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Project Type: Graduate Thesis

Role: Designer, Researcher, Hardware Developer, Project Manager, etc...

Project Duration: 3 academic terms
14 weeks in Kampala, Uganda

2014-2015


The weDub Project is a locally developed DIY audio mixer and preamplifier that fits in the palm of your hand.

Created in the urban slum of Kamwokya in Uganda, the circuit is made by youths to perform live improvisations of reinterpreted media to a participatory audience.

In Uganda, this lively performance is a cultural media phenomenon known as VJing, or video jockeying.

Inspired by this phenomenon, weDub is a community platform for youth voices and became an entry point for learning and making electronics.

The project is designed from a
position of abundanceit leverages existing youth talent and resources to foster youth engagement through the making of technology.


DESIGN FROM ABUNDANCE
 

The weDub Project harnesses the abundant amount of energy and teen talent in the slum of Kamwokya.

By tapping into existing resources and youth talent in the community, design can carve out spaces for projects involving technology to cultivate knowledge-building practices for development.

Because of this, the project generates key outcomes that sustain themselves through the opportunities resulted from the platforms.

 

MADE TO BREAK

weDub is an audio mixer and preamplifier made from locally sourced electronic components.

It is made to break—
to be reinvented, remade, and repaired.

Because of its perishable nature, it compels the maker to constantly innovate and learn by doing

One of the project's main strengths is the platform's built-in necessity for constant regenerationweDub relies heavily on its community members to develop shared, and even specialized, knowledge. The project presents platforms, or opportunities for youth to:

  1. Learn basic electronics through making and manipulating tech
  2. Perform, rather than consume, knowledge through live performances of media analysis
  3. Engage in peer-to-peer mentoring by facilitating their own tech workshops
  4. Build a network of community contacts for support


YOUTH CREATED CONTENT

Inspired by the local phenomenon known to Ugandans as VJing, weDub is used by youths to reinterpret media through a collective performance in the local language, Luganda.

weDub is a communal collaboration. In this sense, technology is merely a conduit for the youths to collectively express their expertise in a multitude of mediums: speech, performance, making, and teaching.

Through a creative performance, youths are creating their own localized content in the local language of Luganda.

The skill of VJing requires the youths to analyze media in real time to deliver a live improv performance.

Because VJing creates highly localized content, youths are connected to their peers through play and storytelling.

 

YOUTH MADE

The prevailing model for projects involving technology for children in developing contexts is to deliver imported technological products to them.

weDub values locally sourced materials as it invites the user to identify and reconfigure technology, thereby creating a relationship where the youths are in control in manipulating technology for their own identified purposes.

 

AUDIO MIXER + PREAMPLIFIER

At the start of a VJ live show, youths plug one end of weDub into a TV, computer or DVD player (audio in), and the other end to a speaker (audio out).

With a push of the fader knob, youths are interrupting and silencing institutionalized media and inserting their own live reinterpretations over a microphone. 


Tina L. Zeng
Art Center College of Design
Media Design Practices / Field 2014 MFA Thesis

Instructors: Elizabeth Chin and Sean Donahue
Advisors: Jemima Wyman and Anna Mayer of CamLab
Adjunct Advisors: Elise Co and Tim Schwartz