Displacement and Migration: mapping and soundscape

Designers in residence is a core part of Design Museum’s programme. Now in its 9th year, it reflects the museum’s commitment to providing support for designers in the early part of their careers.

The 2015 exhibition focuses on the theme of Migration, with four designers selected for their innovation and original thinking. Stephanie Hornig, Chris Green, Alexa Pollman and Hefin Jones were the Designers in Residence 2015.

The plan:

The Displacement and Migration multisensory tour was held on Saturday 9 January, and to have a good opportunity to investigate the narrative and critical nature of this exhibition, we divided the tour into three areas; Migration and Displacement, Migration and Mapping, and Migration and Soundscape.

The subject:

Migration and Displacement.
We can’t really talk about Migration without making a reference to what has been described as probably the world’s worst human tragedies, the current forced migration of people affecting parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. There is an argument against such a major displacement of people but research reveals that human migration has happened throughout history:

▪The biblical Exodus of the Israelite’s in the Old Testament records that “about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children” left Egypt. –   Exodus 12:37

▪ In Quebec history, 925,000 French Canadians were said to have left for the United States between 1840 and 1930, mostly due to political and economic reasons.

▪One of the greatest waves of immigrants to the USA was during the 1820’s to 1890’s, when more than 5 million immigrants arrived in America from Ireland and Germany.

▪Between the 16th and 19th centuries, about 11 million Africans were forced into slavery and brought to the Americas.

▪The Jewish Exodus from Arab and Muslim countries saw the Jewish migration include nearly all the 140,000 Jews from Algeria emigrating, mostly to France after Algerian independence in 1962.

Migration involves movement, mobility and transition and we can explore that idea with several objects, systems and processes. Objects are ideal for exploring spatial displacement and this tour uses definitive elements like form, shape, texture and density to explain its day-to-day manifestation. One question we asked was; do you know animals like the Caledonian bird use flexible thinking to solve multi-stage problems? When tested, a crow knows that dropping stones or gravel into a half-filled jar of water will cause the water level to rise to the top, making access to the water easier.

The Hourglass is another excellent object to explore elements of the cause and effect of material displacement. You clearly hear the sound of the sand travelling from one part of the hourglass to the other.

Migration and Mapping:
Chris Green’s Aerial Futures display shows 2 four-engine and 1 three-engine drone each mounted on metal stands. Chris’s practice forges new relationships between people, place and the city and this display was a main part of our interrogation of movement, mapping, surveillance and tracking.

It is worth noting that though most drones are 4-engine, Octocopters or eight-engine drones are more efficient for high-risk or longer range use so that a possible failure to the first set of engines is not terminal, allowing for extraction of the device from its operation.

Drone by Chris Green
Image: Chris Green’s  4-engine drone.
Copyright Chris Green, Drone 2015

Drones have become increasingly popular with flying enthusiasts but are also famously and excellently used in extensive and long-range research and activities like monitoring, surveillance and exploration. Because they are silent, precise and can be operated from a distance without detection, drones have excellent use during war, for exploring space and researching volcanoes. They are also used in farming and for mapping terrains.

A good example is the use of drones during the investigation of Katla, Iceland’s most active and dangerous volcano. Scientists are able to monitor seismic activity by capturing aerial images which detail 3D maps of the area. They also place monitors as close as possible to the core of the eruptions so GPS tracking systems gather data, which they feedback in real time.

Using Telematics is key to the work that goes on during mapping. Telematics are devices that merge telecommunications and infomatics and this includes anything from GPS systems to navigation systems. We see them featured in anything from vehicle trackers to hands-free mobile calling, and our mobile phones are an example of a Telematics device.

Animals also have very sophisticated processes and tracking abilities that help with mapping. An example is how bats use echoes from clicks to convey not only their distance to a target, but also the size, shape, speed, and vector of the objects movement. The bloodhounds ability to track game, the humpback whale’s ability to migrate from Antarctica to eastern Australia to give birth and mate during the winter and spring, and the rattle snake’s ability to track its prey after striking are among varying elements of tracking and mapping that are constantly used by animals and in wildlife.

Echolocation allows dolphins to tell the difference between types of fish, and can identify size, shape and weight by the echo that comes back to them. They can also easily discern the difference between objects that are different in material composition, even if visually identical, by their different densities.

Alexa Pollman’s Indivicracy display is about the concept of a future nation where a new form of government for the 21st century is created, in which societies exist without borders or territory. Allowing for free movement, the citizen’s are constantly moving between places, with governance in place to protect individuals who choose to migrate borders of settled societies.

