The field of interaction design is in constant movement due to the fact that what we design is interactions over time. These interactions often involve digital and networked technologies that are based on interchangeable software. These changes often happen at a speed that is imperceivable to us. What if instead of going with this flow, we slow down, or even re-wind?
This thesis aims to re-visit some of the meanings of core concepts in interactive technologies, such as software, hardware, network, screen and application, in order to draw a link between these concepts and their historical entanglements with textiles and weaving. The concepts point the attention towards some very specific textile practices like, a net (knotted or woven structure), a screen (woven partition, filter), software (textile merchandise) and application (decoration sewn onto textile).
Using language as a starting-point and a bridge between weaving and interaction design, the chosen concepts are materialized and activated in order to challenge their meanings and the things we take for granted in the field.
Moving between the literal and figurative senses of the words, the chosen concepts are materialized and activated through embodied interaction. The tensions of innovation and tradition are used as drivers for the explorations, situated in a post-digital context.
The four variables material, structure, form and scale, are used as a framework to create and evaluate interaction aesthetics. The research largely builds on hands-on explorations and weaving as a way of approaching and doing interaction design.
The header image and image no.4 shows a sample made on a digital Jacquard loom in collaboration with the TextielLab, the TextielMuseum’s professional workshop. All other works are made using various hand-weaving techniques.
The purpose of the artifacts made in this project, is not to suggest new functionality or solutions, but rather the opposite. By borrowing from well-known tools, methods and interactions in weaving, this thesis demonstrates a collection of explorations, that together offer a broad perspective on what interaction design is and could be.
By materializing central concepts like network and application into experiential artifacts, it allows us to see, feel and talk about other things. These are conversations that can hopefully contribute to a greater understanding of some of these foundational concepts in the field and open up to more meanings of doing and practicing interaction design.