Design and Aesthetics of Being Together

What does aesthetics refer to when design concerns interactions between people with technology?

Design and Aesthetics of Being Together

(PhD project Stoffel Kuenen)

Design deals with matters of aesthetics. It does not necessarily address the question what Aesthetics in general is. Instead, in giving form to artifacts, it develops and expresses particular notions of aesthetics that guide the design practice. This practice is oriented towards people and their experiences, while it works with properties and features of stuff. Particular notions of aesthetics provide a logic of expression for bridging that gap in particular ways. Design thus shapes the presence of the artificial in our life, guided by the notion of aesthetics it brings to expression through artifacts.

When interaction design engages with artifacts that mediate interactions between people, such a notion of aesthetics needs to extend to how the presence of others comes to expression in the presence of an artifact (and vice versa). It then configures what the artifact is and -at the same time- what people are to eachother. My thesis work presents the notion of aesthetics of being together that reaches for such an extension, to orient the design of interactions with artifacts to the role they play in bringing people to expression for each other.

Areas of interest

Aesthetics in Interaction Design, technologically mediated social interaction, dynamics of techno-social systems, embodiment, presence. 

My supervisors are Erik Stolterman and Johan Redström.

Publications

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  • Video: Thesis Defence

    Stoffel Stream> Watch the video of Christoffel Kuenen's thesis defence

    Opponent

    Dag Svanæs - Professor at the Institute for data technology and informatics at NTNU, Norway.

    Grading Committee

    Ylva Farnaeus - Associate Professor at Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design, KTH, Sweden.

    Marianne Graves Petersen - Associate professor in the Computer Science Department at University of Aarhus, Denmark.

    Charles Lenay - Professor of cognitive science and philosophy of science, director of the COSTECH team (Knowledge, Organization and Technical Systems) at the Compiègne University of Technology, France.