Saturday, March 10, 2012

Step Four - Research

I need to gather some inspiration for the project narrative and general idea generation. As you might have read in the former post I am considering making some sort of steam punk inspired devise that can take you out and about. I am however trying to stay open minded and not close the idea generation phase too early. Ideally I would make three very different concepts and then choose between them. 

To get inspiration I am going to visit some special places in Aalborg. If the opportunity arrives I will talk to people but the plan is to use non-invasive observation. It means that I won't interfere with people, ask direct questions or hand out questionaries. All I want is to investigate a little on Aalborg and dig around in its hidden places to find an interesting (based on gut feeling) area to work on. The reason for doing this is to find out what can be implemented in the city of Aalborg. I want my concept to be made for Aalborg and not just be some 'thing' I have made and then placed randomly in the city. 

So far my plan is to go to visit:
- The historical museeum in Aalborg
- See the Franciscan Friary - a museum located below Algade
- Fjordbyen
- The tourist information
I plan to visit the tourist information first as my self (a local) and then "disguised" as an international student (global) just to see if I will get different suggestions towards what to see and experience in Aalborg.

I planned to start out by visiting the tourist information and the museum and then see how much time I had left to visit the friary and Fjordbyen. But aparently the museum is closed on mondays and the tourist information had been replaced by a juice bar. However this opened my eyes to some others spaces in Aalborg and I therefor went on a discovery stroll with a friend of mine to Kildeparken to discuss what Aalborg has to offer.
We discovered that a new installation has been put up next to Aalborg Congress Center: A little collection of trees has been planted - each with a sign displaying a name and a year. And on some you can even press a button to hear a song sung by the artist who's name is on the sign. But nowhere did it say who made the installation.

Seeing the new installation also reminded me that vandalism and mishaps are part of the threats of the project. (This is part of my SWOT analysis that will be posted in one of the next blog updates).

After the little stroll I wrote down the places that central Aalborg could offer and browsed for some more inspiration. What I found is that central Aalborg actually has a lot of things to offer. You can:
- Go to the cinema (BiocityMetropolBiffen)
- Go shopping in the high streets or in Friis
- Party in Jonfru Ane Gade
- Dine at cafes and restaurants
- Go to the historical museum 
- Go to the art museum Kunsten
- Go to Aalborg Zoo
- See the Franciscan Friary - a museum located below Algade
- Go to the theater - (Aalborg Theater)

The thing is that all of these things cost money...
While I was researching on the above I was discussing the subject with another friend of mine. She reminded me of the website And that reminded me that Aalborg also has something more to offer. Something not everybody know of I suppose... A vivid underground environment.
Aalborg underground is such a mix of highly creative and innovative ideas and people. Is it possible to mix these two sides? Make the people who don't know about it more curious?
As I see it Art & Technology have the ability to serve as a link between the two.
(In my illustration Art & Technology is the whistling stick figure, that draws attention to exciting things that people might find interesting.)

In addition to the blog I have now established a webpage (which is still under construction). The website functions as an inspiration board and online archive for useful websites, photos, videos and articles that will be used in the project. It has the advantage that nothing will be lost if the computer fails, the material is accessible from multiple locations and furthermore it saves space and paper. A possible flaw by doing this is that I am making the project-work dependent on internet access. And this might lead to issues. 
1) There is the possibility that a server somewhere can malfunction and potentially delete both webpage and blog.
2) I can loose internet access due to malfunction at the supplier and loose access to both webpage and blog which will then stop me from writing the process report as I won't have any of my process documentation to refer to. 

Neither of the two are likely to happen but it is possible and has happened before. To avoid any loss of work or work time I just have to make sure to document the webpage (screen prints), keep a written collection of the links and have a printed version of the blog. And of course keep everything both on the computer and on an external hard drive.

As part of the next step the target group is clarified. 'Target group' meaning the people I am creating the project for. My target group are the everyday users of Aalborg - people who aren't too familiar with the underground environment. And my aim? To give people an extraordinary experience in an ordinary context.

/Anne Sofie

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