Room for truth: a new ritual for meaning making in a physical digital future
thesisposted on 23.05.2021, 11:13 by Bonnie J. Stinson
Room for Truth introduces a new physical-digital ritual which strengthens the connection between the self and the other by integrating the body’s sensory potential into social media. From self-trackers to Instagram, people are using technology to facilitate self-observation and connection with community, but mostly media fails to incorporate the body in two major ways. Firstly, the storytelling options available on mainstream platforms are largely restricted to photographic content and text-based commentary. This serves a visual-first design hierarchy which disregards the full sensory capacities of the body as n expressive organ, a natural storytelling interface which is the inheritance of all human beings. Secondly, the built environments in which people engage in genuine self-reflection are often private, tech-free spaces. However, public truth-telling can pull people out of filter bubbles, reduce polarization, instill empathy, and motivate people to take more informed action. The Room for Truth project aims to resolve these challenges by imagining a new social media which uses the body as its generative interface. It reimagines the method, the environment, and the appearance of existing methods of self-reflection to better facilitate collective truth-telling by focusing on uniting technology with the sensory storytelling potential of the human body. Specifically, the Room for Truth prototype introduces a new visual language for truth-telling in three ways: 1) a public-private booth with theming that invites self-reflection; 2) symbolic objects with embedded NFC tags which draw upon memory and sensory attributes to inspire complex storytelling; and 3) a mobile application which captures data and translates it into meaningful abstract animations which are publicly searchable. This paper discusses the Room for Truth project and the implications of a truth-telling process which bridges the physical, digital, and emotional to capture, reflect, contextualize, and transform personal and collective experiences: a new ritual for meaning-making in a physical-digital future.