Liu Jayden Sophomore Environments Process

Jayden Liu
6 min readSep 7, 2021

Concept update + Storyboard Sept 7th:

While exploring the vast exhibitions of CMOA, I was especially intrigued by a candid photography collection by Charles “Teenie” Harris that recorded “Black lives in America” in the 1900s. Harris was a photographer for the Pittsburgh black Newspaper, Courier. While fulfilling his occupation, he went on a persistent quest of photographing Black lives in America, focusing especially on the social networking within the black community. While in hindsight, viewers realize the oppression that the subjects of his photographs were subjected to, through the uplifting imagery and the active recording of social movements, Harris intended to show the tenacity of the black community under adversity. I was always sensitive about social justice issues, and as soon as i saw that this local photographer inspired the CMOA to challenge social issues and was specifically mentioned on their Mission Statement, I knew I had to build upon his work in this little exhibition of mine.

I used abduction logic to develop my problem from the desired results that I wanted to create with my exhibition. I wanted to bring people together. I hope the visitors of my exhibition, regardless of race, leave the museum feeling more inclusive and more accepting of others. And of course, the other goal is to make the same visitors go visit CMOA, my client. While experimenting with the double diamond module I’ve learnt in How People work class, inspired by an artist I’ve been listening to lately, an idea came to me.

Rapper Kanye West had made and had began selling a “stem player” that allows peoples to engineer the music that they are listening to on this device (Here is him demonstrating the prototype to a radio show host Through the look on the host’s face, I have realized the joy that music brings to people and how potentially this mechanism could be used for people to collaborate across generations.

In my storyboard, I have described an experience where the visitors experience the exhibition while listening to a series of music that I have prepared for them that shares relevance with the black history of Pittsburgh. And towards the end of their visit they get to play with the gamified sound-engineering table and create unique sounds and remixes with the tracks that I have prepared. Visitors can share the music they have made with others with a swipe of their finger, creating a inclusive and positive social experience.

Mood Board Sept 7th:

Working with my idea of a jazzy music journey, I wanted the experience of my museum to mimic the aesthetics of Ahmad Jamal, a Pittsburgh Jazz artist, whose music I would also share with the visitors of my exhibition. Purple was a prominent color in the world of Jazz. it is mysterious, and it symbolizes spirituality and Wisdom, which is exactly what I wanted for my show. I also wanted to incorporate the Pittsburgh aesthetic in the 1900s into this experience, since I am making an exhibition about the music and arts of Pittsburgh in that period. While there were no buildings in the mood-board that actually came from Pittsburgh, I incorporated the muted apartment complex to borrow from its muted tone and industrial feel, which coincided with the Steel city.

The cover arts and peripherals of Ahmad Jamal lend itself beautifully to the vision I have in mind, as they incorporated vibrant spot colors, and muted field colors that I largely borrowed for my color palette. The type fonts I have used is also a perfect match that I happened to stumble upon while browsing the web. it is slick and jazzy.

As for the flowing water and silk, I have incorporated them because they are the textures I felt listening to the masterpieces of Ahmad Jamal, and they have similar color palettes that I am going for.

Sept 9th

The first hybrid environment that came to my mind was school or any other sorts of academia. Take CMU as an example, Students here do most of their work on computer, utilize cloud storage, and absorb information that is most likely displayed on a monitor. While there are many polarizing views on the utilization of technology in the classroom, the “hybridization” of the school setting has undoubtedly increased the efficiency of learning.

The other day, when I was in a class on color, our instructor Mark Mentzer explained to us how in the current age students can mix colors effortlessly on a computer, however, back in his days, he would have to mix the color by hand. While he commented on how he would never make us do our assignment by hand because it was torture, he also mentioned how he learned so much from mixing the paint. Thus, there are definitely pros and cons of having the convenience of technology. However, in my opinion, we could have send the time mixing the paint on other forms of exercises that improve our sensibility to color or any other skills we would have. We would, that way, eventually arrive at the same or even greater expertise within the same time.

I believe that the hybrid environment of school is undoubtedly an upgrade from the traditional pen and paper school and it allows for greater accumulation of knowledge and better performance or exercise of expertise.

Sept 14th

Littlebits demonstration:

One of the interactions in my exhibition is by triggering the pressure sensors placed under the carpets in front of the artworks, music will start playing from the speakers overhead. In this video I demonstrate how pressure sensors could be used at triggering the sound.

The main and final interaction that I wanted for my exhibition was for the visitors to collaborate on engineering/remixing the tracks that they were just hearing throughout the exhibition. While I do not have the knowledge to prototyped the collaboration aspect of the interaction, I made a simple simulation of sound engineering on littlebits.

Sept 16th:

Sketchup and physical model update: