Keymoment

Pleasurable Troublemaker by Matthias Laschke & Marc Hassenzahl | 2014


Keymoment is an example of what we call "pleasurable troublemakers" – a transformational objects based on a particular Aesthetic of Friction.

To increase one’s physical activity can be a personal and a social goal. Studies assume that 3.2 million people die each year based on their physical inactivity. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends different political practices to increase world wide physical activity. Moreover they notice a strong interconnection between short distance trips (sustainable issues) and physical activity (health issues). For instance they suggest to establish political tools to motivate people to take their bike to commute to work.

However, most political tools do not affect people at all. We suggest the Keymoment. It is a pleasurable troublemaker that embodies a simple implementation intention: “Each time, you are intended to take the car for a trip, consider if you can cover the distance by bicycle".

It is a small key box that presents the bike and the car, side by side. Through this it already hints at a potential choice: bike or car? If one takes the bike key nothing much happens. But in case one takes the car key, Keymoment feels entitled to make a suggestion. It chucks the bike key to the ground. Obviously, one can simply leave it there. But most people will pick it up, and through this will also "pick up" their intention to ride the bike more often. With both keys in their hands, Keymoment creates a carefully designed, quite tangible moment of choice. This is the trouble-making part of the Keymoment.

Obviously, dropping keys is inconvenient and so can be choice. Both create friction. But to be efficient and not to lead to reactance, friction needs to be designed with care. In the present case, Keymoment eases the situation through a number of features – the pleasurable part. First of all, the bike key can always be put back on its hook. Once the choice is made, Keymoment accepts this and holds the lonely bike key. But only until the next potential choice situation arises. Second, the space on top of the box offers a possibility to circumvent the choice for a while. Just put the bike key there.