Design & Genre / Gender & Design

Our two days colloquium begins tomorrow!
For those who wish to hear the presentations but can not come, here are the livestreams:

Design & Gender, a 2-days colloquium

Télécom ParisTech, 19-20 November 2015

Design & Gender is a 2-days colloquium, organised by Design en Recherche, as part of a serie of events funded by Campus Condorcet, inviting design researchers and practitioners to discuss various thematics, such as “the project”, teaching graphic design or research methods.

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Presentation at INRIA Bordeaux | 8th of July

Emeline will be doing  a presentation on design and research at INRIA, Bordeaux, on the 8th of July, 10h30, answering the invitation of Anke Brock. She will present a serie of examples of how designers do research, research do with designers and the different possibilities Design [+][-][x] Research offer.
Click to read the abstract (in french).

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Journées Doctorales de la SFSIC

The 21st and 22nd of May, Emeline presented a poster, called Les SIC au croisement des champs disciplinaires : le cas du design des objets dits « intelligents » (Media Studies at the crossroad of disciplines: the case of the so-called « smart » objects), at the SFSIC doctoral colloquium.

ABSTRACT: Depuis quelque années, de nombreux objets se sont vus attribuer l’adjectif “intelligent”. Outre l’effet de mode, force est de constater l’émergence de dispositifs divers incorporant une dimension numérique et des capacités de traitement de données. Environnements, accessoires, voire directement incorporés, ces artefacts à la fois outils et capteurs collectent de larges quantités de données sur leurs porteurs. Nombre de discours (y compris celui de leurs interfaces) les positionnent comme auxiliaires du ‘bien-vivre’ au quotidien. Ils sont appelés à transformer ‘l’humain’ et à influencer ses mécanismes de décision. Quel rôle joue le design dans leur conception ? Peut-il être un outil de déconstruction des mécanismes à l’oeuvre ? Quels sont les usages et communautés constitués autour des objets existants ? Quelles sont les implications de cette mesurabilité constante des corps ? Nous exposerons les terrains de recherches et les questions méthodologiques qu’ils soulèvent, pour présenter les premières esquisses d’un cadre théorique global sur cette famille d’objets (Wittgenstein, 1953).


ABOUT THE SFSIC DOCTORAL COLLOQUIUM: « Les Doctorales de la Sfsic représentent un moment riche pour les jeunes chercheurs de notre communauté. Ils confrontent leurs hypothèses et premiers résultats de recherche tout en construisant leurs relations pour leur vie professionnelle à venir. « 

 

Anne-Lyse Renon, Research Associate

Anne-Lyse Renon, Research Associate

Anne-Lyse Renon is a graphic designer and PhD in Aesthetics and Anthropology from EHESS. Her Doctoral Thesis, realized between 2010 and 2016 at the Centre de Linguistique Anthropologique et Sociolinguistique, Institut Marcel Mauss (UMR 8178),  EHESS-CNRS, under the supervision of Victor Rosenthal is untitled « Design and Aesthetics in the practices of Science. »

http://lias.ehess.fr/index.php?822

She is currently Postdoctoral Researcher, working on the ANR  Sciences, Design and Society : the making of contemporary worlds (DeSciTech) , a project between CIME Nanotech – University Joseph Fourier Grenoble 1, LPS University Paris Sud, ENSCI-Les Ateliers, Codesignlab Télécom ParisTech, and UPEC / IRG Université Paris-Est Créteil / Institut de Recherche en Gestion.

https://codesignlab.wp.imt.fr/portfolio/descitech/

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Borsari, Research associate

Alexandra Borsari – chercheuse nomade en anthropologie, chercheuse associée


RESEARCH TOPIC [EN] :

Nomadism and disruptive mobile micro dwelling experiments

RESEARCH TOPIC [FR] :

Nomadisme par les usages et le prototypage de mini maisons mobiles disruptives


BIO [EN] :

With my nomadic lifestyle, I practice slow full immersion to understand better the complexity of situations and allow more time for discussions and exchanges.
My micro mobile home is also a way to experiment tiny ecological devices and process and can be used to test innovative solutions for alternative ways of dwelling or new materials for building industry.

BIO [FR] :

Nomade, j’interviens en immersion slow sur mes terrains pour mieux comprendre les situations et laisser plus de temps aux différents acteurs pour se parler et s’exprimer.
Mon habitat est également un support pour des expérimentations de miniaturisation de dispositifs écologiques et tester des solutions innovantes en termes d’autonomie dans une démarche zéro déchet.


