Temporary Expert – Project Description

1. A description of your project.

For now, I will work on one project.

  • A in-person project that social engineers a conversation between myself and either strangers or attendees at a community board group or participatory budgeting group. I begin the conversation with a interactive physical object that represents a definition of sustainability made of bio-friendly materials to set the tone. I ask people to pick a global goal and reveal how much their chosen goal connects to stopping climate change.

Later on, I have two more ideas that have come out of my research.

  • An interactive installation in which people explore the scientific concept of planetary boundaries, which suggests that we need to operate safely within the limits of planet earth. As you walk from the center of a sphere (safe area) to outside its perimeter (unsafe area), you experience positive to negative inputs.
  • An object in the form of a bio-friendly label that states Life Cycle Facts (instead of nutrition facts). This would be speculative or actual project that attempts to label every object around us.  I’m imagining it would state the original ingredients, leave a blank space for each user’s name and the ways in which it was recycled.  I came up with this during the last Temporary Expert workshop.


2. A concise project research question(s) and plan for discovery (i.e., which papers/books, which interview subjects, and what forms of experimentation)

A concise project research question:

  • How might I get people to think positively about transforming society at an unprecedented scale and speed within 12 years, to mitigate climate change?

Questions for discovery:

  • In what ways might a physical metaphor for sustainability change how people make decisions today that affect a distant tomorrow?
  • How might bio-friendly materials, forms, and metaphors for my physical object refresh or alter how people think about climate change?
  • How can I lead someone through a conversation that gets at their existing values? And as the final reveal, when they choose a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal that matches their values, they are shown how positive or negative that goal is connected to mitigating climate change?
  • How can I leave this person with something that lets them persuade other people, companies and governments to help realize this transformed world in 12 years.

A plan for discovery:

  • Follow up with Diana Liverman’s suggestions.
  • Use these to define an improved interactive physical metaphor.
  • Incorporate Sarah Kramer’s ideas when I meet with her on Friday.
  • Decide on a final interactive physical metaphor, and make a plan to produce it.
  • Decide on what I want people to do when I’m done speaking with them.
  • One of Diana Liverman’s suggestions was to focus on people who are already organizing around clear values, and then show them how they relate to the Sustainable Development Goals and mitigating climate change. I need to think about finding people who are already organizing.
  • Another suggestion from Diana was to find materials for my object that takes carbon out of the environment. What are these materials?

2. Who will engage with your project: how, where, and why?

I will either continue with strangers at the public library or put some thought into finding people who are organized around values. This could be people who work on participatory budgeting projects or attend community board meetings.

3. What do you want your project to DO?

I feel like this gets at it broadly?

  • How might I get people to think positively about transforming society at an unprecedented scale and speed within 12 years, to mitigate climate change?


  • How do I get people to understand a definition of sustainability in a physical way?
  • What medium or interaction do I use to show people how likely their chosen goal links to stopping climate change? (The UN report uses bars and graphs, what can I use?)
  • How to get people to walk away with something to talk with the next person about it. Is this another object?

4. Plan your remaining 4 weeks and schedule it.

Week of Nov 19

  • Go through Diana Liverman’s notes and interview Sarah Kramer.
  • Try to find more materials that take carbon out of the atmosphere.
  • Paper prototype physical object based on feedback from experts.
  • Finalize designs for producing physical object.
  • Prototype how to communicate UN goal linkages to climate change.
  • Thanksgiving Break.

Week of Nov 26

  • Produce 3D molds for physical object if needed.
  • Grow better mycelium if possible.
  • Make more bioplastic tests.
  • Finalize how to communicate UN goals to climate change.

Week of Dec 3

  • Make final prototypes
  • Do final interactions with people.
  • Document.

Week of Dec 10

  • Do the interaction in class?

One thought on “Temporary Expert – Project Description”

  1. This is clear, ambitious, and, if you are well-managed, doable.
    I’d just think about a plan B if the mycelium isn’t what you need it to be or it doesn’t grow quickly enough or the stock that you got is dead.

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