Trackpack. For DM Jan blog
Image: Alexi Pollman’s Trackpack.
Copyright Alexi Pollman, Trackpack 2015.

Alexi also challenges the current notion of “wear” and her display suggests ideas for future garments like the super-insulated gloves called Typers, the masks, the Jumping-jackers shoes and the Trackpack, what i can only describe as a one-piece raincoat attached to a back-pack and constructed into a shopping trolley on wheels.

Migration and Soundscape.
Sound is transmitted from a source to the surrounding air when particles vibrate or collide, and this vibration passes the sound energy along to our ears. Without any particles to vibrate, we would not hear the sound. With this knowledge, our activity explored various sounds and recorded our responses.

Sound exercise at the Design Museum

Using the learning studio, our Soundscape activity involved the use of six different sounds. Participants listened to and identified various sounds at intervals, and were asked what each sound represented to them. They could either draw or name their response, whether as a visual representation or an emotion, and the results were really interesting. Participants said they experienced various emotions, from elation, nostalgia, happiness to soothing relaxation.

The next tour:
The next multisensory event will tour the current Cycle Revolution exhibition at the end of march. This tour will examine the revolution of bicycle design, and investigate material and function. It will also include a demonstration of a bicycle for the blind and visually impaired.

More information, date and booking details will be uploaded to Design Museum’s website shortly.

MaMoMi. All rights reserved 2016.


Displacement and Migration: A multi-sensory tour

The next multi-sensory tour at the Design Museum is titled Displacement and Migration.

Design Museum Jan tour
Design Museum, Shad Thames, London
Date: Saturday 9 January 2016
Time: 14:00

This tour will investigate migration, displacement and movement. Starting at Designers in Residence 2015, this tour will highlight elements of movement and mapping. The tour includes a session in the museum’s Learning studio, to explore the resources and enable discussion around movement and mapping.

Tours are free for blind and partially sighted visitors and their companions, including exhibition entry.

Advance booking is recommended but not essential. The tour meets in the museum foyer 10 minutes before the session is due to begin.

If you are interested in this tour, please use the online form here or call +44 (0)20 7940 8782.

Read more at: http://designmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/access/touch-tours/displacement-and-migration-a-multi-sensory-tour#sthash.l5R5nK5l.dpuf

Walking: A lifestyle?

Walking: A lifestyle? is the latest in a series of multisensory tours programmed at the Design Museum, London, and was held on Saturday 3 October.

Walking: A lifestyle?

Investigating the sense and smell of shoes and the lifestyle of walking, this tour explores the current Camper exhibition, LIFE ON FOOT, taking us through the shoe-making process before closing with a walk in the local area.

This is the first exhibition of the Spanish footwear brand Camper, who in celebrating 40 years of shoe-making in the island of Mallorca, is showcasing their traditional shoe-making skills and contemporary design practice, giving visitors an insight into the processes involved in the design and manufacture of their shoes. Laid out in 7 sections, the exhibition covers Designing, Making, Materials and meaning, Communication, History, Global and Life on foot II.

The display:
As you step through the entrance, you note the distinct smell of rubber, dominating the look and feel of the exhibition. Rubber is a key component for making shoes and black rubber was used in covering much of the display units and the activity space. The other thing you almost immediately feel is the sense of scale and height, something that was quickly noted by some of our visually impaired participants.

Camper at the Design Museum
At the entrance to the Camper exhibition.

Walking through the Designing section, the display of shoes on the left shows a range of lasts, soles and uppers, all of which are not touchable. To the right, as you go through the Making section, you note a display of tools and different materials. Along the room towards the Materials and Meaning section is a display of a variety of Pelotas, one of Camper’s most successful shoes, the name Pelotas in itself meaning ball. Uniquely, all Pelotas have 87 balls on their soles.

Several videos show the manufacturing process, with one in particular showing over forty stages of footwear production, from drawing and pattern-making, all the way to molding, kneading, stitching and packaging. An extensive display of Wabi, a pioneering shoe that explored the potential for sustainability in footwear, shows Camper’s experimentation with different materials. Cork, polypropylene, wool, mint, lavender leaf, coconut and upholstery were used as a composite to make the uppers for Wabi. Though not financially viable for the company, this was a very innovative approach to some of their design and production processes. Also on display were swatches of various types of natural and synthetic upper materials like leather and nubuck, where the different textures, thickness and weights could be felt.