IMG_0497 Alexandra Borsari, Research associate, is working on home oxygen therapy with Air  Liquide’s i-Lab (http://ilab.airliquide.com/en/)

Her research is focused on relation to nature and  raw materials through objects. What does it mean to transform one’s environment? This question is linked to the  relation to society. What does it mean to belong to a human world, to a group? The way we imagine our place in the world shapes the way we figure out what is, must be, should be a society.

For more information : www.alexandraborsari.org

Flag_of_Spain.svgAlexandra Borsari trabaja con el i-Lab de Air Liquide sobre un proyecto de antropología de la  oxigenoterapia domiciliaria.
Sus investigaciones se focalizan sobre la relación a la naturaleza y a la materia, al lugar ocupado por el ser humano en el mundo natural tal como en sistemas sociales a partir de la relación a los objetos. La manera de aproximar a la naturaleza y al medio ambiente condiciona la manera de entender y de formar parte de una sociedad.
Se puede consultar el sitio www.alexandraborsari.org
No dudéis en contactar con ella para más detalles en español.


CONTACT & EXTERNAL LINKS

(site web, profils…) :
https://www.alexandraborsari.org/
carnet numérique : https://exploalexandraborsari.wordpress.com/

Misbehaving & Design : A Workshop for the SIG Design Theory

From the 26th to the 27th of January 2015, the annual meeting of the SIG Design Theory was held in Mines ParisTech, Paris.  At this occasion, Annie Gentès and Emeline Brulé organised a workshop about Misbehaving Objects.

The brief was the following: « In societies with high conceptive capacity, objects and techniques have multiple identities. This workshop focuses on misbehaving objects that defy our interpretive skills and social norms. Conceived by artists, scientists, or designers, these misbehaving objects unsettle our expectations in terms of social propriety, sleek aesthetics, or political legitimacy. In this workshop we will explore how these objects challenge design theories and education. »

The concept of Misbehaving was introduced, along with a portfolio of examples. Participants were then asked to map the various concepts concretized by misbehaving objects, and to discuss their production.

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All the identified concepts and ideas were then discussed among the participants, and resumed on this board.

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Mibehaving & Design – Inspirations: a London report

Designers in Residence 2014: Disruption

Design museum, London. 10 September 2014 – 8 March 2015.

Official Abstract:
“Now in its seventh year, Designers in Residence invites young designers – James Christian, Ilona Gaynor, Torsten Sherwood and Patrick Stevenson-Keating – to respond to a brief set by Deyan Sudjic, the Director of the Design Museum. For 2014, this theme is disruption. “More than most, ‘disruptive’ is a term whose meaning is dependent on the context,” says Deyan. “It’s conventionally considered almost a bad thing — difficult pupils, bad neighbours, ill-considered town planning — it is now the most sought after quality in a new product. The four new works that form the Designers in Residence exhibition all have disruption at their core, yet each designer has taken a markedly different approach.”

Considering the title, here is a question:
If the designer is a virtuoso of norms, what is the place of ambiguity?
We therefore looked at the components of the exhibition and sought elements of ambiguity in the work of James Christian, Ilona Gaynor, Torsten Sherwood and Patrick Stevenson-Keating.

James Christian is questioning current British housing design by reintroducing failed models of the past in contemporary building lots. His drawings show a pastel alternative present. Ilona Gaynor‘s interest lies in the relationships between the judiciary system and « The Society of the Spectacle« , how they open up opportunities for staged / illegal events. Torsten Sherwood create a new kind of construction toy.
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(Emeline thoroughly tested its possibilities)
Patrick Stevenson-Keating designs new financial products, therefore underlining the role we agree to play in the global banking and economical system. His propositions imagine a world where a slightly different system would aim at « social good. »
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We were surprised that none of the designers had chosen to disrupt « the museum itself ». Those objects could have been designed outside of this context and placed there. The process of design itself, the context of their production, tend to disappear in the exhibition.

Ambiguity is lying in this « unspoken » of the assignment, in the unclear status of those apparatus. Those objects are reflecting a reality that could be but is not, could get out of the museum but also seem hard to be moved. The ambiguous might be the Design Museum itself.
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Disobedient Objects

Victoria & Albert Museum, London. 10 September 2014 – 1 February 2015.

Website presentation:
« From Suffragette teapots to protest robots, this exhibition was the first to examine the powerful role of objects in movements for social change. It demonstrated how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and collective creativity that defy standard definitions of art and design. »

Considering this statement, here is a question:
What is « democratic aesthetics »?

