Investigation 3 - Creative Project

Hybrid Memorial

tl;dr: Taking cues from Memorials for the Future and the Final Cut, design a hybrid space to act as a site of memorial in a 10 year horizon. The monument should be a site of memorial for of an individual that has not yet died. It should speculate on technology’s role in a digital legacy and explore collective remembrance or memorialization that mixes digital and physical interactions to support a digital legacy.

Due: Tuesday, April 2

Submit Documentation: Gallery Pool - Hybrid Memorial


Due Date Deliverable Details
Thur, Mar 21 Proposal Create a proposal for your creative project (200 words + illustrations) and share on the Gallery
Tues, Mar 28 Map Develop an experience map/networked interactions to describe the experience through the memorial
Thur, Mar 28 Desk Crit Develop a rough cut to discuss during desk crits
Tues, Apr 2 Project Present your prototype in class.
Tues, Apr 2 Crit Give feedback projects in class
Tues, Apr 2, midnight Documentation Deliver documentation of your creative project

Context and Background

Memorials for the Future - Winner and Finalist Design Concepts

This competition organized by the the National Park Service (NPS), the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), and the Van Alen Institute asked people to engage with and reimagine how we experience and interact with memorials. They note:

Memorials enshrine what we as a society want to remember. But the places, people, and stories that we memorialize, and the audiences who engage with them, are in fact constantly changing. A memorial tells its story through subject matter and design. This story is often complex and multi-dimensional as a memorial’s interpretive elements embody ideas of identity, culture, and heritage, and each have intensely personal interpretations for every individual.

While it doesn’t directly confront the digital, many of the submissions explored the potential of new technologies to craft compelling experiences within and around the memorial. The prompts and reflections they found are worth exploring as part of this project. They are (and directly quoting from Memorials for the Future):

  • Engage the Present and Future as Much as the Past: In Washington today, 25 years must pass before a person’s life may be commemorated, and ten years before a war is eligible for a built memorial… The tools of memorialization can help people learn about and appreciate recent events, important issues, and on-going trends and experiences that impact their lives directly. New memorial approaches could be useful vehicles for sharing information, collective reflection, and even serve as a call to action.”
  • Allow for Changing Narratives: As time passes, new information is exposed and cultural values shift, sometimes creating disconnects between a memorial’s original message and representation and modern day perceptions. There will always be a need to incorporate perspectives that were either recently developed or previously marginalized. Future memorials need to address this challenge and represent diverse narratives. Only in doing so can a memorial reflect and honor the multiple truths and complex histories of national subjects.”
  • Consider Ephemeral, Mobile, and Temporary Forms Typically, existing memorials are permanent, requiring visitors to be physically present to experience a memorial. Future memorials could be temporary or mobile. By moving around a city, relocating to different cities, or existing for limited periods of time, a memorial has the potential to ignite enthusiasm. The AIDS Memorial Quilt, a living memorial to those who have died of AIDS, has been viewed by 14 million people around the world since its creation in 1987. Though well-documented and photographed, the ability to move the Quilt, allowing people to view and host the memorial in different locations has aided its visibility and impact.
  • Memorials Beyond Physical Space: …many of our semifinalists, using clever applications of technology, pointed out that memorials can transcend the need for physical spaces altogether. Technology allows people to connect around subject matter in ways that don’t require central squares or physical infrastructure… space for new monuments becomes harder to find. Memorials that require little to no land are critically important to meeting the challenges of the future.”
Moncur, Wendy, and Kirk, D. An emergent framework for digital memorials. Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Designing interactive systems. ACM, 2014.

Moncur, Wendy, and Kirk, D. An emergent framework for digital memorials. Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Designing interactive systems. ACM, 2014.

In addition you should reflect on Moncur & Kirk’s framework for digital memorials and ask the following of your design:

	• Who are the actors involved in digital memorials? 
	• What are the inputs?
	• What form does the memorial take?
	• What message should the memorial convey?

Brief and Goals

Taking cues from ‘The Final Cut’, and the many speculative spaces where digital memories overlapped with physical space, you’re going to consider how to construct a hybrid responsive space that blends digital memories with the real sites.

Brief: Propose and design a hybrid space to act as a site of memorial in a 10 year horizon. The monument should be a site of memorial for of an individual that has not yet died or cultural event that has not yet happened. It should speculate on technology’s role in a digital legacy and explore collective remembrance or memorialization that mixes digital and physical interactions to support a digital legacy.

Drawing on your warm up exercise and the insights from current spaces, speculate on future possibiltiies for blended spaces. You are required to develop an initial proposal for your hybrid space that includes:

  • Site and context: A description of the site you have chosen for your investigation, a rationale for its selection and a description of the remembrance practices that it supports
  • Augmented Practices: Outline how you plan to augment practices in this space by introducing blended and responsive characteristics (sensors to understand behavior, reintroduction of digital content, etc.)
  • Rough sketches: Prepare sketches or other low fidelity content to illustrate your idea
  • Implementation: Articulate what you plan to implement as part of this project.

