2010: Hyun Ju Yang, MDP Post-Graduate Fellow

Participatory Universe

This post-thesis fellowship project is inspired by Robert Lanza’s scientific theory Biocentrism and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, “Experience”. Biocentrism asserts that the conscious awareness of animate beings is central to reality and the cosmos — life creates the environment, and the universe. Lanza insists that current theories of the physical world do not work, and can never be made to work, until they fully account for life and consciousness.

Lanza references one of Emerson’s essays, “Experience” in his book, which mirrors his idea. The essay illustrates transcendentalist’s notion of the cosmological view on the relationship between human perception and the universe. In the essay the wilderness is utilized as a metaphor of the universe. For this project, I also came up with a specific subject to embody this abstract concept, like Emerson did when he describes his notion of the universe. Since I am a designer in California, I have chosen the Mojave Desert as the wilderness, the metaphor of my notion of the universe and I researched the relationship between this subject and people who have interacted with it.

Hyun Ju Yang is a user experience designer at IDEO in Palo Alto, California.

Funded by the Milken Family Foundation.

Participatory Universe Website