Kalyssa Gagnon

See it On Campus: Level 2

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Located on the second floor in front of the facilities offices.

It’s six am and as I walk to the skytrain station, the sun slowly begins to emerge over the skyline. I grab my phone and snap a quick picture before changing the song I am listening to. On the train I watch as other commuters sit down and pull out their phones, most likely to scroll on social media or play a game on the way to their jobs. Throughout my own work shift I watch as tourists and locals both wander, phones, cameras, and Go-Pros extended from their arms like a permanent part of their bodies. As they walk around they watch the world through the lens of their chosen device, I can only assume with hopes to share the experience with others in some form or perhaps revisit this time in the future. Technology has become almost an integral part of our everyday life. I, myself, am guilty of finding myself viewing life through a screen opposed to just enjoying the present through the use of my senses. Despite their physical presence in this space, I wonder how much they are actually experiencing? Watching the world go by through the lens of a device instead of with just their eyes, and trying to get the perfect picture instead of paying attention to all the happenings of the moment in real time. It is through this experience that notice first emerged.

I began this project by looking inwards. How do I see the world? What do I notice? I have always considered myself as someone who is very intune to details. As I go through each day I spend a large amount of time observing what is around me, particularly tiny intricate details. So I began by capturing the things that caught my eye on my walks. As of now I have a collection of several hundred macro photos which I have been printing throughout the course of this project into 2×3 inch size images. Leading to an interesting contrast of making these small details larger, but then smaller again.

As my fourth year capstone project I have designed a series of phone sized, wooden frames, each with a unique lens placed inside, to as a physical replacement for the technology we hold daily and to work as a non verbal prompt to once again spark people’s wonder in the world and encourage presence through our sensory experiences in a moment. I intend for these frames to act as a reminder of the beauty around us, the importance of learning to just be in a moment, and to help give others the experience of presence that I have found when immersing myself in these very moments. The inserts for these frames allowed me to carry on with my never ending ideas of material explorations, the freedom to play with new ways of seeing, and the opportunity to facilitate conversation and connect with others. The inserts are also a way to encourage participation in the act of noticing, prompting interaction through our natural curiosities. What I value in design is giving others the opportunity to find their own meaning.

Ask yourself… How do I see the world? And what might I have missed due to the impeding need for technology?

I challenge you to spend even just one small moment of your day unplugged, present, and just notice.

Hand holding onto an empty frame

Along with these frames I created two sets of prompts, one a simple exploratory guide and the other a deeper reflective process.

  • Observe something from close up
  • Look from a different angle or point of view
  • Look at the sky
  • Observe something moving
  • Look at a living being
  • Find something with an interesting texture
  • Seek out something small
  • Observe something you would normally pass by
  • Compare something dark vs colourful
  • Find something shiny
  • Observe something that you like to touch
  • Look at something that feels familiar
  • Seek out something that reflects
  • Observe something you perceive as beautiful
  • Find something big but only look at a section of it
  • Look at something man-made
  • Look at something in dim lighting
  • Close your eyes and listen, how does it sound?
  • What do you notice?
  • Observe something, describe the colors, shapes, details
  • Pause for a moment. What do you feel?
  • Lie flat on your back, how does the world change?
  • Just breathe
  • Reflect on your experience
  • What is this environment saying?
  • Describe what you see as if talking to someone who never has
  • Be still, notice any movement
  • What do you want to tell the space and its beings?
  • Describe the experience of each of your senses
  • Find something that intrigues you. Spend some time with it.
  • What are other ways of ‘seeing’?
  • What is there to learn from this experience?
  • How does it feel to pay attention to what you may normally consider mundane?
  • How does this experience change in natural areas vs areas with lots of human touch?

Kalyssa Gagnon

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Kalyssa Gagnon is an industrial designer, who recently graduated from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, Canada. Her practice includes a range of skills across many mediums from textiles, wood, digital, and more. She has an interest in design as a form of care and aims to bring positivity to the world through her work.

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