The conversations that I have had with both my tutors and peers in regard to my draft proposal have been greatly beneficial for me in narrowing my focus for my proposed project and also in becoming more confident in carrying out research in a particular area.
My discussion with George has helped me to recognise that issues that are incredibly serious in their nature, like that of addiction, can still be explored in a design project in a playful way as this is often a very powerful way to raise awareness and garner attention and ultimately invoke change.
My proposed design project will focus on the names of poker machine games which I have observed to be extravagant in their language in the way that they are suggestive of adventure, whimsy and reward. The names are, when disregarding the manipulative effect they can have on people, quite humorous – for example “Megabucks Money Beans Deluxe”, and it is this ‘flamboyant’ language that I want to capitalise on to highlight the fact that poker machines are designed to entice, excite and addict individuals to gamble.
My discussion with George was particularly helpful as she was able to recognise the playful nature of my proposed data visualisation project which will be largely poetic whilst still being informative and evocative in raising awareness about the harmful nature of the ‘designed addiction’ of poker machines. George’s recognition of the playful nature of my data has meant that I have been able to streamline my focus area for the proposal.
This has been greatly important because when considering my area of focus, there are many different ways that I could categorise the data. I could have focused on the geographic location of poker machines, the money gambled on them or the venues that host them but I felt that this is covered so regularly in mainstream media outlets that the information has lost its significance. For this reason, and because I find the data to be much more interesting to work with, I have chosen to categorise and visualise the names of poker machines in my project to highlight the concept of ‘designed addiction’ as it really has not been given the attention it requires in order to end the damage poker machines do to individuals in Australian communities.
Project Title: Megabucks Money Beans Deluxe or What’s in a Name?
Practice Type: Data Visualisation
Issue: Mental Health (Addiction to Poker Machine Gaming)
The Change: Educate the 18-24yr old demographic on the strategies of designed addiction employed by poker machines.
The Design Action: Visualising playful data to act as an intervention into vulnerable individuals beginning poor poker machine gambling habits.
My proposed project will act as a poetic intervention into the beginning stages of poor poker machine gambling behaviours. I believe that the current laws and policies in place in NSW regarding poker machines in pubs, clubs and casinos are unsympathetic towards vulnerable individuals and communities and that this needs to change and that as a state and nation we need to be supporting one another not putting each other in harm’s way. And this is what I believe poker machines to be doing.
Poker machines are objects of designed addiction. Nothing about there is reliant on chance or luck and Australians need to be educated on this in order to end cycles of gambling addiction.
My project will be a poetic visualisation of the the hundreds of different names of poker machine games which I have subjectively categorised in order to reflect poker machine’s purpose of getting individuals enticed, excited and addicted to gaming.
As the age group most readily effected by problem poker machine gambling is that of those aged 18-24yrs old, I want my project to target them and me most accessible by them. This however has presented some challenges. Initially I discussed proposing my project to exist in universities spaces as the primary demographic is quite accurate however I realised that the university space is quite exclusive as a large proportion of 18-24yr olds do not attend university and further more, many of the young people suffering from addiction of poker machines live in more remote communities where there is not a university. For this reason I propose my project to exist in more public spaces across New South Wales perhaps in the form of large posters that can be displayed in bus shelter ad cabinets and other public transport spaces or more casually in public spaces such as on easily accessible and visible walls.