When we were brainstorming concepts for this investigation, we were captivated by the idea of forgetting negative experiences through the elimination or reassociation of the underlying contextual information and we started looking for ways that we could materialize this idea in a medium that would be enticing to people. We wanted the ritual to feel personal and to be conducive to reflection such that people going through a bad experience would use this as a form of healing. Several designs were discussed such as a pendant or necklace, a waterfall with a projected image of a bad experience, or a treasure box that would act as a storage for negative experiences that would be transformed over time into more neutral or positive memories. In the end, we decided on a bonsai-inspired theme because we wanted our project to allow the person a more physical way of editing/curating their memory of an experience and we wanted a design that would grow with the user's healing process into a product that would be unique for each experience.
The casing we made was designed to organically meld with the theme and reverberate with the solemnity of the ritual. This is one of the reasons why we chose the Japanese pattern engraving on the top of the case. We felt that this particular pattern fit the mood of the reflective process because, while ornate, it wasn't overly whimsical or presumptuous. The dark hue of the laser cut wooden edges also gave the build a serious tone which we hoped would resonate with the person's emotional state at the start of the ritual and would make it easier for them to interact with the build.
The physical design of our tree prop went through several phases. At first, we considered 3D printing the tree, but we figured it would be difficult to prune a 3d printed branch. So, instead, we considered building the tree out of LEGO. However, we quickly came up with a better alternative which was to build the tree out of paper bag material. In the building process we discovered that in order to extend the length of the branches to form a more realistic tree, we would need to add some internal support. We found moldable wire could be used as the internal framework for the tree and that we could easily wrap the paper bag material around it. It also provided the method for securely anchoring the tree to the molding foam we embedded in the soil.
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