Shreya Patel

BFA in Art & Design

Wait, What Did You Say?

Wait, What Did You Say? is a series of speculative devices that explore the pitfalls of face-to-face communication. This project began as an investigation into the ways power dynamics manifest in conversation. Drawing upon aesthetics of vintage technologies, retro media, and whimsical futurism I invented devices that counteract power dynamics. With the onset of COVID-19, face-to-face communication as we know it has become increasingly discouraged, prompting me to apply my previous research to our current situation. This series concludes with a device that, rather than addressing power, encourages intimacy between people in this time period of social distancing.

Hand Raising Stick, 2020
Teacher’s pointer, bicycle bell, rubber glove, Apoxie sculpt

Having a little voice is not easy, especially when you’re friends with loud people. This is a device for the moments when you feel like you’re just not being heard. Extend the pole, blow up the glove, tie it to the end, and ring the bell. Get ahead of getting left behind.

Sonophone (Noise Equalizer), 2020
Plywood, polyurethane, thrifted materials, spray paint, epoxy

Have you ever been in a conversation where you just don’t feel heard? Perhaps your voice is too soft, or maybe the person you’re speaking with doesn’t know when to use their indoor voice. Regardless of the cause, the solution is the Sonophone.

Sonophone (Noise Equalizer), 2020
Video (1:44)

Designed for the home, the Sonophone is the perfect remedy for couples, siblings, or parent/child relationships that struggle with disparities in volume in conversation.

Simply pull out the drawer, unwind the two soundproof microphones, and place them over your mouths. Proceed with your conversation (or argument) as you normally would. A computer inside the device will equalize the sound coming from both microphones, and output them through a speaker embedded in the horn.

Eye Contact Goggles, 2020
Thrifted materials, safety goggles, Apoxie sculpt

They say your eyes are the windows to your soul, so no wonder it can be so hard to look people directly into them. But eye contact is important. It lets people know that you’re listening to them, paying attention, and care. Next time you’re faced with a difficult conversation, don’t turn your eyes away–put on your Eye Contact Goggles (may have dizzying side effects).

Elevate-Ur-Shoes, 2020
Insulation foam, velcro

There’s nothing worse than being talked down to, especially when you’re already shorter than the person doing it. Get on a higher level by strapping on Elevate-Ur-Shoes and instantly even things out! With interchangeable platforms, it’s easy to adjust how tall you are depending on your mood.

Canoodler, 2020
Scrap fabrics, pillow fluff, dried kidney beans

As COVID-19 has taken hold of our world, face-to-face communication as we know it has been upended. Finding ways to express physical intimacy with the people you care about can be nearly impossible with the new orders to stay six feet away from others.

Canoodler, 2020
Scrap fabrics, pillow fluff, dried kidney beans

As we build distance between ourselves, the Canoodler is here to bridge the gaps. The middle of the device is over six feet long and is filled with pillow fluff for comfort and lightness. The “arms” that wrap the users’ shoulders are filled with kidney beans, and weigh approximately 8 pounds each. Similar to the effects of a weighted blanket, the weight of the arms helps alieve users’ anxiety.

Canoodler, 2020
Scrap fabrics, pillow fluff, dried kidney beans

The arms also act as a hidden food pantry. If the need ever arises, simply rip open the stitching, soak the beans, and boil for a well-nourishing meal.