Categories
Provocations

Craftspeople as Collaborators

Categories
Provocations

Design Memoirs

As designers, what do with the struggles or difficulties that design cannot solve? How might our design processes themselves orient us towards solutions in spaces where we might need other forms of witnessing or attending? In a project called “Making Design Memoirs” we explored these questions through and within experiences of parenting. What we suggest in the work is that Making Design Memoirs might be a way to readapt design as a mode of storytelling, specifically a way to tell personal stories about how something feels, felt or may be felt differently in the future. The concept emerged from a very personal collaboration between Laura Devendorf, Kristina Anderson, and Aisling Kelliher. Specifically, we started the project as an attempt to understand the limits of design–what does it mean to design if it’s not about making something “better” or “easier.” Specifically, we thought back on our experiences as mothers and tried to develop methods to investigate that experience through design. In this way, we try to make “memoirs” with objects that tell of our felt experiences and that bring out practices of witnessing and honoring instead of resolving.

Publications:

Making Design Memoirs: Understanding and Honoring Difficult Experiences
Laura Devendorf, Kristina Andersen, Aisling Kelliher
CHI – April 2020
Best Paper Honorable Mention

The Fundamental Uncertainties of Mothering: Finding Ways to Honor Endurance, Struggle, and Contradiction
Laura Devendorf, Kristina Andersen, Aisling Kelliher
ToCHI Special Issue on Designing for Women’s Health

Categories
News

Soft Object – A New Course to be Offered in Fall 2020

Laura Devendorf and Sasha de Koninck are designing a new course to be offered in Fall 2020, Soft Object. The course will cultivate a community of material researchers seeking to make soft things that expand how we think of interactivity. While starting with soft circuits, the class will support material investigations with novel techniques for textile structure, growth, computation and decomposition. Students will learn about different soft material structures, properties, and possibilities. As a course, we will develop, refine, and publish novel techniques for smart/functional fabrics in the form of a physical and open source digital “swatch book.” Students we will think about the history and future of textile and soft-object making, while conducting their own material investigations.

We are designing the course to run mostly virtually. If you are a CU grad student or undergraduate student, please join us. If you are an interested global community member, please get in touch with us via unstabledesignlab@gmail.com as we may look to develop a forum for public engagement and critique.


ATLS 4519/5519: Soft Objects
Monday/Wednesday 3:00-4:40
ATLAS 113 – Blow Things Up Lab

Official Listings: ATLS 4519 //ATLS 5519

Categories
News

Unstable Design Lab at (the event formally scheduled that is CHI 2020)

Back in the days when the world was pandemic free, we used to attend conferences where we would get to share our work with our research community. This year was going to be especially fun/valuable as we had four full papers to present, two best paper honorable mention awards, one workshop and a first time presentation by Jolie and Shanel. Sadly, the conference has been canceled and so no presentations will be given. Instead I’ll write a kind of editorial summary of the work we submitted below. Stay posted for more detailed summaries of each project.


Unfabricate: Designing Smart Textiles for Disassembly

Shanel Wu, Laura Devendorf.
click here to read the paper
Shanel is an expert knitter who we are converting to a weaver. They spent a year thinking about how we might apply some techniques for re-harvesting knits to woven fabrics. Specifically, we were envisioning an eco-system where parts from e-textiles could be harvested and re-used. This included developing new weave structures to maximize yarn yields, are shape woven, and that are held together with a “key” thread that when removed, make it easier to pull the constituent yarns apart. They even made a little tool that adds onto AdaCAD – our smart textile design software, that can help designing these drafts.


What HCI Can Learn from ASMR: Becoming Enchanted with the Mundane

Jolie Klefeker, libi streigl, Laura Devendorf.
click here to read the paper

Jolie took up a fascination with ASMR media a while back and we started doing a series of investigations around what it would look like to translate ASMR into the design of interactive products. This led to studies, interviews, and some kits and ended up in an exploration of augmenting daily interactions using binaural audio. We all started developing custom ASMR wearables using Teensy microcontrollers and wearing them around. Jolie made a coat the highlights the sound of mundane objects and Laura made a cloak to facilitate recording and screaming with the sound of motors. Many many more details in the paper 🙂

Craftspeople as Technical Collaborators: Lessons Learned through an Experimental Weaving Residency.
Laura Devendorf, Katya Arquilla, Sandra Wirtanen, Allison Anderson, Steven Frost.
Best Paper Honorable Mention!!!
click here to read the full paper
This paper takes a strong and perhaps critical position to talk about the role of craftspeople in technical research. Basically, craftspeople should be included at the early stages of research (not just brought in later to bring aesthetics to the work).  It describes the structure and reflections from our experimental weaving residency, including how our own conceptions of craftspeople were too narrow prior to our experience.

Making Design Memoirs: Understanding and Honoring Difficult Experiences
Laura Devendorf, Kristina Andersen, Aisling Kelliher.
Best Paper Honorable Mention!!!
click here to read the full paper

This paper describes a very personal collaboration between the co-authors. Specifically, we started the project as an attempt to understand the limits of design–what does it mean to design if its not about making something “better” or “easier.” Specifically, we thought back on our experiences as mothers and tried to develop methods to investigate that experience through design. In this way, we try to make “memoirs” with objects that tell of our felt experiences and that bring out practices of witnessing and honoring instead of resolving.

  

Categories
Provocations

Digital Crafts-Machine-Ship

Some friends and I recently collaborated on a written piece devoted to the topic of crafts-machine-ship, which is our rethinking the relevance and meaning of “craft” within the field of human-computer interaction. Led by Kristina Anderson, a good friend and fellow TC2-tamer, the piece brings together from design, philosophy, textiles, and electronic music to express how we want more from our machines. In doing so, we consider the wisdom of luddites, describe a craft machine as swimming, and playfully interject the word “sammunsurium” which is an amazing and untranslatable Danish word that I have come to learn means something of a beautiful mess. you can read it here:

 

Categories
Experimental Weaving Residency

2019 Residency Catalog

Categories
News

Mikhaila Friske, Shanel Wu and Nathalia Capreuguer França organize Antiuniversity Now: (re)claimed workshop series.

Read more about them on the ATLAS Institute Webpage

Categories
Talks

Designing for Interactive Fascination

This Summer, Laura was invited to give one of the keynotes in the HCI area at the Symposium for Computational Fabrication. The talk summarizes my ongoing interest in design imagination as it is cultivated through a practice of integrating theory and practice. It then focuses in on smart textiles as a place where this work can be explored in both poetic and productive capacities.

View all Keynotes and videos from the conference here

Categories
Provocations

HCI Amusements

In May, Laura presented some new research at the annual conference on human computer interaction (CHI) describing what the field of Human-Computer Interaction might learn from the artist network known as Fluxus. The work was a collaborative project between Laura, Kristina Andersen, Daniela Rosner, Ron Wakkary and James Pierce. The conference talks were not recorded, but you can view the transcript of our presentation below or read the paper here:

Categories
Open Source

Overshot Weave Generator

I was in love with the fabric below and wanted to weave a similar pattern for myself. I didn’t have the tie up, but I did have the photo of the fabric, so I reverse engineered it. I found it really difficult to design the overall patterning of the stripes and tie ups at the same time so I wrote a processing script to allow me to more playfully make patterns with my keyboard, and have those generate my tie up. I released the code on GitHub so others could do the same.