Hunger Sense Overview III

To use the sense of hunger, the designer should first remove from reach any way to sate the desire to eat. With this, the visitor is tempted and taunted, hopefully quickening the arrival of hunger. The sense is not one of pleasure, and the design does not have to be comfortable, as long as there is no harm and there is a purpose for the discomfort. Furthermore, the designer should provide other sensory cues and plays to heighten the experience. These additional cues can be related to hunger, but they can also be other, varying senses that are complementary to hunger. It is important that the visitor has the experience, but is not so displeased that it is necessary to exit the project. How can the designer cause the unease but not push others away? Surely, this is a very delicate balance which will provide a more memorable experience. We might think that the surprise of displeasure adds weight to the impression of the installation. Happiness or contentment is what we usually strive for in design, and what a surprise it would be to convey discomfort. However, to avoid being considered perverse or inconsiderate, the designer must have a very clear intent and use the senses to meet that objective. For this reason, the design should be well thought out, drawn and reviewed, before any physical part of the design is produced. Doing this will focus the intent and avoid waste, both of material and time.

If a design were only hunger, then the visitor must be coerced into first experiencing such, then thinking about its presence, and finally analyze why this is the case. Because of the novelty of a design exploring the sense of hunger, the visitor might be thrown off first, so the designer must provide some stability or comfort in the discomforting experience of hunger. If the design had no other elements, the mind would go directly to and focus on the effects of the sense of hunger. Surely, the visitor would wonder what the thesis of the design project is, but then the experience would pull the thought and discourse toward an interpretation of the sense event, filling the open space within the void of the lack of knowing. The individual will place meaning on the experience, especially if there is little or no prior knowledge about the project. Finally, with time and a subsiding of the shock or curiosity of the experience, the visitor will likely try to understand why such interpretations were created, linking points and ideas in the use of the sense of hunger. In this way, different forms of knowledge can be achieved by the visitor, simply by focusing on only one sense.

If the design did not incorporate hunger, the visitor would not be surprised at all, since most designs do not explore this sense. So, there would be little gained by highlighting the lack of the sense. This is unlike the absence of other senses, like vision or hearing, because to be without either or both of these, to the average person, would be bizarre and shocking. So, the same effect is not likely to occur with the removal of the sense of hunger.

Using the sense of hunger as an experience can provide a designed unease, but this discomfort can be for the exploration and education about such effects to others in the population and abroad who are not so fortunate to think of hunger as alien. In addition, the sense can also be a proxy, in place of another experience that could be much more discomforting. The experience of hunger could be in lieu of true pain and represent harm or loss of life. What are non-positive experiences or actions that can be shown through the use of hunger?

Using hunger in an existing structure would likely be very similar to using thirst. The designer could use the context and signifiers to induce a sense of hunger while moving through the space, and it would be a stronger relationship if the experience could rise and fade with some rhythm as the visitor works through the space. As with thirst, the designer should mark the specific points in the assembly and match them with the design intent. So, like with any design project, every part should be planned and drawn out to ensure the objectives are met, especially because the senses can be considered qualitative, allowing subjectivity into the experience. As such, if not careful, the design can miss the mark because the sense experiences could be mistranslated.


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