Experience, Aesthetics & Design


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John McCarthy, doctor at Department of Applied Psychology, University college Cork. Visiting professor (2007) at Department of Communication, Technology & Design, Södetörn university college, Sweden. Lecture May 31st 2007.

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Experience, Aesthetics & Design

  1. 1. Experience, Aesthetics and Design John McCarthy, Department of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, Ireland In collaboration with: Peter Wright, Sheffield Hallam University, UK Jayne Wallace, Sheffield Hallam University and University of Newcastle UK Liam Bannon and Luigina Ciolfi, Interaction Design Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland Mark Blythe, University of York, UK.
  2. 2. experience “… experience is a term rife with sedimented meanings that can be actualized for a variety of different purposes” (Jay, 2005, p.12). the Disney experience experience economy authentic experience aesthetic experience out-of-the-box experience hard-won experience user experience experience design life-changing experience experience vs. thought crisis of experience “ Designing for the full range of human experience may well be the theme for the next generation of discourse about software design” (Winograd, 1996, p. xix).
  3. 3. experience “ .... includes what men do and suffer, what they strive for, love, believe and endure, and also how men act and are acted upon, the ways in which they do and suffer, desire and enjoy, see, believe, imagine - in short, processes of experiencing…It is “double-barrelled” in that it recognises in its primary integrity no division between act and material, subject and object, but contains them both in an unanalysed totality” (Dewey, 1929, p.10/11). holistic relational historical cultural critical transformative participative Aesthetic
  4. 4. technology as experience <ul><li>A holistic approach </li></ul><ul><li>wherein the intellectual, sensual and emotional stand as equal partners </li></ul>Wright and McCarthy (2003) McCarthy and Wright (2004)
  5. 5. technology as experience Continuous engagement and sense making the self is the centre of experience and brings to a situation a history of meanings and anticipated futures Connecting Interpreting Reflecting Appropriating Recounting Anticipating
  6. 6. technology as experience <ul><li>Sense making as dialogical </li></ul><ul><li>The meaning of an artefact is not finalised by the designer but actively constructed through experience involving multiple centres of value (self-other). </li></ul><ul><li>No-thing is in itself </li></ul>
  7. 7. from usability to user experience <ul><li>From the satisfactory functioning of technology to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The influence of technology on the ways we think, act, feel, value in personal/social contexts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The complex relationship between self and object/artifact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moments of aesthetic fulfillment and moments of openness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology designed to provoke us to reflect on our experience with technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology and narrative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embodiment inc. technology embodying aspects of experience and identity </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. experience and design <ul><li>The sense of accomplishment in performing </li></ul><ul><li>The artfulness and improvisatory quality of practice </li></ul><ul><li>Playfulness, surprise, enchantment </li></ul>
  9. 12. experience and design <ul><li>Accomplishment, artfulness, improvisation </li></ul><ul><li>Playfulness, surprise, enchantment </li></ul><ul><li>But also … </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction design as a critical technical practice </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction design as a way of understanding human being in technological societies </li></ul>
  10. 13. bespoke design / craft tradition make something useful worldmaking putting experience into circulation create engaging event / experience asking questions about the human condition ongoing dialogue between self and other understanding people in ‘experience design’
  11. 14. Philosopher's may theorise about subjectivity, but working filmmakers try to learn exactly what it means to say that time is flexible, a function of our inner clock. They study how long a second really is, and how short, and what makes it feel one way or the other. They know that what we see isn’t really what's out there because they've learned how spatial perception varies with angle and focal length and lighting how &quot;true&quot; colors are a figment of lighting, and context, and even the glass of a lens. They know there is no &quot;real&quot; sound but only a better or worse approximation of what our ear expects (Boorstin, 1990, p.198). moviemaking: knowing how we see
  12. 19. Engages directly with others to gain insight and inspiration from their life experiences. Finding common threads in her own experiences she builds her own feelings toward them. Immersion in the conversations and materials (both digital and physical). Through building up an aesthetic vocabulary and an emotional and empathetic response to the participant and the materials the emerging artefact can become a medium of expression. Digital jewellery making: feeling how they feel Jayne Wallace ‘Blossom’ 2004
  13. 20. <ul><li>“ I think you’ve touched on something, (laughs) quite, yeah, big really… ‘planted on family land’… a kind of permanence to it and a rooting for me…which links to strong emotional family ties…” (Ana interview transcript lines 207 - 214) </li></ul><ul><li>“… function isn’t quite the right word because it makes it sound a bit, dunno… well it’s not like a household appliance (laughs) in the sense that it helps you clean the dishes or anything like that…I suppose its purpose to me is that it reminds you of the smaller things in life and erm, it’s like it could help you to just take stock and stop and look at things…” (Ana interview transcript lines 280 - 287) </li></ul>feeling how they feel
