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Walk Study 2 Frank Feltham 2015

Image Credit: Walk Study 2, Frank Feltham 2015

Lecturers: Areli Avendano Franco and Frank Feltham 

Studio Timetable: Tuesdays 3.00 pm – 6pm & Thursdays 1:00 pm – 4:00pm

Research Partners, Dr. Lian Loke, Health and Creativity Research Node, Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney

We have seen a rapid change in the lifestyles of people living in urban centres throughout Australia. One startling finding is the rise in sedentary behavior due to a minimization of physical activity of the population in these centres, having significant negative health implications. The factors that contribute to a minimization of physical activity are the increase in the computerisation of work and leisure combined with the rise of medium to high density of housing and accommodation. Research has shown that 60% of the Australian population engage in less than 30 minutes of daily activity, with 20% doing none at all. The answer does not lie with increasing organized sport and “designer” exercise activities as time and cost have lead to a relatively low uptake, particularly in the working population. Similarly products in the market such as FitBit style activity monitors have a focus on the performance of personal sporting or activity goals. All we get from these devices is more data, for example the amount of steps one has taken, and there is debate as to the long lasting value of this data for the individual.

We consider there to be more creative and engaging possibilities for physical activity to focus the design of interactive technologies outside of the conventional sporting and fitness domains. For example, incidental activities in public space and the environment like hiking and park walking, eastern movement practices like Tai Chi and Yoga. These activities are not goal directed in the sporting sense but all share an awareness and appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of the movement. They are pleasurable and long lasting endeavors that have social agency and define us as humans.

The aim of this design studio is twofold. Firstly it is to develop your understanding of human movement and its essences, peculiarities and habits and secondly to provide you with an understanding of sensing technologies and their ability to read, measure, track and provide feedback on our location, proximity, gestures and movement patterns. You will undertake a series of workshops to; sensitize and focus your awareness of the kinaesthetic and felt qualities of movement when walking, and to explore the capacities of sensing technologies to record and describe these movements. Using these workshops as a case study you will frame a your project via reflective documentation resulting in a research research report, and conceptual designs as prototypes or scenarios. The aims of these outcomes will be to develop early device and or system concepts to encourage greater levels of creative meaningful physical activity by raising awareness and amplifying the qualities of movement.