircase goes outside the building and offers an incredible view of Toronto and OCAD of course. This provides a reflective reaction in that the participant in the environment reflects on the view and creates an emotional reaction.


AGO staircase

The main part of the attraction to the AGO of course is the art. Art itself in a gallery form mostly provides the viewer with a reflective reaction as the viewer reflects on the meaning of the art, the reasons it was done, what the artist was thinking, how it relates to them and culture/society, etc. Many pieces also trigger visceral reactions as well because art has to do with the way we perceive things based on look, feel and sound.  Some pieces of art provide us with behavioural reactions but very few do since it has nothing to do with appearance, it has to do with function and use. Some pieces that are interactive may trigger this but it could also be applied to the elevators and listening devices and other technology that the AGO use within the building (universal design: meeting needs, providing feedback, and functional).

I think the worst  part of the AGO was that sometimes i found myself lost like i was in a maze, so it is hard to navigate especially if it is your first  time being there. The areas are kind of all over the place and sometimes you end up in areas that you have already seen. With this problem there is the possibility that you may miss some art.

Another thing i did not find particularly appealing was the gift store because everything is extremely expensive (i know this is where they make a lot of money, but many things are over priced and you can pick them up at the book store for much less.)

Going on this trip through the AGO and being more aware of my environment and experience actually was quite interesting and made me notice things that i never really thought about before. Overall I think the experience is quite good and provides a positive learning experience as well. 🙂


AGO building


Posted by Magdalena Malik in : Check it out, Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Exercises , add a comment

I found Activate! to be an event where many unique and talented people came together to establish a fun yet interesting experiment. The sense of partnership in our community brought out excitement, motivation and intrigue into the project. Support and initiative played an important role in managing such a collaborative booth which I must say looked awesome!

In my point of view, the best and not-so-good qualities of our Activate! show must have included the following…

The attractive colorful design of the Chaordic Collaboratorium booth was visually appealing. The visceral effect of the neon colored papers created interests that pulled viewers in. The cycle of the experience itself was a bit confusing. The users did not quite understand the linkage of Chaos to Order. The topics in the booths were narrow. I believe that if the topics were much grander in the sense of allure then the users would come up with stronger ideas. The magazine cut-outs were engaging and questioned the audience. Inside of our booth the components of light, sound and touch were visceral aspects that intensified the atmosphere of chaos leading to order. Attraction, engagement and creativity played an important role in making this process work. I am very proud of our booth and ambition we all contributed to making it great.

One of my favorite booths would be the one named “WTF?” The slogan or phrase was very catchy and automatically made you think and wonder what the point of this was. This was very successful in engaging an audience.  The circus-like fun colored tent consisting of red and yellow inspired me to go and check out the experience. The “What the Fact” phrase made me laugh!

The Mood- Cubed Box Booth made me a bit confused and the process was infinite. It took a while. The visceral points should have been more clarified and exciting in my opinion. The brown box underneath the die was visible and lacked a certain sense of sophistication. The design wasn’t that good. I am 5’9 and trying to get underneath the box was a bit of a struggle. It did not make me feel as excited as I probably should have been.

Generally, The Activate! project was very amusing and I had a great time working with our class. I never did this type of project before and now must say that it was a totally great experience! 🙂 🙂

The Best and the worst of Activate April 8, 2010

Posted by Junbo Dong in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE! , add a comment

The Best and the Worst

It’s quite interesting to attend such an activating movement. We work together, practice and participate together. I have learned a lot through the practices in this process.

What’s the best?

The best for me is the project, “thought pop” that’s close to the coffee room. The reason why it succeeded is its pretty device, agreeable host and  clear concept. Firstly, the decoration of the project is very attractive and lovely. The man-made elegant flower ornaments and the painted clay pots displayed a comfortable feeling to viewers. I think that they placed the used pallets as their foundations. It is a smart idea of using wastes as it’s eco friendly. Also, it gave us a bit of taste of country style. Secondly, the host group of the project was great. They gave clear directions to the users and asked us if we wanted join the extra lucky draw. Lastly, the metaphor of the project is lucid. The user would have a random note from the broken balloon after popping one. It could be an idea, a thought or an interesting thing. You can keep the note to yourself or let the host staple the note to the board, they would then write a new note to put in a new balloon.  I lean towards seeing a thought or an idea which would put you into an unknown situation. Then your new note is the connection, relate the next user and wait him/her to find a new idea from you. The player is the part of the project. He is not only a participator, but also a connector. The interactions from the host to player and the player to the next player are fascinating.