VA-pamphlets

The exhibition Disobedient Objects, commissioned by Catherine Flood and Gavin Grindon, brings together a selection of artifacts produced by and for situations of political and social protest. Gleaned over the world, mostly provided by the activist movements themselves, the gathered artifacts embody a praxis of contestation.

Posters, banners (including Ed Hall’s famous banners, themselves collected by Turner-prized Jeremy Deller – here or here), DIY shields and gas masks, « poaching » of all kinds to quote De Certeau (such as bankotes and coins used as discrete communication media), etc., the exhibition offers an invigorating panorama of disparate objects, sometimes subtle, sometimes loudmouthed. Moving objects, acting objects, situational or even situationist objects, like the ingenious book-bloc shields developed during the 2010 student protests in UK.

Finally, artifacts as markers of disobedience more than « disobedient objects ».

To the temporal, geographical, cultural, formal, scalar heterogeneity opposes a familiar look, which is, according to the curators, originated in common crafting practices:  « mostly produced by non-professional makers, and with collectively limited resources as effective responses to complex situations. ».

Aesthetic resistance

This formal proximity, however, doesn’t solely reside in the use and implementation of certain techniques (hijacking, DIY or reappropriation) and some materials (paper, cardboard, construction materials, textiles, scrap, etc.) but it is the visible expression of (re)setting technical and symbolic potentialities of certain shapes, materials and objects.

In other words, if there are only a few obvious formal relationships between handmade chilean embroideries, video games by La Molle Industria or Irish and British coins minted with loyalist or separatist signs, yet these artifacts all originate from the  same familiar, tamed, domesticated relationship a maker develops with her/his know-hows. In the words of Thomas Hirschhorn, Swiss artist claiming to « make art politically », here activists use materials that don’t intimidate them.

Something in these artifacts may fall in a certain « poverty », primarily within the meaning retained by Andrea Branzi when proposing the concept of « poor technique (tecnica povera) »: « it is unnecessary to spend a number of years in vocational training and university to make a piece of wood stand up. »
Furthermore, some form of expenditure paradoxically rises, as opposed to « economy », according to Pierre-Damien Huyghe after Georges Bataille. Here technique and skills are not « economised », that is to say kept or spared: on the contrary, the events themselves are fueled by expenditure. If « economy economises », set aside the potentialities then expenditure releases them: freed, the potential of spray paint, of cardboard, of sewing and metallurgy, of robotics and computer science, of visual communication and advertising, etc.. The guiding principle of these objects is heard in the words of Thomas Hirschhorn: «Energy Yes! Quality No!». A principle of intensification that occurs in the event rather than a principle of fixation that takes shape.

Their principle is that of a « Becoming », here know-hows are engaged in the act of « Becoming Disobedient »; dynamic, it might be a component of what Deleuze and Guattari have defined as the « War Machine« , eventually intensified, reterritorialized in such technical and symbolic resistance, and in the relations of forces with the knowledge and powers.

What « takes shape » in these disobedient objects is precisely a potentiality (of the techniques, of the forms, of the materials) achieved through know-hows in resistance: experimental know-hows, « re-conditioned » know-hows, to use the terminology of Just Peciulyte and Frédéric Valentin.

Democratic aesthetics?

It is always tricky to think with key-words, to use the concept of Balibar, and « democracy » is one of them.
However, assuming democracy as disagreement, as dispute (Rancière 1995), a democratic aesthetics may be manifesting in these objects. When a delivery box becomes a shield, when a water bottle becomes a gas mask, when a bicycle frame becomes a moving barricade, then there is a dispute over the economy of production, the economy of meaning, the economy of potency.
To quote Rancière, « politics exists when the natural order of domination is interrupted by the institution of a supernumerary part: the demos« . One might say that these objects are a demos of objects as they are bringing out the « supernumerary » of techniques, of power (understood here as « realised potency »), of knowledge.

One question remains, to which the exhibition fail to answer: what about a democratic industrial aesthetics? About an industrial aesthetics of potency?About an industrial aesthetics of expenditure? About an industrial aesthetics of disagreement? What about an industrial aesthetics that would truly liberate potentialities?
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Codesign Lab First « Brainy Week »

The first « Brainy Week » took place on the first week of december 2014 with four fantastic guests:
Warren Sack, UC Santa Cruz, software studies
Mathias Bejean, IAE Créteil, Management Sciences
Julien Bobrof, Orsay University, Physics
Gilles Bailly, Telecom ParisTech, Human Computer Interaction

And Tiphaine, from the Codesign Lab of Telecom ParisTech, Design who presented her last developments on Misbehaving.

