Menstruation Machine by Hiromi Ozaki
Interaction design and designing interactions... are they the same concept? Anthony Dunne, partner at Dunne and Raby and professor at Royal College of Arts in London, gave a keynote at Interaction12 that began this discussion for the attendees. In Dunne's talk titled "What if...Crafting Design Speculation," he asks designers to use imagination to think about what kind of futures we want—opening up the problem space. What if "we shift from how the world is to designing for how the world could be?" What if...we designed for alternate realities or fictional scenarios?
Dunne shared student projects to give the attendees an idea of these possibilities. One of the projects he discussed was "Menstruation Machine" by Hiromi Ozaki. He introduced this project by explaining that Ozaki didn't design for an alternate reality, instead she chose to design for three fictional personas. Two personas that she designed for were Sushiborg Yukari and Crowbot Jenny, and she assigned each with their own stylistic clothing, environment and accessories. In addition to creating and designing for these personas, Ozaki created video content of these personas interacting in their environment with the objects that were designed for them.
Crowbot Jenny, by Hiromi Ozaki
Sushiborg Yukari, by Hiromi Ozaki
Another student project he presented was "Belief Systems" designed by Bernd Hopfengaertner. "Belief Systems" is a video that demonstrates the interaction between a person and a vending machine, in which the user doesn't choose what product to buy from the machine. Instead the machine has the capability to read and understand the user's emotional response to the images of products flashing before her and based off her facial expressions, the machine chooses a product for the user.
Algae Digester, Foragers Project by Dunne and Raby
Dunne also shared an installation that he and Raby exhibited in 2009, Designs for an Overpopulated Planet: Foragers. The Foragers were a fictional group that had synthetic biology with a modified digestive system. They were a DIY culture that had to adapt and survive in an overpopulated planet, therefore creating alternate objects from a different society. Dunne believes that an exhibition space is an interesting way to encounter these projects. He and Raby wanted the exhibition goers to have the opportunity to interact with the environment, which was designed for this fictional group of people. In Dunne's talk, he highlights that an exhibition becomes a space where the audience can reflect on the stories that were created about the Foragers, and hope the audience would add to those stories as part of the interaction.
Dunne ends his keynote with a question for the audience to consider, "What would happen if we stopped thinking about designing the world around us to fit our every need to think about how we can design ourselves to fit in the existing world"? I thought this was a great way to end the day and begin discourse as the conference continued at social gatherings. Although, I am familiar with and have a great appreciation for Dunne and Raby's work, I am not sure the attendees at Interaction12 were expecting such an abstract and experimental concept of "interaction design" or in this case "designing interactions." So, I leave you with the question... are interaction design and designing interactions the same concept?
About Ciara Taylor
Ciara Michelle Taylor studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received a BFA with an emphasis in Designed Objects. Taylor is a conceptual designer whose interests include user interaction and social behavior in online gaming, and how they can inform the physical world and the design of tangible objects. Her work focuses on identity, human interaction and virtual environments, exploring the relationship that people develop with the real world and the virtual.
More from IxDA Interaction12:
» Coroflot Connects at Interaction12
» A Conversation with Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist
» Q&A with Tom O'Rahilly, Director of the National Leprechaun Museum
» An Introduction to Ethnographic Animation by Kate Ertmann
» State of Interaction Design: Diverging, by David Malouf
» A Conversation with Luke Williams
» A Conversation with Pete Denman
» Welcome to Dublin: Interaction12 Conference Opening
» Interaction Design vs. Designing Interactions, Keynote by Anthony Dunne
» Interaction Awards 2012 Winners