Friday, October 23

va: kids for diversity | meeting with David

During class, we met with David Darmitzel who is a board member of Friends Of Hale Cook and also husband of Sarah Darmitzel, chair of Friends of Hale Cook. We wanted to be diverse in our pool of kids, so we reached out to someone at Hale Cook to get a new perspective on our project. After pitching our prototypes to him, we received some feedback about our problem statement, goals, and the overall practicality of it. He was a really useful person to talk to because he helped us see our project actually functioning in the real-world and the issues hindering our project at the time. Overall, he provided us with some great constructive criticism on our goals, and helped us understand how to present/pitch an idea in a more effective way.

Things David brought up during the interview:

  • Possible challenges to confront:
    • access to the kids
      • could possibly use LINC
    • goals need to be reworked in terms of practicality
      • friendship between AL and Halecook seems ambitious and not feasible within a semester
    • Friends Of Hale Cook is more interested in linking with KCPS rather than AL
  • Possible ways to bring kids together from different schools
    • having the students share a common goal
      • ex. a sports team
  • Consider the logistics of getting other schools to meet
  • Think about how to promote diversity through teaching/creating art 
  • Consider going to the high school level to offer more varied responses
  • In order for this to be successful, the video could be more of an example of what diversity could look like, rather than physically getting kids together
    • it's about piecing together the artwork well
  • Another issue: getting the video out there (school social media sites do not get much traffic)
  • Define what you mean by diversity

ds: to death with a smile | progress

notes moving forward:

_type can break up
_play with scale
_the banana can be pushed
_challenge yourself to render own 3d banana that could
become a second logo or act like one in the system

Monday, October 19

va: kids for diversity | ambassador dinner

After putting together our prototype presentation, we attended the Academie Lafayette Parents' Ambassador Dinner coordinated by Leslie Kohlmeyer. The purpose of the dinner was to kickstart the Ambassador program, gathering parents who seemed to be involved in the school. It was great for us because we had a chance to introduce ourselves so that the AL community could get familiar with us. We also were able to pass out information with the cards shown above about Kids for Diversity, including our contact info. Having these cards gave us an excuse to have one-on-one conversations with parents, teachers, and faculty who attended. We realized that our initiative was very closely aligned with Leslie's and decided to collaborate with her for the final product of this class. At the beginning of the dinner, we went around and shared how each parent got to know about the school. We learned that almost all learned through word-of-mouth. 

Leslie then went through her goals for the Ambassador Program involving outreach:
-to build more of a sense of community within our own school
-improve image of AL
-draw applicants from all walks of life
-show the rest of the city what AL is all about
-there is no representative of our community than our children
-AL needs to represent the city's demographic

ds: to death with a smile | initial ideas

concept one: game over

concept / initial thoughts
For some reason I can’t get this idea out of my head. That gaming has a sort of a universal language that encompasses many different cultures. Specifically thinking about Mario. When he dies in a game, you have two options: use a “one up” that is a magic mushroom falling from the sky giving you another life  or “game over.” Even if it’s game over, you just restart the game and continue playing. My own experience playing the game, I’m always laughing at the game over screen because I always die in the simplest way. It’s a funny, non threatening death. The term game over has also become a phrase used for the end of an event in real life. People also using gaming as a way to cope with real loss.

Basically I don’t know if this is a strong enough direction conceptually? I feel like it’s kinda far off but I thought that might also be a good thing. I think I need some advice on how I can push this direction to make it better.

I’m thinking I could juxtapose the 8bit (ish) style with more obvious iconography of death. Aka I’m imagining the name “to death with a smile” to be rendered somewhat like the end of a mario game “game over” or using the illustration style of a one up mushroom to depict the soul or something.


