Most part of this day we spent on a ship. The tour of 3 hours started and ended in Lucerne. In this time we were asked to analyze the ship in three groups. The only guideline were the topics from which we had to start our analysis. The three topics given were materiality, closeness/distance and dialogue. The idea was to link these to the pieces of luggage and to the ship in some way. There were many different approaches through which we saw many different aspects to the whole thing. With this analysis we were able to see many things about the rooms that can’t be seen immediately and see it from a new point of view.
The task that at first seemed very vague. But through discussions in our group we were able to find our way of getting at the task and finding out things about the analyzed rooms. Thats also why it wasn’t surprising to see that the other groups had had very different approaches. And still there were points which all of the groups saw and mentioned.
Personally I found it especially interesting to get a different way to look at rooms. Through my topic of study I am constantly working with rooms and trying to think about them.
We started at the Soziale Arbeit building in Lucerne by setting up our exhibitions for the last test run. After getting feedback on it, we moved the exhibition to the room reserved at Raddison Blu hotel. The final exhibition looked quite well and worked as we had planned on Tuesday.
For the following workshop we were divided into groups, in which we had time to get relaxed and talk about different topics regarding mobile workspaces. We talked about the things we like or dislike at the place we work. Many factors were found such as the view, noises, decorations as well as the amount and kind of people around us. All of this has an impact on our comfort which is essential for our work. Many of this points could be observed in our immediate environment which was the relaxing room of the hotel. After a time we decided to move outside to drink something and sit by the lake. There we continued our talk regarding the future or possibilities of mobile working. There were some who approved of this form of working due to its flexibility. But it’s not possible to work like this without disciple in scheduling and planning to get actual work done. Much of this is very personal and can only be accomplished by trying and crossing off failed methods to finally get to the ideal rhythm for oneself. Talking about this we found out that a very important part of this work is finding out about the personal motivations one has. Or in fact the relationship to a job. If it is something personal there is much more personal effort in it, also with the risk of not being able to turn work off. And this again is a personal thing because some need a room that reminds them of a living room where as others need physical distance between living and working spaces. Another thing we found out was that the ability to create a seemingly unstructured workspace always depends on the size of a company.
The talking about the qualities of our own workspace made me think about what makes it comfortable to me. I hadn’t really ever thought about that. For me, I observed retrospectively, that it’s the people around and the atmosphere which has a great impact on the quality of my work, rather than the properties of the space itself. Of course it is important to have a kind of basic setting, which in the case of my work as an architect consists of power for my computer, light, and some hand drawing tools. Without this things it wouldn’t be possible to work at all. But the main thing with an impact on the quality of the work I do and the motivation I get do not depend of these things. Through various circumstances I often work in different places and under different circumstances. Looking back at this, many of the things mentioned in the summary of our talks above prove to be true and have an impact. So my conclusion is that the environment of ones work is of great importance but it is a very subjective and circumstantial thing which factor affects me while working. Now I also think I understand the connection to the Minsky-Suitcase task we were given in preparation for this week. It is about trying to find out our personal skillset and how to create the best environment to use it to its full potential. In a way it is about being able to compose the ideal working space for oneself rather than staying stuck in the traditional office workplace scheme. This also includes admitting the importance of soft, non measurable, factors. In the end productivity depends much on being able to unlock ones full potential by being in a workspace which allows us to do so.
This day started at Benzeholz Gallery in Meggen. We were invited to visit an exhibition by the artists A&A. Their themes involved, amongst many others, the aspect of travelling and staying at a place. All of the exhibition is a product of the long time collaboration between the two. It also involved the spectator rather than having him just watch quietly like in a museum. So speaking it becomes a huge collaborative piece by them and us. It also showed us a different way of setting up an exhibition by seemingly crossing the line between art and real life. There is more focus on atmospheres being produced by the different installations and less on showing the objects itself.
With this inputs in mind we started composing our own exhibitions by theme groups. Our theme are mobile workplaces. We started by discussing what it was that linked our projects beside the obvious thematical similarity. The connection we found consisted of the form it has in closed state. All of our pieces of luggage look unsuspicious from the outside. They mostly kept their original look and have got modifications on the inside. So we started developing the concept of our exhibition based upon this. It will be a setup of each of our cases in fully used state as offices for different professions. Beside this simulation there will be pictures of the closed briefcases and bags while being carried to show that they looks just like ordinary pieces of luggage.
Visiting an actual exhibition was a good help in developping our own. It showed us a possibility to set up an exhibition that didn’t seem forced or staged. Working in groups helped bringing many ideas together. Trying to find the common points between the projects made us overthink our own work again and see that others had had similar thoughts while building their piece.
After getting to know each other a little on the walk from Hergiswil to Horw we were given some inputs by lecturers of various backgrounds in design, arts and innovation regarding the whole concept of collaboration and mobility. The examples showed the wide range of possibilities of working within this concept. Inspired by all of this we started working on our own pieces of luggage.
The task given to all was to create a mobile workspace/collaboration place. The most important things about such a construct is to be mobile (compact and lightweight preferably) and to fit all of the things needed to work with. A briefcase is already mobile that’s why i didn’t need to change anything on that. But in its original state it can only be used to carry documents, books and a few pens. That’s why I started by cutting the case up to its frame. After a while experimenting by detaching and reattaching things to the suitcase I came to the conclusion that this frame would be ideal to have many layers of functions needed for working either vertically or horizontally stacked. My idea was to use as much as possible of the old briefcase and add a few new elements to it to improve its functionality in its new use. My main additions consist of tape and some rope.
The new briefcase looks pretty much the same as it used to, from the outside. The first thing that changed is that it has to be opened with the other side up then normally. After opening the locks as usual there is a construction on the floor that can hold a tablet-computer or a book. It is made out of boards and the holder is the gap. That way it can still be used as a flat surface using a notebook or a tablet. in the front there is the usual compartments for documents and also pens. Inside at the top there are two buttons that can be released to open a new compartment. This makes the documents more accessible and it can be used even when a tablet or large book is standing in the front part of the case.
On my way home from Horw I tested the mobility and stability of the briefcase. The problem I found about it, was that it wasn’t enough stable around the new compartment. That is the reason why it shows a slight tilt which can lead to the case falling over inside the train.
The first day of this course was quite intense. The morning gave us a brief view at what is involved in the questions of mobility and collaboration. Some of this thoughts I could transfer to my project, like the speed of the installation and the thoughts about using little new material and working with simple things. Working in the Fablab and being able to try anything within the given possibilities and resources was fun. There was a moment at the beginning of the work where I was uncertain where to start or what to do. But during the process of work and through watching others work enthusiastically on their projects there was a nice atmosphere to the place, which helped me with working. There was a lot of sharing of everything between tools (also some involuntary sharing) and ideas. Many people were helping each other in different matters. There might have been more interaction if the time frame or setting given with the task would have been different but still there was plenty of that during the afternoon.