On Surfaces & Gadgets

The surface-level expressions, however, by virtue of their unconscious nature, provide unmediated access to the fundamental substance of the state of things. Conversely, knowledge of this state of things depends on the interpretation of these surface-level expressions. The fundamental substance of an epoch and its unheeded impulses illuminate each other reciprocally
- Siegfried Kracauer 

TROIKA: In a world saturated by functional objects, and gadgets pretending functionality, do you think that creating objects that address more psychological needs, being intricate ones or mere entertainment, is the only way forward to sustain production and ensure market leadership? In this case, could we witness a systematic exploitation of psychological weaknesses of the consumers?

Dunne & Raby: Addressing new or neglected psychological needs is definitely one way forward. Gadgets already do this and that's why they are so amusing and interesting. A look through any gadget catalogue paints a fascinating portrait of modern life and what it means to be human today. All our fears, anxieties and obsessions are manifest in wonderfully strange products


New Directions, New Worlds...

As most of my close friends and colleagues know, in early 2011 I began to take concrete steps towards embarking on a career in design (IxD). In August of that year I was super fortunate to be accepted into the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design's (CIID) ’12 IDP program. Later in the year, I had the opportunity to spend two months at Spike Island in Bristol as the Charles Wallace India Trust's artist/researcher in residence, where I used my time to begin cursory research on the current state and trajectory of critical and speculative (interaction) design.

A couple of weeks back, I arrived in Copenhagen to embark on what promises to be an extremely challenging, fun-filled and life-changing year at CIID. Although it is hard to narrow down what exactly leads me to IxD, it perhaps the combination of the desire to participate in the shaping of the near-future, an eagerness to develop a critical artistic and professional design practice (inspired by speculative science fiction, social theory and user-centered design) and a keen interest in human-technology relationships

It's heartening to know that at CIID they encourage a multi-disciplinary atmosphere, where my skills in image-making (photo,video) as well as my social science background could be put to use in what Bill Verplank in a lecture last week called, without a hint of jest, “designing the future.” No pressure, right?

CIID ’12 Group Picture

So, Peripheral Vision will take a slight detour with me as I head down the rabbit-hole that 2012 is going to be. My plan for the blog this year is to take stock of what we have learned in the course as and when time permits, begin to share some thoughts on IxD (some of which I began compiling late last year while at Spike) and also to begin sharing early research on a project that aims to look at speculative and critical science fiction as a source for gaining insights on “designing the future.”

Join me!