Interaction Design WikiAesthetics of Interaction

Aesthetics of Interaction 2018

Fall 2018

Instructor: Dr Joëlle Bitton 

Guest Lecturer: Verena Ziegler 

Teaching Assistant 

Office hours: Thursdays 12.30 - 14.00 (by appointment)

Each class session runs on Mondays, from 8.30-10.30, in room 4K11. Starting in week 2 and continuing for the rest of the semester, two teams of two students will give a presentation in each session: one based on readings and the other one based on art and design projects. Each presentation is followed by a discussion and/or an in-class assignment.


This seminar proposes to investigate the aesthetics of interaction design and the mediation of technologies in human perceptions of the world. With notions of cultural contexts, historical overviews, and case studies, we’ll discuss the key humanities concepts of representation, action and phenomenology. The students will gain a critical perspective on the tools they use to ensure a stronger appreciation of responsibility and awareness. 

The seminar will refer to the following aesthetic languages:
Generativity, Creative coding, Net Art, Software Art, Performative and live interventions, Public and urban interventions, Game, Virtual and Augmented Realities, Companions and Conversation agents, Speculative and Bio Design, Disruptors. 

We’ll address these aesthetics from the perspective of their origins, legacies and influence on everyday mainstream tools.


From the second week, each course will be structured around two presentations of twenty minutes each and class discussions, with occasionally an additional lecture from the instructor or guest lecturer.


Grades will be based on the oral and written presentations and on class participation. Contributing to constructive group feedback is an essential aspect of class participation. Regular attendance is required. Two or more unexcused absences will affect the final grade. Arriving late on more than one occasion will also affect the grade.

Readings-based presentation 25% 

Projects-based presentation 25%

Final essay 30%

Class participation 20% 

Any assignment that remains unfulfilled receives a failing grade. 


Students must independently prepare lectures on selected texts from the week. These can be presented in different formats. 
Possible presentation formats are:

The presentation should include a 3-pages written discussion, made available to the class and instructor by Friday 12pm prior to the day of the class to insure a general discussion.

The paper should include title, author, date, context, summary, bibliography.

Additional sources can be added to inform the discussion if necessary.

The reading-based presentation should include answers to these questions: who are the authors? where do they work? what concepts do they propose? what year was the document published? what was the context at the time of publication? what are other contemporary theorists and practitioners perspectives on the authors proposal? what influence did the proposal have? what was your research process to go over your findings? how can you apply the proposed ideas in your design work or others' design work? how can you challenge the ideas presented?

The project-based presentation should include at least 5 projects illustrating each topic, that are gender-balanced, from various countries of origin. Projects can be taken in design, art, ethnography, science and other disciplines. What 'taxonomy' can you provide to categorize the 5+ projects? How these 5+ projects help get a sense of the field that you're presenting? How do they relate to the topic of the week and the readings of that week?

The essay is a final 3000-words essay with a diversity of sources and bibliography (classified by genre: book, book chapter, journal article, conference article, academic thesis, newspaper article, web article, etc). 

The topic of the essay is chosen by the student in relation to a class assignment and proposed by Week 7 in half a written page explaining the topic and the questions at stake, and in the form of presentation (1mn) to the class. The final essay has to be submitted by December 17.

The paper should be written in English.



Readings are made available in the shared IAD server per session.

Additional readings can be proposed to underline a particular aspect and should be considered.


Week 1 - Monday, 01.10.18 - Aesthetics

Lecture: Historical overview I - Screens 1994-2007 (given by Joëlle Bitton).

Discussion around words: phenomenology, ontology, epistemology, gestalt, aesthetics, hermeneutics, experience

Hartmann, Klemmer, Takayama. 2006. "How Bodies Matter: Five Themes for Interaction Design". In DIS 2006.

Week 2 - Monday, 08.10.18 - Actions

Dourish P. 2001. "Being-in-the-World: Embodied lnteraction". In Where the Action is, The Foundations of Embodied lnteraction. MIT Press. 127-144.
Kirsh, D. & P. Maglio, 1994. "On Distinguishing Epistemic from Pragmatic Action" (lntroduction and "Epistemic uses of rotation"), in Cognitive Science. 18. 512-549.

presented by Claudia Buck and Mara Weber

Project Topics:
- Performance & Activism

presented by Lilian Lopez and Michelle Schmid

Week 3 - Monday, 15.10.18 - Your place in the world

Lindtner, Silvia, Bardzell, S. & Bardzel, J. 2016. “Reconstituting the Utopian Vision of Making: HCI After Technosolutionism”. In CHI ‘16.
Suchman, Lucy. 2011. "Anthropological Relocations and the Limits of Design". In Annual Review of Anthropology. 40. 1-18.