  14. 21. Riot!1851: feeling how they feel
  15. 22. feeling how they feel <ul><li>“ if you’ve just had the experience of being inside the crowd that’s rioting. And then you have to say no, I’m just standing in Queen’s Square in 2004 listening to a headset and this is a sketch of something that happened in that house there that I’m looking at.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’ve been in crowds where it’s turned a bit nasty and the riot police have come down on you; you just get penned in somewhere and you get rows of guys on horses hemming you in and you try to leave, but all of a sudden they won’t let you leave, and that’s the point at which you go ‘oh, actually…” </li></ul>
  16. 23. continuous sense making in design <ul><li>Understanding the other </li></ul><ul><li>what does it feel like to be that person </li></ul><ul><li>what would it be like for those people to experience this artefact </li></ul><ul><li>what could it offer to them </li></ul><ul><li>what about my materials </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding living with technology </li></ul><ul><li>making it my own </li></ul><ul><li>bringing it into my life </li></ul><ul><li>letting it change me (feelings, values, etc.) </li></ul>ethnographies cultural probes technology biographies personae experience prototypes . . felt life empathy aesthetic understanding
  17. 24. &quot; Creative understanding does not renounce itself, its own place in time, its own culture; and it forgets nothing. In order to understand, it is immensely important for the person who understands to be located outside the object of his or her creative understanding- in time in space, in culture. For one cannot even really see one's own exterior and comprehend it as a whole, and no mirrors or photographs can help, our real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they are located outside us in space and because they are others &quot; (Bakhtin, 1986, p.7). aesthetic understanding Consummation of self by other in an encounter of aesthetic understanding
  18. 25. <ul><li>&quot;Thus what Bakhtin maintains about great works he also maintains about individuals and entire cultures. Both contain potential they could not specify. Or as Bakhtin sometimes puts the point, potentials are why great works, individuals and cultures are &quot;noncoincident&quot; with themselves, why they always have a loophole, and why, no matter how fully they are described, they have not been exhaustively described. Just as individuals always have a &quot;surplus of humanness&quot; (EaN, p.37), great works and cultures have a surplus of unexploited potentials. Potentials, non-coincidence, and the surplus make all three unfinalizable and able to render untrue any definition of them&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>(Morson and Emerson, 1990, p. 287) </li></ul>adding value to the other people not users potential future orientation more that was meant fusion of horizons with others the word and the personal experience adding value to the other in dialogue
  19. 26. Finding a way of responding to the perceived needs and feelings of others takes place within a context of communication ... Rests on the – sometimes counterfactual – assumption that the other is in need, the presupposition of how the other feels not necessarily how s/he actually feels. (Vreeke et al, 2003) a dialogical approach to empathy self-other differentiation moved by the perceived feelings of others felt as an appeal a feature of relationships but how can I feel what other feels? intersubjective stance on empathy a pragmatic communicative approach
  20. 27. “… the task consists in forcing the thinglike environment, which mechanically influences the personality, to begin to speak, that is, to reveal in it the potential word and tone, to transform it into a semantic context for the thinking, speaking and acting (as well as creating) personality” (Bakhtin, 1986, p.164). empathy, materials, artefacts
  21. 28. But hair had always been a thing for me. Just its beauty as a kind of line form nearly you know… I liked kind of fine line I just loved the life in hair. And then I did the same firing with a piece but for some reason that day and it probably never happened again the kiln went contrary and it just flowed you know empathy, materials, artefacts
  22. 29. empathy, materials, artefacts
  23. 30. “ Responding, in Bakhtin’s early essays, entails richly seeing. Bakhtin contrasted the kind of seeing that might be characteristic of scientific inquiry with artistic or aesthetic contemplation . In the special case of aesthetic seeing the artist forms a felt and valuational relationship to the object of her activity. … Aesthetic contemplation entails seeing this separate center of value as unique and then forming a response to it from the special value position that is one’s own. This kind of seeing can entail strong feelings; minimally, it requires more than an instrumental or objective response” (Hicks, 2000, pp.231/232). proximity of aesthetic and ethical aspects of experience both aspects of the consummation of self in an other aesthetic experience is created from moments of answerability, the weight of which is located in the relationship between self and other in that moment. design research, aesthetics, & ethics
  24. 31. theory and practice in design rationality / instrumentality of language predictability measurement universal generalisable application under-specification of interpretation situated relationships and experiences practice as artful and improvisational judgment guided by understanding of good practice not the application of articulable knowledge local theory orienting frameworks Schön (1983). The Reflective Practitioner