Enhancing Shared Memories with Children
EVOKE is a culmination of research about nostalgia, a materialized vision of my own childhood, with the goal of connecting parents and their children through lived experiences and shared memories.
This project was completed at the beginning of WFH and COVID-19. Despite the new found challenges of remote work, I completed my capstone project as an introspective examination memories and nostalgia, a thousand miles away from school.
My goal with EVOKE was to communicate my passions for human connections, storytelling, and a true belief that design has impact. With this design I am not solving a tangible problem, but instead propose an enhanced experience in sharing memories in the future.
How might we design an enhanced memory sharing experience between parents and their children, focused on connections through nostalgia.
Children grow quickly,
Memories are fleeting, and often hard to capture.
Memories are usually kept as items, photos, and home videos.
Parents cherrish the memories of their chidren.
What can we do?
The design should be a new experience focused multi-sensory.
The design should abstract memories to create a unique experience.
It is difficult to communicate the value of our memories.
At the beginning of the project, I was also moving. This meant packing up all my things from my childhood home.
My mom and I both put a lot of value in our objects. But we found it difficult to communicate the value of our memories to one another.
Why is it difficult to share the feelings of nostalgia? What about with family?
Nostalgia: a joyous sorrow about times past.
I found it very difficult to map out all the feelings and associations about nostalgia. It is a feel that involves both the past and the present. It can be romantic or about fearing loss and change.
How can I design a positive nostalgia; one that is about appreciating our lived experience, that affords a sense of belonging.
"Your childhood is not your
own, its your parents'"
I mapped some stakeholders for the nostalgia problem space. I was excited by the perspective of parents raising children.
I also mapped existing solutions for shared memory experiences as well as some unique design solutions.
How might parents re-live their memories of raising their children? The sounds of their laughter or watching their first steps?
Parents read children stories, but don't tell them their own.
Parents rarely have the time to capture and save the memories of their children as they raise them. Instead, parents keep the books they read and the clothes they wore as reminders of that time.
Why don't parents share the stories of their owns lives to connect with their children. Story-time could be about their lived experiences.
Trying to capture sensory experiences wasn't working.
I was passionate about the idea of sensory memories. I wanted to recreate memories through alternate senses than sight but the magic wasn't there.
I realized its not about capturing the memories. Instead it needed to be about the sharing of memories. How do I design that experience?
There's magic in telling our stories under the stars
I had to look to my own childhood to find an experience that captured the magic of this experience. I remembered going camping with my dad. We would tell stories laying under the abstract sky and grew closer to one another. We connected through the stars.
Stars as an abstract interface for stories and generational folktales is a magical way to connect. What if each star was a memory?
A memory galaxy. What if each star was a memory?
By looking back to my own childhood I found something really special. I wanted there to be a way to record memories and somehow re-live them. The idea of laying up at the stars gave a sense of security and mysticism. Security that you have all these memories, with the ability to share them.
It is unique and abstract. It focuses on the experience, not the specifics of the memory. It connects parents and children through their stories. But how do you select them?
What if its like a corked jar of memories? Magic wand?
As I started to develop the form of the device, I was trying to understand what sort of form would fit the home. Should it be more like a lamp on a bed side table? Or should it act more as an amazon echo. It needed to be a familiar size with familiar interactions for people to be interested in using the device. But I also wanted it to be magical.
I landed on this ideas of a jar of memories. Something that bellies out to show symbolize its volume. Also informed by ancient urns. Combined with a projects and a magic wand it was starting to take shape.
How it works.
EVOKE acts as a new abstract interface for selecting and re-interacting with previously captured memories. Its projections serve as a storytelling tool.
It tried to use audio recording as queues for lost memories. It hopes to keep parents present without feeling anxious about losing their memories. It also hopes to connect children with their parents by creating a new, unique, and abstract form of memory storage and sharing at bedtime.
Instead of bedtime stories, let's interact with our memory galaxies. EVOKE allows us to look back at our lives metaphorically and enjoy the the stories of where our families come from. why don't we retell and relive our memories. Lets connect without our family through shared experiences in a memory galaxy.
shared -- abstract -- emotional