Over-view of the shoe-making process:
The opportunity to review the shoe-making process was a very valuable part of this tour. Several of the participants noted that getting a better understanding of how shoes are constructed was fascinating, something they thoroughly enjoyed. Using the Activity space, we benefited from the expertise of Diana Mashigo, a Footwear designer and Pedorthist, who gave an in-depth presentation of the many stages involved in the design and making of bespoke shoes, some of which we see below.

Drawing the outline of our feet  Cast of the feet The shoe-making session Foot skeleton

Image 1: Drawing an outline of the foot is the initial stage when taking detailed measurements. Using the same principle, taking a foot print using a Harris Mat will show the varying areas of pressure on the soles of the feet, enabling a bespoke maker to create footwear specific for the users needs.
Image 2: This is a cast of a person’s foot. A bespoke last can be created from the mold.
Image 3: This was a verbal description of the importance and relationship between shoes and foot health. Here, you see two of the participants.
Image 4: The foot skeleton shows the anatomy of the foot, with the facilitator explaining how the foot functions. The lasts (the yellow and wooden foot-shaped items on the table) dictates the width, shape, heel height and size of the shoes.

The tour closed with a walk in the local area, taking-in the views of the south-side of river Thames. For many, walking is a natural part of moving around, while others include walking as part of their exercise routine. Others find walking can be great mental stimulus, sometimes taking inspiration from the views along their walk.

Whatever you do with walking, we know it is a great part of our well-being. Next time you take a walk, reflect on what it means to you, and make observations of how it influences the way you feel.

Camper: LIFE ON FOOT, continues till November 1 2015.

The next multisensory tour at the Design Museum, Displacement and Migration, is scheduled for Saturday January 9 2016, from 2pm.
Booking information will be published in Design Museum’s website Access page.

Top two images used permission of Design Museum. All other images are by MaMoMi. 2015

LUMO at Design Museum: Exploring Light and Sound

The multisensory tour at Design Museum, titled Light, Sound and the Built Environment, which took place on Saturday 11 July, used new technologies in the museum’s collection and current exhibitions to explore the senses of light and sound, and how technology has in itself been used to improve our lives. Among the devices explored were Lumo, Leaf Light, Light Scores and the Responsive Street Furniture.

The multisensory approach allows us to communicate in ways not previously appreciated, enabling a richer, more valuable experience for users. These tours take an objective approach to interpretation and involve our participants in an engaging and insightful dialogue around the object explored. We believe that interpretation should be about sharing and learning through exploration.

Lumo at Design Museum 1
Visually impaired participant using LUMO.

About LUMO:
LUMO is a small, portable and affordable real time graphic reader which enables blind and visually impaired to read shapes, graphs, diagrams and colour directly from paper, textbook or sketch book. It converts black lines into vibration and translates colour into sound. On our live test during this tour, we found that it was particularly useful for blind people, especially those with no colour or light reference.

Designed by Anna Wojdecka in 2013 and first exhibited at the Royal College of Art show in 2014, LUMO was specially developed to enable blind people read and draw shapes, graphs and diagrams and also recognise colours. Even though its still in early phases of development it has already been recognised by users, RNIB and the health tech industry for its capacity to change lives and open up new fields of study to the blind and visually impaired, and for its innovation and inventiveness. The model we tried was the prototype, as seen above, but the final design will look like this, in the image below.

Lumo prototypeLUMO reads the surface of a page and translates graphical data into tactile and sound feedback. It converts black lines into vibration and colours into sound tones. Each colour calibrates to a different sound pitch, allowing the blind person identify the various hues of colour. For a first time user, you will have to make the sound reference to each colour, for example, the single tone is a primary colour (yellow, blue or red), while the double tonal sound comes from secondary colours (green, violent and orange), the mixture of primary colours. On the colour chart we used, you noticed that blue has the lowest pitch and yellow was the highest. The other colours have double tones because they represent the sound of the 2 or more primary colours used to make up that colour. Watch the video below to see and hear Lumo in action.

LUMO designer Anna demonstrates how it works.

When exploring black lines or colours, the LUMO creates a vibration. The black and white LUMO reader vibrates to indicate lines. Our visually impaired participants were very impressed with the use and functionalities of LUMO and are also aware that the device is still in development.

LUMO is an affordable real-time solution which makes existing learning environments more inclusive, as well as enriching the interaction between blind and sighted students.

Lumo at Design Museum 2

If you are keen to explore how LUMO works, or want to plan a multisensory tour around the LUMO device, please feel free to contact us via email at info@mamomiinitiative.com.
You can also contact us via twitter at @mamomi_i

The next multisensory tour:
The next multisensory tour at Design Museum is scheduled for October 3 2015, and titled WALKING: A LIFESTYLE? This tour will explore walking as a lifestyle and will include a session exploring the shoe-making process, as well as a walk around the local area. Booking information will be published on Design Museum website soon so please keep watching for details.

