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Interfacial Workout - A course on Inefficient Tool Building

Vak
2020-2021

Admission requirements

There are no admission requirements for this elective course.

Description

During this course we will explore other ways of interacting with our most familiar software interfaces and build new critical interfaces that unsettle common notions such as usability and efficiency.

Interfaces are the designer's daily companions. Friendly and convenient, interfaces translate complex computational processes into seamless and intuitive interactions. As skilled designers we embody our interfaces, rarely calling into question their implications.

The emphasis of this course lies on a hands-on investigation of designer-computer intra-action. Together we will explore ‘other’ ways of interacting with our most familiar software interfaces. Breaking with our individual routines of scrolling, clicking, dragging and dropping we will reimagine our relationship to our tools, and build new critical interfaces that unsettle common notions such as usership, innovation and efficiency.

Course objectives

(Self-)critical investigation of the tool ecologies that are specific to the group of participants.
Critical, practical as well as collaborative investigation of human computer interaction (HCI), more specifically designer computer interaction (DCI)
Project-based (rather than instruction-based) learning about electronic circuitry and the Arduino software and hardware.
Breaking and re-purposing (aka hacking) existing tools (soft- and hardware).
Developing a critical understanding of the implications of tools in daily design practices.

Timetable

Dates and times

Wednesdays 11.00-18.30h and 11.00-14.00h (online/offline TBA)

March 3rd 2021 (11.00-18.30h)
March 10th 2021 (11.00-18.30h)
March 17th 2021 (11.00-18.30h)
March 24th 2021 (11.00-14.00h)
March 31st 2021 (11.00-18.30h)
April 7th 2021 (11.00-14.00h)

Location

The lectures/workgroups and the exam take place at KABK, online/campus teaching TBA.

Themes and lectures

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COURSE 20/21: INTERFACIAL WORKOUT. A COURSE ON INEFFICIENT TOOL BUILDING (SEM II)
KABK Lectorate KTP Course 20/21: Interfacial Work...
Published on November 30th 2020

During this course we will explore other ways of interacting with our most familiar software interfaces and build new critical interfaces that unsettle common notions such as usability and efficiency.

TUTOR(S)
Anja Groten, PhDarts candidate

Heerko van der Kooij, creative technologist and educator

FOR WHOM?
For 2nd, 3rd an 4th year BA students of the KABK and Leiden University and MA students of KABK

WHEN?
5 meetings, semester II 2021 (Febr.-May)

STUDY LOAD
3 ECT (34 contact hours and 50 self study hours

ABOUT THIS COURSE
Interfaces are the designer's daily companions. Friendly and convenient, interfaces translate complex computational processes into seamless and intuitive interactions. As skilled designers we embody our interfaces, rarely calling into question their implications.

The emphasis of this course lies on a hands-on investigation of designer-computer intra-action. Together we will explore ‘other’ ways of interacting with our most familiar software interfaces. Breaking with our individual routines of scrolling, clicking, dragging and dropping we will reimagine our relationship to our tools, and build new critical interfaces that unsettle common notions such as usership, innovation and efficiency.

APPLICATION

OBJECTIVES (Self-)critical investigation of the tool ecologies that are specific to the group of participants.
Critical, practical as well as collaborative investigation of human computer interaction (HCI), more specifically designer computer interaction (DCI)
Project-based (rather than instruction-based) learning about electronic circuitry and the Arduino software and hardware.
Breaking and re-purposing (aka hacking) existing tools (soft- and hardware).
Developing a critical understanding of the implications of tools in daily design practices.

RESULTS
Presentation and reflection

‘Inefficient tool’ (concept, design and working prototype)

Documentation of process, code, design choices, giving insight into the process needs to be uploaded to Github including an elaborate read.me file.

Short video tutorial of the tool, it’s functionalities, the outcomes it produces, its abilities and inabilities.

Live presentation/demonstration/performance of the tool itself

DATES
Wednesdays 11.00-18.30h and 11.00-14.00h (online/offline TBA)

March 3rd 2021 (11.00-18.30h)
March 10th 2021 (11.00-18.30h)
March 17th 2021 (11.00-18.30h)
March 24th 2021 (11.00-14.00h)
March 31st 2021 (11.00-18.30h)
April 7th 2021 (11.00-14.00h)

REFERENCES
Recommended reading:

Lev Manovich. The Language of New Media, Chapter 2: “The Interface”, 2001.

Peter Buwert, “Defamiliarisation, ‘Brecht and Criticality in Graphic Design” in: Modes of Criticism, 2016 https://modesofcriticism.org/defamiliarisation-and-criticality/.

Colm O’Neill, Adversarial Interfaceshttp://www.colm.be/category/adversarial-interfaces.html

Karen Barad. “On Touching—The Inhuman That Therefore I Am” in: differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 2012.

