Is fear important to design learning,
and can you actually ‘catch’ it from
af.fect (noun): to impress the mind or move the feelings of a person.
Graphic design teachers seek to develop a design eye in their students,
a “feel” for design. This is a kind of informed taste and once established
is tacit, a form of embodied knowledge.
Places and things are complicit in this process in particular: hallways.
If affect (and fear) and seeing the exemplar work of others, is important
to the development of design students, then student bodies, and
learning places—virtual or physical—take more importance
than we may expect.
ANT does not distinguish between human and non human, material
or cultural (Arnseth, 2011). The social emerges from the myriad relations
between human and non-human actors, no agency is given a priori.
In ANT a hallway has agency, but not intentionality.
ANT draws our attention to the associations: the work of translation,
negotiation, and enrolment of actants—objects, people, and ideas—
coming together (or not) in webs of relations termed actor-networks,
ANT allows us to analyze how the materiality of learning environments
is implicated in the development of design students.
Non-Representational Theories focus on spaces, bodies, objects,
activities and practices and affects—the ‘background hum’ of
everyday life (Anderson & Harrison, 2010).
Our habits, dispositions, our ways of being in the world emerge
from the multiple interactions—including affect—that make up
the ‘world’ we inhabit (Nigel Thrift 2007).
There are many kinds of affects possible, many kinds of interactions,
and many kinds of outcomes, and the material world has affordances
that enable some, and prevent (or restricts) others (Thrift 2007).
Design education is socio-material, an assemblage of people, objects,
ideas and spaces, combining (or not) in ways that produce effects:
like a design eye.
Psychobiological reading: affect is an object, human centered
able to ‘leap’ between bodies, it is ‘contagious’ and capable
of being ‘caught’ (Ahmed 2010, 39).
Post-structuralist notion: affect as contingent, but not necessarily
connected with emotion within human bodies. Affect is capable of
circulating around and through objects, spaces, ideas and people.
Bodies can also participate in affective relations with non-human
things to produce learning.
Bodies can coexist with objects set-up for pedagogic purpose,
that have the capability to affect them, and attune them “hitherto
undetectable differences” (Latour 2004, 209).
Bodies and affect have a role in how we form taste — our likes
We move closer to the things we like and further away
from the things we don’t like.
Affect can both ‘circulate’ and ‘stick’ to bodies and places
(Gregg and Seigworth 2010, 1).
Touching can connect us to an object, this is preserved through hab-
it (Ahmed 2010). ‘To be affected by something is to evaluate that thing’
(Ahmed 2010, 31)
The more time and interaction with an object the more chance there
is that affect sticks to it and that we will begin to evaluate and pass
judgment on it (Ahmed 2010, 29).
We rely on others to form our taste (Hennion 2007). The Digital Wall
does not allow the visitor to stand alongside others and be seen to be
looking; it does not allow for the formation of taste in the presence
‘Liking’ demonstrates the possibilities inherent in online spaces
to enable powerful connective experiences, leading to potentially