This design fiction is an extension of the “altering our bodies” concept explored in the animal attribute accessories design fiction. Perception Park is a space center located near the moon, that offers sensory alteration and deprivation experiences. To represent this concept, I created a website that people would go to, if they wanted to find out about or book a trip to Perception Park.
The website offers a picking tool that allows people to choose a sensory alteration and compare it to their current sensory capabilities as a human. During checkout, you would select the travel arrangements (i.e. which spaceport) and the accommodation you would like. The picking tool and checkout page also specifies the process that you would take to prepare for the alteration. The preparation is intended to help you understand what it would feel like to augment a sense, and how to cope with the adaption process. The first step in this process is to take normal sense-altering objects, such as ear plugs or sunglasses, and to wear them until the brain adjusts to the altered input. The re-adjustment that you would go through after taking them off would help you get used to the larger scale adjustment later.
The second step in the preparation process would be to go into one of the land offices, where they would deactivate a part of a certain sense (for example, the red-perceiving cones in your eye), your brain would adjust over a period of time (say a week), and then they would reactivate the full sense. This sudden regain would be similar to an experience of the actual sensory augmentation (i.e. adding a fourth cone). The preparation process also makes the wait feel not as long. Since the park is extremely popular, and there is limited space on the station, it is often completely booked since a month before.
After going through these preparations, you would head up to Perception Park on your scheduled trip date, where you would get the sensory alteration you selected. After the alteration, there will be a series activities that will help you to adjust to the alteration. Once you are fully adjusted, there will be more experiences, attractions, and activities that will allow you to try out and explore your altered sense. Some examples are a tetrachromat’s art gallery, the olfactorium, underwater communication, music that humans would not normally be able to hear, a restaurant specializing in experimentation with altered tastes, and so on.
At Perception Park, you can also experience sensory deprivation by going on a space walk. In a suit with regulated temperature, no sound, and no smell, you can cut off all your senses. At the park, you can also experience the differences between the gravity we normally feel, complete weightlessness, and gravity of less strength. You will experience ‘gravity’ inside the space center, which is simulated through centripetal force. Outside of the station, you can experience weightlessness, and on the moon, you can moon bounce and experience a weaker gravity. The possible different alterations and experiences are endless, so you are compelled to keep coming back.
Astronaut describes his space experiences. Earth from the dark side is just “an absence of stars.” Travelling at five miles a second, but feeling like you’re still. Seeing the “sunrise” every 45 min. Shadows are black black, no reflective light. Suit temp regulated, body adjusts, no feeling, no sound.
Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space
About colors, seeing colors, making colors. Tetrochromats (people with four color cones). Animal with the most cones has 16. In ancient literature (western and eastern) before a certain time, no mention of the word “blue.” Humans only had two cones?
Sensorium Exhibtion: A space devoted to the five senses
It seemed that people did not have as much to say about this concept as the accessories concept. I think this may be because I presented the accessories as a controversy, whereas this concept was not. Looking back, I think if I had stuck with the accessories, the artifacts I would have made, might be more compelling and interesting to look at than my result for this project. Nevertheless, I enjoyed finding out about the science behind our senses, when I was doing the research.
Later on, I also thought of an idea that would be interesting to pursue: extreme spectator sports where you are inside the athlete’s head, so you don’t just watch the sport, you feel what it’s like to move that way, and you experience what they experience. If I were to continue this project, I would like to somehow combine all three ideas (accessories, alteration, spectator sports) and look at sensory and perception from a broader context.
Some research about senses:
Numbers and trivia on all the senses
Different components of the park to address:
components: transportation process, accommodations, food, the space, activities, possible, how to record, adusting to the changes, side effects, creating objects, galleries, artists who want the surgery to be permanent, transformation process, how long for each effect
Ways to alter our senses:
better hearing, hearing underwater, taste through touch, more taste receptors (herbivores have more), fewer (carnivores can’t taste sweet), additional/fewer cones, diff combos, infared, ultraviolet
Icons used from The Noun Project:
Labrador Retriever, designed by Loren Holloway; Dolphin, designed by Patrick N.; Kangaroo, designed by Simon Child; Gangnam Style, designed by Arjun Mahanti; Book, designed by Ben Rex Furneaux; Chameleon, designed by Radu Luchian; Cat, designed by Luis Martins; Shark, designed by Okan Benn; Eagle, designed by Megan Shrewsbury