What does it mean to Like Art?
When a person approaches a piece of art, they take on a critical perspective. They form opinions internally,
and maybe discuss their opinions with someone nearby.
On Facebook, there is an understood way of externalizing your opinion, and
it is through the like button. Using a critical design approach
, we recreated the digital form of liking an object shared on the internet
as a physical totem present in a public space.
The LIKART intends to explore:
- Art goers reflections on ubiquitous technology like Facebook in our everyday lives
- Art goers and artists reflections on the imposed limitations of choice within the design of a one button system.
- The act of publicly expressing an interest in a piece of artwork.
- Whether the incorporation of technology changes the perception of art.
- Individuals responses to digital icons as physical totems in everyday experiences.
Critical Design Approach
Defined by Dunne is an approach to
producing conceptual electronic products that encourage complex and
meaningful reflection on inhabitation of a ubiquitous, dematerializing,
and intelligent environment: a form of social research to integrate critical aesthetic experience with everyday life”
Two Vine videos were created that displayed two different types of low-fidelity
prototypes both employing the use of a simple button to discover what the opportunity
space will be through the installation of a button below a piece of artwork.
The Vine videos were then interpreted by two people.
Vine Video 1
This video feature no like button, it just
focuses on the button under the painting,
allowing the user to interpret what it does.
Vine Video 2
This video feature a like button. It is a
bit more explicit about what the button
What we learned:
- Displaying just a button with no context provides various interpretations.
- The act of pressing the button was interpreted as a trigger to turn something on either a light,
text, or the painting itself.
- Immediate feedback is important for the understanding of intention and function of the design.
- Though our second Vine lacked any indication of Facebook in neither color, typeface, or iconography,
the association of the button to Facebook Likes was instantaneous.
- Such close associations spark conversations about the act of liking something and further about Facebook itself.
In this phase of the project we explored the form and user interpretation of our prototype in situ.
For this phase we have iterated on the physical form of the enclosure and correlating the affordance and
feedback of the electronics in the feedback.
- We deployed the prototype for 15 minutes in a busy hallway at the IMU
- We recorded the number of people who passed by, who looked at the prototype, and
the number of people who engaged with the prototype.
- Kerri acted as a “plant” to provoke people to like it (aka, incognito)
What we learned:
- The location of deployment is important for gathering data.
- People, though inherently curious about the design by looking at it, did not stop
to examine the design further most likely due to the placement of the design in a hallway.
- The people who did interact with the design found it amusing, comical, and satirical.
Final LIKART Prototype
- The wi-fi enabled SparkCore and breadboard with 4 LED lights
- Concave button, arcade button
- Laser cut acrylic shell
- iPhone display with total count of button presses
For the final prototype, deployed the LIKART at the Grunwald Gallery in Bloomington, Indiana.
We observed interactions with the art and the device. We also interviewed art goers, artists, and gallerists.
Our design initially seems very simplistic but it provided a jumping off point to start a dialogue about art, social media, the context of art, and what it means to like something.
Placing a like button next to art changes the art experience
One interviewee thought reaction to Art is way more than Like or Dislike and “would a button like this maybe devalue art?”
Influence by quantification
We found that numbers influence responses. One study participant thought that people would think something with more likes was better, or at least warrant more detention.
Influence by context
Initially it seems like adding a Like button completely changes the art experience, but there are already so many factors that change the art experience (the lighting, current conversation) that Likart joins this ongoing conversation.
The button became art in itself
Art causes people to stop and think about humanity, emotion, craft, time, and so on. Art is a conversation, an image without a caption, and the conversations around art fill the void between the finite piece of art and the infinite interpretations. When observing people using Likart we found that “It makes Facebook physical”.