Note to Self

Fifth project seen at the graduation show of the IDII in Milan last week.

Note to Self by Dana Gordon is a collection of objects for daily use. They invite us to focus on ourselves, without isolating us from our environment.

Scuba is an audio device that allows you to change the soundscape from the external environment to your breath. Compatible with an mp3 player, it creates a very intimate soundscape that invites you to slow down and follow your inner rythm. There are three main elements: headphones, a squeezing device and a necklace. The sound of your breathings is captured by the microphone contained in the necklace, it is then amplified and played through the headphones. A soft handheld device controls the ANR (active noise reduction) providing another level isolation according to the pressure applied on it.

1212jb.jpg909reg.jpgJean-Baptiste Labrune and an anomymous testing the Scuba

The Scuba was designed to allow the redefinition of one’s private space by increasing the existing inner sound to the dominant on one’s mind. Squeezing the device (which was soft and felt like a plush toy) enhances the physical reaction in stressful situations and provides sense of control and dynamic sound experience. The gesture can be very discreet as the device can be hidden in your pocket, and therefore is not limited by the presence of people around you. Besides, the Scuba doesn’t totally isolates you but provides a progressive experience. The action of pressing and squeezing let indeed the energy out and gives in the same time a very protective feeling, as in the child security blanket.


I was a bit puzzled by the idea before testing it but when i tried it i immediately felt the need to lower my eyes and focus on what i was feeling and hearing, the surrounding became a mere background for the experience.

The second object is a hand held mirror that can visually reflect your state of being. Called the Narciscope, it collects biofeedback data from your hand, the image reflected in the mirror sharpens or blurs depending on how relaxed and tense you are. It is composed of a 7� LCD screen and a web camera embedded within the frame. On the handle, where the fingers are situated, there are Galvanic Skin Response biofeedback sensors.

12maya.jpg22narci.jpgMaya Lotan of the Urbanseeder fame with the Narciscope

The sharpness of your reflection in the mirror is a metaphor of the level of focus you can have towards yourself. Since looking in a mirror is a very common practice, the idea is also to consider the usage of this device as a repetitive practice. The sharpness of the image or the blur effect not only provides instant feedback on your internal state but also challenges and hopefully improves your proprioceptive skills.

The last object is the Koobeton, a private notebook with special dedicated space for the owner’s secret self-expression. It can be used from the front to write down regular notes. However, as the name suggests, you can also use it backwards, from the backside of the book. The sketches, secrets and private messages on the last pages can be kept as digital files and later transferred (via Bluetooth) to a computer.

1koob.jpg2koob.jpgDana and her Koobeton

The physical page with its content can be destroyed but the message or drawing is safely and digitally kept in a safe folder on your personal computer. With time the back pages are disappearing leaving only traces of the missing documents from the book.

The back cover of the book contains a touch panel that captures the writing. Each page has a mild decoration on the corner that indicate the borders of the active space of the panel. On the right bottom corner there’s a different ornamentation hinting the ‘check box’ that must be marked in order to save the page. Once it is done, the software (processing) is notified that it has to record a digital snapshot of the page.

Images of Dana Gordon‘s project at the IDII show. More info on her thesis blog.