You are currently browsing AngélicaR’s articles.

The Kikasola reading highlighted several elements of the Double Life of Veronique that I don’t think I would have been able to identify. For example, specific allusions to symbols. 
This reminded me of the Barnard reading, when he talks about “Bandaxall’s 3 respects in which horizons of individuals are likely to differ”:
  1. “Understand the convention: it is something that a person must know , it is something that must be within their life-world. Unless the convention…is within the interpreter’s culture, ‘as it is within ours’, the interpreter will not know how to understand the image. (p 44)
  2. “Kinds of interpretative skill: patterns, categories, inferences, and analogies that an interpreter can either see or not see in an image. If the interpreter does not posses a certain interpretative skill, then they will not be able to understand a painting in terms of that skill.” (p 44)
  3. “One brings to the picture a mass of information and assumptions drawn from general experience… These presupossitions are part of the lilfe-world, then, in relation to which the image may be understood. (conceptual horizons)” (p 44-45)
While I believe we all possess interpretative skill, I don’t think we “understand the convention” of Kieslowski’s “abstract, non-verbal rhetoric”. For example, allusions to space as cosmicized, or the political situation of poland at the time. One example was that in watching the movie, when Veronique lets the puppet master into her hotel, my assumptions drawn from general experience kept screaming danger, Veronique you will get killed by your stalker… 
What is interesting about this type of rhetoric, in comparison to say an image, is the temporal aspect. In the sense that the understanding, and the sense longing occurs through time in subtle ways. The idea of foreshadowing cannot exist without the time element. How would foreshadowing work in an app? Or in a painting?

For my final paper I kinda wanted to revisit Folkmann, but I am unsure if this is enough for the purposes of the paper.

So here is sort of the breakdown of what Jeff talked about in class yesterday with regards to my overarching topic: Interaction design in public spaces

Note this is sort of the Why of my capstone, but I can’t separate them…

  • Why
    • Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to visit various cities and countries, as well as many museums in different places. The interactive installations and public art projects I have experienced have left a big impression on me. While these events have been impactful on the way I see the world, I believe these type of projects are scarce, in the sense that public spaces are normally quite static. I want to bridge this gap, and create everyday aesthetic experiences. My interest in ubiquitous computing and embodied interactions fit in this space, as I see an opportunity to bring interactive experiences into public spaces, and add to the aesthetic quality of life.
    • The why in terms of contribution, I do see a trend in more tangible interactions in space. Be an app that guides you through a store, or in-store experiences, I think technology embedded in our environments is in a way inevitable, but the execution could be overwhelming and overbearing, or well executed and aesthetic.
  • What
    • I seek to understand how public installations create meaning and build memorable experiences for people, with the aim of providing design principles for ubiquitous technology.  Too broad ? (perhaps)
  • How
    • I think the how is what might be different to my capstone, since there I am building something, and have talked to ppl and done a bunch of primary research. I think in understanding several designs more in depth, and I think Follkmann is a way in that seemed more natural for the type of design (meaning looking at sensual-phenomenological, conceptual-hermeneutical, and contextual discursive platforms). So would looking at say 5 installations and break them down into their components, and see what patterns emerge be enough? (what say you?) I think an underlying claim is that in understanding how installations create such experiences, we can design better ubiquitous technology or something like that.

So in terms of what things I need to look into, it would be something like:

  • Explain Folkmann’s platforms
  • Show why it ties well to this type of designs, or why I think it can be used (find the value in a way)
  • Find if someone has used this for some other ulterior motive(s)
  • Talk about 1 example of how it is used
  • Summarize findings from doing this 5 times or so

I think the paper structure I am using as a basis is the defamiliarization paper (explain what technique is, how it is used in some cases, drop some principles).

Any concerns/criticisms/worries/show stoppers you can see?


Regardless of the mental exercise that a lot of these readings present, I can’t help but jump to, how is this helping me being a better designer? How is this pushing me to think of different design paradigms, etc ? (This has no real conclusion… you have been warned)

So one thing that definitely stood out was the idea of context, and how a narrative builds not only on “cultural categories, norms, and conceptual schemes”, but being part of that context, and how the lack can alter meaning making. I see this related to our previous reading on how through the narrative, the author taps into the sensorium, and tries to trigger that reaction empathically (this person feels fear, so I am feeling fear).

