Giving Face to the Narrative


Establishing the Frameworks 

As we begin to understand and uncover the direction that our group and class is taking in order to tell the story we want, we realized that there needed to be some shifts in our perspective and mission. Initially, our ideas were meaningful as they were rooted with instinctual and individualized creation. As we progressed, many of these ideas began to become diluted between iterations and mental contributions. In order to combat this step back, as a whole, we decided upon one uniting story/narrative/theme that represented the mission in it’s entirety. This gave us the framework for our groups to continue development but with one cohesive mission and flow in mind, rather than getting lost in the segmented sub-themes. Bellow is the attempt we had at using a story and concrete examples as a way to extract meaningful metaphors from them.

BIG THEME-01 (1).jpg We constructed a (draft) title that took into consideration the sub-themes we previously explored along with ideas generated from them.

BIG THEME-02 (1).jpg

Then a setting and story were created to as a way of communicating the atmosphere and tone of the solutions we wanted to use.

From this point we restructured our groups based on personal motivation and interest into each part of the mission we wanted to represent. And now we begin the exciting stretch were we explore and test out our solution prototypes that will end up in the Center of Life space.




Pushing forward with our ideas we restructured our class into six new groups that were centered around parts of a home to capture an overall tone. These groups included Bedroom, Kitchen/Dining Room, Porch, Living Room, Attic, and Mailbox.


Our group chose to cover the Bedroom. We described this space as “a personal space. Family members often preserve the bedroom of the departed as a memorial. The dresser/drawer idea would fit well in here.” We are using this space and description as a way of building a metaphorical experience from. Our bedrooms are private places where we can reflect and face difficult issues on our own. A place to discover about yourself and your relationships. A place to relax, a place to think, a place to get angry, a place to cry. As a result, we want to use this idea to draw the exhibit visitor into a intimate area where they are faced with difficult topics and thoughts that can stir emotions that are often dealt with internally and privately.

On 1.25.17, many of classmates visited Hazelwood to gather artifacts and stories from a handful of the residents. They were each interviewed and recorded independently. From this experience we noticed that almost all the family members only felt comfortable giving up photos of friends/family that had a significant impact on their life. Very few physical objects were given.

As a result our group chose to push forward representing life artifacts in the form of images, video, narrative as well as item acquisition. Below is a list of notes and questions around our space:

  • Focus on remembrance
    • Rooted in tradition
  • Photos with artifacts
  • How do we draw people in?
    • What are the interaction points?
  • How do people treat their objects?
  • Represent multiple specific stories/people
  • Form a relationship with someone you never met
    • How am I connected?
    • What can i learn from them?
    • What did they bring to the community?
  • Younger generation focus
  • Lost opportunities
  • Should we represent large data/numbers?
  • Should we include physical items?
  • Avoid it looking shrine-like
  • Collective “chest” of items with stories
  • How many young children has Hazelwood lost?
  • Are there specific people that want to be represented?


After considering this thoughts and resources we have to build these stories, we thought of using the space to represent a handful of lost lives using their life photos with accompanied text, quotes, attributes, interests, and stories.


Images are very powerful and with accompanied text, it provides relatable context to each individual and story. Additionally, when displaying items, we would use a tagging/story card attached to each artifact that would encourage the visitor to pick up the object to read the story and create a physical connection between their thoughts and the story.

Building off of that concept we explored the idea that people sometimes deal with grief by giving up an item that was connected to their loved one or pass it down to create a forever lasting connection. Also how can we create a continually shifting space where the story and meaning can change. By creating a place where visitors felt comfortable sharing their story by giving up an item with a paired description/story. We would facilitate this action by displaying the recorded interviews of those who gave up their items above a communal “chest” where these items can be dropped off. This would be the entry and exit point into this space where a visitor can pick one up to read the story and also contribute themselves. IMG_1162.JPGAbove is a quick representation of what a given artifact might look like. The visitor would choose their item to give and attach a story card to it where they can write the meaning/significance of that item or why they are choosing to give it to this community chest.IMG_1163.JPG

At this moment, the form of the chest is not strictly defined. As a way of encouraging visitors to add to the transformation of this space we proposed to display a video feed of the interviews from those who gave their items up with subtitled transcription or sound. By displaying these videos a 1:1 scale the visitor will feel at equal with the interviewee and feel compelled to contribute because a group of individuals had already done so.

We hope that this space provides an intimate and challenging area to connect with those who had lost and understand the significant impact they had on the lives around them as well as take part in the community respect and transition from mourning.


Loss and possession, death and life are one. There falls no shadow where there shines no sun.”
– Hilaire Belloc


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