Saturday, 24 July 2010

Volunteer Recruitment

I've been on my MPhil/PhD at Edinburgh College of Art part-time since September 2008, but only moved permanently to Edinburgh in 2009. In order to expand my social circle in a new city (and country) I was eventually introduced to Meetup in January 2010. Meetup is a US real-time social networking website where people in different cities advertise local group meetings. The groups are a mix between professional networking opportunities and specific-interest groups. In February I joined a cinema group and comedy group amongst others, and quickly found myself becoming an assistant organiser for both; organising cinema and comedy club visits for each group.

Over the Spring I not only had opportunities to socialise and unwind from work (lecturing and research), but I also had the inkling of an opportunity that could benefit me. I was bitten by the Meetup concept and I had become an organiser of my own Meetup group - The Edinburgh High Brow/Low Brow Culture Group. By subscribing to Meetup as a full-blown organiser I found I could run 3 different groups under 1 subscription. In becoming an organiser I had the resource to contact hundreds of people in Edinburgh, with some free time on their hands, and who were actively looking for interesting activities. I would be needing people with free time, a curious nature, who would be willing to sign up to be observed engaged in an activity.

Aesthetic Volunteers was born.

The Meetup group would transparently be a call for volunteers to help in all of my proposed research projects as part of my MPhil/PhD. Through the website's tools I could use specific social networking to ask for help, capturing the interest and curiousity of a huge cross-section of people, who want to be part of something fun.

In the first two weeks of the group I have 26 members 13 of which have signed up for two briefing events 2 months away. These numbers won't translate directly into volunteers but I am amazed how quickly I have achieved such interest. It just shows that even when I am employing effort to avoid doing PhD work, I have inadvertently been doing the ground work for my PhD!

My Interaction Design Research Triangle

Figure 1: The model of interaction design research that my research takes

Using Fallman's model I see my research into the Aesthetics of Interaction from a Visual Communication perspective taking the following dimension, loop and trajectory:

DIMENSION - My research is phenomenologically qualitative and emerges from theory, through exploration into practice. Therefore the situating of my research within Fallman's framework fits between the labels Design Exploration and Design Practice.

TRAJECTORY - I see my research's trajectory as being from Design Exploration towards Design Practice.

LOOP - To gain the desired trajectory path, the beginning obviously begins with a gap in Design Practice. The loop then takes a theoretical turn (it is a PhD after all) through the Design Studies triangle, before entering the Design Exploration onto the trajectory path.

Friday, 23 July 2010

The Umea Interaction Design Research Triangle

The Interaction Design Research Triangle of Design Practice, Design Studies, and Design Exploration - Daniel Fallman

Figure 1: The model of interaction design research in its most basic form

Figure 2: The model of interaction design research - trajectories, loops and dimensions

Figure 3: A more complete model of interaction design research

References used:
FALLMAN, D. (2008) The Interaction Design Research Triangle of Design Practice, Design Studies, and Design Exploration. Design Issues. 24(3), 4-18.

Instrumentality of Aesthetics

CREATE 10 SLIDE: Instrumentality of Aesthetics
Image Source: © sebastian tiplea

Noema and Noesis - intentionality

In Aristotelian philosophy intention indicates "the orientation of the mind to its object; the object exists in the mind in an intentional way" (p28). Phenomenologist Moustakas references J.J. Kockelman's summary of Aristotle, and in doing so sets the ground from which he can explain E. Husserl's concept of noema and noesis to describe the "interpretive form" within perception.

Noema = is the phenomena and not the 'real' object (textual)

Noesis = the initial underlying meaning (structural)

The noema-noesis relationship is a working out of the function of intentionality within an experience. The textual and structural dimensions of the phenomenon experienced is to uncover its meaning, moving from initial anonymity of its intentionality towards a conscious understanding.

The noema is what Husserl describes as "perceived as thus", and
the noesis is the "perfect self-evidence".

For every noema there is a noesis and vice versa.

Noematic meanings continually perceptively change depending upon point of view and situation, its meaning a synthesis from continual many-angled perception of "objects (real or imaginery) that are before us in consciousness" (p31).

