[ISEA2011] Panel: Lau­ren Fen­ton – Cre­at­ing Toy Cities: the ex­pe­ri­ence de­sign of trans­me­dia ob­jects

Panel Statement

Panel: The Madness of Methods: Emerging Arts Research Practices

Media con­ver­gence in the form of trans­me­dia sto­ry­telling fran­chises that dis­trib­ute con­tent across mul­ti­ple plat­forms is a grow­ing field of in­quiry in media stud­ies. A per­spec­tive of in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary de­sign en­ables us to also in­ves­ti­gate the emerg­ing con­ver­gence of user ex­pe­ri­ence across dif­fer­ent media. This paper traces a com­mon logic of ex­pe­ri­ence de­sign that in­forms the hy­brid trans­me­dia ob­jects that are theme parks, dig­i­tal games, pub­lic art pieces, and mu­se­ums. This is the logic of the toy city, the com­mu­nity of at­trac­tions that op­er­ates at the junc­ture of the ma­te­r­ial and the dig­i­tal, the spec­tac­u­lar and the in­ter­ac­tive, to cre­ate a sig­na­ture ex­pe­ri­ence for the user that de­fies medium spe­cific modes of feel­ing, know­ing, and cre­at­ing. Case stud­ies high­light the ways in which these media phe­nom­ena op­er­ate on three lev­els, as af­fec­tive ob­jects, as tech­no­log­i­cal de­vices, and as imag­i­na­tive worlds.

  • Lau­ren Fen­ton is a de­signer/scholar whose prac­tice fo­cuses on cre­at­ing nar­ra­tives that can be ac­cessed through in­ter­ac­tions with  the tex­tures of real space and the ma­nip­u­la­tion of en­tic­ing ob­jects. She thinks of her prac­tice as  a process of  the­o­riz­ing and in­vent­ing new emo­tions for peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence, through an every­day en­counter with de­sign ob­jects. Her work in­cludes an award-win­ning mul­ti­me­dia sto­ry­telling ex­pe­ri­ence with a tan­gi­ble in­ter­face (The In­ter­ac­tive Geo­Sur­face Map, with the Cen­ter for Land Use In­ter­pre­ta­tion and Onomy Labs), and the de­sign of themed spaces, video in­stal­la­tions, and an­i­mated short films.