Interaction Design WikiAesthetics of Interaction

Aesthetics of Interaction 2019

Fall 2019

Lecturer: Dr Roman Kirschner 

Guest LecturerTimo Grossenbacher


This seminar proposes to investigate the aesthetics of interaction design by connecting theory and practice. Students will learn how to contextualise their practical projects within current discourses and reflect on how their design practice may transform their theoretical assumptions and knowledge. The students will examine relevant readings and concepts both through discussions and through their practical work. The theory seminar is connected with two studio courses, Soft Architecture and Interactive Visualisation.  Related to the Soft Architecture course, each student will write an essay on a topic related to their project. Within the Interactive Visualisation course, topics such as data literacy, AI and blockchain will be discussed and connected to the practical exercises. 

The seminar will explore the aesthetics of interaction including topics such as ecological design, performative experimentation, public interventions, spatial and political design, speculative design, bio design, creative coding, data literacy, AI and blockchain. We will address these aesthetics from the perspective of their origins, cultural contexts and case studies. 


The class usually takes place on Mondays, from 8.30-10.30, in room 4K11 - yet with many exceptions(!). So please pay attention to the schedule. The course is structured in two parts. the first (class 2 - 8) is connected to the Soft Architecture Studio and the second (class 9-11) to the Interactive Visualisation Studio. In class 2 - 8 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. Each student has to write a final essay based on a topic chosen by the student in relation to a class assignment from part one.


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.

Readings-based presentation 25% 
Projects-based presentation 25%
Final essay 30%
Class participation 20% 

Any assignment that remains unfulfilled receives a failing grade. 


Oral presentations
Students must independently prepare lectures on selected texts from the week. These can be presented in different formats. 
Possible presentation formats are:
Live sketching
Demo with prototyping
Classic Slides presentation

The reading-based presentation should include a 2-pages written discussion, made available to the class and instructor via email three days prior to the day of the class to ensure 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 presentation should be around 25 min (if there are 2 presentations/class and less in case there are more presentations/class).

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 presentation should be around 10 min (max 15 min.).

Final Essay
The essay is a final 1500-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 Class 8 in half a written page explaining the topic and the questions at stake, and in the form of presentation (1min) to the class. The final essay has to be submitted by Monday, December 9.

The paper can be written in English or German.


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.


Class 1 - Monday, 16.9.19 - 13:30-15:30 - Introduction

Classes connected to Soft Architecture Studio (instructor RK)

Class 2 - Wednesday, 2.10.19 - 9:00-11:00 - Systems and Environments

Class 3 - Thursday, 3.10.19 - 9:00-11:00 - Material and Environmental Dynamics

Class 4 - Friday, 4.10.19 - 9:00-11:00 - Bodies and Spaces

Class 5 - Saturday, 5.10.19 - 9:00-11:00 - Services and Infrastructure

Class 6 - Monday, 7.10.19 - 9:00-11:00 - Wavescapes

Class 7 - Monday, 14.10.19 - 8:30-10:30 - 4K11- Anthropocene

Class 8 - Monday, 21.10.19 - 8:30-10:30 - 4K11 - Cybernetics: Conversation and Fabrics

Classes connected to Interactive Visualisation Studio (instructor TG)

Class 9 - Monday, 4.11.19 - 8:30-10:30 - Introduction to data and data literacy

Class 10 - Friday, 8.11.19 - full day - Data literacy I

Class 11 - Friday, 15.11.19 - full day - Data literacy II

Personal feedback on your final essays will be given on January 15, 2020.

DESCRIPTION of the TOPICS and texts in the individual CLASSES
connected to Soft Architecture Studio (instructor RK):

Class 2 - Wednesday, 2.10.19 - 8:30-10:30 - Systems and Environments

Burnham, Jack. 1969. "Systems and Art". In Arts in Society. 6:2. University of Wisconsin, Summer/Fall 1969. 194-204.
b) Sprenger, Florian. 2019. "Epistemologien des Umgebens: Zur Geschichte, Ökologie und Biopolitik künstlicher environments". 9-30.

presented by Andreas F. and Damaris

Project Topics:
- Human-Environment Interactions
- Temporary spaces
- Outdoor Interventions

presented by Sophie, Andreas. B and Roman

Class 3 - Thursday, 3.10.19 - 8:30-10:30 - Material and Environmental Dynamics

a) Pickering, Andrew. 2013. "Being in an environment: a performative perspective". Natures Sciences Sociétés 21. 77-83.
b) Ingold, Tim. 2008. "Bringing Things to Life. Creative Entanglements in a World of Materials".

