CCDN 231 - Experimental Design Ideas - Project Two
Activity: Spinning Around on a Swivel Chair
Experiment: Change of environment to intersection
The activity of spinning around on a swivel chair is something reasonably routine. In changing the environment of any activity, the experience and the emotions that go with it, can be drastically changed. The aim of this experiment was to transform the social and cultural structure of feelings when spinning around on a chair and evoke a sense of rebellion in the volunteers. By changing the environment of the activity to an intersection, the volunteers were then put in a situation which went against all social conventions. They were spun around on the chair on the edge of an intersection and then asked to walk into the middle of the intersection.
In researching the sensory experiences of spinning around on a swivel chair in the sensory ethnography, I learnt that the activity significantly distorts the senses causing dizziness, blurred vision, balance issues and more. Intersections in everyday life are something people are generally very cautious around. By transferring the activity to an intersection, the volunteers felt an element of recklessness. Not being able to use all their senses to check if it was safe went against all natural instincts. One volunteer said the activity made him feel almost as if he were protesting everyday structures. He felt as though walking diagonally through an intersection went against what everyone does and that made him feel rebellious.
After researching rebellion, I found some common themes throughout the articles and books of the subject relating to my experiment. Something that became apparent throughout the research was that rebellion often emerged as a protest of what is traditional or expected in everyday life. The article ‘Design Anarchy’ has strong examples of rebelling against what is common practice in magazines, saying, “ You kill the table of contents because it’s a signature of commercial compartmentalization. Then you tear out ads from other magazines and use them as counterpoint, you rip them up and use them as backdrop (a neat reversal of capitalist appropriation)”. (Lasn, K. 2006). I chose an intersection as the environment to evoke rebellion, not only for its connotations of caution but also its links to rebellion and protests. In researching rebellion I found many examples of rebellion in the streets. For example, “’The militant gay rights group OutRage! Sought to march from Bow Street magistrates court to the Palace of Westminster” to protest equal rights. (Porta, D. D & Reiter H. 1998. P125). Many rebellion groups chose to publicly protest through main streets often close to political and government buildings. Another theme I found when researching is that rebellion is often a social act. I decided to do this experiment with three volunteers as a group. I knew the volunteers would act more rebellious if they were in a group then if they were by themselves but was not sure why until researching it. In Jeremy M. Weintstein’s book, ‘Inside Rebellion’, he often refers to “rebel groups”, never to a rebellion carried out by one person because it is easier and more effective to rebel in numbers than to rebel individually (2007).
Lasn, K. (2006) Design Anarchy. Vancouver: Adbusters Media Foundation
Porta, D. D & Reiter H. (Eds). (1998). Policing Protest. The University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis
Weinstein, J. M. (2007). Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent Violence.Cambridge University Press: New: Cambridge.