MISBEHAVING (Uncanny ! Rogue ! Tricky ! Ludic ! & more)

Disruptive processes, ludic design, uncanny artefacts, transgressive architecture, users as tricksters, etc. : what happens when design, designers, users, artefacts misbehave ? The CoDesign lab invites scholars, practitioners, artists and students to explore what misbehaving could mean to design.
Started in summer 2014, the Misbehaving project will go on during 201

5 and will offer an alternative stance on some of our ongoing research projects and topics.

Step 4 (January 2015):

“(Mis)behave !”, a workshop with students (École de Condé)


We’re currently running a workshop with Master’s students (Mastère Design Global, Recherche & Innovation) at École de Condé, in Paris. This workshop aims at :

  1. confronting educators and students with a method based on disputing the project and its context
  2. sharing conceptual and methodological inputs emerging from our current “Misbehaving” research
  3. exploring the possibility of sharing if not teaching project methodologies based on a misbehaving attitude
  4. turning a design education context as a possible design research field

We propose students to misbehave within their current “regular” global project (the global projects are adressed by interdisciplinary teams of students in MDGRI, students are selected from the 4 major fields of design : product, space, fashion, visual communication). The tools we offer them to use are related to our current research practices : setting a conceptual frame (Tiphaine Kazi-Tani & Charles Guilemette), setting a “uncanny” narrative frame (Max Mollon), pointing out what can be “de-conditionned” (Juste Peciulyte & Frédéric Valentin) and shaping reflexive and critical artifacts (Emeline Brûlé).

Once a week during five weeks, our workshop tries to be an opportunity to adress and dispute the design project as a “dispositif” but also to explore ways of renewing and rethinking the practitioner’s attitude towards and within the project.


Step 3 (January 2015): Workshop Misbehaving “exhibits” in London

Misbehaving is in the air. Two exhibitions in London took it as their subject matter in 2014-15:
– Victoria and Albert Museum: Disobedient objects http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/disobedient-objects/
– Design Museum: Disruption https://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/designers-in-residence-2014-disruption

Following our investigation on non-conventional political and social practices (cf Adam program of research on mobile distributed networks) we investigate how design can support alternative viewpoints, practices, and technologies.

  • The designer as a virtuoso of norms

The question of behaving/ misbehaving is embedded in models of design. For example, user-centered design implies that it develops artefacts with everybody’s interest at heart. But who is really this user? And should we not sometimes contradict his/her values? Gender studies and critical studies (critical engineering and critical design in particular) all point out that political and social choices are made by designers and that these choices shape the functions, aesthetics, and service delivered by their artefacts.

A decision is made. An opinion is expressed. What does that mean for design?

  1. the designer is the expert of norms.
  2. The designer has to gather different opinions.
  3. Norms are context-dependent: the designer organizes situated evaluations.

1-When the designer conceives a new artefacts she has to consider all the facets of this artefacts (technical, aesthetical, social, political) to avoid getting fixated by habits and falling prey to social determinism. While the goal seems pretty obvious, it is not clear how to unsettle the designer’s own set of values.

2-Bringing in a new standpoint could probably mean that the designer organizes a democratic space as has been pointed out by people implementing collaborative design. In this framework, what matters is to actually hear what could have been suppressed. Opinions that find no outlet can actually be mediated by the designer

3-The designer creates a situated artifact or service. To understand designed objects is therefore to proceed with a semio-pragmatic analysis that takes into consideration the actual situation of reception. Evaluation is therefore context dependent too. The misbehaving object is therefore like in ethnomethodology a tool to understand how a group, a community, a place, interact, what are the unspoken rules, and what new values the group creates with a new artifact.

  • Design space as “epoché”

Design as conception in fact suspends judgment and therefore creates two spaces (production and reception space) that allows for a reconsideration of reality and norms. Epoche is the ancient Greek word that means a suspension of judgement. To be able to de-construct her relation to the world the designer must be willing to under-determine ethics with aesthetics. Composition matters more than applying the law. The same experience is offered to users for instance in ludic design or critical design. Indeed both claim their role in creating a reflective situation for the user/audience.

In fact, through this question on misbehaving and design, we discovered a polarity:
the designer as author takes a behaving or misbehaving position,
– the designer as conceptor maintains ambiguity.

Step 2 (December 2014): Ateliers de la Recherche en Design

Tiphaine Kazi-Tani was invited to present our “Misbehaving” research topic at ARD9. She summed up our questions and focused on our current conceptual issues.

Misbehaving & Design at ARD9

Step 1 (July 2014): The Misbehaving Workshop

Frédérique Pain (head of Research & Innovation Department, Strate College)

The disruption approach of the designer in an academic research project
When designers integrate a team of academic researchers, they propose new tangible horizons and approaches. As they address the user target with different dimensions and scenarios mixing imaginary and sensible interactions, designers create new opportunities for user testing and understanding. Therefore design approach is sometimes perceived as transgressive for the other actors involved in the research project.

Charles Guilemette (artist)
Trickster Alternative : the goodwill of misbehaving objects
What is a troublemaker behaviour?
How does it ally to the Trickster?
Why goodwill issue from that?

Tiphaine Kazi-Tani (CoDesign Lab, research associate)
Rogue Design : the strange case of Atelier Van Lieshout
Introducing two works from Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL) that offer a breaching overhaul of the public order yet work hard on a designerly way of dealing with rogue behaviours. The presented designs reexamine the designed spaces in the most moral way, confronting the mores they’ve aroused, superimposing the most heterogenous layers of uses and misuses, creating a weird amoral discourse over social/public spaces. AVL treats both normative design (morally or/and legally relevant) and rogue design, offering it for once a designed framework.

Max Mollon (CoDesign Lab, PhD Student)
The Rhetoric of Design for Debate: triggering conversation with an “uncanny enough” artefact
Critical design should better articulate a form of dialogue within its audiences. In order to enable this: How does it engage the audience into a reflective state? We present how these practices propose artefacts that are “not quite right”; how to design them; and how communicating them relies on a rhetorical strategy.

Cédric Mivielle (CoDesign Lab, PhD Student)
Ludic design as openness.
Ludic design as part of the paradigm of design research explores new ways to implement computer systems. Unconventionality, serendipity, and reflexivity through breaching experiment: these three dimensions of ludicartifacts help us to better define ludicity as openness that is an activity that is generative of meaning and ultimately new artifacts and practices.