presented by Pamela and Tamara

Project Topics:
- Sourcing materials
- Material-Environment Interactions
- Artificial weather systems

presented by Tim, Yamzom/Yami and Zoe

Class 4 - Friday, 4.10.19 - 8:30-10:30 - Bodies and Spaces

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

b) Böhme, Gernot. 2000. "Leibliche Anwesenheit im Raum". In Ästhetik und Kommunikation 108. 67-76.

presented by Roman and Sonjoi

Project Topics:
- Multisensory spatial experiences
- Haptics and Space
- Sensing through scales (micro-meso-macro)

presented by Fabian, Pamela and Danu 

Class 5 - Saturday, 5.10.19 - 8:30-10:30 - Services and Infrastructure

a) Starosielski, Nicole. 2012. "Warning: Do Not Dig’: Negotiating the Visibility of Critical Infrastructures." Journal of Visual Culture. 11:1. April 2012. 38–57.
b) Orsini, Krisitan & Ostojić, Vukašin. 2018/2019. "Croatias Tourism Industry I+II (Beyond the Sun and Sea, Curse or Blessing?)". European Economic Brief 036 + 047

presented by Andy and Danu 

Project Topics:
- Speculative service design
- Biological services

presented by Shafira and Tamara 

Class 6 - Monday, 7.10.19 - 8:30-10:30 - Wavescapes

a) Husokawa, Shuhei. 1984. "The Walkman Effect". In Popular Music. 4. Performers and Audiences. 165-180.

b)    I) Hessler, Stefanie. 2018. "Tidalectics: Imagining an Oceanic World view through Art and Science“. In Hessler (ed.). "Tidalectics". 31-34,43.
       II) Tamatoa Bambridge and Stephanie Leyronas. 2018. "The Polynesian Rahui and Global Issues of Climate". In Hessler (ed.). "Tidalectics". 133-141.

presented by Pascal, Yangzom/Yami and Fabian 

Project Topics:
- Sound Art/Design
- The Commons

presented by Sonjoi and Andreas F. 

Class 7 - Monday, 14.10.19 - 8:30-10:30 - 4K11- Anthropocene

a) Latour, Bruno. 2018. "Das terrestrische Manifest". 21-25, 35-68.
b)    I) Gombiner, Joel. 2011. "Carbon Footprinting the Internet“. In Consilience: "The Journal of Sustainable Development“. Vol. 5. 119-124
       II) "‘Tsunami of data’ could consume one fifth of global electricity by 2025“. view article online
       III) Cook, Gary. 2017. "Clicking clean: Who is winning the race to build a green internet?". view article online

presented by Sophie, Yao/Charlotte, Andreas B. and Shafira

Project Topics:
- Energy low design
- Anthropocene (art & design)

presented by Damaris and Pascal

Guidelines for writing the final essay will be presented.

Class 8 - Monday, 21.10.19 - 8:30-10:30 - 4K11 - Cybernetics: Conversation and Fabrics

a) Pask, Gordon: A comment, a case history and a plan, in REICHARDT, Jasia (Hrsg.): Cybernetics, Art, and Ideas, New York Graphics Society 1971, 76–99
b) Beer, Stafford. 1962. "Progress Note on Research into a Cybernetic Analogue of Fabric", in Harnden, R. et al. (Eds.). 1994. "How many grapes went into the wine. Stafford Beer on the art and science of holistic management". 25–32.

presented by Zoe and Tim

Project Topics:
- Responsive Environments
- Non-human conversation

presented by Yao/Charlotte and Andy

Don't forget on this date, 21.10.19 : hand in (half a written page) and present (1min) your proposal for the final essay!

DESCRIPTION of the TOPICS and texts in the individual CLASSES
connected to Interactive Visualisation Studio (instructor TG)

Class 9 - Monday, 4.11.19 - 8:30-10:30 - Introduction to data and data literacy, Room 4K.11

Readings:  Economist, T. (2017). The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. The Economist: New York, NY, USA

Class 10 - Friday, 8.11.19 - full day - Data literacy I, Room 5.D01

Readings:  Nick Barrowman (2018): Why data is never raw (The New Atlantis, Summer/Fall edition: 129-135)

Class 11 - Friday, 15.11.19 - full day - Data literacy II, Room 5.D01

Readings:  Quartz (2018): The Quartz Guide to Bad Data