This set of probes was designed to explore the idea of creating, recalling, and forgetting memories. It was created for Aisling Kelliher's Experiential Media Design Class. All of the materials, including the family photographs contained in the box, were purchased at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.

This work was inspired by the great variety of design and cultural probes that have been produced, in particular by the fabulous work documented in the paper 'Making Design Probes Work' by Jayne Wallace, John McCarthy, and Peter C. Wright, and Patrick Olivier.

The probes were designed to play around with the idea of making memories, recalling memories, and forgetting. These probes were never deployed formally, though they did inspire further thinking around the nature of digital memory.

Physical Prototyping


Design of the Container
The box was originally a recipe box that I repurposed by modge-podging a map of San Francisco onto it. The goal was to create a container that looked like it might hold something treasured, personal, and meaningful.

Design of the Probes
There are four probes. All of the probes were constructed using a combination of found materials, simple electronics and craft materials.

1. Make a Memory - Two photographs with a card that says "Pick one of the two photos in the box and describe the scene as if it was a photo you took it."

2. Give it Away - A glass vial, a piece of paper, and a card that says "Write a dscription of a person you have lost touch with, put it in the vial, and give it to a friend for safe keeping."

3. Take It Back - A marker, a piece of paper, and a card that says "Use this page to share a story about a secret. Then, use the marker to redact the sensitive details."

4. Sounds like - A sound recorder encased in felt and a card that says "Press on the red part of the felt patch to record a sound that reminds you of your hometown."

The Probes