“In these cases, it seems to me that once one excerpts these quotations from their narrative contexts, the danger that has been building up in the story disappears, and primarily only the anomaly remains in a way which, my theory predicts, is apt to cause laughter.” (p 252, Horror and Humor)


Taking this to say, interaction design for mobile devices, where the narrative is not continuous. So when we design for the user journey we are more susceptible to the aesthetic codings we embed in the interaction, since the point of interaction might be short. Alternatively, we also have an opportunity to build that narrative in broader terms perhaps, where the journey is everyday activity.

What other paradoxes are we designing through aesthetic codings and context building in digital experiences?

“We not experience any movie only through our eyes. We see and and feel films with our entire bodily being, informed by the full history and carnal knowledge of our accultured sensorium.”‘; Even if the body is often forgotten or not consciously experienced by spectators while watching a film, it nevertheless represents the irreducible condition of the possibility of sensory and aesthetic experience.” p 116 (Cinema as skin and touch)

The quote above really resonated with me as it relates to my capstone. Through my pre-writing I became aware of this idea of the “Sensorium”, and a book called Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art, where the main argument is that embodied experience through the senses (and their necessary and unnecessary mediations is how we think” (p5)

In particular these 2 quotes:

“The making of subjects through psychological discourses and pharmacology, I argue, is part of what Foucault so provocatively termed “technologies of the self.” Our bodies do not allow us to “escape” from technological mediation – they are themselves mediating apparatuses, without which there can be no knowledge of the world.” (p 2) Our current yearnings for materiality, for thingness, for the concrete stuff of the physical world are here located in the body’s desiring negotiations with the virtual and the mediated – ever more intimately naturalized as the sensory technological envelope in which we live.” (p 4)


“In conjunction with the visuality historians have charted as characteristic of the modern, we should begin to reckon the auditory, the olfactory, and the tactile as similarly crucial sites of embodied knowledge. The resulting set of experiences can be called a sensorium: the subject’s way of coordinating all the body’s perceptual and proprioceptive signals as well as the changing sensory envelope of the self.” (p 8)

(Arning, B., Farver, J., Hasegawa, Y., Jacobson, M., Jones, C. “Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art”. (2006), MITPress)

I think this is extremely relevant to our roles as designers, in particular when it comes to creating digital experiences. I feel we have been neglecting the rest of our bodies when it comes to designing digital experiences. We are designing for people that move around in the world, who think, feel, see, hear, and smell, not just see. So how can we leverage the ideas exposed in this cinema as skin and touch article? Even if the interactions we craft are not tangible in some way?

Alternatively, with the hype that is surrounding the Internet of Things, and ubiquitous computing, there is definitely room for embodied interactions.

What is more interesting to me is this idea of thinking through our senses, and how we make sense of the world, or an experience, and how we can index the “carnal knowledge”, and through that, communicate with others… How much richer could our interactions be if we leveraged other senses? Where is the balance between overwhelming the senses and crafting an out of the ordinary sensorial experience?

I think this also yields itself very well to third wave approaches (not just first wave approaches of information processing from different senses), but in the sense that by designing contingent designs, for contingent individuals, we cannot ignore the physical world. So how does contextual experiences vary from individual to individual?  Can we facilitate physical states through our experience and interaction design?

What do y’all think?

I came across this video and got a nice reminder of the semiotics class. The coding in the attire and the video setup is a clear callout to the transgression they are about to perform. I have not heard the original song “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, but even though I was not entirely aware of the Artworld they are directly evoking, I can’t deny their performance was electric 🙂


(In the spirit of sharing our writing concerns… I am stuck, but I am also procrastinating)

So something I have been struggling with is picking the right thing to do that will benefit my capstone indirectly (since I am not writing the paper), but I want the research to help in some way to what I’m doing (so it is not a waste of time and life).