Adam Kleinman. “Intra-actions”, an interview with Karen Barad, Mousse 35, 2012

Shaowen Bardzell, "Feminist HCI. Taking Stock and Outlining an Agenda for Design"

THEMES AND LECTURES

SESSION 1: WARM UP
Introduction lecture “Challenging Collective Practice: The Technical and Collaborative Workings of the Hackers & Designers Collective”

Workshop:

Mapping exercise: ‘Collective Tool Ecology’
Reenactment: Interfacial Gestures
Prepare reading: Lev Manovich. The Language of New Media, Chapter 2: “The Interface”, 2001.
Look at: http://adversarial.interfaces.site/

SESSION 2: DEFAMILIARIZATION
Lecture: “Fooling & Tooling. Making Processes Strange.”

Workshop:

Defamiliarization and DCI (designer computer interaction): Toy hacking and capacitive sensing (introduction into Arduino, electronic circuitry)
Prepare reading: Peter Buwert, “Defamiliarisation, ‘Brecht and Criticality in Graphic Design” in: Modes of Criticism, 2016 https://modesofcriticism.org/defamiliarisation-and-criticality/.

SESSION 3: EMBODIED INTERFACES: PROTOTYPING NEW GESTURES FOR DCI
Workshop

Prepare reading: Karen Barad. “On Touching—The Inhuman That Therefore I Am” in: differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 2012.

SESSION 4: PROGRAMMED COLLABORATION
Lecture: “Read.me. On the Importance of Documentation and Reproducibility in Open Source Practices.”

Look at Git as a model for “programmed collaboration”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLRqwX-V7Uu6ZF9C0YMKuns9sLDzK6zoiV&v=BCQHnlnPusY
https://medium.com/@dfosco/git-for-designers-856c434716e#.qwlf8cbv5
https://nvie.com/posts/a-successful-git-branching-model/ https://help.github.com/en/articles/fork-a-repo https://help.github.com/en/articles/merging-a-pull-request

SESSION 5: INEFFICIENT TOOL SHOWCASE
Presentation and reflection

Mode of instruction

Lectures and workshops

Assessment method

Presentation and reflection

‘Inefficient tool’ (concept, design and working prototype)

Documentation of process, code, design choices, giving insight into the process needs to be uploaded to Github including an elaborate read.me file.

Short video tutorial of the tool, it’s functionalities, the outcomes it produces, its abilities and inabilities.

Live presentation/demonstration/performance of the tool itself

Reading list

Lev Manovich. The Language of New Media, Chapter 2: “The Interface”, 2001.

Peter Buwert, “Defamiliarisation, ‘Brecht and Criticality in Graphic Design” in: Modes of Criticism, 2016 https://modesofcriticism.org/defamiliarisation-and-criticality/.

Colm O’Neill, Adversarial Interfaceshttp://www.colm.be/category/adversarial-interfaces.html

Karen Barad. “On Touching—The Inhuman That Therefore I Am” in: differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 2012.

Adam Kleinman. “Intra-actions”, an interview with Karen Barad, Mousse 35, 2012

Shaowen Bardzell, "Feminist HCI. Taking Stock and Outlining an Agenda for Design"

Registration

There are no admission requirements for this elective course.
For KABK students, apply before 15 February 2021 by registering for the course in OSIRIS
For Leiden University students, apply before 3 February 2021 by registering for the course on uSiS

16 students ca register for this course.
The course will be in English, please bring a laptop with USB connection

For questions Emily Huurdeman, coordinator of the lectorate, at lectoraatktp@kabk.nl

Leiden University students: Enrolment through uSis is mandatory. Please apply before 3 February 2021.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Contact

Lecturer: Anja Groten

Coordinator: Emily Huurdeman

ABOUT THE TEACHERS
Anja Groten is a designer, educator and community organiser. In 2013 she co-founded the initiative Hackers & Designers, attempting to break down the barriers between the two fields by enforcing a common vocabulary through education, hacks and collaboration. Groten's design practice revolves around the cross-section of digital and physical media, design and art education and her involvement in different interdisciplinary collectives. Groten works on (self-)commissions and besides heads the design department at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, Master of the Rietveld Academie.

Anja is a PhD candidate at PhD Arts, a practice-lead doctoral study at ACPA (Academy of Creative and Performing Arts) Leiden University, and works as an embedded researcher at the consortium Bridging Art, Design and Technology through Critical Making.

Heerko van der Kooij is a creative technologist and educator based in Amsterdam. He has taught at diverse Art schools in the Netherlands and abroad. Currently he is a tutor at the Graphic design department of the Utrecht University of Arts. His interests are diverse, ranging from electronics and augmented reality to woodworking and handcrafts. Heerko has been a member of Hackers & Designers since 2017.

https://hackersanddesigners.nl/

https://github.com/hackersanddesigners

https://anjagroten.info/

Remarks

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