Design Museum Tour LUMO at Design Museum
All LUMO images used by permission. 2015
A special thank you to Anna Wojdecka, designer of LUMO, for co-facilitating this tour.

Feel the Force Day 2014 | The Accessibility Event |



Feel The Force Day, Co-founded by JJ Lucia-Wright, is the world’s only film and TV conventions designed for visually impaired people, disabled people and people with learning difficulties.
Feel the Force Day is an accessible film and TV event designed for visually impaired and disabled people.

Their first event, held in Peterborough in October 2013, attracted over 400 people and was the first of its kind, in the World, EVER! They continue to build their audience and had more attractions in a bigger venue for the 2014 event, Feel the Force Day: Access All Areas, which recently held on the 18th of this month. 
Star Wars actor Warwick Davis was among more than 2,000 people to attend the film and television fans’ convention. See the event featured in national media below.
Star Wars explained in touch and smell in Peterborough Event. BBC News Cambridgeshire

Each event typically includes tactile costumes, props, vehicles, TV and film related smell jars plus a few new and original ideas at each event. This year saw a remarkable turnout. See more from national media publication below.
Accessible Star Wars lets disabled Feel the Force. BBC News

Feel The Force Days encourages a fun and friendly atmosphere, so whatever your disability, get in touch and come along – carers, support workers and communication assistants will always have free entry.
Accessible Star Wars lets disabled people feel the force. CBBC Newsround
The 2015 event is already getting booked so check the link below for more information on booking and to contact the Feel The Force Day Team.
Book your tickets for the 2015 event, Feel the Force Day: Part III, booked for Saturday 10th of October 2015 at KingsGate Conference Centre, via this link:
All information used permission 1st Sensory Legion, for Feel The Force Day 2014. Copyright 2014

The 4-D experience: exploring the multisensory.

Engage, experience and share….looking at the multimodal approach.
Shortbread biscuit used in one of the sessions
MaMoMi Initiative director Andrew Mashigo shares some insights from the pilot multisensory workshop which recently held in London, exploring the multimodal approach in the interpretation of visual art to the blind, visually impaired and deafblind. Photograph: MaMoMi initiative.
The way we all experience life continues to evolve, and our experience of the arts is not devoid of that evolution. The platform and environment for such experiences continues to be enlarged, and over the last one year we have taken the decision to engage, explore and evaluate the multisensory process with renewed interest. The multimodal approach enables artists, art practitioners, artist educators and institutional platforms to communicate the message of art, from traditional, modern, contemporary, to conceptual art. On reflection, It is safe to say that all human communication is inherently multimodal.
When we use the word 4-D, we are referring to the 4 dimensions of senses that supports vision perception; touch, taste, smell and sound. Talking 4-D is talking multimodal, not just 2-D or 3-D which generally engages the geometric or form elements in art, sometimes isolating one or another experience, whereas 4-D for us brings together the use of a rich variety of our existing senses, thereby engaging a fuller and richer experience.
In the context of viewing and enjoying art, we believe that a culture of full engagement with the arts, especially within Museums and other cultural institutions and organisations that collect and conserve art, will enable not only a wider audience but also greater involvement in the arts.
Why the multisensory approach?
Participation in the arts has for very many years gone beyond the traditional realms of the artwork displayed on the museum walls or on plinths. Especially with the advent of conceptual art, the expression and appreciation of arts has for many years taken a new direction, and with new purposes.
When i visit an event or show, i don’t expect to engage just one of my senses. Yes, i admit the art galleries or museums are predominantly visual environments but as mentioned earlier, all human communication is inherently multimodal, whether you are delivering a public speech or watching a football game. 
The current World Cup in Brazil is a particular case in point. Audiences watching the football games are not just watching 2 opposing teams trying to outscore each other. The audiences are now presented with a spectacle of an event involving great games and great viewing, but also some very inspiring advertising that can exploit our other needs and commercial interests, like world cup-themed musical events, and even a newer ways of placing bets, not that i am a betting man! The occasion is the football world cup but the outlook impacts communities, business and society in very many ways. So, for 32 days, the whole world is literally held spell-bound by this event in Brazil. Now, that is capturing football audiences to newer levels and reaches.
The multimodal approach to art interpretation allows us to communicate in ways previously not appreciated, enabling a richer, more valuable experience of the arts, especially as in our case, it encourages involvement in visual arts among the blind, visually impaired and deafblind. Integrating this interactive approach is also very valuable when working with people with special needs and other disabilities. Interpretation here is about learning through exploration.
Lloyd approaching the mixed media painting