So here are 2 tracks. Originally I wanted to do interactive architecture as a topic, and just see how this relates to experience design. I have a book on that that I have been procrastinating on, so I have not read that.

On the other hand is this thought that I feel there is something about, but at the same time I don’t think it is that original. So I am convinced that art projects, interactive installations etc are appealing in a way, because they are somewhat incomplete. (I’m sure people are tired of me talking about this, but I just don’t know how to show this is the case!)

So they are incomplete in the sense that the person experiencing them, visiting, watching them, interacting with them, make meaning and complete the experience by themselves. But I feel perhaps this is the end of this thought… I spoke to one of the curators from the SF exploratorium last Friday, and when I told her this, she also said she believe a lot of art projects, installations are incomplete. But I am not sure where to go from here…

I have looked at McCarthy and Wright, and Dewey, Aesthetic Interaction – A Pragmatist’s Aesthetics of Interactive Systems by Petersen et al. So we have the idea of doing and undergoing we see from Dewey, McCarthy and Wright say “consumers are not passive; they actively complete the experience for themselves.”, and “Aesthetic Interaction is not about conveying meaning and direction through uniform models; it is about triggering imagination, it is thought-provoking and encourages people to think differently about the encountered interactive systems, what they do and how they might be used differently to serve differentiated goals.”  … but I don’t know. I don’t know if this is worth taking further… So perhaps the road of interactive architecture is the way to go here…

any of these will give me stuff for capstone…

This are just 10 examples, however, if you want to go crazy, here is the link to my pinterest board where I am keeping my collection 🙂

Now, here are the examples:

Daniel Rozin’s trash mirror 


Barbican rain room



A tilt of light by Eness:

The gates, @ central park NYC, by Christo and Jeanne-Claude



By Richard Serra (Thanks Dennis for the referral)


Qui est “IN”, Qui est “OUT” designed by London-based Yes We Can Architecture



Interactive installation by Chris Milk



Bâtiment (Building) is a mirrored installation by artist Leandro Erlich 


Ai WeiWei handmade porcelain sunflower seeds



Cloud cities by Tomas Saraceno



(Disclaimer, this is a Midnight rant:)

There was a sentence in the Reading Critical Designs paper that says:

“What sorts of categorizations, associations, questions, insights, norms, judgments, etc,. should be part of a critical designer’s hermeneutical toolkit? (pdf p 3)

Did anyone else feel uncomfortable with this phrasing of the critical designer? It seems to me that as designers, we should always be striving to do critical design, and non critical design. Why make the distinction? I don’t think this is the same as calling myself an interaction designer vs an experience designer. All design is political in a way, it makes a stance, whether it is to maintain the status quo, or propose new futures, expand boundaries, create tensions, make us think, for efficiency sake, for pleasure, etc etc.  So shouldn’t we be always doing critical design out of morals in order to better serve our users and ourselves (I really like that in this paper they say design “our futures”).

(I will think about this more later)

I have been thinking about how a lot of critical designs only exist as concepts. So some might say they don’t really exist, and yet, they are a great tool to stir our thoughts, and conversation starters. When I think of expensive sketches, I don’t necessarily mean in the sense that it has to be constructed, but it just has to be proposed. I like this idea. A lot. But it is not just the proposal, but the discussion, going through the process of designing this (even as a hypothetical), that makes us learn about our present, and expose the status quo in a way.

According to Dunne & Raby:

“The purpose of critical design is to make people think… Design needs to be closer to the everyday life, that’s where its power to disturb comes from… it suggests that the every day as we know it could be different, that things could change …things can be used and that we ask questions – questions about the here and now.”

So how can I bring this into my professional endeavours. Let’s say I get a client that is looking to improve the existing website. The ask is easy. So where would me throwing critical design concepts at my team come into play? I think there will be an interesting balance between cocepting and ideating just for kicks, before going back to the same design paradigms (the client wants a website, or the client wants an app), and slowly transition into different options, and being comfortable exposing the client to these, and who knows, maybe they like pushing those boundaries slowly. I like to think that if I make a point of always try concepting through a critical design lens, I will become more attuned to the boundaries of our design paradigm, and will perhaps be able to better serve the end user, by not subjecting them to a role I believe they should play in the system/service I help design. But I can already see the struggle. A constant uphill battle of satisfying the ask, and not adding to the world another senseless design, part of the trend, because at the end of the day, products sell (ughhh). But can we use what we learned in the process, taking those proposals, and going from the proposed future, to the present we are shaping?

