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Designing with care: Self-centered research for interaction design otherwise
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Human Centered Technology, Media Technology and Interaction Design, MID.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1454-7854
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is about the research program designing with care as a pathway towards interaction design otherwise amid a world in crisis. Considering how established ways of doing interaction design will change involves recognizing the role of digital materials in social injustice and systemic inequality. These concerns are inseparable from the material complexity of interactive experiences and their more-than-human entanglements in care. Through five design experiments, I explore everyday human care as wickedly attending to some care doings and not others, and an intimate and generous questioning of oneself as human.

I offer four contributions for interaction designers and design researchers. The first contribution is designing with care. This research program draws upon care ethics and posthumanism to establish four axioms: everyday, wickedness, intimacy, and generosity. Within this programmatic framework, the second contribution is definitions of wickedness and generosity as ethical stances that can be taken by designers and researchers. The third contribution is the synthesis of my four methodological approaches: auto-design, spatial orientations, leaky materials, and open speculations. Each is a generative and analytical pathway towards more sustainable and just futures. The fourth contribution is five careful designs as prototypes of what interaction design otherwise might be like: technologies of human waste, spying on loved ones, leaky breastfeeding bodies, scaling bodily fluids, and a speculative ethics

From my research program and contributions, I discuss disciplinary resistances to suggest three possibilities for how I argue interaction design should change: engaging with mundane yet unrecognized topics, doing design work where the consequences would be present, and reconsidering how the formats of research publications could better reflect positionality. I then reflect upon the relevancy of self-centered research in moving beyond oneself for more sustainable worlds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2023. , p. 162
Series
TRITA-EECS-AVL ; 2023:7
Keywords [en]
interaction design, care, care ethics, posthuman, posthuman feminism, more-than-human, design theory, research program, design otherwise, first-person, autotheory
National Category
Design Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Human-computer Interaction
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-322784ISBN: 978-91-8040-457-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-322784DiVA, id: diva2:1724993
Public defence
2023-02-06, Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 6, Stockholm, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, RIT15- 0046Available from: 2023-01-10 Created: 2023-01-09 Last updated: 2023-01-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Do You Have to Pee? A Design Space for Intimate and Somatic Data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Do You Have to Pee? A Design Space for Intimate and Somatic Data
2019 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The management of bodily excretion is an everyday biological function necessary for our physiological and psychological well-being. In this paper, I investigate interaction design opportunities for and implications of leveraging intimate and somatic data to manage urination. This is done by detailing a design space that includes (1) a critique of market exemplars, (2) three conceptual design provocations, and (3) autobiographical data-gathering and labeling from excretion routines. To conclude, considerations within the labeling of somatic data, the actuating of bodily experiences, and the scaling of intimate interactions are contributed for designers who develop data-driven technology for intimate and somatic settings.

Keywords
Intimate and somatic data; bodily excretion; urination; research through design; interaction design; criticism
National Category
Design
Research subject
Human-computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-253830 (URN)10.1145/3322276.3322290 (DOI)000717008300096 ()2-s2.0-85070593359 (Scopus ID)
Conference
ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2019), June 23–28, 2019, San Diego, CA, USA
Projects
Smart Implicit Interaction
Funder
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research , RIT15-0046
Note

QC 20190710

Available from: 2019-06-19 Created: 2019-06-19 Last updated: 2023-01-09Bibliographically approved
2. Troubling Care: Four Orientations for Wickedness in Design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Troubling Care: Four Orientations for Wickedness in Design
2021 (English)In: ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2021), ACM Publications, 2021, p. 789-801Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Tensions in designing for care are often positioned as conflicts to be resolved. We draw upon queer theories to investigate caring for loved ones as not "in-line" with normative expectations of care as positive and fulfilling. Through the critique of two autobiographical design projects designed for informal, everyday care of our families, we describe four troubling orientations of care: willful detours, selfish shortcuts, naughty invasions, and unhappy departures. From these, we argue that tensions in care may not always be designed against, but can also be desired and generative.We conclude by discussing a "wickedness" in caring for loved ones that problematizes in-home technologies as attractively naughty and potentially violent, and the four orientations as resources for interaction designers to spatially navigate tensions of domestic care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ACM Publications, 2021
Keywords
Care, autobiographical design, home, critique, queer theory, troubling, design research
National Category
Interaction Technologies
Research subject
Human-computer Interaction; Art, Technology and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-295657 (URN)10.1145/3461778.3462025 (DOI)000747486000058 ()2-s2.0-85110060484 (Scopus ID)
Conference
ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2021),Virtual Event USA 28 June 2021- 2 July 2021
Funder
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research , RIT15-0046
Note

