Air[craft] Workshop: Staged Atmosphere
The Air[craft] workshop was an experiential workshop which took place on a stationary plane at an airport and a discussion (following the plane experience) that took place in the airport terminal building. The workshop was set in a functioning (yet stationary plane) at the Aviation Academy in Newcastle, adjacent to Newcastle airport, UK.
Where is your sense of self grounded during the transition from one place to another? What is your relationship with a familiar situation that is changing? How do the dynamics shift from one place to the other? What brings you comfort?
The Air[craft] workshop was centred around a performance in which I acted as a flight attendant throughout the workshop. A series of six design probes were given to the participants for completion during the 2-hour workshop in order to stimulate their reflections when journeying back to their country of origin. The theatre of the workshop was created using the onboard PA system to deliver flight attendant announcements; something that invited the three participants to explore the probe objects in relation to the artefacts they brought with them and their feeling and emotions of being in-between. This involved turning on the aeroplane engines to create the sound of being in-flight, using the flight attendants’ trolley to pass between the participants at intervals to give them probes to respond to and by having a set trajectory of take-off, in flight and landing periods. During the workshop the participants documented their thoughts and reflections in a Travel Journal. The workshop was documented by taking pictures and short videos.
Announcements during the flight helped participants to explore the probes and their meaning and reflect on notions of home, relationships with their body and others. The probes, designed for each participant, introduce a range of materials. Read more for about the Design Probes here.
Welcome on-board Flight 4U2377 with service home. My name is Nantia Koulidou and I will be your ﬂight assistant for this journey. Laura, Jude, Diane please feel comfortable on your seat, get the things that usually accompany you in the ﬂight. Please, secure all your precious belongings underneath your seat or in the overhead compartments. You know you are on your way home. When you feel ready, please fasten your seat belts and switch off all your electronic devices. In front of your seats, we will ﬁnd a travel journal, some pens and an audio recorder. During the ﬂight use the materials to capture your thoughts and feelings. Please feel comfortable on your seat and get the things that usually accompany you in the ﬂight and things that link you with home. Take a minute and have a look on the space in case you feel you need to visit it during the ﬂight. During the ﬂight information will be provided down from above your seat, below your seats and I will guide you through the different activities. The journey will take approximately two hours. We will have a short break for refreshments and then we will have a discussion all together at the airport.
The research argues for a perspective which the authentic environments, the probes and the theatricality of the workshops are all equally important to engage people to talk about their feelings, their frustrations, their excitements or moments of anticipation and explore design opportunities of reassuring the self in a particular context. Read more about this research here