A couple of weeks ago I did my “first” installation of my prototype. And I had a real mix of emotions.
On one side I was proud that I have achieved what I achieved so far. I’m working with totally unfamiliar grounds. Using Unity 3D and game engines are all new to me. And while I have worked before with other programming languages I never worked that technical as I’m trying to do now. So the fact that I had something up and running felt good.
I was also scared from the amount of work that still needs to be done. I’m running against a clock here. Part of me want to stay calm and collected and just power through this. But a small part of me is going crazy jumping up and down with a timer in hand.
The strongest emotion I had though was heaviness of the heart. It is hard to situate myself as a researcher against my research subject which is part of who I am. My empathetic connection goes beyond a viewer and a subject matter. The subject matter is my people. Their stories are my history and theirs too.
In my installation there is an old lady in a refugee camp who says “I have no country, I have no family, I have no identity”. She says that almost without any emotions. She states them as facts. And it just breaks my heart. Seeing her image projected on a large scale made it more impactful than when I was editing her footage on my laptop.
I wander though how who I am is informing my experience of the installation. Even though I created it. Seeing it up and running gave me a different feeling. When I experienced it I wasn’t much of the researcher as opposed to when I’m working on the design.
Does that imply that the projection of my prototype or my installation in fact creates an experiential spatial impact? Or does it clarify that difference between myself and my researcher self. The line will always be murky.
But these questions are important for me to understand my process of design. And it will help me gain better insights as how a designer activist can perform.