Talk at iMal in Brussels

Currently in Brussels where I gave a talk yesterday at iMal, a center for digital cultures and technology. The presentation entitled "Device art as a resource for interaction design and media art" was about the fading boundaries between interaction design, new media art and academic research. As a matter of fact, the hybridization of digital and physical environments (through locative media, urban displays, augmented reality or mobile games) is explored by a large variety of people and institutions. It's not only engineers and academic researchers but also artists and designers. The talk looked at why the projects from the new media art/interaction design/device art are relevant and what they tell about the design of future technological artifacts. Slides can be found on here (.pdf, 20Mb):

In a sense, this presentation emerged from the sort of things that appear on this blog, a mix of pasta (academic or R&D stuff coming from the research world) and vinegar (weirder projects coming form the design/new media art world). It was then about why vinegar is important for pasta. The presentation went through 7 reasons why projects form artists and designers are important, especially for academic researchers and engineers:

" (1) avantgarde: as they can announce things to come (new practices, new artifacts) (2) challenge existing practices (for example by highlight new interaction partners beyond the classical and canonical “human computer interaction”: blogjects, animal-controlled video games) (3) criticize the state of the world by making explicit invisible/implicit phenomena or certain aspects that are hidden (like pollution mapped on cityscape) (4) address issues in novel way that are not possible in academia or in private R&D: by using fakes, humor or non-utilitarian perspectices. (5) “breaching experiment”: When trying to predict or design the future of technologies, you can’t just rely on what exist today... you want “disruptions” as the literature about innovation states. So technologies developed in new media art / device art contexts are often DISRUPTIVE platforms that allow to investigate what changes. (6) arts+design do better to convey desire and emotions (and less mechanistic vision of humans who do not always want automation in their lives for example) (7) the design process: something is investigated in the construction of hypothetical artifacts, the design process itself is important and bring lessons. A totally different approach than engineering and academic research."

Thanks Yves Bernard for the invitation.