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Observing the Urban Context as a Moving Human Body is Observed

Undergraduate Thesis Design

2016

Work Type: Individual Work
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Mentor: Wei Tseng

Since there has been mania around marathon running in recent years, I conceived of runners as potential observers whose experiences of the local history and consumer culture of a city could be measured through the fluctuations in their physical and mental conditions when moving. On the other hand, runners regard themselves as the observed objects of crowds, becoming showcases in motion running through the streets instead of complying with the existing functions of the city. 


To understand the perspective of a runner, I equipped them with a heartbeat rate detector and a Gopro and had them jog through designated sites. I collected the interactive data of their heartbeat rates and the urban environment, as well as video records of their first-person views. 


Since depicting an urban landscape via running requires that one base the depiction on both internal and external perspectives, I created various maps of distorted sensations that combined either the runners' heartbeat rates or other measures of movement with the speeds of activities within the city. 

The Duration of Stay and the Degree of Spatial Fluidity

On-Site Measurement and Fluctuation of Heartbeat Rates 

Maps of Distorted Sensations

Distorted map工作區域 1.jpg

Narrative Scenarios

The sequential scenes depict what runners experience at the designated sites. The green parts indicate the path for runners, and the red parts show various objects, activities, or infrastructures that characterize each site. For instance, the huge shafts and vents erected on the ground for subway ventilation stir the atmosphere around the runners, generating variable temperatures and air currents that evoke different feelings and awareness. 


I attempted to establish the correlation between human experience and the urban landscape by documenting heartbeat rates and filming the surroundings when running. However, to improve this research, I would need to study precise data collection and tangible models for portraying sensations.

Project gallery

Reproduction of the City
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Evolution of Human
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Brands on a Runner
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Model of the Distorted Sensations
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Urban Activity Model 01
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Urban Activity Model 02
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Runners' Perceived Urban Landscape
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Connection Study
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Sketch of Distorted Model
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Scenario Sketch 01
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Scenario Sketch 02
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Visual Height Study
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