Free Flow Retreat ✻

Sweet Dreams Are Made of This 2020, Sessions 04–07

Zoë Elizabeth Urand
3 min readOct 20, 2020
Material from performance with Duy, Danuka, and Andreas F.

Joy. That’s the word that came to mind during the last performance —courtesy of Andy, Mara, & Janina—as we tossed the samaras from the maple trees up into the air, and watched them fall like helicopters to the ground. Overwhelmed. This is how I feel when I think about my BA thesis topic.

Lately the latter emotion occupies most of my time. I am really struggling with finding a topic, and it’s not due to a lack of interest in what’s going on in the world around me. I am interested in many different things and this makes it difficult to focus. How do I know what the right topic is? At the end of the day, I will have to dedicate quite a bit of time and effort considering, researching, prototyping, testing, etc., so it matters to me where and what my time goes into. Also, what kind of project do I want to do? Do I want to use this as an opportunity to challenge myself in areas that interest me, but that I have previously struggled with? Or do I stick with my guns? Should I work alone or with someone else? There are so many things to consider for the BA thesis. But here’s what I do know. I want this project to bring me joy. Plain and simple.

Duy on the piano as we reflected on our time at the Atelier Häuser

Assignment for Free Flow

Go to the library — either ZHdK or one of your choice. Browse the aisles—except the design section — without looking for something in particular. Open books that attract you from title, cover, look… Pick 3 books that inspire you and help you think about your thesis project. Bring those 3 books with you to the retreat and present them.

New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future (

The first book of choice was New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future by artist and author James Bridle. I chose this book, first of all because it was one of the few in English, but also because Bridle explores “the limits of technology and its consequences”. Of course I haven’t read the book, so I can’t say much more, but as an interaction designer I think it’s important that we take a step back and examine technology under the microscope. Here’s a quote from the book:

Across the sciences and society, in politics and education, in warfare and commerce, new technologies do not merely augment our abilities, but actively shape and direct them, for better and for worse. It is increasingly necessary to be able to think new technologies in different ways, and to be critical of them, in order to meaningfully participate in that shaping and directing.

The second book is called Figures of Touch: Sense Technics Body by Mika Elo and Miika Luoto. This book spoke to me, because it addresses the various dimensions of touch. Now, I wouldn’t say I am specifically interested in touch, but as an expat I am very much interested in the human sensory experience and how it contributes to our notion of home.

Young-Old: Urban Utopias of an Aging Society (

The third book I found was Young-Old: Urban Utopias of an Aging Society by Deane Simpson. I believe the book looks at how an aging demographic influenced modern architecture and urban design in the United State, but to be honest I really just chose the book for the bright, highlighter colours and simple illustrations.