ISEA2011 WORKSHOP: Huggable Nature

Huggable Nature

Workshop Leader: Hye Yeon Nam
2nd Leader: Carl DiSalvo

Huggable Nature is a short community workshop in which participants create playful interfaces using accessible art and craft materials to express their affection toward nature.  The workshop lasts about three hours outside near parks or gardens.  Around 10 to 15 people, such as families or local community members, participate in the workshop and each participant spends around 10 to 30 minutes.  The workshop organizers wrap felt fabric interfaces around the tree with attached hardware such as micro-controllers, recorders, and speakers in advance.  Participants leave voice messages on a recorder attached to the trees.  After they leave messages, they are asked to create devices crafted from art materials that they can wear to touch or hug the fabric on the trees while expressing their affection for the trees.

The Huggable Nature workshop motivates participants to rapidly and easily create playful interfaces that interact with nature using arts and crafts at minimal cost.  Whereas many other similar workshops focus on groups of people with similar abilities, the Huggable Nature workshop is designed to accommodate participants with varied abilities and skill levels. Moreover, the structure of the workshop encourages the exchange of opinions during an open discussion among participants.
Bios of the Presenters
Hye Yeon Nam is a digital media artist working on audio/video/robotic installation.  She is a Ph.D. candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds an M.F.A. in digital media from the Rhode Island School of Design.  She foregrounds the complexity of social relationships by making the familiar strange, and interpreting everyday behaviors in unexpected ways.  Hye Yeon’s art has been showcased in Smithsonian in Washington D.C. (2011-2012), Times Square, the art gallery Eyebeam and The Tank, the conflux, the D.U.M.B.O. Art Festival in New York, SIGGRAPH (2008, 2010), CHI (2010), NIME (2010), FILE (2011),  the Lab in San Francisco, and several festivals in China, Ireland, the UK, Germany, Australia, Denmark, and Switzerland.  Her work has been broadcast on the Discovery Channel (Canada) and LIVE TV show Goodday Sacramento, published in Leonardo Journal and fetured in Wired, Makezine, Bussiness Insider, Slashdot, Engadget, and among other publications.

Carl DiSalvo is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He earned a Ph.D. in Design from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006 and was a post-doctoral fellow at The Center for the Arts in Society and The Studio for Creative Inquiry from 2006 to 2007.  Carl’s work, rooted in the humanities and arts, might best be characterized as a kind of design inquiry.  In 2006, he co-founded DeepLocal, a design and software company specializing in interactive mapping and location-based services.

Posted by:  Ebru Surek