Erika Kiessner is an interaction designer and a museum enthusiast. She's fascinated by the ways museum-goers respond to an exhibition and engage themselves in the experience. For Erika, the devil is in the details!
What does a day in the life of Erika look like?
As an interactive designer, my days change depending on what phase of a project I am working on. My favorite days are in the early part of design development. This is when I spend a lot of time putting together and testing prototypes of the interactive exhibits I am working on. Mostly I am working with paper and cardboard, but these early prototypes reveal a lot and are fun to make and test. Later in the process I spend more time drawing detailed storyboards of the interactives, so that their design and user experience can be understood both by our clients and the fabricators who will ultimately make them.
The first time's always special. What was your first GSM project?
The Human exhibition at the Montreal Science Centre was my first project and it remains one of my favorites. It is a highly interactive science exhibition that talks about transformation in humans. It covers evolution to who we are today; transformation within one human life as we age; and finally, how science and technology transform our bodies and our idea of what it means to be human. The subject matter is fascinating and the client pushed us hard to make the topics accessible and fun.
Let's say you could trade jobs with anyone at GSM. Who would it be and why?
The most amazing part of an exhibition is how people connect with the content. I would like to take on the job of creative director, especially on our artifact heavy projects. I would love to be the one leading the design choices that will inform how visitors move through the space and engage with the collection. It is not just about one facet of the design. I am fascinated by exhibitions as a whole and how each of the elements, 3D design, graphic design, interactives of course and lighting and word choice - the whole gamut - fits together and guides the visitor on their journey.
You're alone on a desert island with one GSM project. Which one, and why?
I would pick the Lest We Forget project. The design is really simple and comfortable. I love that it is both personal and interactive. Plus, I like the intimate story telling style that it embodies. It is an exhibition that invites a kind of slow, deep discovery, which seems perfect for a desert island!