Museum Exhibit: Experience Prototype
This project was done as part of Course 'Prototyping for HCI'. The course focuses on new approaches and lenses for HCI, which provide alternative ways of conceptualizing knowledge and discovery than the rationalist tradition.
Each group had to put together a video prototype of a single interactive installation/exhibit at a museum. The installation was expected to be both educational and entertaining, and it must be universally accessible.
For each person in the group, we devised a �disability activity� in which one person assumed a disability for one hour. A second person facilitated, providing the person with a disability with a series of activities for that hour, also ensuring safety of the person with a disability. A third person took notes. Insights and discoveries learnt from the experiments were used in the design the interactive exhibit.
Our experience prototype centered on a spiritual tour down a portion of India�s river ganga. In a particular instance of experience prototype participant is sitting within a boat set to be floating down the river. The entrance to the boat installation is left open on one side for wheelchair accessibility. The stairs alongside the boat are modeled after actual stairs that ascend from temples down the shores of the holy river ganga. The room is filled with the smell of incense, which is traditional to Hindu spiritual practice. Also on the stairs lie flower petals, lit candles, and a container holding water from river ganga. Images paired with music and voice narration guide participants on their educational quest. After each portion of the tour is complete, the participant continues to row their boat down the river to advance to the next stop on the tour. The metaphor of water is used heavily throughout the experience. Images of the river as well as use of water in spiritual practice are shown on the screen, sounds of the boat moving through water are continually in the background, and a bowl is offered for participants to directly feel the sensations of water. The experience comes to a close as users participate in a traditional Hindu prayer�placing a flower petal in the bowl and then touching water from the holy river ganga to their head to wash away their sins.
During the disability experiment, I was only distracted by effects such as sound of car, swaying of branches which had some meaning to me in Physical World. We extended theses insights by using physical objects and actions with religious significance as metaphors to bridge the gap between physical world and the spiritual world. Hindu Culture compared to the other cultures, considers religion as a way of living and does not distinguish it from the secular day-to-day activities. We allowed people to interact with meaningful media and tools to experience sacred culture while going through their secular activities (like a boat ride).