Our human interaction design research project has me thinking a whole bunch about the antics of cats. On top of cats, I’m thinking about our studio teacher showing us how to freak the hell out of people. Which, because that’s the way this kind of thinking goes, me straight back to cats.
Any time I’ve adopted a cat – hell, any time I’ve met a cat, there’s been a whole break-in period where I’m more or less waiting for it to come online. I want a pet, but instead find myself contending with some daft feline Houdini. They vexingly extrude themselves behind bookshelves, hide in refrigerator coils, lurk under couches, drag bellies on floors and careen around batting shyly at plants. Cats orient. They seem determined to know precisely where they are. They take all the time they need to arrive.
It seems to me that humans could learn a fair amount from this. And by humans here, I really mean one aspiring designer named Chuck. Recently, discussions in all three of our AC4D classes have been peppered with the idea that people are able to monitor their surroundings and human interactions through employing a bevy of instincts and second tier senses (not the big five, but important regardless). Which is how we ended up in studio class with our teacher lurking behind Callie’s back for a while. He was proving something we all know, but don’t often consider: we have uncanny abilities that allow us to make sense of our worlds. If somebody is standing behind us, staring at the rear end of our scalp, it doesn’t take us long to feel them there. We know things we can’t possibly know, and that’s part of what makes us so richly human (to be continued…).