Interaction Design WikiInterdisciplinary Modules

Habére / Habitat : the Age of Climate Change.

Yona Friedman, Merzstrukturen (work in progress), 2006, courtesy of Museo di Rovereto.

Interdisciplinary DDE Praxismodul 2018 – Climate Change in Switzerland


Dr Joëlle Bitton
Dr Antonio Scarponi
Clemens Winkler


The module takes place over 4 weeks, from 26.03.18 to 20.04.18, from Tuesday to Friday, 9.00-17.00 - see timetable below for detailed hours and classrooms. Class sessions include discussions, mentoring sessions, in-class exercises, and independent study blocks. 
Projects are conducted individually or in a team (up to four students).

Overview and Objectives: Habitat & Climate Change threats

The Latin word "habére" highlights and addresses multiple powerful meanings that refer today to the relationship with our environment.
It means to "have", to "hold", to "own", or to "possess". It is the etymological root of many words of today's languages. The word "abito" in Italian for instance, stands for the noun “clothes" but also for the verb "abitare" - to “dwell" or to "inhabit". It also stands for "abitudine," or "habit," in the sense of "having good or bad habits". But most importantly, it is also the etymological root of the word "habitat", defining in a more holistic way, our environment and the specific set of conditions in which a species lives.
All these meanings reflect an attitude that humans have towards the environment. They stand for something that we "have", "own" or "possess", like in the sense of a habit, of clothes, or a home - both symbolic and functional items. As well, they stand for something in which we are held within, like a habitat. In other words, it describes an attitude that we keep in reaction to an external condition, but at the same time, it is the outer condition in itself.

Based on these etymological considerations of the word "habitat", students will be encouraged to reflect upon the fragility of the human existence under the constant threat of change (political, economic, technological, sociological, environmental, etc.). With the narrative of climate, students will be specifically asked to imagine and to build a 1:1 interior of a habitat and highlights specific details of that domestic landscape.

The material for this habitat is corrugated cardboard, as a symbolic material that stands for precarity, temporary, fragility, of human existence on the planet. In particular, the constraint of the uncertainty of what tomorrow is made of (anything can happen) should be emphasised in the overall creative process. 

As that habitat is shaped, it has the potential to become a theatrical and scenographic prop where a narrative can occur, and can serve as landscape for further contexts.

The course will be established in a temporary "cardboard lab", a room where the construction and realisation of that habitat will be guided and reflected upon.



- taking the notion of climate change and its threats as a narrative 
- students work on different scales (abito ~ human approach; habit ~ social approach; agitare ~ ecological approach;)


- the basic conceptualisation and chosen materials is fixed – the students focus on their personal angle on the topic and train their skills in experience prototyping (as interaction design method)
- the Cardboard Laboratory takes cardboard as a temporarily media of civilisation
- critical perspective on the material: usually used in very precarious settigns


- in the second part of the module, the students bring their settings into life, with storyboards, acting, performing, inviting, improvising, interacting..
- the outcome will be recorded movies as well as scenes from the Cardboard Lab in the final exhibition of the interdisciplinary DDE modul



Availability of Lecturers in brackets []

Week 1: Preparation Week (KW13)



Monday, 26.03.2018Symposium   [C] [J]Kunstraum
Tuesday, 27.03.20189.00 Intro - Ideation 
Structure of the weeks
13.00 Making-Workshop at Aktionsraum with J. Popper
Wednesday, 28.03.20189.00-13.00 Reflection and conversation on the notions of the brief

Task develop story plot 

[C] Aktionsraum
Thursday, 29.03.2018Organise Material - Independent study
Easter Break

Week 2: Concept and Narrative Development (KW14)

Tuesday, 03.04.2018  9.00-11.00 Presentations of first plots    
workshop with characters and keywords
[C] [A] [J]Aktionsraum
Wednesday, 04.04.2018  9.00-11.00 walk around & project work[A] Aktionsraum
Thursday, 05.04.201813.00-15.00 walk around & project work  [A] [J]Aktionsraum
Friday, 06.04.2018  14.00-16.00 walk around & project work[C] [A]Aktionsraum

Week 3: Execution (KW15)

Tuesday, 10.04.2018    11.00-13.00 walk around & project work[A] Aktionsraum
Wednesday, 11.04.2018 9.00-11.00 walk around & final filming [A]Aktionsraum
Thursday, 12.04.2018  9.00-11.00 Pre-presentations at Aktionsraum 
12.30-14.00 photographs with us art directing
15.00-18.00 dismantle
[C] [A] [J]Aktionsraum
Friday. 13.04.201809.00-11.00 Discuss deliverables & remind to students[C] [A]Ateliers

Week 4: Documentation (KW16)

Tuesday, 17.04.2018Independent study
Wednesday, 18.04.20189.00 - 11.00 Postproduction (Print for public presentations)[A] Ateliers
Thursday, 12.04.2018  Preparing presentations
Ateliers/ Kunstraum
Friday, 20.04.201814.00-17.00 Final public exhibitions at Kunstraum [C] [A] [J]Kunstraum

Materials to organize:

- [C] How much cardboard shall we order and where? 400m2 (next day order)

[C] Buy (hot) glue, wood glue and tape?
I am not sure. I am wondering if we can get that in Jumbo as they might have more variety.
In the cardboard lab we would need:
Fast white glue (wood type)
Normal white glue (wood type)
Hot glue + gun.
Stiches + gun.
Wooden Plank
BBQ or even better cheap chop sticks for horizontal connections panel 2 panel. 

- [C] Space question – Preferably a permanent space: Aktionsraum
Yes, this is important. We need a room that we can book. We need that ASAP. Ideally an Atelier space. 

- [C] Which media equipment do we need? 
White board, flip chart, beamer projector we take from the seminar room and the lab
Anything else ???

First notes


civilisation / mathematics

containers movements

flight traffic

data as currency
data centres energy expense

data farms creating microclimates
underneath the visible
making trade visible

nuclear plants

science collaboration
science - designers
continuing research from previous years
powers of ten

heaven and earth
exploration of deep seas

make outcome graspable
time pressure
what is the cost of living a quiet life?

additional notes

Uncertainty, "you don't know what tomorrow is made of"

"mobile": root of the word, furniture that you have to take it with you from one day to the next (Italian farmers)


Reflections on the issue of property

Brief: students are not problem-solving for potential future consumers, they are the actors of their own world

deleted from brief:

- setting up a Cardboard Laboratory as a space for spatial cardboard props reflecting different angles on climate change

-- in the first two weeks setting up a scenography, such as a Laboratory for treating Mind Illness through Climate Effects or space capsule for Escapists, )


_how to formulate hyperlocal experiences on a global topic?
_how would CO2 balancing (compensation and creation of it) affect cryptocurrency?
_uncovering human relationship to climate change in history
_different layers of the atmosphere get sold (in terms of finding "stable windows")
_ways of articulating climate through computational data, performances, political debates(climate change conference bonn) - ( blog) 
_material speculation workshop on clouds* as spin-off for the seminar (potentially, I could ask a professor for a Skype conversation within our seminar –  I met her at MIT – Weather in a tank - cloudsYouTube)

*(f.l.t.r. Nebula (artificial cloud) exhibition in Zurich 2016, "Per-Forming Clouds" Workshops 2016-now, junior summer school on geo engineering/ cloud seeding "Stormy Weathers" at ZHdK 2017)

_personally wishful process/outcomes: narratives about living with our climate in 2100 (climate forces new materials to arise or stock markets exchanges), models and simulations of climate/ trading systems, instruments for observation)