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AGO’s Best & Worst April 20, 2010

Posted by Magdalena Malik in : Check it out, Exer5 (makeup): Experiencing AGO, Exercises , add a comment

The Toronto AGO gallery attracts many people around the globe every day. The subject matter distributed within its walls carries history and foretells wisdom by the work of unique artists. More than 79,000 creations of artwork are kept and viewed by various collections. These collections range from pieces of European Art to Contemporary, Canadian, British, American, and French work. This list is endless and grows quite rapidly. There is a grand diversity in which people are naturally drawn to. No wonder AGO is so popular!

I have had the pleasure to visit the AGO gallery many times throughout my first year at OCAD. I have studied its paintings, photos, sculptures, styles and various mediums used throughout the artist’s collections. In doing so, I have learned plenty of information and come to establish my opinions as to what I like and dislike about the AGO gallery.

In my point of view, the best aspects of AGO must include the following: magnificent architecture, spacious rooms, classy décor, and of course the artwork itself. The architecture is very intriguing and creative such as one of the staircases located in the center of the gallery. The staircase spins towards the top as a cyclone. Very cool! Majority of the rooms that hold artwork are very grand in scale and create a very airy atmosphere. The gallery itself is very taken care of and clean. Visitors appreciate cleanliness. I admire the fact that multiculturalism is respected. The art stored in this gallery is made from many aspiring and talented artists all around the world! I adore looking at it. The social and cultural diversity amongst visitors is also perceived.

In the contrary, an issue I do have is that many artworks do not exemplify an explanation as to what a certain object, painting or picture are presenting. The deep meaning or message is probably the viewer’s obligation to figure out or think about using personal knowledge. But honestly speaking, some artworks are really tough to figure out. An example would be a metal spoon and chair I viewed at the AGO a couple days ago at the structure department. I really had no clue as to what the display meant. A handy solution would be to place a small description as to what the artist was trying to convey in their art piece. With such statement the viewer can think about what they themselves thought, the artist’s message and the public’s opinion.

Also, I agree with Christina Dery, the gift shop is way too expensive!

The AGO gallery holds many memories and future experiences that are very important to me. It’s a place of history, education, tradition, confession, story-telling, survival and most important, adventure!

Written by Mag M.

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.

Activate!: The best and the worst. April 7, 2010

Posted by Austina Lin in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE! , add a comment

Critically review the Best Overall and Worst Overall project from the whole ACTIVATE! event

Overall from the ones that I tried during activate, I think the best project besides ours is popping the balloon. The parts that work very well are the visceral design, the interaction and the service. Their hosts were helpful and they were actually on their site guiding people, unlike some others that did not really engage users and were wandering around. So they provided a good service. Also I like the decoration of the pots, flowers, plants and balloons. They look aesthetic, colorful and very well organized, thus it engages users viscerally.  During the engagement, user is firstly guided to pop one of the colorful balloons, which honestly is my favorite part, and then once it is popped, there is a message from someone who engaged this experience before. So users can get any kind of message that might be funny, interesting, or maybe annoying, as you might not know what people will write, but it is still an interesting interaction. Then users may either keep or pinned the anonymous note on the board. So the board is also there for users to see other messages. Then after popping the balloon, there are markers and small papers for user to write any thoughts or wise word to the next other users. Then the message is given to the hosts and they will put it in another new balloon. This experience leaves lasting impression to users as they can get an anonymous message or wise words and I think it is an interesting interaction. However, it is true that some people might not want to pop a balloon, as they are scared of it. So not everyone would want to try this experience. But one of the solution could be they put a note saying “pop the balloon or we pop it for you and get the anonymous message”. The hosts could pop the balloon for users who dislike that part and then they can still enjoy the other half of this experience.

The worst project that I tried from activate event is the mood box. At first, the experience looks interesting to me and it makes users feel curious, as there are three boxes and people do not know what is inside. It is clear who were the hosts as they were wearing something like a small box referring to their project on their heads and they were engaging people to try the experience. However, the part that does not work is that the experience does not give users a lasting good impression. The first part where users should roll a big box like a big dice might be interesting. The dice has three different colour, red, blue, yellow on each side and they refer to which boxes users will get into. I got yellow and I went into the yellow box. Inside there is a small screen, and before I was told to wear the headset and put my hands into the small drawer under the screen. So I put on the headset, I heard a woman laughing and the scene was displayed on the screen. Then I checked the drawer and found toys like lego blocks, small little soldier toys. I did not know what to do with the toys, so I put them back. It was confusing and I thought there would be something else happen in the dark small box. After I waited for a while, I came out and asked the hosts if I missed anything that I was supposed to do. But she said no, that’s all and I was supposed to feel happy. So overall this interaction is kind of confusing and unclear. Users might not feel as what they are supposed to feel after engaging the experience. The lego blocks and small toys might not make everyone feel happy and they are irrelevant to the video of the woman laughing on the screen. So it creates a confusing situation to me. Also, users have to bend down to get into the box or space, so it is not accessible to everyone. As a solution to this, they could just make three small spaces for users to walk in instead of bending down. Also, instead of just a video of woman laughing, they can put a video of people making a joke or else, that can really put a smile on user’s face.

Best and Worst of ACTIVATE! (and Why) – due Apr 9 April 6, 2010

Posted by Greg Van Alstyne in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Official stuff from Greg, Proj3: ACTIVATE! , add a comment

For your last exercise you will critically analyze and evaluate results from Activate! 2010.

Deadline: before our next class, 12 noon, Friday April 9

You have two choices:

  1. Critically review the Best Overall and Worst Overall project from the whole ACTIVATE! event. Do this if you saw and tried at least 4 or 5 of the other class projects (not including ours, which is off limits for this review). Did the project engage you in visceral, behavioural and reflective dimensions? Was the concept and mode of interaction clear, and were the touchpoints consistent? For the one that fell flat in the biggest way, what went wrong and how would you improve it?
  2. Critically review the Best and Worst Features of our own ACTIVATE! project, Chaordic Collaboratorium. Do this only if you didn’t see or actually try very many other class projects. Features include: brand touchpoints (were they consistent, appealing, memorable?); qualities such as immersion, sensual engagement, or suspense; human interactions (were the hosts/facilitators responsive, flexible, smart, agile?). Don’t be shy — learning how to critique the good and the bad dispassionately is a valuable experience!

Make sure to substantiate your judgements, using objective (‘the reason why it succeeded is ____’) as well as subjective criteria (‘it made me feel ____’).

Your exercise will be evaluated for:

Email me if you have any questions.

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