First day of Design Fiction lesson

It’s finally week 6 in Hang Zhou. The time spent here so far has been pretty fulfilling, as we just finished our Origami Robot module just last week. After this module, we will be having our second module planned specially for this DATE program – Design Fiction. I had my first lesson on Monday and I would like to say that I personally am looking forward to our upcoming lessons for this module because it was something interesting in a way that we actually see design fiction all around us in our daily lives without actually realizing that it is happening.

The initial part of our first lesson was mainly an introduction lecture by the professor during which we were instructed to create a three-member group for mini in-class practices. Few practices include choosing two photos to tell a story and creating an 8-frame story with just sketches that we drew. My mini group and I drew the sketches below that depicts our interpretation of how to make toast, as instructed by the professor. Rather the typical and literal guide of how to make toast, we decided to take a different route in which there are different meanings of the word ‘toast’ itself.

It was kind of funny because my mini group’s sketches held a more abstract interpretation, as compared to the other groups who went with a simpler and more direct approach to making toasts. When we were presenting to our TA, in English especially, she had a different expression, compared to when the other groups were presenting.

Overall, I think my first Design Fiction lesson was pretty fun and I especially liked the part when we were asked to do some sketches. I’m not a professional artist, but I liked the feeling after finishing a sketch.

Visit to 之江实验室 Zhejiang Lab

The next day, my theme members and I were instructed to visit the Zhijiang Lab in the the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Town. We were going to participate in an experiment that our seniors in Zijingang were doing for their research which was also related to our theme project – measuring customer’s satisfaction using brain signals.

This was the waiting room for us before each of us went to get experimented on. It was a pretty spacious room that looked like a normal empty working office room. While waiting, we did our own stuff and chilled around.


It was a very interesting experience for me, having participated in this kind of experiment where a few wires were attached onto our heads to retrieve data for the research. The seniors took quite a long time to attach the wires to my head though due to my long hair. It was a new feeling when they starting attaching these wires to my head. I felt like I was in those kinds of movies where mad scientists did weird experiments on human test subjects.

What happened during this experiment was that I was given a certain situation in which the customer service attitude towards me (a customer) was bad, and how I felt during these kinds of situations. My given situation was that I was feeling unwell and decided to take a trip to the hospital to see the doctor for my illness but I had to register myself before being able to see the doctor. I did my best to simulate the actual setting. I walked into the “clinic” and found the nurse to register myself. As I told her I came to see the doctor, she told me to find the registration paper form among a very messy stack of papers that is full of different kinds of forms. I managed to find the form, with the help of the “unfriendly nurse”. After which, I had to fill it up myself and the form was all in Chinese words, some of which I failed to understand and was thus confused how to fill it in. As I reached doubts about the parts to fill in, I asked the nurse (as it was part of the experiment criteria – to ask whenever in doubt). Every time I asked, the nurse responded in a nasty way such as “looking down” on how I could not understand how to fill in the form.

My thoughts throughout this experiment was mostly shocked but it was also fun and interesting to have experienced this during the program. It was a really eye-opening experience for me and I am more excited for what is awaiting my theme and I.

Life in Hangzhou is getting more and more interesting. Look out and forward for more exciting adventures from our DATE students!













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