Archive for the 'Designing For Constraints' Category

GrapeVine Story Box

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Things in my life often don’t go as planned. So it’s no surprise that my final project, art project dealing with romance on its last days of development is hindered by me getting parts. I ask myself questions like “did I move to slow? Did I waste time on research, or was I too set on getting the right esthetics to help complement my imagination?” nut last class Amit reminded all of us to post whatever we had, even for just documentation purposes. So I don’t believe I have anything new to add but in writing this something may come to mind and those who may read this insert may get a general idea of the project and how it can still come alive.

Just to recap, my project is called The GrapeVine files Story Box. It’s an installation and web interface. The installation is an enclosed phone-booth consisting of the old style rotary pay-phone (for nostalgic reasons), with frosted glass with internal lighting from tri-colour LED’s, a scent strip dispenser (various wine smells to help trigger the mind), and a seat so that the user can get comfortable. It’s like a confessional but the stories you are telling are your romance stories, tales-of-the heart, good and bad.
The idea is that a person may have a story they want to tell, even if they don’t know it yet. They go to the phone and using the rotary function, dial their language code. For example, French will be FRA (3-7-2 on the phone). They will then receive a greeting and brief instructions in that language and then proceed to tell their story. As they speak the lights in the booth will change based on the intensity of the story - For now I have to do it randomly. The story gets transmitted to the internet and broadcasted only ONCE to anyone tuned in to this internet broadcast. A URL with station ID will be provided later. The only thing which gets recorded is the language stories are told and is represented in grape bunches on in the web interface. Design to foloow. Users also have the ability to write their stories from the comfort of their private place and others can read those stories posted on theGrapeVine Files website.

This is nothing new, but Amit encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and experience what it is to be on the other side of a confessional. So far my research was limited to the 4th floor of ITP but it did raise some questions particularly by the schools administration and Red Burns. The idea of a confessional makes people very nervous. I will like to continue this beyond class - this semester. I will share those feelings over time.

So, where am I? I’ve been chasing rotary phones. I’ve even scaled it down to a desk rotary phone and, having little cash, I really don’t want to pay much money for it - I am really broke now. But this process have been plagued with unfulfilled promises from sellers who did not deliver. Someone said he will deliver the phone to me on Thursday. I am still looking for one for now.
I’ve been looking into the technology and have consulted with people like Tristan Perich on hacking desk-phone to mobile. I just need the bluetooth function which will interface with a website. I should have spent more time on the technology but I was caught up in the confessional research and the experience. Soon the curtains will close and I need to deliver. But as I said earlier I see this beyond class and this semester and is shaping me in some form. Not sure how yet. All I know I want booths like this in different cities all over the world. And I have to remind myself that it takes time and determination. I will focus on the technology and getting it right. I will be in Europe over the Summer and intend to try the confessional over there. Interested in the feedback and if I will step way out of my comfort zone to make this happen. It may be good for me.

Anyway, look forward to sketches once generated…


Sketches of Grapevine Story Box

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

I am moving ahead with my Grapevine Story Box piece. My next step is to start building the physical unit and acquiring a Phone which I would hack.

Here is the procedure for using the grapeVine Storybox:

Step 1: Enter booth sit down and close the door. Lights will dim in booth.

Step 2: Pickup phone receiver and dial your language code: e.g. For English dial: 364 = ENG. French: 372 = FRA. Korean: 567=KOR. You will then get instructions in that language on what to do next.

Step 3: Tell you romance tale. the abyss is listening and is not judging. Your story goes out into the abyss where it’s broadcast to the open world only once. You have 10 minutes to tell your story. Tell it from the heart if you desire.
There is a tissue dispenser with printed notes. You can wipe your tears if the experience becomes too emotional. or you can wipe the phone after the previous person if that’s your concern. There’s a garbage dispenser for the tissues if you choose not to keep it.

Step 4: There would be a 1 minute promt in which you need to wrap up your story. At times-up the lights will slowing brighten and you leave the booth - ready for the next recipient.


The construction needs to be sturdy enough to fit and hold a suspended chair - initial concept which may change.
Also need frosted glass to diffuse the person inside telling the confession.
It also needs to be outfitted with lights, so there needs to be a close by power supply.
I will use a zigbee for wireless data transmission.
I also need the rotary kind which will correspond to language codes based on numbers. For example, if you are telling your story in English you would dial: 364 = ENG. If in French: 372 = FRA. Korean: 567=KOR, you get the number. hen you select the language code a pre-recorded voice in the chosen language will give you instructions.


I had an interesting experience today. I had an situation concerning the tales-of-the-heart and I found myself in my own on-floor confessional telling my story to my friend over msn. I felt free to express my thoughts due to the illusion of privacy - being on the floor. I cannot go into details but everyone in class should try it out.

Also, my next strategy is to approach bars again but this time offer 1/2 price beer coupons for their confessions. Wish me luck,