An Aesthetic Interaction

The readings of todays lecture, gave insights of how aesthetic interactions can act out, which I will reflect on in this post and afterwards, set it into relation of our design subject of the interactive jellyfish.

Petersen et al. (2004) emphasize three aspects of aesthetics, when designing towards an aesthetic interaction which follows; 1) The socio cultural approach to aesthetics, which regards the intuitive assessment of aesthetics of an object, however the assessment does not lie within the chair but with the human appropriation of the object. 2) Designing for mind and bodyas the aesthetic experience both withhold the of both the bodily sensation and intellectual challenge 3) and the instrumentality of aesthetics, as aesthetics is something that emerges in use when understanding the interactive system and potential use, hence aesthetics is not something that can be added. I find these notions valuable in terms of capturing what an aesthetic interaction can inherent, however difficult to grasp what creates an aesthetic interaction? Petersen et al. (2004) describe it as the following.

Aesthetic Interaction is not about conveying meaning and direction through uniform models; it is about triggering imagination, it is thought-provoking and encourages people to think differently about the encountered interactive systems” (Petersen et al., 2004, p. 271)

This particular notion is something that can be drawn upon in the project of shaping the “Jellyfish” as we would like people to think about the aesthetics of the interactions rather than it being something beautiful to look at. Moreover, another notion of how aesthetics appears as is Djajadiningrat et al. (2000) that argues one should not think beauty in appearance, but in interaction. That the aesthetic interaction happens within the interaction, hence the instrumental part. Which led us to draw out possible prototypes of the jellyfish as presented below, to imagine how the temporal forms could act out.

The project we are working on at the moment, is changed in terms of the interaction, the idea is to make it inviting to pic up in a string, rather than picking up the Jellyfishitself. To do so, we would like the artefact not to invite people to touch it directly, by making the appearance looking like it would feel like touching a slimy jelly fish, hence inviting people to pick It up by the string as seen in the below videos, presenting possible materials used and a quick paper prototype of the structure.

Through that we would be able to make people hopefully feel the invitation of the aesthetic interaction we propose and make them create their assumptions based on their subjective experience with the artefact itself, when experiencing the movement-based interaction of the jellyfish, floating with them, along with the feedback of the lights following the user’s movements with the artefact.

Petersen, Marianne Graves, Ole Sejer Iversen, Peter Gall Krogh, and Martin Ludvigsen (2004). Aesthetic interaction: a pragmatist’s aesthetics of interactive systems. In Proceedings of DIS2004 (pp. 269- 276). ACM.

Djajadiningrat, J. P., Overbeeke, C. J., and Wensveen, S. A. G. (2000) Augmenting Fun and Beauty: A Pamphlet. 275 In Proceedings of DARE’2000. ACM Press, pp. 131-134.