RED - PCSR Final

In collaboration with Cole Orloff, Namira Abdulgani, and Kaini Zhou.

RED was the final exhibit of our semester long project for Playful Communication of Serious Research. The goal was to build an exhibit that could explain the work of a researcher at NYU in a playful and accessible way. We worked with Adam Alter, a researcher at NYU, who researches the effect of everyday things on us psychologically.


Over the course of the semester, we put together a pitch package of what we were interested in and why we wanted to build an exhibit around the topic, what our experiential goals were, and how we were going to build the exhibit. We started with a few core experiential goals: 

Immersion - Provide visitors with an immersive experience so they could saturate themselves in the colors and lights

Education - Educate the audience on how color has an impact on our decision making at a subconscious but powerful level.

Discovery - Increase the exhibition's engagement level by installing casual viewing elements based on the visitor's location and movement

From there we built wireframes and diagrams of what the wall would look like and the type of content we would include, iterating on the pitch over the course of the semester. 

Due to technical and feasibility constraints, we created a prototype booth that became known as RED

The Making Of

Our initial concept was a wall of colored lights with a frosted panel in front of it that would have details on it. As visitors proceeded down the hallway, they could choose to just enjoy the exhibit as an art installation or to learn about the effects of color on the human mind and body by moving closer to the wall. 

RED is a scaled down prototype of the wall, where we took over a booth and put up layers of red fabric and lighting to fill it with the color. We installed an iPad that displayed a cartoon body; visitors could tap on different parts of the body to watch animations that would teach them about the effects of red objects on us mentally and physically. Outside of the booth was engraved panels that explained the exhibit to the visitor.

Lessons Learned

  • Try once, but know when to defer to someone else's expertise - I suspected at the start that I would not be good at content creation... and that was very true. I took a first pass at it, but in the end it was better to hand that off to someone else. I have experience in it now, but I'll be focusing on technology and design in the future; maybe I'll try again with help down the line.
  • Manage the time carefully - We planned to do technical investigations in our project plan, but still ran out of time to try them. 
  • Scaling down is just as hard as scaling up at times - The booth turned out to be a great success in ways that surprised us. We had thought of a linear experience, but with the booths we were able to successfully immerse the visitor in color more effectively. The feedback we received was that another booth would have made the experience more complete rather than just a one off about the color red; this way, we could install it in multiple locations.