World as construction kit

July 3, 1905


Jay Silver


Lens "By the means of Telescopes, there is nothing so far distant but may be represented to our view; and by the help of Microscopes, there is nothing so small, as to escape our inquiry; hence there is a new visible World discovered to the understanding." ~Hooke Block "The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterwards leaves the fingers: so form became feeling. And the box with a mast to set upon it, on which to hang with string the maple cubes and spheres and triangles, revolving them to discover subordinate forms." ~Frank Lloyd Wright Discovery can be re-seeing the world we live in as Hooke says. Discovery can be building something as Wright says. What if we do both at the same time, taking a lens and crossing it with a block? Can we make a tool, a “Constructive Lens,” that, by design, catalyzes this active discovery process of re-seeing (lens) the everyday world as something we can build with (block). This thesis will explore the space of Constructive Lenses and introduce technologies that attempt to fulfill the role of "Constructive Lens," with a focus on two tools in particular, the Drawdio and the Makey Makey. The thesis will investigate, through both design studies and case studies, what experiences and outcomes are possible when interacting with creative lenses. Finally, Silver will offer design guidelines for creating Constructive Lenses.

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