Hello Chici

This is my first blog post, as part of the Child Computer Interaction at the Chici Lab in the University of central Lancaster. There aren’t many other artists at the ChiCI Lab, so thought I’d spend this first post explaining why I’m doing an Mres in this subject area and not in digital art.

For those of you that haven’t heard of C.C.I. before, it is a subdomain of Human Computer Interaction, which is itself a branch of Computer Science.

Here is a Prezi made based on our first lecture, the gist is that H.C.I. is a multidisciplinary field focused on the design of technologies and the evaluation of how they are used by people. C.C.I. does the same thing, but focuses its interest on technology & young people. It is this convergence of young people, technology, psychology and sociology that got me hooked.

Over the past 5 years I’ve been looking at ways to help young people visualise the different ways that they think and feel. I have asked them to imagine what Flunstellas (which are flocks, clusters and constellations, of ideas, emotions and memories), look like and how they behave.

My role in this process has been to take this initial thought experiment, and develop an experimental educational framework with which others can explore it.

Throughout this Mres, I am aiming to..

Design new tools

I have come almost as far as I can go by repurposing existing tools, so that they can be used to explore Flunstellas. I need to develop accessible interfaces that can be used by young people to build, play and communicate with models of their own thoughts.

Design new evaluation Toolkits

Looking at this project from a straightforwards art or educational point of view is missing the point. Although I’m new to C.C.I., I have spotted that creating new evaluative frameworks is somewhat of a sport around here. It seems to have blossomed from it’s early utilitarian concern with ‘usability’, to more recent interests in hedonic (positive, playful, fun, non utilitarian) user experience. There might be an opportunity to develop a multidisciplinary evaluation framework that tests the value of modelling thoughts.


I will be blogging as I go along at http://neilschicimres.wordpress.com