This work has given me the opportunity to expand art probing into new territories. As part of the research project Human Expectations and Experiences of Autonomous Driving, a collaboration between Volvo cars and Halmstad University, I produced a series of evocative videos. These have been used together with designers and decision makers at Volvo cars.
Sparks are five short audiovisual evocations that have been used together with Volvo Cars as part of a speculative method. The aim has been to imagine automotive futures, and social as well as environmental dimensions of mobility. The videos bring up different themes related to mobility and the automotive.
Sparks was produced as part of the research project Human Expectations and Experiences of Autonomous Driving (HEAD), led by the DUX (Digital User Experience) Development Center at Volvo Cars in collaboration with Halmstad University.
The primary aim with Sparks is to mobilise people’s imagination, to appreciate affective dimensions, and to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity. The videos are crafted to move between the expressive and the subtle. The style is intentionally gritty and dense, with tensions between visuals, sound and text. Multi-layered and evocative audiovisual compositions are combined with text statements to provoke associations, questions, reflections and emotions related to mobility futures. The work with Sparks has been informed by an extensive survey of the way automobiles can be related to social, cultural and environmental dimensions of technology.
The five videos are used to spark ideas and reflections in research, but they can also be utilised when dealing with design challenges and strategic decision making. As speculative probes the videos are instruments of evocation, promoting lateral thinking and provoking affective dimensions.
Since the videos are publicly available they are free to be used for workshops or in other contexts. At the time of writing there are a number of ongoing initiatives in which Sparks are used.