I heart user-created chaos

August 27, 2010

Gorilla Yogis at Open Field

You know what’s the cat’s meow? Design that embraces user-created content. I was reminded of how kick-ass this concept is at yesterday’s AIGA Geek Girls Guide luncheon on how to embrace user-created chaos. What’s exciting about designing for user-created content is that it’s not just about allowing fonts to get bigger on websites or creating friendly content management systems – rather, it’s about preparing an experience that gets you excited (and a little fearful) to see what the user may bring to the table.

What’s so cool about this concept is that it’s not just for graphic design, but the design of all interactions: architecture, product design and even event design. Enter the coolest show in town: Walker Art Center’s Open Field. Open Field is an experimental project that invites the public to help transform Walker Art Center’s backyard into a cultural commons. All events are free and the Walker provides you with supplies from the Open Field Tool Shed. But don’t get too excited — there are a few rules, including no booze, no staying overnight and no commercial promotion or sales. Though they do encourage sharing, bartering and creative non-monetary exchange.

This is such a smart idea (the Walker, of course, is known for this) and it’s pretty much crafted by the users (with some skillfully designed guidelines on the backend).

After Open Field events, participates are asked to document what they’ve done, learned, or discovered on Open Field’s YouTube, Flickr and Facebook pages – spreading the word to their network and friends … without relying on traditional press coverage.

“Our human ability to be creative, to produce new knowledge, to ask good questions, and to imagine innovative solutions is predicated in large part on our ability to transform what already exists. Open Field presents the perfect opportunity to experiment with a different, collective mode of programming that depends on you.”  – walkerart.org/openfield

A few cool activities this season:

The Auction: Bring 3-5 items on a blanket and be ready to determine their value, September 4th

Drawing Club: What’s made at Drawing Club stays at Drawing Club, weekly

Knit-a-long: July 7th

Gorilla Yogis: a migration to yoga beyond studio walls, June

There is no need for a “reservation,” but the deadline to get your activity on the Open Field calendar for the remainder of the season is today!