Call for papers: 8th International Conference on Design & Emotion

Posted by Katrien on Thursday December 29th 2011 at 10:17

The 8th International Conference on Design and Emotion, with the theme ‘Out Of Control‘, will be organised in Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, London (UK) on the 11th-14th September 2012. The conference is a forum held where practitioners, academics and industry meet and exchange knowledge and insights concerning the cross-disciplinary field of design and emotion.

Currently, the organising committee is looking for researchers, academics and practitioners to submit proposals for the papers, case studies, workshops & masterclasses on various themes.

For more information and deadlines, consult the conference website.


CFP: SupraSpace: On the Concept of Space and Place in Art and Visual Culture

Posted by Marjan on Friday December 16th 2011 at 20:26

SupraSpace: On the Concept of Space and Place in Art and Visual Culture
International Conference
Tel Aviv University, Art History Department

June 3 – 04, 2012
Deadline CFP: Jan 15, 2012

Keynote speaker: Prof. Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Department of Art and
Archaeology, Princeton University

Space has been subject to aesthetic, art-historical, philosophical,
anthropological, geographical and political investigations, each with
its idiosyncratic definitions. Space maintains a close relation with
illusionism, narrativity, and the performative qualities of art.  Space
is especially interconnected with time, making it impossible to
separate one from the other. In the current dynamic reality in which we
live, it is hard to remain confined to just one modality of spatial
thinking that will capture all of its complexity; yet this problem is
not limited to our contemporary globalized moment, but is also relevant
to different historical periods. Consequently, in order to engage
effectively with the problem of space, recent studies have demonstrated
multiple methods of conceptualization, while emphasizing the
dialectical relations and tensions between them.
Within the realms of art and culture, the discourse on space has often
engaged with problems of representation (artistic genres such
landscape, narrative space, chronotopos, interior/exterior, etc), or
with political issues relating to territorial conflicts and borders.

Making Things Visual

Posted by Ben on Wednesday December 7th 2011 at 17:42

Last week I (Ben Hagenaars) followed a thought provoking lecture by Bas Raijmakers at the FAK in Brussels. He is the co-founder of design research agency STBY in Amsterdam & London. He explained his view on what it means to be doing design research. A very interesting topic considering I started my own PhD in design research this year. I have tried to capture his presentation in some sketch-notes.

Bas started by explaining his background. He did a master in Communication Sciences at the University of Amsterdam where he developed his fascination for how people use media & technology. During his Masters he learned about usability research but wanted to go step further. He wanted to experiment with involving the user in the design and research process. This was the starting point for his PhD at the Royal College of Art in London, where he developed his ‘Design Documentaries’ method. This method took the form of a visual storytelling format that brings the everyday life of people into the design process, allowing it to act as a source of inspiration for designers. This method is often used by his design research firm STBY. For example, in a project commissioned by Panasonic called Living Sustainably, STBY researched how people in the US can live a sustainable lifestyle. This isn’t a question they could answer right away. They first had to understand peoples lifestyles and needs. By creating a series of design documentaries, they were able to create videos that communicated a range of intimate insights into their lives and opinions, telling their stories in a way that could both inform and inspire. STBY helped Panasonic to incorporate these insights into their future concept developments and business model development.

Design documentaries start from the idea that understanding is the first step in creating meaningful solutions that could enrich peoples lifestyles. Also, they make things visual, which helps people to understand. Empathy is an important skill in this context, the ability to put yourself in someone else his or her shoes, which really helps to open up to personal experiences that help you understand that persons needs.

Bas focused on the importance of making things visual for designers and artists in a research context. It is a way to express and share their knowledge. It allows not only peers but also people in other disciplines to interpret this knowledge and create new insights. Making an original contribution to knowledge then creates an ongoing debate that pushes interdisciplinary development forward.  Bas pointed out that working in between fields will become increasingly important. Several problems that our society is faced with today, are too complex to be solved within one disciplinary field.

Research through design  is a way of creating new meaning by visual storytelling. This vision raises interesting questions about the role of the designer in society. Should designers limit themselves as the makers of objects, or can they also adopt a new role as the makers of meaning? I think, as Liesbeth Huybrechts pointed out in her Thesis, designers can become makers of hybrid things, creating both objects and meaning.

iGEM – Synthetic Biology Competition

Posted by chris on Monday December 5th 2011 at 09:14

In early ‘2011, the Media and Design faculty in Genk participated in the exhibition Alter Nature, where works from around twenty international artists explored how humankind manipulates nature. We got to know what synthetic biology is and how much more manipulative ‘design’ can be in this field. We also learned that as media designer or artist one can imagine and visualize a future with synthetic biology, which makes it interesting to collaborate with scientists. When me, (media) designer and a (graphic) designer where asked by our design school (MAD Faculty) to join the iGEM competition – a competition between universities on the topic of synthetic biology – we took advantage of this unique opportunity. Between June and November 2011 we collaborated with bioengineers and biomedical science students. In iGEM, teams make or use existing biological parts to build biological systems and operate them in living cells(1). For instance, a student team could be designing a microbe that detects toxic chemicals and outputs a corresponding color.


H(ello).E.T. – Design for human enhancement

Posted by Jessica on Thursday December 1st 2011 at 09:43

This year, the research project for the students of the third year and bridging program at MAD-faculty focuses on design in the context of human enhancement. The project H(ello).E.T.! aims to explore the field of human enhancement and its implications in order to develop design outputs that relate to the debate concerning human enhancement technologies.

To trigger reflection on the difficulties of this debate, the project started off with an immersion in the world of people with a physical disability. Student teams did interviews and observations with people with a physical disability and experts in prosthetics.

This all served as a kind of extreme user experience. The aim was to bring students closer to situations in which they were confronted with a desire or a moral debate concerning enhancing – or in this case, curing – human performances and abilities. The experiences and insights that the students gained via these observations and interviews will be interpreted and translated to the field of human enhancement in the next phases of the project.

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