One of the reasons for cho osing to wor k with this theme is that
I have tr avell ed qu ite a lot together with grou ps of people, for
lo nger and shorter periods of time and distances. One of my
observations befor e start ing this pro ject was t hat activities like
travel lead to a heightened activity of documentatio n. People want
to r emember their exp eriences, and phot ogr ap hy is a great media
for assisting memo ry.
Another observation is that intentions of sharing pictu res with
each other are often br oken, and content of interest to o thers in
the gro up are stuck on memory cards o r hard drives for ever ( or
until the media stops working - which is not t hat long).
Why L ond on?
When the interaction cl ass at AHO was go ing to L ondo n for a
study trip in March, it seemed like a great chance to get a fresh
set of pictu res t o wo rk with. This was interesting type of event,
in that it invol ved several peop le, do ing things both to gether and
in smaller gr oups. People were responsible for their o wn tickets,
so they arrived and left London at different t imes, which would
pr oduce a complex dataset. And of cour se, the educational content
was also a great bonus.
Joining a group of
stude nts to London,
to get h old of th e
the y pr oduced.
Ca s e: Lo ndon s tudy tr ip
Before the trip, I issued a survey to the class, to pr epare for the
types o f data they would pr oduce, and to learn ab out their hab its
and at titu des to wards photography and sharing. I also asked them
if I coul d coll ect their pict ures and any other dat a they would
pr oduce, after the trip. E veryone agreed to give me all or most of
their data. The survey and the result s are included in the ap pendix,
so I will not go into detail of that here.
I did not put any restrict ions or leads on how they should
behave, or what to document. As described in my ‘mo del fo r
refining experience into sto ries’ in my p rogram, I believe that
docu mentation shoul d be non-intru sive to the r eal experiences.
What is considered intru sive, is of co urse very subjective, and
creating too ls fo r docu mentation t hat peop le accep t and enjoy
cou ld be the basis of whole ot her pr oject.
I asked peo ple with smartphones if they wou ld run an app called
Op enPaths in the background, to collect GPS-co ordinates. This
app is designed to p reser ve batter y life and p rivacy. I t produces less
accurate result s that other locat ion tracking apps, but is p ossible to
use, as it does not dr ain a phone in a coupl e o f hour s. Due to some
technical issues, onl y one p erson o ther than me tur ned in locatio n-
data. One p erson also gave me a list of checkins fr om Fou rsquare.
While in London I not iced a coupl e o f things in r elation to how
the class was docu menting. First, taking pictures becomes a social
thing, and a sort of cultu re within the group arises. Peopl e start
taking p ictures of specific things, and new situations resu lt from
the use of cameras. For example when peopl e start ed taking
pictur es of ot her peop le taking pict ures.
The other thing, that became even mo re clear when I started
looking at the photo s back home, is that the rate of docu mentation
is not always rel at ed t o the “inter est ingness” of the event taking
place. In many cases it is the op posit e; p eople take pictur es when
they are bor ed and need something to do. Other times the event
was so interesting that p eo ple forgot, or it was inappr opriat e o r
no t al lowed t o take p ictures.
These were inter esting po ints that I want ed to keep in mind in the
later wo rk.