presented by Mélanie Abbet and Edna Hirsbrunner

Project Topics:
- Private & Public Space

presented by Felix Prantl and Janina Tanner

Week 4 - Monday, 22.10.18Systems

Bown, Oliver, Gemeinboeck, P. and Saunders, R. 2014. "The Machine as Autonomous Performer". In L. Candy and S. Ferguson (eds.), Interactive Experience in the Digital Age: Evaluating New Art Practice, Springer Series on Cultural Computing. 75-90.
Burnham, Jack. 1969. “Systems and Art”. In Arts in Society. 6:2. University of Wisconsin, Summer/Fall 1969. 194-204.

presented by Stefan Lustenberger and Michelle Schmid

Project Topics: 
- Net Art & Software Art (incl.Blockchain)

presented by Claudia Buck and Fiona Good

Week 5 - Monday, 29.10.18Materiality

Lecture: Materiality references (given by Verena Ziegler) 


Kuchler, Susanne. 2008. "Technological Materiality Beyond the Dualist Paradigm" in Theory Culture Society. 25. 101-120.

Hui, Yuk. 2014. “Form and Relation. Materialism on an Uncanny Stage”. In Intellectica. 1:61. 105-121.

presented by Duy Bui and Simon Fischer

Project Topics: 
- Wearables & Material research

presented by Mélanie Abbet and Martial Koch

Week 6 - Monday, 05.11.18 - The Cyborg in me

Bettelheim, Bruno. 1959. “Joey: A ‘Mechanical Boy". In
Scientific American, March 1959. 116–127.
Nass, C and Moon, Y. 2000. "Machines and Mindlessness: Social Responses to Computers", in Journal of Social Issues. 56:1. 81-103.

presented by Jennifer Duarte and Janina Tanner

Project Topics: 
- Artificial Intelligence

presented by Andrin Gordi and Stefan Lustenberger

Week 7 - Monday, 12.11.18 - Trafic

Movie excerpt: Jacques Tati. Trafic. 1971.

Husokawa, Shuhei. 1984. "The Walkman Effect". In Popular Music. 4. Performers and Audiences. 165-180.
Starosielski, Nicole. 2012. “Warning: Do Not Dig’: Negotiating the Visibility of Critical Infrastructures.” Journal of Visual Culture. 11:1. April 2012. 38–57.

presented by Marcial Koch and Colin Schmid

Project Topics: 
Sonic Art
- Smart Cities

presented by Randy Chen and Edna Hirsbrunner

Essay Proposal Deadline:
On half-page, present the topic area with reference to literature, an abstract of approx. 8-10 sentences, and the rough structure of the essay in key points. You'll present in class your essay proposal in a couple sentences (1mn each).

Week 8 - Monday, 19.11.18 - Modern Times (room change - Hörsaal 1)

Lecture: Historical overview II - Modern Times

Movie excerpt: The Clock


Turner, Fred. 2005. "Where the Counterculture Met the New Economy: The WELL and the Origins of Virtual Community". In Society for the History of Technology.

Youngblood, Gene. 1970. Expanded Cinema. P. Dutton&Co, Inc. Excerpt. 

--- no student presentation – Session runs in parallel with Design History seminar 1st semester. Room Hörsaal 1. --

Week 9 - Monday, 26.11.18 - Matrix

Dyer-Witheford, Nick and de Peuter, G. 2009. "Immaterial Labor: A Workers’ History of Videogaming". In Games of Empire : Global capitalism and Video Games. Univ. of Minnesota Press. 3-33.
Irani, Lilly C., and M. Six Silberman. 2013. “Turkopticon: Interrupting Worker Invisibility in Amazon Mechanical Turk.” In CHI ’13. 

presented by Fiona Good and Felix Prantl

Project topics: 
- Game & Realities

presented by Dui Buy and Dominik Szakacs

Week 10 - Monday, 03.12.18 - The Body


Foucault, Michel, Martin, L. H., Gutman, H., & Hutton, P. H. 1988. Technologies of the self. A seminar with Michel Foucault. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. 16-39.

Malafouris, Lambros. 2008. "At the Potter’s Wheel: An Argument for Material Agency". In C. Knappett, L. Malafouris (eds.). Material Agency. Springer Science+Business Media.

presented by Randy Chen and Dominik Szakacs 

Project topics:
- Bio Hacking & DIY medicine

presented by Jennifer Duarte and Mara Weber

Week 11 - Monday, 10.11.18Disruption


Feynman, Richard F. 1960. “There’s plenty of room at the bottom”. In Engineering and Science Magazine. 23. February 1960. 22–36.
Guins, Raiford. 2008. "Hip Hop 2.0". In  A. Everett (ed). 
Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media.The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. MIT Press. 63-80.

presented by Andrin Gordi and Lilian Lopez  

Project topic:
- Disobedience

presented by Simon Fischer and Colin Schmid 

Week 12 - Monday, 17.12.18 - Hacking Values (time and room change. Viaduktraum)

Seminar. Program tba. Room Viaduckraum.

-- no student presentation --

Essay Deadline: 17 December 2018 (posted on IAD server)