New Narratives Using Conversational Sculptures

15-20 Minute Paper

Piotr Michura, Academy of Fine Arts, Poland; Stan Ruecker, Illinois Institute of Technology; Gerry Derksen, Ted Pollari, IIT Institute of Design and Scott Audette, W.W.Grainger Inc.

Presenting Author Biography

Professor Gerry Derksen is originally from Canada where he went to the University of Manitoba’s architecture school and later graduate school at the University of Alberta. Currently, he is an Associate Professor in Visual Communication Design and Coordinator of the Interactive Media program in the Digital Information Design Department at Winthrop University. He teaches courses in interactive media, usability, data visualization, as well as some programming and sequential media curricula.

Other Author Biographies

Piotr Michura is a lecturer at the Department of Design Fundamentals, Faculty of Industrial Design, Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland.

Stan Ruecker is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Stan holds advanced degrees in English, Humanities Computing, and Design, and has expertise in the design of experimental interfaces to support online browsing tasks.

Ted Pollari is a recent graduate of the MDes program at the IIT Institute of Design. Scott Audette is Director of Innovation for W. W. Grainger Inc.

In this paper, we describe our recent work on using 3D models of conversation as a research method, visualization technique, classroom technology, and creative practice. Recognizing that although there is a fairly fundamental linearity to discussions, since they occur in sequential time, we nonetheless believe that in many cases the form of the content might better be represented as a sculptural object, where parts of the argument can be modified out of their initial sequence, other parts can be added or subtracted, and gaps can be identified and filled.

As our case studies, we present models created for three quite diverse topics: an informal discussion about design, the bedroom scene from Act I of George Bernard Shaw’s play, Arms and the Man, and an expert help desk conversation at a hardware retailer. We also discuss our experiments in using conversational sculptures with graduate student seminars in design, where the process involved the students building the sculpture as they discussed an article they had read as a homework assignment.