First Kisses – A collection of 1000 answers for the question “Where were you when you had your first kiss?”
This project was developed from a previous project sparked by several questions including, what extent will I be able to learn about a stranger? Are the experiences we regard as personal truly personal? Where do these personal experiences potentially overlap with others and become shared experiences? At first, I sought to find answers to these questions by asking a selection of password security questions to ~200 people on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. With this pilot study, I discovered some interesting patterns on where people experience their first kisses. For the final project, I expanded the scope of the project by asking a little over 1000 respondents on Turk with the help of Golan’s funding from the STUDIO.
I read through every answer and categorized them into themes, which were essentially both physical and conceptual “places.” (i.e. Garage, birthday party)
In terms of representing these “places”, I wanted to retain the poetic quality of my previous project and include some visual aid for the reader to better imagine where these experiences occurred. I gained inspirations from various types of maps such as Mark Bennett’s TV show blueprints and IKEA’s direction maps. I drew an imaginative map with Illustrator for the table of contents, with page numbers as labels and included additional illustrations for certain locations including different rooms in a house and various types of vehicles.
Now that I look back, I think it would have been more personal for myself if I hid my own answer in the book. Someone suggested that it would have been also fun to collect answers from the class anonymously to include in the book and guess who’s answer was who’s.
This exploration has answered some of the initial questions I had. It’s fascinating to watch how readers experience nostalgia through other’s stories of their first kiss. First Kisses is a book of collective secrecy and an exploratory reflection on memories.
Golan and I have been reaching out to companies that have survey panels so I can collect answers ranging from 10,000 – 100,000. It has been a struggle to get in touch with them, but we just received a reply yesterday so fingers crossed! If not, the other alternative is to use mechanical turk. If you use twitter, please feel free to reply to this tweet.
Where were you when you had your first kiss? For a study. Please reply!
For my final project, I would like to revisit the place project of answers from password security questions. As it was suggested, I’m going to build an actual interface that depicts a realistic experience of answering password security questions when registering as a new user. For the previous project I narrowed down my questions to the ones that are relevant to a place but this time I want to curate a variety of questions. Also instead of using mechanical turk, I will reach out to someone that Golan knows who runs a company that distributes surveys so I can get more answers with better quality.
What first got into my mind was ultrasound photograph of the fetus. This is an image that is limited to be seen in black and white. How would it feel different if we are able to see this in color? Unfortunately, since there is no ground truth for this image yet, the colorization wouldn’t work for this. However, it revealed how there are things that we desire to see in color.
Another idea came to mind, which is to colorize images of subjects that no longer exist, such as extinct animals. Following is my first attempt at colorizing a photograph of a Tasmanian tiger, which went extinct around 1936:
Then I questioned how the use of color influences our perception and decisions. How would colorization of existing images hint novel insights that wouldn’t have been noticed otherwise? I recognized how colors used in political campaigns were obscured in black and white photographs whereas the use of red and blue today is very explicit in these campaigns. It triggered my curiosity for how these photographs would appear differently when they are in color. I scraped images of U.S. presidential election campaigns from 1952-1980 at Getty Images collection and ran the colorization script.
While some images worked better than the other, the effect that colors contribute to the portrayal of election campaigns was stark. I made a chart to see if there were any patterns or trends.
I think it would be also interesting to arrange these charts based on other variables such as candidates or parties. It would have been also better if I had a larger collection of images of election campaigns, which I could have used a training set to get better results.
I’ve been recently growing interest in 360/VR filmmaking. Capturing the world in 360 can break the way we traditionally think about perspectives. I want to capture and present a reality that may not be possible, but I’m still unsure where to go with this yet! I want to take a look at the 360 cameras and play around with it.
My portrait project developed from a question of “How much will I be able to learn about somebody else?” This project inspired me to question whether the experiences and memories we regard as personal, could be predicted or asked by a stranger.
I always felt that password security questions evoke interesting nostalgia and upon research, I picked out the most common security questions relevant to a place. I picked out two questions, which suggested more ambiguous answers.
In what city were you born?
What was the house number and street name you lived in as a child?
