Tech in the City: Using Exhibition Design to Build an Emotional Connection Between People and the City with the Presence of Ubiquitous Technology Open Access
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This thesis proposal for the exhibition, Tech in the City, explores the concept of smart urban technology and its impact on how a city interacts with the humans it serves and supports through participation in an immersive and multi-sensory exhibition experience. While the exhibition can connect with city-dwellers around the world, the primary audience is residents of Washington D.C. who view the city as “home”. Focusing on longer-term city residents—people born in the city, still living in the city, and who plan on remaining in the city—means an audience group that is invested in the near and far future of urban spaces and, whom, likely, have a more established relationship to the city as a place of community and familiarity. This notion is important given that the aim of the exhibition is to engage this audience with the topic of urban technology as a means to consider the nature of humans’ ongoing affiliation to life in cities and whether the city as a “home” is perceived any differently within the purview of a technologically reliant future. Tech in the City evokes the concept of magical realism as a method of interpreting and designing experiences that will embark upon real territory that has yet to be fully realized. So, magical realism becomes a design strategy that allows for truth and speculation to exist in the same space, making the experience both intriguing, playful, yet encouraging reflection. This thesis explores the considerations for attracting and engaging a crucialaudience for this topic and for creating an effective exhibition within gallery spaces that extend to include a small portion of the grand hall of the National Building Museum in Washington DC. The process of designing this thesis exhibition explores the question: how do you design a multi-sensory exhibition experience that builds a meaningful connection between people and the city with the presence of ubiquitous technology in the mix.