3. The Critical Engineer deconstructs and incites suspicion of rich user experiences.
The third tenant informs how Critical Engineers often raise doubts and question the level of validity and credibility when user experiences become too rich, too seamless, and too, for lack of better words, "perfect" -- said in an eerily utopian way. I found this to be particularly interesting because, as a society, we want our products to work in absolute harmony with us; the more integrated, attuned, smart and intuitive our devices and systems are with us, the more we expect such flawless services, and the more we rely and are satisfied with them. In many cases, a flawless user experience is the "norm" to be expected, and it is only when such a service is failed to provide that we take note of the bad design actually being presented.
Many forms of services, products, and systems that we engage with and encounter today are more often than not, heavily entwined with thought out user experience -- from niched and developed VR experiences, to engaging with everyday platforms such as social media. Whereas there is still a somewhat clear distinction in how a digital VR world differs from the actual world experience, this line can easily blur and become confused with the real world -- akin to how we engage with social media platforms today. There is an upwards trend in becoming a content creator, and as more and more users engage with such role and influence, it becomes more difficult to distinguish what stories, informations, and experiences are true to nature, and what others are merely fabrications and/or replicas.
Last year, teamLab's talk regarding their Borderless and Planet environments was one of the first momentous exposures I had to the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, and greatly motivated me to wanting to take this class as well (in addition to also seeing the student work showcase). teamLab describes themselves as "an art collective, interdisciplinary group of ultratechnologists whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology, design, and the natural world." I believe that teamLab does develop their own custom softwares and scripts, to which they utilize across their exhibitions. I was lucky enough to just recently visit teamLab's Borderless exhibit on my recent trip to Japan, less than a month ago.
teamLab's Borderless is collaborative co-creation space for visitors to embrace creative and individualistic opinions and observations, while collaborating with strangers, families, and friends. At first glance, it seems to be just fascinating, exciting playground for young kids to frolic around and enjoy how intelligent of a world can respond to their each and every motion, however, upon further scrutiny and researching more into the mission purpose of teamLab, one can connect how each and every interaction and exhibit room space catalyzes some form of self awareness and discovery, in parallel with creating and existing in harmony with others.
There are many aspects that could be greatly expanded upon, and overall this environment space serves as a catalyst for many other monumental works and thinking to sprout from. Although extremely supernatural and mystical, which proves great delight to kids, I think it would be really interesting and beneficial if teamLab and/or other creators would be able to implement this sort of environments and interactions more seamlessly into everyday learning, rather than have it be an isolated experience that one would have to visit in order to be directly affected.
From what I gathered from their exhibit, it seems like teamLab is greatly inspired by the need to fill the gap between bringing together creativity and traditional classroom learning. In a growingly technological age where children can easily become more isolated, in combination with a culture that strictly enforces learning through traditional means of reading and writing, with right and wrong answers, teamLab aspires to facilitate a more organic, creative, and individualistic co-creating and learning environment.