Tactile representation of mixed media painting shown above

Watching You. 2003

Tactile representation by Tactile Graphics Europe. Photograph: Iris Media Studios

The touch: the Somatosensory experience.
The sense of touch allows us to make a direct connection with objects and surfaces, helping us make viable links with our immediate physical environment. Touch is known in many ways as our first language because as new-born babies, the first thing we do with our mother is to have a sustained cuddle, that crucial connection that aids the mother-child bonding process.
The haptic (active) perception of the tactile process helps us recognize objects, either through its texture, density, weight or temperature. Active touch is different from passive or phlegmatic touch which is inert, whereas with the active we can make viable connection; we explore the character and attributes of the object. Is it soft?; Is it rough?; Is it cold?; Is it conical?; is it hollow? Investigating these various elements helps us make a positive identification of the explored object.
The image shown above is a tactile representation of one of my paintings, a mixed media 3-dimensional painting titled “Watching You”, 2003. The task was to create a replica image that could be used in interpretation sessions at various events and for long periods, without compromising the condition of the original painting. This full-colour thermoplastic print has raised outlines that helps identify selected images in the composition. Identifying the colours is achieved by the use textured sections using lines, dots and raised patterns, all supporting the viable interpretation of the artwork. The tactile image also has braille embedded so added information can be included.
Taste session in progress
Taste session using cake. Cake by Rachael Hill. Photograph: Iris Media Studios.
The taste: Gustatory perception.
Taste is a very tangible sensation and the gustatory is the perception of food or other substances placed in the mouth. Food combines so much in one; taste, smell and texture to form a multisensory experience. Rachael Hill, Co-curator of the workshop, says she really admires the transient nature of food, and adds that this and the process of baking is something that she gets satisfaction from, something she enjoys sharing with others. 
Someone once said “Food is the most revealing part of culture…” and this duality of senses experiment surely provoked a lot of dialogue. Using shortbread biscuits and cakes made in the shape of selected artworks, the participants are able to explore the relationship between the sense of touch, taste and smell. These food items were made in response to some contemporary artworks but were not created as replicas, but instead helping to bring or align viable links between the food items and the artworks. Participants engaged the touch of the baked item, the quality of its sweet taste and the aroma that evoked a rich exploration.
 This session created great debate among the participants and helped us take a critical point of view of the relation between our senses.
The duality of taste and smell about to be explored
Photograph: Iris Media Studios
The Smell: Olfactory perception.
The Olfaction is the sense of smell and the Olfactory receptors are responsible for the detection of smell. The sense of smell is closely related to the sense of taste, and this close association to highlight this viable connection. The food and taste session used biscuits and cakes that had a good amount of seasoning, which on tasting the baked item was identified as a key part of identifying elements in the biscuit and cakes.
Interestingly, sweet smells create a pleasurable feeling while an unpleasant smell very quickly makes for an association with the repugnant.
Art-making session using food items in progress
Art-making session, after touch, taste and smell session. Photograph: Iris Media Studios
The Sound: Auditory sense.
The ability to perceive sound is achieved by the auditory sense, or the auditory perception. Sound is usually detected by the vibrations.
Connecting sound with a place or occasion is a great way to make a connection with or recalling the memory of a place or time. After exploring the senses of touch, taste, smell and sound, we got the participants to make an art piece in response to the session. Here, one of the participants creates an image on the cake canvas.  
Describing the multimodal approach
The multimodal approach is not a new approach but we enjoyed exploring the duality of senses. This pilot session was concluded with broad agreement of the continued need to explore various components that can enrich communication. The interactive is fun, educational and informative and we don’t think the experience may be limited if the process needs to be measurable and sometimes specific. on the contrary, just as with any viable objective or goals, evaluation is key to determining the value of any future proposals. The risk otherwise is to lose what is learnt in the various dialogues between the senses. It is equally important that we are able to capture what resonates with our audience.
A major exhibition in response to this 4-D experience workshop is currently been developed and more information will be circulated in the near future.
Curator and lead facilitator: Andrew Mashigo
Co-Curator and facilitator: Rachael Hill
Facilitator: Laurence Van Der Noordaa
Project Manager: Paul Lewis
Cinematographer: Dr Seth, IRIS Media Studios
Tactile graphics: Touch Graphics Europe


     Rachael Hill         | Cakes – Pastries – Shortbread |
MaMoMi | Engage – Experience – Share |
| MaMoMi: Expanding the Possibilities |