On the 3rd of December, we had the pleasure of welcoming Warren Sack, from UC Santa Cruz, for a presentation of his work on Storytelling and Software studies. We mainly discussed one of his articles, A Storytelling Machine: From Propp to Software Studies (which has also been translated to French). Warren Sack raised a few questions on the relationships between softwares, narratives, translations and the way they relate to our modern episteme (as defined by Foucault in The order of Things).

  1. What does « understanding » mean, in a digital era?
  2. Are we living in an episteme where knowledges and discourses, inscribed in databases, are in conflict with stories?
  3. What does it mean to « translate » into a programming language?
  4. Is programming a modern approach of « understanding »?

In short, how do digital tools and their design interact or define our knowledges and their agency? If Warren Sack works on the software/code level, philosopher such as Kittler interrogated the software/hardware inter-relationships-and design studies the interface level as well.
We discussed the relationship of code and literature, through the example of Micro-Tale Spin, Warren Sack had been working on. He underlined the importance of understanding the technical layer, to avoid generalisation and naturalisation of concepts-such as database. A SQL database has nothing to do with a XML or NoSQL one. Their structures and procedures are inherently different. Experimentations such as Oulipo and Alamo and the field of electronic literature in general has explored some of these aspects.

Mathias Béjean was there to discuss his work and lecture of Goodman

Part of Goodman’s theory is to establish a new understanding of the way knowledge is built. His “worldmaking” theory is a way to explain how the different disciplines rely not on a pre-existing “real” world on which assuring an hypothesis is conform to reality, but by establishing and specifying relations between constituent (that are well established concepts by means of a process of symbolisation pre-organisation and pre-understanding) in a rigorous manner. As a result, different “world-version” co-exist, each of them being real, non substituent and necessarily derivative (a world-version being always built on and with part of other world-versions).

These concepts are useful for social sciences in many ways (even though Béjean remind us that Goodman didn’t specifically address social issues). Because we aren’t supposedly building knowledge on a world but with common principles, it suggests that there are always links to be made between fields of study (reclaiming artistic processes legitimacy among sciences, as yet another form of understanding).

But the use of Goodman’s works remains a little tricky because of the lack of direct undertaking of social issues, on the way to make common versions of world. As a result, we have to figure out ourselves how to interpret and manage different activities under Goodman’s light by making sense of these activities for one another. Béjean shows how he managed to organise the workspace and design activities of a garden designer by relying on Goodman’s principles. He for instance illustrates how these principles were used to understand  conflictual issues between the manager’s and designer’s worlds and elaborate a common understanding.

Goodman helps our comprehension but fall short before an actual description of his work’s application. In that matter, I failed to take consequences of Goodman’s principles presented by M. Béjean on design research. Design research being an ongoing project to build a discipline out of actual diverse design activities, it seemed like a perfect match to apply Goodman’s theories to bring union amongst these activities, defining their relation, not necessarily around common methodology or object of study but around a common language of symbols and referents. But without a proper definition of the way to build this relation, this task seems difficult. Moreover, the deliberate absence of a common “real” world (and subsequently of all direct objects of reference) essential to these principles makes difficult to conceptualise the critique design needs to establish to legitimate its scientific value.

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As stated by Béjean, the dialogue and conversation allowed by Goodman’s work might not be enough for collective creativity.

 

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To go beyond Goodman might require to find a way to analyse and generate a relational and evocative space. This is part of M. Béjean’s research program, which he is presently carrying out with mathematician A. C. Ehresmann (cf. “D-MES project”).

 

Tiphaine Kazi-Tani presented the state of her work on Misbehaving, preparing for the ARD 2014.

On the 5th of December, Julien Bobroff presented his research on the various modalities of interactions between science and design. Beyond the role of design in popularization, he questions how design is yet another way to symbolize knowledge. He presented a selection of his lab collaborative productions. He is part of the DESCITECH research program.

Gilles Bailly from the HCI department of Telecom, thoroughly answered the following question: What is a researcher in HCI? Through a variety of examples, he detailed the different aspects of his work, the ways HCI relates to design and the various modalities of evaluation. You may also check his slides!

MISBEHAVING@ARD9

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Tiphaine Kazi-Tani was invited to present our « Misbehaving » research topic in Liège, at Les Ateliers de la Recherche en Design (ARD9). She summed up our questions and focused on our current conceptual issues.

Link to the slides :

Misbehaving & Design at ARD9