  • Games take us out of ourselves to such an extent that we forget where we are. We lose the sense of time passing. We swap our normal lives for the power fantasy, the exotic, the elsewhere.
  • We consume a book, but a game consumes us. It leaves us reeling and bewildered
  • In a games arcade just off Piccadilly Circus, a crowd loiters around a machine with big speakers and a small platform. “They are not here to play,” he writes. “They are here to perform.” Dance Dance Revolution is an excuse for a dance-off – part West Side Story, part hopscotch. When the music starts, coloured markers flash in time, showing where you need to place your feet. The adept are worth watching, and know it.
  • And the “rush” generated by competition, by chasing high scores, is also a big part of the obsession. Like sports, games are challenging, driving players to strive for domination. They are an opportunity to measure yourself against others, and an outlet for aggression and rivalry.
  • Far from being loners, players make friends globally through games. “The social connections that they encourage, both within Iraq and beyond, have built empathy in ways that may have a profound effect on the way some young people view their place in the world,” explains Parkin.
  • When Green’s infant son was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to make a game about it.
  • His father is still making the game, now a celebration of a life as much as a study in human suffering.
  • “Literature is able to remove us from our own lives and focus on the hopes, dreams and conflicts of another,” he writes. “But only a video game gives us the sense of being in control, of being the author of our destiny.”
  • Video games won’t save you, says Parkin. They might even kill you. But, as he writes, “the potential – that shimmering, vivid, endlessly exciting potential – is there, fizzing on the restless screen.”

"Game over" is a message in video games which signals that people failed a game, commonly due to a negative outcome such as losing all of one's lives - although the phrase sometimes follows its score after successful completion of a game.[1] The phrase has since seen wider use to describe the end of an event in real life.

  • I instead choose to use videogames as a way to cope with loss, rather than to escape from it.

  • According to Wang’s research we can distinguish six primary game functions in digital games for health—distraction, rehabilitation, motivation & monitoring, knowledge acquisition, coaching & skill practice, and persuasion. 
  •  connection between a gaming experience and individual empowerment - An overview of the current state of research on in-game learning and the (expected) transfere

concept two: objects 

concept / initial thoughts
When loved ones die, you are left with their objects. These few items become extremely important and relics of memories you shared. They are priceless because they are irreplaceable. Often times people will include in their will who specially will receive what item. This gives the object an even greater meaning / importance to you as an individual because you know that person wanted you to have it and remember them by whatever memory is attached to it. This makes you smile.

I’m kind of inspired by the A9 design, the use of random objects and how she was able to string those things together with the number 9. I haven’t found that stream yet, but I think the idea of using photography in this way.  

va: prototype presentation

by Sara Garrison & Mary Lim

va: mood boards

Sunday, October 18

mx: kc plex | throw a coin

We've decided to change our direction. KC plex will be more like foundation that raises money for the city & uses the fountains as a platform. This idea still meets our goal to bring together people of the city, but instead of using food + goods, we will use the fountains that everyone is already proud of. We are also focusing on the things that Garret mentioned, giving Status, Power, and Access for people that "throw a coin." For right now we are just fleshing out the plaza fountain as a starting point for the foundation, but hypothetically if this went well then we could implement these features onto other fountains.

How it works:

The website will be more functional for people outside of the city who want to donate or people who are not on site with the fountain. When you first enter the site, there will be a live stream video of the fountain playing with the option to "throw a coin". Coin options will appear starting with low donations like 50 cents, or $10. The last coin will be custom so you can enter the amount you want to donate. The more you give, the more options you have on how to customize the reaction of the fountain. For example you can choose what colors will spray out of the water, what lights will flash, what message you want to send, what music you want to play, and what time you want your personalized water show to begin. The cameras will also record your show and send it to you so you can always enjoy and relive the moment.

For example, if you wanted to propose in front of the fountain. You could pre-set all of the options, and be there physically later for the experience to begin. The message on the screen could be "Lisa, Will you marry me?" and the song that played could be a love song and the colors could be her favorite colors or something.

Or it could be someone out of town who wants to watch the reactions live and the message could me, "David in NYC misses Kansas City, Enjoy the beauty of the city."

very initial digital wires:

The mobile app could be more for people who are physically in front of the fountain and want to use the phone as like a remote control for fun little features. It would also have video clips of shows that other people have done so you can watch water shows that have happened before or it could say go to the Plaza at 5pm for a big show coming up. So this would be like small donations giving little directions. Like give $5 and you can choose what colors come out of the water for a min or two. The mobile would also have a section that saves your water show videos, so you could show people later on, hey look at what I did with the fountain earlier today.

3rd platform: fountain 
Our third platform is now just the fountain itself. The screen and all the functions it can do. Which are play music, flash lights, spray colored water, and display a message.

example of how it would react during the day:

& night: