Love and Nice-ness

Today we “turned in’ our Valentines Day assignments for User Participation Platforms. The directions were to show, not tell, someone that you loved them, or create an experience for a brand that could activate on valentines day.

I made a video for Will using bananagrams letters and stop motion that was a little animated love letter. He really liked it and, unprompted, all of the things he said about it were exactly what we were “supposed” to be thinking about. Essentially the project was intended to fully inhabit the user’s mind and create somethings that they would feel the emotion we intended them to feel; loved.

This was a really tumultuous experience for me - I felt manipulative but it was intended for something so positive that I wasn’t sure if it was bad or not. What I produced was far more creative and poignant than what I would have done without the assignment, but something still feels confusing. It’s not something that I would have done anyway because I wouldn’t have had the time to do it, so there was the requirement of school that initiated this project but if I had been to create it without the assignment it would have been the pressure of society and the construct of Valentines that “made” me do it. The assignment for school is almost more sincere in a way than making something for him for Valentines day which is a made up holiday that means nothing anyway. I guess the most authentic way to have made this would have been for no reason at all, “just because“.

Talking to Will later, he mentioned that he liked that I FaceTimed him into the presentation so he got to meet the people that I was presenting this to. It felt more full circle, rather than him being the object we were studying, he was a part of the project as well. So rather than creating something for him then studying his reaction, which kind of feels like a test subject, he was a part of the presentation and the presentation was a part of his experience.