Kacie Kinzer is an interactive artist and designer interested in how technology can redefine the narratives of everyday life. Often, this involves creating systems that involve social interaction, participation, and collaboration in contexts ranging from museums to the city street. Her work is part of the permanent collection in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Kacie received a master's degree in design and technology from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in 2009, and has since worked for clients including the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Bell Labs, and the New York Public Library. Drawing on her background in communication, architecture, design, and psychology Kacie is creates playful and unexpected interactive experiences that change our relationships with everyday contexts, experiences and each other.
Tweenbots are human-dependent cardboard robots that navigate cities with the help of pedestrians. Built to be as technologically simple as possible, the adorable and helpless-seeming ‘bots roll along at a constant speed, in a straight line, and have a destination displayed on a flag. They rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal. The Tweenbot’s success is dependent people’s willingness to step outside of habitual actions and engage with an empathetic technological object in urban public space. As emotive characters placed in the improbable setting of the city, Tweenbots create unexpected social interactions that disrupt the narratives of our everyday experience—exploring ways to create fleeting and playful connections between people, technology, and the environment.
Morgen is a socially networked alarm clock that leverages existing social relationships to help users wake up. The alarm clock wirelessly interfaces with a Facebook app which allows friends and family to leave a wake-up message for the alarm clock’s owner each day. The wake up message makes its way wirelessly to one of Morgen’s nodes—an expandable system of networked objects that the user can place throughout the room. At the time the user wishes to wake up, one of the nodes begins to make sounds, which gradually increase in volume. If the owner wakes up in time to shut off the alarm, they get the message. If they don’t, their friend will automatically receive an email, letting that friend (and the rest of their Facebook contacts) know that they haven’t made it out of bed. Because Morgen has the ability not simply to receive messages, but to transmit information about the user’s interaction back out to friends and family, it is more than a system of objects; Morgan explores how a network of people can help change the experience of waking up.
T(here) Chair explores ways of feeling connected across distances through the everyday object of a kitchen chair. Inspired by a habit of my parents–– who always sit in the same chairs at the kitchen table and leave the places where my brother and I sit untouched–– T(here) Chair conveys a sense of physical presence to my parents by connecting two chairs. Whenever I sit down in my chair in my apartment in New York to eat breakfast, to relax, or to work on my laptop, a light illuminates the chair back home in New Mexico. As soon as I stop sitting in my New York chair, the light in the chair at my parent’s house disappears. Seeing this light at different times of the day gives others a sense of where I am and what I am doing that is reminiscent of the simplicity of physical presence people take for granted when they live together.
Whisper Jars are receptacles for secrets and confessions. Whisper something into the jar, close the lid, and your secret will be contained until someone else comes along and opens it. When they do, the secret escapes—is repeated once for one person to hear— and then disappears. The secret recipient can then leave a secret of his or her own in the empty jar. Whisper Jars use a metaphor-rich object to explore our desire to confess and reveal information about ourselves. The jar makes physical (and magically tangible) that which would otherwise be buried in the mind or heart. A thought, a confession, a desire. The asynchronous nature of the exchange allows people to unburden themselves, to communicate something to another human being without knowing who that person will be, or when the secret will be heard. The jar may accumulate dust, but until the lid comes off and transmits its message to another, the secret will be safely preserved.
Teletales is a platform that allows people to share and archive oral stories remotely with technology that is already familiar, easy, and inexpensive—the telephone. Inspired by the wealth of amazing stories about the lives and experiences of aging rural farmers and ranchers, Teletales enables stories to be transmitted and preserved with minimal technology and without the need to be physically proximate. Many elderly people do not have access to--and don’t feel comfortable using--digital technologies that would enable them to easily record and transmit their life stories. Even without these technological barriers, telling stories is often about sitting down and communicating with other people. Teletales makes it simple for people to come together, hear stories, and have those stories preserved simply by making a phone call. Individuals call the Teletales phone number, enter the phone number of someone else (e.g. their grandfather), and are connected to that person. Once they finish their call, they simply hang up. Later, they can go online, log in, and download the audio recordings of their conversations in the click of a button.