Over the past week I have corresponded with Noll about his idea, the C3 Cube for Calmness and Contemplation. This is an idea that has been enjoyable for me to learn about. The correspondence process is outlined below:
NS – “The idea behind C3 (Cube for Calmness and Contemplation) is to give people in big cities a space that they can have a bit of privacy and somewhere to relax. Often in big cities, even with public parks, it can be a challenge to find a quiet space where one can be alone and recharge.”
C – My initial thoughts are that I, personally, can identify with this concept. Often I find myself wishing I could escape from crowds of people and I find that lack of personal space can be very agitating, particularly when walking through bustling streets or in front of / behind groups of people. It has occurred to me a number of times to look for a quiet space, when none are available, and I see that the C3 cube could provide these means. Would there be some kind of rule where only one person was allowed in the booth at one time, and if so how would this be controlled? Or is the idea that people can just walk in and sit, and there might be more than one person sat quietly in the booth at a time?
NS – “The idea is to have only one person in one cube at the time, as the idea is to give people a private space, but I’m also taking into consideration that some people might use it to conduct illicit activities, as well as practically matters like how much weight the structure can support. In terms of enforcing this rule, initially there would be a person who would monitor the usage, but later I envisage that some form of automated system can be installed that would check how many people are inside as well as a timer.”
C – I think in terms of any ‘illicit’ activities that could potentially be conducted in the cube, a fee would possibly solve this. As I can’t really see anyone who is prepared and able to pay a small fee to use the cube being the type of person who would do anything illegal (i.e. drug users etc.). And also this helps with only one person being allowed in the cube at once. Maybe with this in mind, a person to monitor the cube from the outside wouldn’t be entirely necessary; but as you said, this would only be an initial thing. Would there be an admission charge to enter, or would it be a shelter that is open for people to come and go as they wish? Would there be a time limit?
NS – “While I’m thinking of this project as a sort of public service, there would be a small fee around 2 to 6 pounds per use. Depending on how much we can get from sponsorships and public funding. Depending on the popularity, I’m thinking about 40 minutes limit and while people would be able to walk-in, I’m also thinking about a booking system.”
C – 40 mins, in my opinion, is a suitable time slot. Maybe there could be voice activation that speaks at the end of the 40 minutes politely asking the user to leave the cube and thanking them for their stay? Maybe at the start it could welcome them? Also, if this isn’t too much, perhaps the door could automatically lock so that the person inside can relax knowing that nobody else will try to walk in. Also, from the outside maybe it would benefit from having some kind of indicator as to whether the cube is available or taken (a red or green light?).
NS – “What do you think you would do in the Cube if it was available?”
C – If the cube was available, I would definitely want to use it. I would also be prepared to pay a small fee to use the cube for two reasons. A) I know it is a safe place to go and be calm, and that nothing dangerous could happen, and B) I would be able to relax knowing it is a private space that nobody else could enter. I would use this space to sit and gather my thoughts, knowing that it is free from social pressure. Sometimes, I find that taking time out to organise my thoughts can help me to cope more easily when doing the things I have to do, and I think that the cube could be an ideal solution/aid to this need. Personally, I find it very appealing.
Another thought was added to my peer review of Noll’s work the following week:
C – Just had another thought about your idea… This wouldn’t necessarily appeal to me, but what about having some kind of interactive system within the cube that allows the participant to either listen to music or view certain images as a projection? Obviously this would affect the cost and other practical factors, but maybe some people would prefer to have some kind of aid to help them escape from the pressures of city life. As, traditionally theatres and cinemas were used in time’s of cultural conflict to escape from these dangerous realities. Perhaps this could be linked to research of location histories. I realise the idea, though, is to allow people to have some un-invasive time alone with their own thoughts, so that this kind of thing may detract from that. Also, if the cube were to be placed in a city such as London, I have considered that there are already a number of theatres and cinemas that actively fulfil this role anyway.