I think our project was also one of the best. We created two rooms to represent different metaphors: chaos and solution. The closed atmosphere made it attractive to the players and filled them with curiosities, so they would want to participate. The project uses multiple media to help creating the metaphors. The interaction is meaningful to the user. I think we can improve the material and the aesthetic aspect of the project.

What’s the worst?

I think the worst is the white box near the entrance. As a matter of fact, I do not know the purpose of the white box. No host and no instruction near the box. Some sound can be heard when you pass through the box, but the sound is not very clear. I think that is another part of the project mood boxes. I found out that was an image catcher inside the box at last. However, I still have no idea what the intention was. I think it needs some instruction or host to tell user what is the purpose and how to play the project. Additional, if it would show some feedback to make a circle then it will be a better one.

We’ve been Activated April 8, 2010

Posted by Shaili Chibba in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Exercises , add a comment


The best Activate! project for me is “What the Fact” that was located immediately beside us in a circus tent. The presentation was intriguing, and prompted a visceral response of excitement and nostalgia. It not only triggered memories of childhood and carnivals, but I want to see what the class had done to transform the classic experience. Walking in I was surprised to see a large totem like figure with a “Push Me” button on it. So far the experience was mimicking a circus fortune teller, but this was soon enhanced by the output of a fact rather than a random fortune as a result of pushing the button. Behaviourally, the piece was evidently analog and controlled by a person hidden behind it, but surprisingly executed in a professional manner. The person was never visible, and the output of the fact was smooth. The class’s choice in using facts was very smart, as reflectively I have been looking back on it quite a bit and appreciate the little fact that “horses can’t vomit.” It was not only something I had no idea about, but fun, light, and interesting. The execution was simple, captivating, and straight-forward with a tinge of the wow effect.

The worst project for me would have been Designers Against Art. Their advertising was effective in tricking people to believe that it was actually real, however their execution was poor. It was loud, annoying, and ineffective. That approach may have gathered attention at the beginning, but soon the chanting merely fell to a dull background roar. A better method to undertake their message would have been to be as clever, subtle, and underhanded as their advertising. The loud, and repetitive only gets so far before it’s blocked out, but something that almost subliminally tricks the individual into supporting the concept, believing that this is the right message and how could anything else be better, is not only strong, but good propaganda. I believe that they should’ve never revealed themselves as a part of Activate! and thus delivered a so much more authentic experience. One which wasn’t eradicated once people knew that it was simply a project, and so could be ignored.

the best and worst of Chaordic Collaboratorium April 8, 2010

Posted by Christina Mary Dery in : Check it out, Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Proj3: ACTIVATE! , add a comment
First I would like to compliment the publicity team for their great job at creating nice contrasting and colourful posters. Of all the projects I think our poster stood out the most (although there could have been more put up). Not only the posters but also the awesome job at documenting the entire event from set-up to takedown through photographs and video. The Collaboratorium itself with he bright paper with words created a nice touch to the brand and it attracted people to the booth.
Overall i think our booth design with transparent walls with magazine cutouts really appealed to people and created a sense of wonder.
The experience cycle for the participant was lacking in terms of the experience itself until the end and the reason for this could have been because many people did not fully understand the link of the first room (chaos) to the second room (order). Most people just walked into the chaos and right away wanted to walk through to the order room, not noticing the message that was being conveyed through the images and the chaotic lights and sounds.
In terms of the challenge to challenge other people, the experience was successful because once people found out that the previous group had given them the words, they realized that they wanted to top it and create a more difficult experience for the next group. In terms of extension, this could have been more successful if  the words were chosen by us and they had specific links that they had to figure out because many of the phrases people came up with were not very interesting in my opinion. I think if there was a definite answer to each linkage of words then people would have tried harder and their minds would have been more engaged.
Overall I think the experience was no the worst because certain areas really worked while others not o much, but i think people had fun and enjoyed the game type experience. Personally i think the only reason it did not work so well in certain areas was because we did not have control over our environment such as lighting and also our time limit. All taken into consideration i think we pulled it off and put on a good show; after-all we did have a line-up most of the day! 😀 Hosts did a good job aattracting people and once the show got rolling we were able to explain the challenge effectively so that people understood.
Good job everyone! it was a great experience 😀

