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Taking a quick break from reading and this happens.

…Attack on Titan meets Pokemon…

A) I loved this and rofl
B) Thought everyone might enjoy this “break”

We’ve been talking a lot about characters, specially monsters, crossing different genres of film and I started to think about how video game characters and their representations, expectations, become twisted when they enter into a different world (take Mario and Super Smash Brothers) or when someone alters (Mods) their aesthetic/function/representation in a game. There are so many mods to cover, but the feelings of laughter to OMG I can’t believe someone did this is very interesting and shows similarity to what Noel Carroll is discussing in “Horror and Humor,” in Beyond Aesthetics.

…back to my readings (sighduck)


I’m just going to get this out of the way, I’m hooked on BabyMetal. One of their hits songs, Give Me Chocolate, gets played almost every other day on iPod…it’s just so damn good! Why is this so damn good? Not everyone likes it, JerNettie I know you secretly do, but it seems that there are a lot of people who normally don’t listen to heavy metal giving this a go and enjoying it.

In class we discussed heavy metal mixing with Broadway (Phantom of the Opera) by Nightwish, and then we separated out what was heavy metal and what was broad Broadway or both. For Babymetal, I believe their categories are heavy metal, cuteness, and traditional Japanese Customs/Culture.

I found a really interesting interview with them, it’s about 20 minutes long, but the members of Babymetal explain a lot of the meaning behind their performance and their appearance. Here are some of the highlights.


Another hit song, Megitsune (female fox) is similar to Festival Metal- Music – Traditional Japanese taste.
-Theme, “Women are actresses” It is said, foxes deceive men – one of the members states that this song relates both foxes and women, people think foxes deceive or disguise, people also think women wear make up to disguise themselves, and people think ill of foxes as they disguise themselves. She relates this to females and foxes both hide their emotions, they act so well.

Babymetals Outfits
– Kimono-like Costumes

“Scream” Parts
-Screams are not like “wooooowwww” Babymetal’s screams are chants. “like in festivals” These chants express cuteness.

There is choreography so the audience can dance

Words for Babymetal concert
-‘Wall of Death’ : audience is divided into two groups then audience rushed into each other. For a Babymetal concert, two members run across the stage as to symbolize this gesture.
-‘Mosshusshu’: Moshing, people running into each other. Babymetal’s version is safe, enjoyable, and friendly.

Headbanging: Babymetal has two versions.
-Baby Headhanging: audience shouts ‘Hedoban Hedoban’ – shaking their head laterally
-Dogeza Headbanging: Babymetal and those in the audience will kneel down, bow deeply, and shake their heads. Sometimes the audience will use their hands to make this gesture if there is not enough room.  

There is some acting between the members during their performance.



After viewing this interview, I googled around and landed on an article entitled, Babymetal aren’t the latest chapter in the ‘wacky Japan’ story. The article explains some reasons why Babymetal is so popular in Japan and how Japanese pop culture shaped this group. I thought these were the best bits.

What has happened is that by adopting the simplistic but effective marketing model of cute face + whatever = ¥¥¥, the idol scene has opened up a new route for alternative musical ideas to enter the fringes of the mainstream. And by catering to subcultural fan groups, they have, aided by the growth of the Internet, given voice to aspects of culture that the core mainstream’s drive for homogeneity has ignored — building strong, die-hard fanbases in the process.

While the wackiness of idol acts such as Babymetal is obvious for all to see, it’s also the work of people who know exactly what they are doing, trying to craft fun out of a specific set of economic, creative and marketing circumstances. In that sense, is it really any more absurd than the theatrics that Western metal acts such as Dragonforce and Manowar have been delighting and dismaying fans with for decades?


Just thought everyone might find this interesting as most of us probably don’t think about why bands might sound a certain; we just listen and decide, like, dislike, awesome, wtf, etc. By trying to understand the mix of this sound, I actually learned a lot about what is happening in Japanese musical culture and why I might be attracted to this group. Their cuteness mixed with the heavy sound (which is awesome btw) just makes it so fun! I also have a lot of respect for Japanese ‘respect’ culture and this brings this into the mix. You can be a hard hitting, respectful, cutesey, heavy metal fan…wtf is that?! Totally opposite of most heavy metal bands I’ve experienced…but I love it.

