To design an object or experience based on Evelyn Fox Keller’s essay, “Slime Mold”. It was found in the book Evocative Objects: Things we Think With.
A 2-player challenge demonstrating how privilege operates.
Each competitor receives:
The only difference is that ‘person B’ does not receive the correct screws for the screw drivers given. Therefore, ‘person A’ cannot reach the end goal. On the back-side of the written instructions, there is an explanation about how the exercise relates to privilege.
The space was set up using tape to make the opponents feel like they were working against each other competitively.
Students attempt the challenge at the final presentation day.
Poster to visualise the project meaning: Using the screws symbols to show how one path continues smoothly, while the other is a more complex journey.
Usability tests were conducted to see if one barrier of the screws was enough to immobilize the disadvantaged participant. Initially, it seemed to easy. The usability tests also uncovered how to improve the instructions.
In the first usability test, one participant tried to help the other participant. Although this was extremely sweet and altruistic, I then changed the instructions to make it seem more competitive.
In the second usability test, the participants were a lot more competitive. There was no helping, and the second participant got very frustrated - success!
Slime Mold by Evelyn Fox Keller, in the book Evocative Objects: Things we Think With
Within this chapter, Keller explores her experience with Slime Mold. She researched this topic earlier in her career and learnt about how gender influenced the way her research was perceived by her peers.
I first went to UBC’s Mycological Herbarium Collection to look at their slime mold and fungus collection. The following photos were taken at their collection.
Through this experience, I realised that my ability to go to UBC was because of my socio-economic class. Given my connection with an institution of Emily Carr, I was given access to these resources at a neighbouring university.
I then decided I wanted to look at privilege, as this was a recurring theme with the author’s experience with slime mold, and my own from the primary research.
I tried using soft materials and fabric to map identities and think about how there are multiple parts to our identities. Based on the feedback with peers, these ideas were not connecting.
I next thought about how a lack of privilege can be immobilizing, and tried to create impossible or difficult tasks by making puzzle pieces that don't fit.
I decided to continue to make a task where one person could do it easily, and another person would be challenged. I used wood as it is consistent of children’s toys and building blocks. I then created iterations of different instruction booklets. At first I was going to make the booklets difficult for each person, but over time realized it was not needed as the task was challenging enough.