As I read the Danto reading, 2 main thoughts came to my mind: Dewey and Critical Design.

For the part of the critical design thought, here are some key quotes that triggered the thought:

I seek to identify the importance of the art I discuss not in terms of the art it influenced (or which it was influenced by) but in terms of the thought it brought to our awareness.”  (p 63)

Warhol’s art, in film and elsewhere, goes immediately to the defining boundaries of the medium and brings these boundaries to conceptual awareness. ” (p 67)

“Andy took every conceivable definition of the word art and challenged it. Art reveals the trace of the artist’s hand: Andy resorted to silk-screening. A work of art is a unique object: Andy came up with multiples. A painter paints: Andy made movies. Art is divorced from the commercial and the utilitarian: Andy specialized in Campbell’s Soup Cans and Dollar Bills. Painting can be defined in contrast to photography: Andy recycles snapshots. A work of art is what an artist signs, proof of his creative choice, his intentions: for a small fee, Andy signed any object whatever. This list could be protracted indefinitely. To be sure, Warhol’s way was clearly a via negativa. He did not tell us what art was. But he opened the way for those whose business it is to provide positive philosophical theories to at last address the subject.” (p 71)

We can see interesting aspects in the quotes above. First, an artifact, design, piece of art, critical design (any), brings to the foreground specific thoughts to our awareness. With Folkmann and the Dunn and Raby’s poop lunch box (and others), we saw that the medium and execution of the artifact, along with the aesthetic coding embedded in the artifacts help the artists increase our awareness to specific topics. It is interesting to see also bringing about the “boundaries of the medium” as a way to expand the problem space (my mind is now going to Defamiliarization as well). So then, is the merit of art and critical design that they bring to the foreground specific ideas/feelings/awareness (which of course goes beyond aesthetics perceived sensorially)? I really like the thought that Warhol did not define art, but simply opened up the space for discussion on what art is. It makes me think that the discussion itself is art. So, was our discussion in class art or was the artifact leading to the discussion art? (I lean towards the latter, but we somehow “changed” a bit from having the discussion itself).

As for the Dewey thought:

In a way, it seems that the underlying argument that Warhol could have made is that everyday life is aesthetic, but not everyone is in-tune or aware of the aesthetic qualities of everyday life. Dewey was an advocate for aesthetic experiences outside of museums, in our day to day activities and environments. Some of the key quotes I associate to this thought are:

“Pop art is a way of liking things. So it was not just the ordinariness of ordinary things that came to constitute his subject matter. His art was an effort to change people’s attitudes toward their world.” p 74

“It could only be framed when it became possible to accept the ordinary and to see that something could be art and yet look as much like an ordinary object as one ordinary object looks like another-the way Brillo Box resembles Brillo boxes as much as they resemble one another… Philosophical understanding begins when it is appreciated that no observable proper- ties need distinguish reality from art at all. ” (p 80)

“Unlike Duchamp, Warhol sought to set up a resonance not so much between art and real objects as between art and images, it having been his insight, as my aphorism from Kierkegaard implies, that our signs and images are our reality.” p81

In a way, I feel the social agendas of Dewey and Warhol align in a way. Dewey wanted to create a better life through aesthetic experiences, as an active, participatory relation to artful material and collective activity. So it requires an active subject. I would argue then that Warhol was trying to make people more active subjects in everyday life, more in tune with the beauty of everyday objects. Throughout the text we see references to a “difference between art and reality”, so “something could be put forward as art which so verged on reality that the two were undistinguished by any interesting perceptual difference.” I find this thought interesting because art in a way has to be grounded in our reality to be able to effectively bring to the foreground specific aspects of our culture, ideologies, etc.  So the two should not be differentiated in my opinion.