For my pre-writeup, I am looking for sources and topic opinions around aesthetics and damaged products. Here is gist. 

There is something I’ve noticed with people, but I don’t know how to….bottle it up. I have a plug-in microphone I use for recording podcasts and in-field interviews for my iPhone. Punchy (Emma’s French Bulldog) chewed it up a bit, and it looks really bad. It works fine, and I am still using it, but three people have told me to get a new one. I have also had some say that they wouldn’t even pick it up as it looks a certain way – junky. But I don’t mind it at all, just wear and tear. At first I was bothered by it, but then mentally decided it’s just material that has been shaped different, it’s still “the product”.

I wrote down three thoughts before collecting materials as possible areas – ideas to explore when searching for information. I would like to get anyone’s opinion or suggestions on materials. If someone has a better way to state what I am after please mention anything…there is something with aesthetics and people’s perception there. 


Aesthetics of Damaged Products and its relationship between owner and observer. Wear and tear on products in first-world countries and the importance of aesthetics.

The idea of removing perfection – perfect aesthetics for added value; a sense of uniqueness from mass produce objects.

Prolonging the use of objects and changing people’s perception of relevance by designing imperfections into a design’s aesthetics.


More to follow as I keep poking around. 


“This studio revolves around the exploration of (tangible and actuated) interactive products and systems by means of physical sketching and prototyping. It is a hands-on studio where cardboard modeling techniques are combined with Arduino controlled sensors and actuators (the advanced cardboard modeling platform) to explore the notion of ‘the aesthetics of the third way’. The ‘aesthetics of the third way’ recognizes different approaches to ‘dematerialization’ (the process of the physical becoming digital, e.g., LPs and CDs become digital files and loose the physical media) and tries to balance the qualities of both the physical and the digital in a new manner.”

This studio session was conducted by Joep (J.W.), Frens, Assistant Professor at Technische Universiteit, at the 8th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction.

Joep is actively researching the ‘dematerializing’ of normal objects and how digital interfaces and electronics can be combined in order to create products or experiences that aesthetically seem like one piece – to use the “power of programming” and analog materials to create artifacts that show no signs of separation. This end process-goal-technique is what Joep refers to this as the ‘third way’. This is not to be confused with ‘third wave’ of Human-Computer Interaction/Design.

Examples of cardboard modeling:


For more information on cardboard modeling, you can go here:

After a few presentations, I found myself thinking about Google’s Nexus 5 phone. Though the studio session focused on ordinary products and scenarios  (the design challenge was to create a new experience to remind people to take their medicine) I couldn’t help but think how I love the the Nexus’s hardware but hate the experience of the Android.

The two do not seem like one piece. The Nexus feels great in the hand, smooth, sexy, simple, but Android and its customization for me is confusing, not polished, and doesn’t feel integrated ‘with’ the phone.

This integration ‘with’ approach, a perspective on aesthetics, is one reason I find products like the iPhone to be so successful. A majority of the software, though I find some things of iOS 7 to be problematic, feels apart of the phone – the physical and digital at times are one.

Though Joep was discussing a method called ‘third way’ (which I thought he was referring to the third wave at first – we had a discussion about that and he is going to change the title), the third wave in HCI – especially ubiquitous computing, does have a shared goal in creating computing that is intergraded, everywhere, but not obtrusive, and sometimes not obvious.

This is a very interesting read on how Google is maintaining its dominance in the mobile market by stopping Samsung from developing its own OS. Samsung has been building on top of Android and hiding a lot of essential apps in favor of its own while putting their UI, TouchWiz, at the front of the experience.

Samsung’s goal has been to use Android as a platform to build its own services and UI while slowly dropping Android in favor or its own OS called Tizen.

“Samsung…began building its own Android rival – Tizen – which, thanks to its TouchWiz interface, looks identical to the casual observer. The long term strategy was clear: switch over to Tizen and take the majority of the handset market with it. Google had to act.”

Should we consider coping a part of an OS’s functionality or aesthetic as counterfeit?

