The Bloom Around Us is an interactive visualisation developed as design research into the human connection to technology. It seeks to create empathetic technological experiences, rethinking the way digital interfaces are designed for humans.
For decades technological design has focussed on an aesthetic of minimal functionalism. Using Twitter as a representation of the technological landscape, The Bloom Around Us aims to rethink how we interact with technology and how we might reimagine its values to create more pleasant and beautiful interactions.
By incorporating values and cues inspired by nature, The Bloom Around Us subverts established principles of designing for digital systems. Using projection, the visualisation renders a live stream of tweets each represented by a unique flower. Tweets are sourced from the local area and transformed into an array of flowers arrangeable by viewer interaction. Alongside the visuals is a procedurally generated soundtrack, creating a melodic atmosphere influenced by the visual projections.
Our visual understanding of empathy is guided by our ability to acknowledge a mutual understanding in movement and individuality. For digital flowers, the capacity to move instinctively and contain its own individuality allow humans to visually empathise.
Nature’s ability to create a calming and peaceful atmosphere is attributed to the senses that it appeals towards. The auditory sense is an overwhelming aspect that is able to fill the radius of a room. In The Bloom Around Us, piano notes are attributed to each flower to generate an atmosphere that continuously changes with the flowers that appear on screen. Each flower contains a particular note that is chosen based on a sentiment analysis of the tweet.
For humans and nature, the life & death cycle is an inevitable part of the living experience. Meanwhile, technological systems have an uncertainty about the longevity of information and data. In The Bloom Around Us, everything must die eventually, contrary to the notion of data surviving forever. Time creates change and so as the seasons shift, so too do the colours of the flowers change.
This project was produced as part of the UTS Honours Program 2020.
Thank you to Aaron Seymour, Zoe Sadokierski, Aiden Barry, Madi Chan, Aaron Davis, Julie Nguyen & everyone who helped contribute to this project for their continual guidance and support.