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Experimental Design

Giorgia Grippa

Giorgia is an experience designer. Her work spans from visual and digital design to interactive installations and workshops. She is currently part of the Museum of Brands Learning team, where she helps design and deliver workshops and educational activities. Giorgia also worked as production assistant and designer for Thiaso Teatro and collaborated with institutions such as BBC (2019) to design and prototype an interactive display for the Research & Development department; INAF, the Italian Astrophysics Institute (2018) to create an immersive exhibition design concept.

Her work has been exhibited at CAA Conference, Chicago (Playin' it by the ear, 2020) the Crypt Gallery in London (Moss Memorial, Xcavations 2019) and at the Korean Cultural institute in Rome (Corpi Eterei, Sinestesie 2018).

Degree Details

School of Communication

Experimental Design

While studying for my MA in Information Experience Design at Royal College of Art, I have been investigating the potential of design interventions on urban heritage sites using augmented reality, interactive and immersive storytelling.

My most recent project is Sanctuary: through the eye of the cat.

The existence of humans and cats has been intertwined for centuries what would it look like if our experience of a place could reflect that? Sanctuary is an interactive installation designed for the archaeological site known as Area Sacra of Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome and its cat shelter. It aims to inspire awe, generate curiosity and wonder towards the coexistence of human heritage and cats.

In recent years, the cat shelter has been repeatedly at risk of eviction by the local authorities that are planning to implement a new vision for the site that will enhance its archaeological contents.

Inspired by artists and thinkers who valued and recognised pets as key actors in human environment, evolution and social and eco systems, from Chris Marker to Donna Haraway, Sanctuary acknowledges the value of a non-human experience, hoping to shift the perspective on sharing the archaeological site with cats, viewing their experience as fundamental to understand the site's identity.

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Sanctuary Map
Sanctuary Map interaction — The map is designed to be accessed mainly on mobile devices.
Printed Sanctuary Map — The map is shown as a print alongside the installation, with a QR code to view the interactive version.

The first part of the project imagines a map of the archaeological site that contextualises the installation, and illustrates the spatial understanding of the place from a cat's perspective.

A challenging feat that relies on the limited human understanding of another species cognitive abilities and translate that into visual design elements.

Cats can create sophisticated mind maps. They orient themselves in relation to visible landmarks as well as sounds and smells. Cats’ sense of smell could allow them to identify a scent from a distant past. However, they are unable to form sequential memories older than a few minutes (or sometimes seconds). Unlike humans’ cats rely only on associative memory rather than episodic memory, they recall events in a non-linear, non-episodic way. They understand time in terms of distance.

Space — Cats can create sophisticated mind maps of a space. They orient themselves in relation to visible landmarks, natural or human-made as well as sounds and smells. They are able to follow volatile, invisible scents such as the ones released by their paws when scratching, cheeks rubbing and urine spraying. Their sight is excellent in the dark and partially colour-blind.
Time — Cats likely reached ancient Rome on Phoenician ships. They were among the few animals allowed inside Roman Temples. Cats from this area witnessed the assassination of Julius Cesar and the fall of the Roman Empire. Cats’ sense of smell could allow them to identify a scent from a distant past. However, they are unable to form sequential memories.
Spatial visualisation
Installation trailer
Space - projected
Time - projected

Two touch activated, audio-visual pieces are projected on larger than life silhouettes of the ruins from the archaeological site.The two animations were designed to suggest a cat's experience of the archaeological site. One is focused on the cat's spatial experience while the other is focused on what a cat's historical memory of the place would look like.

Animation allowed me to create a parallel, yet familiar world, that merges imagination and factual information that we, as humans, are unable to fully visualise but that is part of the place's identity nonetheless.

The sound is also a key component to recreate the cats' experience and at the same time set the atmosphere. The soundtrack includes recordings of the actual soundscape of the site, human voices from volunteers and supporters of the sanctuary and an original score.

Medium:

Projection Mapping on wooden panels

Size:

2 min. 50 sec. / 160 x 190 cm / 70 x 120 cm
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