We often hear statistics about how frequently certain events occur. One child dies from hunger every five seconds. Someone buys an iPad every 1.5 seconds. Someone dies from poor indoor air quality every 15 seconds. A baby is born every quarter second. These numbers only let us understand these phenomena on a very cerebral level, though. Even well-designed infographics only engage the user visually. I would like to make an installation that cycles through a database of these statistics and allows the user to experience each through a combination of touch, light, or sound. For example, a light could blink with a period of 1.5 seconds to indicate the frantic pace at which the world is buying up iPads while a gentle burst of compressed air to the back of the hand every five seconds reminds the user how often the world lets a child starve to death. Approximately five children starved in the time it took to read this paragraph.
QR Code Infobombs
People love to scan QR codes, even if they don’t know what they lead to. I might like to pepper sidewalks with QR codes made with chalk and stencils that lead to a website that presents highly localized and continuously-updated information on smog and air pollution. If people scan them while walking along a busy road, I hope I can make the presentation compelling enough to make the link between air quality and traffic stick in their minds.
I imagine a tiny black cube with a phone number and instructions on the side, to be placed on a pedestal in some public location. If you text it a secret (and the text checks out in terms of length and variability to weed out messages like “butts butts butts”), it will store it and reply with an anonymized secret that it has heard before and is most similar to yours. Each secret gets sent to only one other person after a suitable number have accumulated, so you know that when you tell it a secret, only one other person will receive it. In a sense, it’s a bit like Post Secret, except for the strange sensation that exactly one stranger will know something deeply personal about you. (Also, the cube may emit a faint red glow when it receives the secret, to indicate some link between the physical object and the process).