When formulating your proposal you begin to address the following questions:

  • How do we prepare for our legacy in a digital world?
  • Who mediates our memories after we’re gone? Who is the gatekeeper?
  • How do we recontextualize our histories?
  • What are the sites, spaces and practices for remembering those who are gone?
  • How do we celebrate cultural memories or significant individuals if we have their digital memories?

You should develop at least one prototype that demonstrates your ideas for how you can support spaces for collective memory. The proposal should consider how data and digital information will be used in these kinds of scenarios and how architectural and digital spaces might be blended in the future.

The possibilities are wide and varied. But you should:

  • Make - i.e. test your ideas and give them a form.
  • Research - i.e. uncover theory, ideas, and precedent projects that inform your approach.
  • Gather - i.e. find inspirational resources from speculative designs, design fiction, science fiction, etc..
  • Experiment - e.g. don’t just prototype the device and interactions but simulate/construct the data it might produce or use;
  • Document - e.g. test your ideas on yourself or others, how do you or others experience and encounter the device, what are your reactions and responses, document how you respond to it, what values it offer, and why it might matter to you or others.

Unusual approaches, left-of-center thinking and impracticality is encouraged!

Note: Hardware, technologies and other resources can be requested.

Learning Objectives

This exercise is designed to give a broader and more speculative frame to our explorations to help you consider the societial, cultural and spatial significances of networked memory. It’ll help you begin to consider technology-supported memory as something that is situated in the world and that might integrate with many of the customs, practices and sites we have about remembrance today: As part of this exercise, you will:

  • Develop an understanding concepts in digital legacy, and the socio-cultural considerations around managing personal digital content in a generational context;

  • Investigate current sites for remembrance, celebration or memorial as a means to inform future possibilities for digitally enhanced spaces;

  • Speculate on how hybrid practices (blended physical digital space) might be used to enhance scenarios of remembrance;

  • Develop a hands-on exploration that begins to tease-out the broader considerations, issues and requirements in designing for forgetting (social, cultural, personal, implications etc.)

  • Work collaboratively in an applied investigation to test a future-focused scenario for possible technologies and intelligent environments to support memorial practices.


  • You must work with computational processes.
  • It must result in a blended space (physical and digital components)
  • You must work collaboratively.


  • Deliverable I: A detailed conceptual design. This covers:
    • situating the design for the project (context, scenarios, cases, etc.),
    • the goals and rationale for the approach
    • articulating informed position that integrates theory of memory and forgetting, research in the area, and precedent projects
    • low-fi and high-fi design materials (mockups, concept videos, diagrams, experience maps, sketches, etc.)
  • Deliverable II: A scale model of the space and/or renderings.
    • You should create an interactive scale tangible model of the space using appropriate projection, embedded components,
    • or create a virtual model of the space which can be explored using VR/AR technologies.
    • etc.
  • Deliverable III: An interactive prop or prototype - You should create at least one full scale prototype of an element within the space to demonstrate the interaction with it. This should be of reasonable fidelity to give form your your proposal, but will reflect your skills with prototyping interactive systems. This could include:
  • Deliverable IV: An experience map or network diagram displaying the interactions between physical and digital components
    • Create a diagram that illustrates how sensing, responsive elements and other smart objects in the space are linked to digital content or data.
    • Annotate and describe the interactions for each component in the network diagram.
  • Deliverable V: A digital presentation of your design work (5 minutes maximum)
    • Prepare a digital presentation and take part in a crit.
    • Showcase/demo your prototype during this time
    • Pose open questions and highlight challenges or failures encountered.

Final deliverables to be presented at the Crit/Review

Final Documentation Requirements:

Include a write up of the following:

  • Conceptual Design: Describe your vision. What is the driving idea behind your design? What kind of solution are you trying to create and why? How does it enhance/augment/extend memory? What are your goals and motivations? How would it work in practice? etc

  • Prototype: Describe your experience/working prototype: What did you create, how, etc.? What tools and technologies were involved? Include appropriate content and illustration (e.g. a concept video, a video of the device in operation, diagrams, code, etc.)

  • Precedents: Describe theory, concepts, and research you have performed. Describe the prior work, ideas and projects that influenced your design. What work informed this idea.

  • Process: Describe how you arrived out the outcome. What iterations, refinements, design decisions and changes were made?

  • Open Questions and Challenges: What questions remain to be addressed or questions about memory did this exploration raise for you. What are the things we should pay attention to/discuss in class for future explorations?

  • Reflection: Reflect on making this project. What did you learn? What would you do differently? Did you get where you wanted to? If not, why not? What do you need to get there, etc?

  • Attribution and References: Reference any sources or materials used in the documentation or composition.

Each of these sections should be no more than 200 words max. and well illustrated (images, videos, etc.)

For the Project Info’s goal description: it must be tweetable - summarise your outcome in no more than 140 characters