What makes the vendor's market different in this community?


My seeing machine reveals the significant parts of the street vendor’s market through exchanging experiences on the items vendors sell.

Design a seeing machine which identifies an aspect of a community that you think is significant, hidden in plane site or is not typically accessible. These seeing machines should both expose you and document for others this unique dimension. Part one includes identifying what issue/place/moment you would like to reveal then exploring what you would like to collect or exchange and how that will be possible. Consider both quantitative and qualitative aspects of these communities.

My Site and Research
Vermont Blvd – 8th to Washington Blvd

This area is a transition from hispanic area to Korean town. The place I focus on is a market run by several street vendors every day from 8:00 to 18:00 in the hispanic area.

This market runs from 8-6 everyday. It’s opposite side of the police office. All the vendors are Mexican people and there are so many of them, all of them are selling food. Like fruits, snacks, drinks. There are supermarkets a few blocks away. I can't help but wonder what makes this market different? Why are they only selling food? What people are buying from them? How does people think of this market?

First Iteration

As a Chinese being new in the states, I didn’t even know how to interact with those people there, not to mention feeling connected. When I first got there, I can't communicate with the vendors since they don't know English and i don't know Spanish. During my first iteration, I feel like I need to overcome the language barrier in order to communicate smoothly. And maybe if I design something that can facilitate the selling process to non-Spanish speakers just like me. So my first iteration was two infinity cubes working as a translator between Cantonese and Spanish. But after my first deployment, I found out the translator only does help to me. As a resident in that area or the street vendors in that area, they don’t need to talk to a “foreigner” in order to sell anything.

Second Iteration

In my second iteration, I changed the cubes into topic boxes. Those boxes are serving as an access point to open a conversation and building a connection between me and the people. Each of my cube has a topic. These topics are related to foods the vendors are selling. When they are folding the cube in different ways, different phrases and images come up. The magic of these boxes is: I can use the combination of images and texts to show what I mean even though they are not in order. This is how I ask questions and getting feedback through my boxes. Also, I found that gamifying the design makes people more comfortable to exchange experiences, and attaching images on it makes those who don’t speak English more willing to engage. Even though they don’t understand English, we can point at the images on the box and use our body languages to explain.
After the deployment, I feel what needs to be improved is that I might need to have more topics in order to know more. Those questions I set are not directly related to what I concern so I might have to refine it. Also I am thinking of making it even much larger to see if it would be more playful.

Third Iteration

For my third iteration, I am experimenting with different sizes to see which one gets most attention. I also made a large answer box ( the blue one) for people to put their answer on it, it can be texts, letters, images, drawings, ect on any side of the cube. This box also works as a story cube. People leave their comments, feelings on the cube. A different combination of those answers through folding tells a different story. Also, the interpretation would be different from viewers to viewers. I intend to make this box as a medium to tell something about the community, leaving the interpretation to my audiences.
As for the size, the answer box is so big that it requires two people to fold it, it also encourages a connection between people.

Reflection & Questions
1. consider if these infinity cubes are the best form for my design questions. Is there a better form that could be more effective?
2. Is it possible to leave these cubes in that site for people to interact with and get more results?
3. What's the next step?

cardboard boxes, printer, acrylic paints

Professor: Mike Manalo
Course: Lab Core B - Interventions
Term: Fall 2017