Week 1 (8/28-9/3): Getting Started!

Welcome to the first post for Project Ex!  Our team of five students are Sarabeth, Dandan, Winnie, Abhi and King Kong.  Our faculty instructors are Chris Klug and Shirley Saldamarco.  Our client is Jane Bernstein, writer and Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University, and her class of undergraduate students.  Our project is bringing the Museum of Broken Relationships to Pittsburgh, for a first time exhibition during the month of December 2016.  

The Museum of Broken Relationships, first established in Zagreb, features an exhibition focused on real life objects that serve as representations and totems of people’s lives, particularly stories related to lost relationships.  In this way, the exhibition grounds interactive storytelling with things that resonate, inspire or attract its guests.  Our job, as the ETC project team, is to work as the primary design team for the project, working with Jane and her class to design the space for both the Zagreb objects as well as Pittsburgh specific objects.  The class, in turn, works for the first few weeks of the semester to collect objects and stories from varied communities within the greater Pittsburgh area.  In addition, we will be working to design an interactive piece to the exhibit (interactivity is a goal, but we are still working through what makes the most sense as a complement to the objects), part of which may or may not include elements relating to stories of the homeless or refugee community of Pittsburgh (an element that Jane’s class will coordinate regardless).  For our interactive installation, we know that we want it to elevate the space without distracting from the objects, which work as its emotional core.  

In this first week of production, the team decided on project roles, team schedule, equipment needs as well as coordinated client communication.  

For our project roles, we assigned the following:
Sarabeth – Producer
Dandan – Programmer, Technical Art
Winnie – Experience Designer, Art
Abhi – Sound Designer, Art
King Kong – Lead Artist, Concept Art

Since the timeline for designing this exhibition requires tight deadlines, we made sure to connect with the Museum itself, and plan to have design skype conferences with them to make sure our interpretation of their museum remains connected in spirit with the original museum.  To ensure that we remain in constant communication and planning with Jane and her class, Sarabeth will attend each meeting time, and act as a representative and reminder to the class of the practical needs and design needs of the exhibit.  For the first class, Sarabeth, Dandan and King Kong attended, along with Chris for introductions.  In turn, Jane’s class has planned a visit to our project room for an introduction on what we do here at the ETC, as well as introductions with the remaining members of our design team.  We also plan to visit the exhibit space this coming week, to get a feel for its dimensions, design potential as well as limitations.

Looking ahead, we will need to get a jump on planning our known variables (Zagreb objects, overall timeline) around our unknown (Pittsburgh collection, interactive space, Homeless and Refugee piece, overall budget, storage needs, legal needs, project areas of risk).  In addition, we have ETC related deadlines we need to prepare for, for instance how to show our work to faculty at 1/4s, what we show, as well as branding for the project.  

We are looking forward to an incredible opportunity this semester, and seeing what this project brings!
Project Ex