Creative probe

Figure 50
Experiment: Creative probe photography prompt
Figure 51
Experiment: Creative probe fiction and general creative prompt


To create conditions for participants to creatively play with and respond to the warped plastic waste items as a method for facilitating individually generated ecological reflections.


This probe is an iteration of the previous Experiment: Cultural probe, and focuses more heavily on using creative play and exploration to generate active and motivated responses from consumers. It once again draws on How to be an Explorer of the World (Smith, 2008) as an example of a cultural probe.


Most prompts from the previous experiment were discarded except for the photography and creative writing activities, which were re-worded into a creative brief participants could follow loosely (Figure 50 & 51). In setting these probes, I did not want to be too restrictive or force a particular reading of the plastics, so I kept the instructions very open and included a third probe which allowed participants to creatively explore the plastics in whatever way they desired (Figure 51).


What was missing from these probes was how changes in thinking and the internal reflections of participants might be recorded to validate the design of this probe. The nature of the activities of the probe were also perhaps a bit too broad, and did not necessarily inspire participants to think ecologically about plastics. I had lost my original intention in this experiment by trying to emulate the playful tone of How to be an Explorer of the World (Smith, 2008).


The form of the cultural probe needed reconsideration as it was not entirely suitable for the type of information I wanted to gain from participants. The experiences that participants were encouraged to have and the stories they were encouraged to tell also needed reworking. They needed to more clearly stimulate explorations of the longevity of plastic and the way it exists through deep and nonhuman time. I hypothesised that these probe experiments could be translated into participatory design workshops to better suit the nature of interaction I wanted from participants.