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Group7/Wipeout

Yasmin Shehab, Ghada Fikri, Mahmoud Kamel


  1. Conception
  2. Realization
  3. Observation & Evaluation

CONCEPTION

Our main aim was to create an installation that teaches the user something, and not just any old lesson but one that they would generally have some difficulty in grasping. We want our installation to bridge this gap and to make the information somehow more tangible. We then decided to focus on an environmental problem that may not have occurred to many people due to the fact that it's an act that we've done multiple times a day, every day since we were toilet trained. The amount of toilet paper that we use isn't something that we think of too often and its generally never from an aspect that considers it's environmental impact and how much natural resources it uses. Our installation will bring attention to the fact that curbing our usage of toilet paper can have a very real effect on the environment and it will also offer facts and stats about the forests that have been destroyed to make the stuff. At the end we would also bring some alternatives to people's attention such as switching to recycled loo roll instead of virgin fiber or for the more hardcore using a cloth towel.

The installation consists of a loo roll mounted on a holder, and a screen showing a video. In the interests of practicality, the loo roll wouldn't be a real one but made out of fabric, there would be sensors placed strategically on the roll and when the user unfurls the roll, this triggers the video to play. The video starts off with a healthy forest and the more the loo roll is unfurled, the more the forest is destroyed, the trees are chopped down, the animals made homeless and the environment being destroyed. We should also make a point about how the toilet paper is also bleached with very harmful chemicals that destroy the earth. At the end of the roll should be two squares of different textures and colours. These are the greener alternatives. One square should be slightly rougher and not as white (recycled toilet paper) while the other should be a cloth towel. When the user gets to these last two squares, the video should show the environment getting marginally better as a sign that all hope isn't lost and that we can still save the environment. We should also add statistics and tips that give it a scientific edge as facts generally help in convincing people. These facts should either be a part of the video or printed on the loo roll as this also functions as a sign to tell the user to stop pulling. We also thought that we could have the user sit on a chair that looks like a toilet for them to be more immersed in the experience.

As for the sound, it should echo the path that the environment is taking. It should start off harmonic then become more diseased and frenetic. We also think we should use some sounds like the falling / chopping of trees as it helps to highlight the more horrific things. At the end the sound should become more hopeful as the green alternatives are being shown.


REALIZATION

Firstly, we divided our installation into three parts: the video, the patch and the sound. The video was made primarily using After Effects and Photoshop. The pictures were taken off of the internet then arranged using Photoshop in a kind of collage-y style. The Photoshop file was then imported into After Effects and animated there. Next we made the sound. We decided to have 2 types. Firstly, soundscapes of the healthy and messed up environments that were made using sound files off of the internet and arranged using Garageband and Audacity and secondly, sound generated using Max MSP and Cecilia. The Max and Cecilia sounds are distorted and inharmonic and are used to represent / echo the environment's destruction. Lastly, we made the patch using Max MSP. The main point with the patch was to have it recognize that the loo roll was being pulled (using the camera) and to play the corresponding part of the video according to how much of the tissue was pulled. We also made the patch so that the video would rewind, at a slower speed, when the loo roll would go for a while without being pulled.

Our installation's setup consists of a loo roll dispenser fixed to a white stand, a loo roll, a camera hidden in the dispenser and a screen with a projector behind it. It differs slightly from our original concept in that we chose to boil our message down to it's essence for fear of overwhelming people. We chose to keep it as simple as possible ie. using too much tissue paper destroys the environment. We also decided against presenting the greener alternatives to tissue paper, ie. recycled loo roll and cloth towels, as Egypt doesn't really have much of a recycling culture so these suggestions would probably seem rather militant to the majority. We also decided against adding statistics to the video as we found that having the user manipulate the environment sends the message loud and clear with no need for text. Another part of our concept that changed was that we had intended for the environment to start righting itself when the user would get to the recycled paper panel, however we decided to go with a stronger, more implementable message. The recycled paper panel would have sent the message that we can only right the environment if we switch to recycled materials however using a lot of recycled paper isn't exactly great for the environment either as it still requires lots of resources to make and chemicals to bleach, however using less tissue paper in general would be much better for the environment. Not to mention that once you get the user to start thinking about toilet paper from an environmental aspect, the next logical step in their thinking would be recycled paper, the problem just was that not many people were thinking of it in environmental terms.

Photo Documentation:

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OBSERVATION & EVALUATION

There were a few things in common between the users of "Wipeout". We found that once people started pulling the tissue and realized that this triggered the video, the first conclusion they jumped to was that the speed of pulling must be somehow related to the speed of destruction of the environment so they'd start pulling faster. However, after a short while they'd notice that the speed of the video wasn't changing. They would then start thinking about the direction of the pulling. They'd roll the tissue paper back seeing whether this would affect the video in any way. After this, they made the connection between the pulling and the video, they'd realize that pulling made the video go forward while leaving it alone would cause it to reverse. It was at this point, that the "joy of use" aspect really kicked in. They'd start playing with the loo roll, pulling it and watching the animals move forward and the trees get chopped down then stepping away and watch everything go back to the way it was, then they'd give it another tug. The next point that garnered major reactions from them was when the loo rolls start to bombard the environment which results in it's changing to a barren wasteland. They'd look at it with incredulous looks on their faces and I think it was this point that they really got the message of our installation. Another thing that was in common between all our users was that none of them actually tore any of the tissue paper, they realized that it wasn't something to be wasted so they didn't. One girl would pile the tissue on top of the block, when it started trailing on the ground, while another would roll it back every once in a while.

One thing that we really liked was how everybody understood the message and found it very clear but it was also still open to a degree of interpretation. A couple of observers mentioned that it made sense to have the video reverse when there was no human interference rather than reversing due to the user rolling back the tissue paper as we can't undo what we've done and but leaving nature alone will allow it to recuperate and also because nature is strong and has endured throughout various calamities. Another point that we found interesting was that even though technically only one person at a time can use the installation, lots of people were interacting with it - and with each other - at the same time. They'd offer suggestions to the user and muse out loud on what they thought it meant and how it worked.

Photo Documentation:

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