The noesis comes from "explicating how beliefs about such objects may be acquired". The structural noesis leads us to understand how we experience the phenomena. Once understood this leads to a correlation of "intentionality into meanings and essences of experience" (p32)

References used:
MOUSTAKAS, C. (1994) Phenomenological Research Methods. Sage Publications.

An Experience of an Experience

When we experience something (a phenomenon) our self-perception that this is familiar or new is typical. If familiar this is because we have experienced similar processual units of activity in the past, from which we try to make sense of the current phenomena. If it is new then that means our recognition of the phenomena is not causing a replaying of previous experiences from which we can understand what to do now. These processual units of past experiences can be articulated from our own prior experiences, or from the experiences of others expressed to us through narratives. We are not only having an experience of an experience but also performing a new meaning based on re-construction.

References used:
BRUNER, E.M. (1986) Experience and Its Expressions. In: V.W. TURNER & E.M. BRUNER, ed(s). The Anthropology of Experience. Chicago: University of Illinois, pp3-30.
ABRAHAMS, R.D. (1986) Ordinary and Extraordinary Experience. In: V.W. TURNER & E.M. BRUNER, ed(s). The Anthropology of Experience. Chicago: University of Illinois, pp45-72.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


I Experience MY Experience of YOU

We can empathise but we cannot experience directly what another experiences. It is our own. We can reflect on our experience and make it 'storyable' to communicate the essence to another. Within that recounted narrative on another person's experience, I experience through my embodied situation observing and listening to that person, what I experience. I make that person's experience MY own, but it is constructed based upon MY past experiences of similar processual actions and emotions. This construction is a socio-cultural construction, and happens within a familiar and shared socio-cultural context.

References used:
KAPFERRER, B. (1986) Performance and the Structuring of Meaning and Experience. In: V.W. TURNER & E.M. BRUNER, ed(s). The Anthropology of Experience. Chicago: University of Illinois, pp188-203.

An Aesthetic Experience

CREATE 10 SLIDE: Moving Across the Boundaries
Image Source: © iMarc

The Phenomenological Quotidian

I first read of the term "Phenomenological Quotidian" in an essay by R.D. ABRAHAMS. In his essay Ordinary and Extraordinary Experience he draws pragmatist philosophy to phenomenology with an indirect comparison between the "Quotidian" and the pragmatist's concept of "experiential flow" (p68). Abrahams discusses a balance that on "the one hand, there is a flow of activity [pragmatist], and on the other, distinctive marked-out acts and events [quotidean], all going under the name of experience." His reasoning is based upon sociological phenemonologist Alfred Schutz's "contrast between ‘the world of paramount reality’ and all others". The quotidian being a "a representation of the ‘real’ world from which all other states of experience depart" (p67).

I am still to come across this term in the phenomenological literature I have, but the pragmatist idea of "experiential flow" may have links to a book I still need to read (on my reading pile since March 2009) that I'm sure will be come very useful. The book is Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

References used:
ABRAHAMS, R.D. (1986) Ordinary and Extraordinary Experienc. In: V.W. TURNER & E.M. BRUNER, ed(s). The Anthropology of Experience. Chicago: University of Illinois, pp45-72.

Experience :: An Experience

What is the distinction between mere ‘experience’ and ‘an experience’?

Wilhelm Dilthey (a German historian, psychologist, sociologist and hermeneutic philosopher) made a distinction. He saw 'experience' as a temporal flow that is received by individual consciousness. 'An experience' has a beginning and an ending. It is an intersubjective articulation, transformed into an expression* of that experienceª.

* how individual experience is framed and articulated
ª how reality presents itself to consciousness

References used:
BRUNER, E.M. (1986) Experience and Its Expressions. In: V.W. TURNER & E.M. BRUNER, ed(s). The Anthropology of Experience. Chicago: University of Illinois, pp3-30.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Visual Communication and the Aesthetics of Use

CREATE 10 SLIDE: Facilitating the Behavioural Change
Image Source: © DigitalRey