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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.

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 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! Latest Buzz on the Best & Worst. April 8, 2010

Posted by Talia Claire Dimerman in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Proj3: ACTIVATE! , add a comment

Activate! was an exhausting – yet exhilarating experience. I had the opportunity to try out quite a number of projects done by other classes, and was excited over some more than others.

I was immediately attracted to “WTF” (What the Fact?). I would say this one would come close as the Best Overall project of the ones I took part in / observed (aside from ours of course – which ranks #1 in my books) – as I was instinctively intrigued. What the Fact? was the experience project setup directly next to ours, providing a great visceral reflection through the tent-like structure, with yellow and red stripes. Immediately I see two hosts, one standing on either side of the main entrance, motioning me to walk over and enter. They appear friendly, but limit the information they provide me with prior to entering. Not completely clear on what is expected to happen – as there is clearly something enclosed within the drapery, I grab a friend and enter inside. Before my eyes is this huge, glaring monstrous face gazing at me. I was instructed to push on a button. It made me feel nervous, tense, and was afraid the first time around entering that if I were to push the button, the huge face would do something crazy like have smoke coming out of its nostrils. In the end, it simply dispensed a little envelope (stamped with “WTF”) with a card inside – on it a random fact. I was completely relieved! For instance, would you have ever thought that…?


A rat can last longer without water than a camel.



A hungry wolf can eat 20 pounds of meat in a single meal, which is akin to a human eating one.

I believe it succeeded because of multiple elements – the project was interesting, random, completely in keeping with the title, and certainly made my heart pound. I entered, was engaged with the mechanics and visceral components, and exited to show my friends the random facts that I had obtained. Of course it may have ruined the anticipation for them, but I was caught up in the excitement. When reflecting on the project, I see that the title has a nice play on words – the “what the f” is usually associated with someone being surprised or shocked at hearing or seeing something. One would assume that this phrase would end with the f word, but the word “fact” fits in nicely here as that is what we were provided with. The surprise element remained intact.

I feel that more could have been done with “Moodcubed”. There were quite a number of visceral elements, as they firstly did a very nice job of advertising prior to (facebook event page), and had students from their class walk around between 12 – 3 pm with intriguing cubes on their heads, trying to pull us towards their event. This worked as I walked with someone in their class over to this, and saw a student standing on a box. She had a great personality and was shouting to get others to come over. I was slightly confused about what to do next. Someone else instructed me to roll a fairly large dice. I rolled it to reveal a specific colour, and was then motioned towards one of 3 boxes standing up that matched the colour I had rolled. It took me a couple of seconds to realize I had to go underneath the box. Part of the behavioural experience was to put on a pair of headphones while surrounded by darkness – and listen to the sounds of cars zooming past one another, linked with a small screen (attached as part of the structure) providing a video loop of cars continuously in motion on the streets. After approx. 15 seconds or so the video loop stopped – so I presumed to take off my headphones and leave.

I thought there would be another element. Something that would help me end this experience feeling satisfied / having taken something away – maybe an interpretation or an emotion. I was unsatisfied as I had hoped to get something interesting out of it – especially because this project had been built up so nicely. I didn’t feel a great level of excitement – as there should have been a strong engagement factor than just watching cars and listening to the sounds they make. I exited confused – trying to grasp onto something to take away from it. Maybe it all revolved around chance and how that links with information, but my mood didn’t quite change. Maybe if the experience were to involve what was under all 3 boxes / cubes, there would be something more intriguing or exciting to get out of the experience.

Sorry for a lengthy post – however wanted to express my thoughts in great detail. And wanted to finish with a thank you to everyone in our class as I believe our experience was one of the strongest – and thought everyone worked well together.

Activate: The Good and The Bad. April 8, 2010

Posted by Vanna Carmina Caralipio in : Check it out, Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Proj3: ACTIVATE! , 1 comment so far

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

In my opinion the best in the show would have to be the class project called “What the Fact?”. I felt this one succeeded the most in the show. The visceral design of the yellow and red tent was attractive and caught my attention. There was a close connection to resemble a carnival or circus, and bringing that experience in this enclosed space. The suspense feeling came to me as I was waiting to go in the tent, asking myself why lies behind the curtain. When I entered I was surprised that it was a robot head that when you push the button it “spits out” a random fact. Their concept came out loud and clear, understood what they were trying to convey. When receiving the fact you instantly think “wtf?” than it relates back to their title “what the fact?” I found it quite humourous. This was consistent throughout the whole show. The experience cycle they created was interesting and successful because the attraction was eye catching as well the host were able to get the attention of others pretty well. When entering the tent and finding the head became more interesting, able to interact with the head and getting the fact continued the experience. When finally leaving the tent the expression on your face gave the others that were waiting more interest to enter. As for the extension people all over the event wanted to try this project out. Overall it was fun and worth the wait.

In my opinion I felt the project that didn’t have a big impact to me was the white box. The visceral design was too flat and not that noticeable to people unless you actually looked down at the floor.  From what I saw I didn’t fully understand why there was a white box and what the viewer or the person that was experiencing it was suppose to do. The mode of interaction wasn’t clear and there wasn’t anyone to answer the question I had. Unless you were invited in the facebook event there wasn’t any informantion on this project. I would have improved it if there was a bit more promotional aspects or some sort of info about it. There was no experience cycle for this project, nothing was clear to me. From what I saw for myself not a lot of people were noticing the box or were avoiding stepping in the box. Overall there was a lot of confusion and unanswered questions.

