SARAH FOX

Community Historians

The Community Historians project was a series of public, participatory workshops in an Atlanta community focused on conceptualizing and enacting forms of citizen engagement through technology. The goal of the project was to provide the space and resources to discover, discuss, and document inherent communal values and tangible resources present in a low-income community. The result of the first workshop was an interactive, alternative asset map of the area. The second workshop involved residents building their own digital cameras from component parts. The purpose of these activities was to reinforce critical thought about how technology affected the lives of residents and to empower adaptation of technology as a tool for communal development.

Visit the project website to see the map produced by residents.

Clothing Supported Agriculture

Clothing Supported Agriculture was completed in partnership with Thomas Lodato as a part of the Public Design Workshop at Georgia Tech in the Fall of 2011.

Clothing Supported Agriculture explores the extension of the ideology of small-scale urban agriculture into peripheral practices, namely clothing design. In the context of digital media, we were primarily concerned with how ideologies are remediated, and secondarily concerned with how remediated ideologies are communicated. As for the former, we focus on actual clothing construction and design; with the latter, we explore framing mechanisms used by similar projects (specifically social entrepreneurship companies such as Tom's Shoes and Warby Parker).

The clothing and patterns were designed according to the tenets of small-scale, community agriculture: closed-loops of waste, locally sourced and reused materials, and freely distributed patterns. Ergonomics and the encouragement of new relationships were also core considerations. The garments and patterns exemplify an encompassing ethic which should extend beyond the growing of plants.

project page

Pollen

Though there are devices to measure and communicate the facts of pollen, there are few means by which to express the experience of pollen.

Social networking sites house communities of users who are sharing the effects of pollen on their lives, but not in a way that lets us put the where to the how. Aggregation of this data is the start to a qualitative understanding of pollen’s influence.

The pollen map collects community members’ day-to-day accounts of how pollen affects their lives. These recordings are plotted geographically and temporally which allows for reflection on this recurring, yet ephemeral natural process.

The map affords the uncovering of emergent narratives in the reports of its community members. Looking at the map this season, we see that people look to the surfaces of their cars for information about pollen levels and that even citizens without allergies consider pollen epidemic.

This project was done in partnership with other students of the Public Design Workshop: Tom Jenkins, Allen Martell, and Ben Chapman.

project page

WE ARE UNDERGROUND

We Are Underground was an interactive display in a vacant storefront of the historical shopping site Underground Atlanta. A place with a storied history—-from its pre-viaduct days in at the turn of the 20th century to its revivals as entertainment districts in the '60s and '80s—-Underground Atlanta is a site of power where racial tensions have manifested. Visitors to the installation were invited to comment on the space and how they saw themselves in relation to it by writing on a plain white sheet of paper and triggering a gesture-activated photobooth. A projector inside of the store displayed visitors' images back into the space and the windows of the storefront were pasted with comments from visitors. We Are Underground was about giving visitors the opportunity to define the space for themselves.

WE ARE UNDERGROUND was done in collaboration with Shota Vashakmadze (Architecture) and Bobby Schweizer (Digital Media) at Georgia Tech.

project page

About Me

Photo by Eric Meadows

I am a PhD student working in the Tactile and Tactical (TAT) Design Lab at the University of Washington, where I conduct a broad range of design research. Ethnographic study, speculative design, and participatory design are among the methods and approaches I use regularly.

I hold a Master’s degree in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where I was a part of the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing. I have also interned with the Interaction and Experience Research group at Intel Labs and the Human Experience and Design group (formerly Socio-Digital Systems) at Microsoft Research Cambridge.

My CV is here.

Contact

Email me at perhaxis@gmail.com.