Activate – Best and Worst April 7, 2010

Posted by Jessica Toye in : Check it out, Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE! , add a comment

They best for me, was the circus “What the Fact” tent next to ours – why? Because it really looked great. It looked well put together, and this won it over because I thought most of the experiences and what classes were trying to communicate about information was lost, and the concept was not clear. The gained much attention from the hosts luring people in by yelling, and obnoxious whistling (but this worked wonderfully), and their overall look was impressive which gave a great visceral reflection. When I first entered the tent, the flaps were closed and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I liked how there was a roof, and you felt alone. I was so distracted by the giant face staring back at mine, than it took a good 10 seconds for me to realize the giant button that said “push me”, which was an obvious welcome to test your behaviour – just push the button! I loved how there was another person hiding on the other side working the mechanics, and each fact felt personal. It felt nice being handed a little envelope marked with an individual stamp, and opening a fact no one else was going to see.

The worst was the mood box. It seemed like there were steps, and elements that were not necessary. I didn’t like how you had to roll a die to decide what mood they wanted you to feel. I think being able to feel all the moods, and relate or contrast each mood would have created more of an effect. Instead, you threw a die (which was also falling apart) got a colour, waited in line if someone was already occupying the colour, and stood in a dark box listening to music relating to a video. From outside, it did not meet my visceral needs – the die falling apart with brown cardboard boxes with a few coloured highlights. There was no interaction except for the die, roll it, then go under, and not much else to do but watch a looped video. One large problem was that I entered the box when the video was between loops, and i stared at a black screen for about 25 seconds before I realized there was actually something to watch. There was no great feeling, or something to compare it with.

The Best and the Worst April 7, 2010

Posted by Danyang Zhang in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE! , add a comment

The best overall project

The best activate project according to me is the one next to ours. Their tent is beautifully built with attractive colours which are yellow and orange. It definitely has a circus feeling that add to the visceral design of their project. The fact that their tent is completely covered up add suspense to their project which arise our curiosity. When I was lining up for to see what is in their tent, I ask to the host what do I need to do in there. She only said “you’ll find out”. There were two hosts standing at the door. When I entered the tent, there is a machine like object. There is a handle that says “push here”, so I knew right away what to do. The interesting part is that after I pushed it, a small envelop come out similar to the effect of money coming out of an ATM machine. I thought this is clever. It seems to be mechanical. However, I went to the back of there tent. There are actually two people loading the “machine” with the small envelops when they see people pushing the handle. It does effectively create a mechanical effect. However, there branding and marketing strategy are not that successful. During the day of the event, I did not see any of their advertisement. Also, they did not even put there logo or name around their tent. Only the small envelop says WTF, which I did not really know what it actually means. By the way, on the small envelop, there is a card stating some kind of fact. On the behavioural level, there machine does function very well. The statement on the card might mean something but does not efficiently send the right message. One thing is interesting though. The day after the event, I saw their poster on the wall of the Annex building. It is small but very well designed. I found out that their name is WTF What The Facts. Even though I have seen this after the event, it does help me remember their project and find out their brand name as I was wondering what WTF means for their project.

The worst overall project

The worst activate project, acording to me, is the Design Against Art one. In contrast to the overall best one, they have quite a good branding and marketing strategy. They have many different posters.  But I think they have too many posters so that it does not look unified. Also, they make a lot of noise….even though it’s intended but it kinds of bother other group. By the end, their group members are all over the place. I did not have a clear idea of what they are doing. The most important thing is that I do not understand why they choose to protest against art. What’s wrong with art programs in our school? They did not explain concretely why we should protest against art. To make it better, I would state many reasons that support the point of the protestation. They probably should make a stronger statement by giving a more convencing and formal speech. They should reduce the number of their different poster and stick to maybe one or two designs. In addition, they should involve more the audience in their protest.

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