Design experiments

materialsAfter the last workshop I went straight to the shop and bought some ‘equipment’ to experiment with. I especially like the tiny single punch and propelling pencil. I wanted to try different ways of working with paper in a portable way. Here’s a description of the things I tried. I guessed the air quality from smell.




  • Folding I used standard Post-it notes, wrote the location, date and time on them and folded them. The bigger the fold the stronger the pollution. This gave you little space to write if there was heavy pollution. But I could stick them on a map and get a nice 3d landscape of air quality indications. At the end of the day you can see the course when you stick the notes together as a little book.
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  • Writing
    I bought two different sizes of paper rolls. I wound them around my wrist and tried writing dummy text on them with different colours of felt-tip. The colours indicating air quality. I was surprised how much space I had to write. I had to make sure the paper wasn’t too tight around my wrist so I could twist it. Folding back the paper gave me even more space but this didn’t work very well when you were outside, the long streamer blew away in the wind. Seeing the older values shine through added an interesting dimension. It was a bit of a nuisance that I had to keep a separate legend.
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  • Coding
    I also tried coding the air quality using lines. Longer and thicker lines means stronger pollution, thinner and shorter less pollution.
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  • Medial tape
    The use of medial tape gave a more stable surface to write on. You could feel the chill from the felt-tip when writing which can also act as data, warning me of strong pollution. It is hard to write on the inside of your wrist though. The shine through effect is even stronger here.
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  • Rice paper
    I also experimented with ink on rice paper. Because the ink seeps through on the layer below you can only use one piece of paper at a time. Feeling the ink spread on your skin and watching it on the paper is very exciting and expressive. The results are very artistic. I tried to vary the duration and pressure to express air quality. I’ve worked with lines and stains. Using felt-tip I could and the colour and line length parameters. I ended up with a long line combined with stains where I didn’t move the pen. That’s my favorite because it also has a time element.
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  • Punching
    I used a propeller-pencil for writing and punching holes. I was nice that I only needed one tool to do both. I was a rather painful process so I found a rubber layer to protect my skin. That felt very nice and made the punching much easier. The distance between the holes indicated the pollution, more holes in one line means more pollution. When you turn the paper you get a relief like Braille, this is also an expressive way to work with the data.
    Finally I used the mono punch to punch holes in pieces of paper. This was a bit of a disappointment because you couldn’t really aim where the hole would be. The idea was to make the horizontal punches bad air quality and vertical good. The more, the stronger.
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