brendan dawes makes email tangible with internet-connected objects brendan dawes makes email tangible with internet-connected objects
oct 02, 2014

brendan dawes makes email tangible with internet-connected objects


brendan dawes makes email tangible with six internet-connected objects
all images courtesy of brendan dawes / gifs by designboom

 

 

 

in a project for email marketing service provider mailchimp, london-based artist brendan dawes explores our interactions with email through a series of physical, internet-connected objects. ‘six monkeys’ comprises a collection of hybrid digital-tangible items, which probe our relationship with email by altering its surrounding context. by placing the otherwise virtual messaging system within our physical space, we are asked to reconsider communication and our quotidian collaboration with digital interfaces.

six monkeys for mailchimp physical interactions with email
sarah will silently let you know when an email from a certain someone has arrived

 

 

 

notifications from digital devices are often like the glass form they sit behind – hard, cold and unforgiving. paper on the other hand is exactly the opposite – soft, warm and tactile to the touch. ‘sarah’ lets you create a notification that alerts you, but in a gentle, silent unobtrusive manner. this digital connected object frees the paper from behind the glass and uses the warm subtle qualities of the analog world to create ambient notifications that inform in a more human, charming manner.

 

 


mailchimp sarah — gentle, filtered notifications for your email
video courtesy of

 

 

 

why can’t we turn email off and on as easy as other appliances in our house? ‘nim’ places such a switch for your email next to a regular light switch so when you feel like switching off for the weekend, just flick the switch and email will be prevented from coming through the network across all your devices. by changing the context of how we turn email off and on we might better manage our relationship to it, easily able to switch off whenever we feel like it. done for the day answering emails? just turn it off with a flick of a switch. 


we have switches in our houses that let us turn the lights on and off. why not have the same convenience with email?


just flick the switch and email will be prevented from coming through the network

 

 


mailchimp nim — email as appliance
video courtesy of brendan dawes

 

 

 

‘oliver’ acts as ambient furniture; a piece of objet d’art that can sit quietly on your coffee table silently displaying the state of your inbox using a simple light system. red indicates the percentage of unread emails currently in your inbox. how far do you let ‘oliver’ become mostly red before your decide to tackle your email? do you make a plan to turn ‘oliver’ purple – an indication of inbox zero – by the end of each day? ‘oliver’ is your visual guide to your inbox.

six monkeys for mailchimp physical interactions with email
oliver is your visual guide to your inbox

six monkeys for mailchimp physical interactions with email
the system displays the state of your inbox using a simple light system

 

 


mailchimp oliver — a visual display of your inbox
video courtesy of brendan dawes

 

 

 

what if there was a physical box that could store your most precious emails? a box that could only be unlocked with a key that you held and once opened would let you explore and print out those moments that your hold dear. ‘ham’ is that box – an analog box for digital things. simply forward that special email to ham and it will store it inside forever, ready for you to unlock at any time, print, tear-off, hold in your hands and read again.

six monkeys for mailchimp physical interactions with email
a physical box that could store your most precious emails

six monkeys for mailchimp physical interactions with email
forward a special email to ham and it will store it inside forever

 

 


mailchimp ham — email as a keeper of special things
video courtesy of brendan dawes

 

 

 

emails are often a container for our memories. like physical souvenirs they remind us of wonderful times spent with family and friends yet unlike souvenirs they don’t exist in the physical space so we can’t easily bump into them like you can when rummaging through a box of things. ‘lana’ transforms these emails into a literal physical form, that sits alongside and amongst other physical souvenirs. disturb ‘lana’ by moving her and sometime later that day ‘lana’ will send you an email with those memories; connecting analog to digital. this is email as physical artefact.

six monkeys for mailchimp physical interactions with email
what if email was an object; a box stored with other things like souvenirs of a trip?

six monkeys for mailchimp physical interactions with email
emails are often a container for our memories

 

 


mailchimp lana — email as artefact
video courtesy of brendan dawes

 

 

 
‘lucy’ responds to commands sent via email. email ‘lucy’ with the subject ‘blink’ and a color in the body of the message and she will blink that color. set the subject to static and she’ll stay at whatever color you specify, either through a keyword or using RGB values. anything that can send email can talk with ‘lucy’. this is email as an api, without having to write a specific api. have a device or a service that can send email? then it can automatically talk with ‘lucy’. in our research we hooked it up to ifttt.com, without having to create any kind of specific channel, and had it telling us changes in the weather, sending us alerts to remind us about important appointments and anything else we could think of.

six monkeys for mailchimp physical interactions with email
email lucy with the subject ‘blink’ and a color in the body of the message and she will blink that shade

six monkeys for mailchimp physical interactions with email
set the subject to ‘static’ and she’ll stay at whatever color you specify

 

 


mailchimp lucy — email as interface
video courtesy of brendan dawes
  • Someone is either addicted to 3d printing. It is a less expensive way to construct these items but they could be more beautiful (they are nice) with finely finished exteriors.

    Ron Smith says:

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