Author Archives: michelleguarino

About michelleguarino

A curious observer, explorer and designer.

Moving Forward after the Postcards

Currently my project is a data-collector, a source, it’s data mining.

But what could it become -> where can it grow?

Currently people: find the card, share their story, read other stories

But what could it do for other people? like a policy maker, how is this method effective for them? and what becomes possible?

What do you do with the data, how do you transform it or bring it to life?

Currently the postcards are a promotion itself for social action, activism, and works within several different entities -> online for spread and sharing -> postcard for the personal touch.

Photoshopping Thumbs on Guns

I found this and I thought this was a really funny idea, and could have been a design fiction project.

The images are from a blog called Thumbs and Ammo, and their tagline is “Real tough guys don’t need guns, they just need a positive, can-do attitude”













I found all the article here

Postcard Designs

Scan 21

Scan 18_2

Scan 19_3

I started out by sketching different layout possibilities for my postcard, the goal of the postcard is to:

1. start a conversation
2. let them know all perspectives are welcome
3. recipient shares their story
3. recipient sends it back
4. recipient checks out the website

this method will hopefully demonstrate
1. if people will communicate through anonymity
2. if people are interested in other’s stories
3. if people will take action on this topic
4. if it cultivates many perspectives or just one

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After a couple of critiques and discussions about word choices my final design became this:

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I’m sending out the about 1950 black and white versions to the local cmu area and hopefully I’ll get some responses! I’m picking up the prints on Monday and my Tuesday I’m hoping to give them to the mailers who will mail them out the neighboring CMU houses.

I’m hoping to print around 300 color copies to leave at local coffee shops and see if anyone will pick them up once they see them. This way I can also tell if someone received it by mail or by picking it up. Reese has been closed, but I’m hoping to print them before thursday, but with such a large print I will need to print it myself in Reese.

I’m almost done with the wordpress blog, but I now need to populate it by actively asking people I know to possible share and submit their stories, and to test it to make sure it correctly works. I’m hoping to ask a range of people form different perspectives so visitors feel like they can share anything.

Interview with Pro-Gun and Pro-Regulation Community Member

1. Pro-Gun And Pro-Regulation

2. Family, Safety, Culture,

3. Guns are part of his culture + generational heritage. Safety matters, and has been taught and passed down to him. He doesn’t have a gun for safety (if he did he’d use a bat or mace), he has a gun as a family tradition and for hunting. Middle School Gun Training was normal for everyone in the town he grew up in. He knows it’s unrealistic to use guns to fight the government, but other gun owners believe they can if need be. We should be as strict with guns as we are with drinking and driving.

4. Interesting facts.
Guy at gun club once said: “I will guarantee you if obama gets reelected, there is going to be a civil war in this country.”

Reaching out to Pittsburgh Organizations

I’ve currently reaching out to several contacts to send my project to people’s addresses through their organizations.

It seems possible to send my postcards to all CMU students as well as surrounding neighbors of CMU.

This weekend I’m hoping to reach out to local organizations who might be willing to put them on display to let people take the initiative to fill them out and send them back. Organizations such as: big ideas bookshop, coffee shops, food co-op, and the city council building.

Next step is to produce the postcards and website so I can get started on printing and mailing!

Reaching out to Pittsburgh

So for my project, I decided to sort out the logistical problems first, to see if I could reach the greater Pittsburgh area, since I have the skills and resources to be able to create a website for it.

I’ve started to look into mass mailers, the University of Pittsburgh has a program for non-profits, so I may be able to get a cheaper price with them.  ->

I also found a local pittsburgh mailer that also has the same kind of program ->

My biggest problem currently is getting access to the database of addresses of Pittsburgh and then how do I distinguish what neighborhoods to send it to?

Once I figure this out, this local information can be paired with the greater website. I was also thinking I could let people download, print and send if they want to mail it in rather than uploading an image or writing a story.

My search for addresses continues!


Individual Project/Ideas

One of my interviews really inspired me. The person we spoke to talked about the root of the problem being support, through family, through your neighborhood, and without that support people make poor decisions. He said that people constantly talk about how they don’t know what’s happening in their neighborhood, and said, if he had the resources we would find a way to create the connections between the people who need support and those who are giving it.

I wonder what opportunities can be created, there are several websites that talk about pittsburgh arts events, music events and lectures, but not really support or local events.


Within my individual project I’m interested in building empathy through narratives and perspectives.

I’m really captivated by an individuals personal experience with guns, whether it be, hunting, debating suicide, ownership, accident. Empathy seems to be the biggest disconnection between guns and people because of the distance between the shooter and victim, it’s seen that the gun is committing the act of violence not the person. To me, it seems like the best way to build empathy on the gun issue is through storytelling.

I want to understand people’s relationship’s to their guns, if their friends, foes, or enemies. Do they scare or protect? Do they share the blame? How do people talk about their gun experiences good and bad? And then with these answers I want to see if other people can relate to these answers, so that hopefully they can build a more full perspective for themselves.

I want to create an open space that promotes sharing without aggressive debate or bashing.

CMU has a facebook site called CMU Confessions, where people confess anything they want to other students. It’s supportive at times, scary, unsupportive and also misused. But the defining factors of the site are very interesting, a lot of people read it to find something they relate to and for entertainment. If there was a gun version we could get some very interesting data from what’s collected, but it could become out of hand depending on comments and arguments which could ruin the site.

It would also be curious to see other, more local methods, of attaining this information Possibly through submitting postcards to overcome the limitations of technology. However their could be issues with users wanting to be anonymous, but then it could be as simple as becoming a voice recorder, or a place where you can handwrite your stories.

The information gathered also helps humanize statistics through telling and sharing stories.

In Class Project with Danielle: If 6 People are shot 5 live (1 dies)

As we were discussing this statistic, we became interested in the idea of how it relates to time and how to get these individuals to relate to death and living as two things, each with serious consequences.

We also were inspired by where you can see these different crimes happen to a date, but when those locations are really related to a place, by a photo, how that changes how a person relates to it. We also became interested in communicating how the story continues, is it possible to show the hospital visit, the psychological issues, the funeral costs.

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Design Fiction Ideas

After our conversation today I was really inspired by the idea that weapons can be concealed or not concealed.

What if guns were so normalized that everyone carried around guns? How would people today react to me, a 21 year old white girl, carrying a gun openly? What area or time of date would be safe for me to carry a gun openly? What makes it alright to carry a gun openly?

What if guns were liable? What if insurance increased for owning a gun or multiple guns? How much money would be saved in healthcare? Would the visible risk factor, make people not want to own a gun?