We All Wish

We have all experienced “dehumanizing” technology – software that seems to creates new boundaries between people rather than erasing old ones. The more interesting thing that’s happening is we’re evolving into a kind of meta organism, which is the whole species on the planet connected through the Web, sharing information, sharing thoughts, sharing ideas. But more interesting than those things is also sharing empathy and sharing emotions.

We all wish is a digital ritual, an interactive installation and interface inspired by the traditional Japanese  wishing ritual named Ema. It is an attempt to translate the physical experience of writing a wish through a digital surface, to create a symbiotic relation between the spiritual and the technology. Aimed at bridging the gap between ancient traditions and new media, it questioned the real value of technology nowadays. 

Design plays a major role in engaging our senses, affecting how we feel and behave in a specific space and time. This project explores the influence of digital media on our experience of the spiritual world. The result is an abstract database of human wishes. In this interface, wishes can be searched across two variables which are the categories and the locations. At its core, we all wish is an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting the aspect that wishes are universal, that are beyond the borders. People can therefore feel the empathy and the universal yet abstract force of the wish.

Traditionally, Shinto worshippers hang their wishes on public shrines for others to read, but this interactive ‘wish cloud’ application has a much wider reach as it allows wishes to transcend borders. It provides a common ground for our universal longing to “ask the universe”, without having to visit a shrine. The way it works is simple: swipe your deepest aspirations from your phone into the cloud and watch it come to life through the installation. The structural and graphical elements are here inspired by the traditional Japanese aesthetics, an attempt to find a meaningful translation between ancients traditions and new digital tools of expression.  We have nothing in common but our wishes.

Mixed Media Installation. 235x250x240cm

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven Photographs: Ronald Smits

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Ronald Smits

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We All Wish Digital Ritual’s steps / Exhibition Version

Voice recognition version

Tokyo, Japan. Ema Structure in the Meiji Shrine

Tokyo, Japan. Ema Structure in the Meiji Shrine

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In this interface, spoken wishes are transformed into one of the three shapes that Gibon Sengai painted 200 years ago, representing all human emotions. Each shape representing a wish category which are health (square), success (triangle) and love (circle).

Using traditional graphical artefact as a new interface element. The ancient Tomoe sign, meaning to hope is here used as the loading sign (Your wish is loading)