Counterfeit: “made in imitation of something else with intent to deceive”

I was really intrigued by our art vs design conversation in class that I’m started to wonder if this is a great topic for a final paper. Art vs Critical Design, Art Function vs Design Function. I’m drawn into aesthetics and trying to find exactly what it is I want to talk about. Would love any suggestions or conversations around this.

Here are a few notes I took during class I thought were interesting.

Call attention to ordinary objects
-make us think about or see beauty in everyday objects
-respect everyday objects

-What is art, what is design?
-Is critical design not art?
-What creates the difference between critical design and art?
-non-instrumental value vs instrumental value

The other night I stumbled onto artist Stephanie Syjuco and was really taken back by one of her projects,  “Modern Ruins (Popular Cannibals)” 

“Syjuco takes beloved archetypes of modernist furniture and reproduces them dump-style to explore a range of ideas related to production, consumption, class, and economies. These works continue her investigation of copies and counterfeits, while also examining Modernism’s promise of utopian progress and the reality of that vision today.”

Here is a photo of the semi-completed work.


What I find interesting is the idea of counterfeit being art. Do what degree is counterfeit art? Could these crafted pieces be place by the real items but hold more meaning?

During this reading, I kept asking myself, “is this paper just speaking about how to think as a person in general?” I actually flipped back a page or two to catch the magic word ‘design thinking’ or a designer should think like ____, but I didn’t find it. What I found however was a framework that encourages what Nelson and Stolterman call the ‘Intention Approach’. (please ignore the yellow post-its)

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 11.32.00 PM

The Intentional Approach’s aim is to get designers to start thinking in terms of Desiderata – that-which-is-desired. Normally, when faced with a design challenge (opportunity or problem) we tend to get stuck in Analysis Paralysis (the-which is) and Value Paralysis (that-which-ought-to-be).

“Analysis paralysis occurs when too much divergent information is generated, without any effective means for convergence. ”

“Value paralysis occurs when any and every value system is taken into account because they are considered equally relevant without any means of transcending the differences and diversity. “

Nelson and Stolterman are advocating that designers need to stop look at design issues and finding immediate needs/problems that require solving and instead start framing the intention of the design to find solutions, motivation for change, that are not even known. Here is a note from class I believe speaks to this point.

“Problem framing, problem setting happen at the same time as problem solving.   YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS. You job is to frame, state alternatives to the problem.”

What I found most helpful about this paper was seeing how designers can get caught up in trying to find solutions for problems they believe to be present from the get go when in actuality, the issues are not even known, and will only present themselves once you start to frame the the issue/problem/intention.

I found the key point to Nelson and Stolterman’s paper rather interesting.

“Our understanding of motivation, triggered by what we believe to be desirable—in other words, desiderata assessment—as opposed to what we need, remains remarkably undeveloped. Human intention, when motivated by desiderata rather than need, reshapes the entire process for intentional change. “


I wanted to start my first post with this image and talk about ‘speculative design’. Here are some quotes that stuck out to me during the reading.

“futures are not a destination or something to be strived for but a medium to aid imaginative thought ”

“the role of the expert is often, not to prevent the impossible but to make it acceptable.”

“We believe that by speculating more, at all levels of society, and exploring alternative scenarios , reality will become more malleable”

“We live in a very different world now but we can reconnect with that spirit and develop new methods appropriate for today’s world and once again begin to dream.”

What I found odd during the reading is this idea of speculative design, and how now, Dunne and Raby believe ” several key changes have happened since the high point of radical design in the 1970s that make imaginative, social, and political speculation today more difficult and less likely.”

I personally have never felt that I am limited to speculate on design or social implications because of design due to some of the examples they provide. The authors made it seem that speculation is restricted and therefore can’t led to radical designs. I do not agree with this statement and I feel that this is actually changing.

Something I found online recently that touches on how I feel can be seen in this video.

Reverberating Across the Divide: Digital Design Meets Physical Context

For me, this is a new and rather radical way to create a necklace. What I like about this video is the idea, I will speculate here, that someone at home could create custom necklaces that are custom fitted to their bodies in one fitting. I would love input on this video or the idea of radical design, but does anyone else feel limited or that a few changes in history has really changes since the 1970’s?