Danielle Roberts is a visual artist, technologist, and meditator. She's the creator of MeditationLab, whose mission is to support spirituality through technology, and AwarenessLab, which develops tools for awareness from a technological, artistic, and experiential perspective.
Following a personal crisis in her 20s, Roberts turned to meditation to try to “solve” the problem, and discovered a whole other paradigm of looking at life.
From this transcendent perspective, she reengaged, and has been exploring the interface between art, experience, and meditative states ever since.
One of her projects was a meditation suit, complete with multiple sensors and feedback loops with the environment, designed to optimize the meditation experience for the wearer.
Another project, Magic Tea, combined experiential art with mindfulness in the creation of a tea ceremony that included environmental feedback loops.
We talked about the goals of mindfulness, and whether technologizing meditation can help us achieve enlightenment, or just commodifies it into another “thing” to chase after, possess, and accumulate.
We also explored the carefully constructed tea ceremony, with its use of visual and action-based metaphor, in terms of design thinking. I was particularly struck by Roberts' use of the word “magic” to describe the experience.
And we connected her work on patterns of consciousness with architect Christopher Alexander's “pattern language” concept, to see how to employ mindfulness-inducing patterns in our private and collective spaces. (The kitchen and dining room, to use food-based examples.)
I hope you get from this conversation a sense of how you can design, construct, and live in spaces and rituals that enrich your life.
A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander
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