Hephaestus and the Senses

Researchin 2012

The module starts with phenomenology originates from philosophy that provides a new insight into what interaction is about.

It is about intuition that my body thinks and reflects based on all previous experiences and knowledge I gained by involving in the world. By acting and performing, my body adapts to the context, building upon prior actions. It makes sense within this framework to use body movement, combining with as much sensing possibilities as possible to explore the world. However, acting out is not smart enough to support all decision makings, because it is only a tool to open up for new opportunities. Human intelligence has to intervene at certain points to validate the outcome.

In this case, I believe, human intelligence is at a higher level than intuitions from body movement. The system we designed should support certain behaviour at a lower level that people perform and experience almost unconsciously. After then, the connection between people established by moving similarly, which triggers emotional interaction at a higher level. No doubt that people might find out the trick at certain moment, still, the system should work in the background, supporting you to explore the world from a first-person point of view. This links back to the base-theory of phenomenology.

exploration 1

Skill, tea ceremony

exploration 2

Skill exchange, riding a fixed gear bicycle

exploration 3

Marieke and I designed a tool for lunch sharing that not only physically connect people together, but also emotionally. In order to bond people by heart, we consider a physical connection is crucial, while guide them to perform similar movements. Our tool shares these two values, and being experienced during a lunch sharing workshop.

exploration 4

In order to bond, connect and trigger people to communicate, we believe that:

  1. There should have physical connectivity between people.
  2. The body movement or the skill should be something people are familiar with.
  3. The design/technology should work in the background, while letting people focus on interaction itself.

exploration 5

Our design aims at connecting people waiting in several bus stations together, especially the ones in the same neighbourhood. The prototype was brought to a bus station near the university and set it free for commuters to experience.

An associated workshop preceding to the inaugural lecture of prof. dr. ir. Caroline Hummels.

In the workshop, Hephaestus and the Senses, preceding to the inaugural lecture of Prof. Caroline Hummels, participants from various disciplines are divided into 15 groups, connecting with each other through exploring one another's skills and values by playing with the enabling tools designed by students from the master module, Hephaestus and the Senses.

We explore the situation when a person from a certain culture resides into another culture, he/she might have difficulties of involving into the locals, especially as an individual acts towards a group of people. What we propose is a magnetic gadget that hints the hospitalities between strangers that might show openness and invite the expats to join a group sharing.

"In this Hephaestus and the Senses workshop the participants designed a tool for citizens to socially connect through their senses. Eighty persons participated from different cultural and professional background, and affiliations e.g. from industry, government, local institutions, university and freelance positions. Approximately half of the team had a 'creative and synthesising' profession, such as designer, architect or dancer, and the others not. The workshop was based on an phenomenology-inspired design approach and it coincided with the inaugural speech of Caroline Hummels (September 29, 2012).

Designs overview