Everybody Needs Somebody

Author(s): John Fass
Affiliation(s): Royal College of Art


This practice-led design research explores the deployment and use of a physical, non-digital visualisation tool to model personal social networks. The emphasis is on how people choose to represent their networks, what they choose to show, and how the process of creating physical representations contributes to the uncovering of an otherwise invisible set of relations. Research focus is on the construction of narrative meaning in a social context by a mixed sample of participants, and the development of instruments to support and mediate this construction. The research is intended to shed light on how people construct personally meaningful narratives about their social networks by creating physical visualisations of them. Experiencing personal networks physically by constructing them from everyday materials brings them into clear sight; to the forefront of haptic and phenomenological consciousness in ways difficult to emulate with computer monitors and touch screens.