Dinner Table Conversations
The professional design process separates decision-making from risk taking - the designer makes the decisions, but the user takes the risks. - Yona Friedman
April 13th, 2019
The Dinner Table Conversations became an interactive discursive design project that I constructed at the end of my Sophomore year. The project mirrors a dinner party where a collection of guests are invited to sit and discuss topics on sustainability and community that may not normally make their way into the conversation. I wanted to create an open-ended, democratic, and peer-facilitated conversation format for participation. The experience is made up of simple elements. There are 4 table settings on the table. Each participant receives 3 colored crayons, 1 colorful marker, and a variety of discussion prompts before them.
The experience is self-directed by the participants with an unspoken expectation of learning from one another.
The dynamics of the group were off the charts, they could flow from laughing hysterically about the prospect of putting all the climate deniers on a melting iceberg and letting them drown, to becoming serious and contemplative when asked if they felt connected to nature and the natural world.
They brought up the notion that although they all find themselves calling earth their home, there is nothing natural in the way they live. In some ways, they are ok with that, they have shelter and readily available food, but at the same time, they mentioned that it is naive to think that their privilege is universal.
Ultimately, they were frustrated by a society that has made it impossible to have reaped the benefits of a technologically advanced world while also finding stability and spiritual wealth in nature.