In what town or city was your first full-time job?
In what town or city did you meet your spouse/partner?
In what town or city did your mother and father meet?
What was the name of your elementary/primary school?
Where were you when you first heard about 9/11?
Where were you when you had your first kiss?
Where did you go the first time you flew on a plane?
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
In what city or town does your nearest sibling live?
I used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to collect answers from these questions and see if there are any patterns or common answers. I was able to collect 181 answers and trimmed out some, but it was not as much as I anticipated due to the short amount of collection time.
I initially thought about making a map or a visualization but Golan suggested making a book due to the amount of data I have. I wasn’t sure about the book idea at first, but I realized how having a collection of these answers can be a mesmerizing narrative as well.
I have a couple of rough ideas in mind for the place project.
1. Map of password security questions
Password security questions often ask the question related to “where” (e.g. Where were you when you had your first kiss? In what town or city did your mother and father meet? ) These security questions are designed to be the most intimate and personal questions that would be impossible to hack, so I thought it would be interesting to make a simple application that creates a personal security map based on the questions answered.
2. Mini dollhouse of a room
As a child, we all have played with these miniature doll houses. Looking back at it now, I’m thinking it might be interesting to 3d scan my room or some other place and 3d print it to preserve it as an artifact of the place I resided in.
3. In terms of capturing a unique place, La Hutte Royal was one of the most mesmerizing and fascinating “places” that I’ve been to (and also less known). I’m not sure what would be the best method to capture this place, but it’s definitely a great to look into.
For this assignment, I wanted to experiment with the process of getting to know someone. Some of the questions I had in the beginning include:
How much would I be able to know about somebody through others’ description of this person?
What can I make out of others’ descriptions of someone else?
How much do we know about ourselves?
How can I portray “perspective”?
I received a curated list of her people including her family members, friends, and one ex-boyfriend. Within a week I talked with 7 of them in person or on the phone.
After interviewing her people, I realized that I got to know my subject so well that I felt like I knew her as much as those who’ve known her for years. At this point, I recognized that the greatest takeaway was not the data that I collected from the interviews, but my own portrayal of her, which I gradually developed throughout this experience. I created a private edition of the interviews to give it to my subject as a gift, and also my own description (portrait) of her that was also given to her privately.
The process itself became a novel and experimental capture technique for a portrait. I created a concept video to introduce this method and a guide for people to use for conducting their own “inter-portrait” of someone.
He Said She Said (1970)
Dove Real Beauty Sketches
I think this project would have been very interesting and perhaps even stronger if I didn’t know my subject at all. This way my perception of the subject would solely rely on the interviews and might have produced a different result.
This project would also become more powerful if it is created as a series. I would love to have more subjects who are willing participate and get to learn about them.
I have two ideas in mind for the portrait. One is to manipulate my subject’s handwriting and create different versions of it based on handwriting analyses on personality traits.
Another is to create a grayscale chart of my subject’s clothes or other artifacts. This was inspired from my subject’s account of the color gray: “I happen to have a lot of gray clothes and they are all different. There’s warm gray, cold gray… and they go along with everything.”
I had a bouquet of dried roses at home and ripped a small piece from its petal to scan it.
At first, it resembled of a terrain of some planet. We could see where the cracks were and see what’s inside on the edges.
It was a pleasant surprise to discover that cell of dried rose petal actually look like one. The shot above is where the petal’s surface meets the crack, where the interior is revealed. It looks like a pile of leaves on the left, while small cells are tangled tightly together on the other half.
How mesmerizing it is to see that appearance of a cell actually resembles its entity! These shots portray so much about roses’ personality: delicate, slender and exquisite.
I first entered Carnegie Mellon as an art major but I wanted to explore more to figure out what my art should be about. So I became part of the BXA program, studying not only art but also Ethics, History, and Public Policy. Along with my interest in new media arts, I learned how to code which equipped me to interact and communicate with the world in a whole another way. I wanted to do this better, so I also joined the field of human-computer interaction. Long story short, I’m into interactive art, design, user-experience, photography, film, and more. I’m excited to learn novel ways to capture the world, which would let us ask novel questions.