This event was fun to see what every class have done. It was interesting.

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.

By our powers combined…. ACTIVATE! April 7, 2010

Posted by Calvin in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Proj3: ACTIVATE! , add a comment

I had the pleasure to sample most of the projects in the great hall. Unfortunately I totally forgot there were more in the lecture hall. This review will focus on my overall impression of what worked and what didn’t and use certain projects to illustrate in more details.

What worked:
> Good attraction: Projects that are raucous (the Protest?), had line up (Elbow’s Deep), had good hosts (WTF), and/or visually intriguing (balloon popping), got my attention right away.
> Continued engagement with a human: Elbow’s Deep (the one where you put your hand into a box while blindfolded) has a host talking to you throughout most of the experience. Human interaction often is quite memorable. This is not to say installation type that is purposely isolated (ex. Emotion Box) are failing. It’s more like if there is a host is she/he attending to you instead of looking around and “abandoning” you.
> Interesting concepts: can be mentally interesting – a random fact (WTF) – or viscerally – popping a balloon.
> Good extension: A take away to show your friends works also as attraction (paper slip from WTF). A record of your engagement also helps keeping the experience in the memory. For example, it just so happened I cut myself the next day and I used the Band-Aid from Elbow’s Deep, who knew!

What didn’t work:
> Bad host (unmemorable attraction and engagement): Some project like the cross-word one had very lazy hosts. I stood there for a while looking for someone to explain what to do and no one was there. I ended up walking away without trying. The balloon one is interesting enough that I asked around myself for instruction, but then the host just talked and left – I felt slightly “abandoned” and the human interaction was incomplete.
> No Attraction: several projects seemed to be content of not advertising itself in anyway (for ex. The Diary and the cross-word one; I tried neither).
> lubed condoms: my hand smelled nasty after touching them! (Elbow’s Deep) (Technically this worked great for a memorable experience)

What can be improved:
> Short experience that are relatively linear: most of the experiences did not require long attention span and are very straightforward. You pop a balloon, or you press a button and receive an envelope, and you are done.
> Entry and Exit experience is mostly sidelined: If there is some sort of narrative so there is a more thought out beginning, middle, and end of an experience (entry, engagement, and exit), and if they are linked together coherently, the experience will be stronger. It’s possible with the short time frame we had most teams only have enough time to think of the engagement.

It’s interesting that a lot of the ideas in the great hall came up in some form during our class’ brainstorming and prototypes! (knowledge booth, fear box, emotion box, maze)

My 2 cents.

In the Book of Life… March 8, 2010

Posted by Lucey En Chung Kim in : Exer3: User Scenario, Exercises , add a comment

The Problem

Creating a prototype that helps to bring out the various emotions of the user similar to emotions experienced in real life, like frustration, happiness, satisfaction, confusion, etc. 

The Object

A small booklet with a set of various questions with mathematics and riddles.  A calculator is provided on the side for help when needed.

The User Experience

The user sees a booklet set on a table with a pencil and calculator beside it.  The user reads the cover of the booklet, which says “LIFE”.  The user then curiously opens the booklet and sees that there are instructions on the first page that reads, “Please flip to the next page and answer the following questions to the best of your ability.”  As the user starts answering the first couple of questions, they are satisfied and very ecstatic that they are able to answer the questions with confidence and ease.  But, as the user continues, they find that the questions start to get a bit harder.  When they get to the harder math questions, those instructions tell the user that they can use the calculator for assistance in solving the problem.  Satisfied that they were able to get through the questions with the help of the calculator, they continue to answer questions.  But, the questions don’t get any easier.  The user becomes more confused and frustrated not being able to understand the questions.  The very last set of questions, instructions say that the answers and help is in the back of the book.  Once the user realizes that they can’t figure out the questions alone after so much persistence, they go to the back of the book.  What they find is a blank page with only the subtitle, “ANSWERS”.  Feeling deceived and defeated, they also read that on the page, there’s the metaphor, “In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back”.

After reading the metaphor, the user realizes why the cover page read “LIFE”.  Then the user reflects back on how similar their experience in life is to their experience of answering questions in the book.

Are the machines doing men’s job? March 5, 2010

Posted by Kyung Eun Park in : Check it out, Exer3: User Scenario , add a comment

“Men have become tools of their tools” ~Henri David Thoreau

Up until few years ago, it was hard to imagine people owning their personal digital cameras because back then, the digital cameras were bulky and expensive. It is not very long people started using digital machines as their other selves. As technology rapidly develops, the clever companies expanded their consumer targets to ordinary people and started producing digital machines that are inexpensive but still have great functions and machines that are convenient to anyone. Technology is still improving every second.

The problem

To create a prototype that reflects the relationship between the men and the digital technologies these days.

The Digital Camera

A typical digital camera is on a tripod. The LCD screen of the camera is switched to the image playback mode that displays the image that the user just took. The digital camera represents the brain.

User Scenario

A user enters the room and notices that there is a digital camera on a tripod. In front of the digital camera, there is a table that is set up with some objects that triggers the user to take a photo of it. The user switches to the image playback mode unconsciously to check out if he/she captured the image correctly. From here, the user experiences that the machine is doing what men had to do –memorizing the moment. People are dependent on technology as it improves frequently.

I found an interesting blog that talks about Appropriating the body as an input surface. It’s pretty amazing and scary at the same time that technologies are developing..


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