QC 20210526

Part of proceedings ISBN: 978-145038476-6

Available from: 2021-05-24 Created: 2021-05-24 Last updated: 2023-01-09Bibliographically approved
3. "Vibrant Wearables": Material Encounters with the Body as a Soft System
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Vibrant Wearables": Material Encounters with the Body as a Soft System
2021 (English)In: Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice, ISSN 2051-1787, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 142-163Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As new materials become available for textile and interaction designers, it is crucial that we develop an understanding of the lived experiences of such materials and explore meaningful contexts for their development. In this paper, we engage with systems in which bodies as materials and materials as bodies constitute an assemblage of vitalities in constant flux with one another. In particular, we address how such systems in their interactions with (non)human bodies blur boundaries between inside and outside the body, and between human and machine, acting as soft systems. Drawing on our first-person, design-led research, we present three design explorations of soft systems that deeply engage with the body: Breathing Wings, Fiddling Necklaces and Menarche Bits. We analyze how the three projects contribute towards what we conceptualize as “vibrant wearables”: wearables that through their material vibrancy surface design qualities of leakiness, characterized by a multi-directionality of “spilling over,” ongoingness, which attends to non-linear temporalities and cycles of life and death, and mutuality that emphasizes the interdependency, and becoming, of vibrant encounters. These three design qualities all conceptually trouble boundaries of bodies and materials and are practical resources for designers and researchers working with the body in/as a soft system. Our work offers concrete examples of how to work with material vibrancy, which is particularly relevant to new materialist discourses in textile, fashion and interaction design. We argue for the generativity of these design qualities for other designers and researchers aiming to elevate materials and soft systems in interactions with bodies. Moreover, we contribute towards design research that conceptually and materially troubles the boundaries of the body, and we argue for attending to the material power of (non)human bodies as a soft system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2021
Keywords
Soft systems; soma design; wearables; vibrant matter; body
National Category
Design Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-295772 (URN)10.1080/20511787.2021.1923202 (DOI)
Note

QC 20220426

Available from: 2021-05-26 Created: 2021-05-26 Last updated: 2024-02-13Bibliographically approved
4. Entangled Reflections on Designing with Leaky Breastfeeding Bodies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Entangled Reflections on Designing with Leaky Breastfeeding Bodies
2021 (English)In: In Proceedings of the 2021 Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’21), Virtual Event, 2021Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Bodily transformations that attend breastfeeding include entanglements of more-than-human materials and agencies. These can be seen in exchanges of physical matter, such as bacteria, that blur bodily boundaries. I present three design explorations of my breastfeeding experiences as entangled: knitting bras for lopsided breasts, transforming milk into fiddling necklaces, and site-writing around breastfeeding. Through spatial and conceptual mappings of the explorations, I propose them as alternative narratives in designing for leaky breastfeeding bodies. I also offer two broader reflections on designing with, for, and among more-than-human bodily materials: generous absence and bodily mappings. The accompanying reading instructions to this bodily research open for further encounters and reflections between the three explorations.

Keywords
Breastfeeding, leaky, more-than-human, posthumanism
National Category
Design Interaction Technologies
Research subject
Art, Technology and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-295654 (URN)10.1145/3461778.3462048 (DOI)000747486000147 ()2-s2.0-85110190405 (Scopus ID)
Conference
ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2021)
Funder
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research , RIT15-0046
Note

QC 20210526

Available from: 2021-05-24 Created: 2021-05-24 Last updated: 2023-01-09Bibliographically approved
5. Scaling Bodily Fluids For Utopian Fabulations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Scaling Bodily Fluids For Utopian Fabulations
2021 (English)In: Proceedings of the 9th Bi-Annual Nordic Design Research Society Conference: Matters of Scale, 2021, 2021Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper explores human bodily fluids for more-than-human collaborative survival. We present four utopian fabulations in which urine, menstrual blood, and human milk are designed with beyond the scale of a singular human body. Each fabulation illustrates queer scales and uses of bodily fluids through extended or improper uses as pathways towards caring multi-species relations within a damaged environment. From these narratives, we reflect on imagining generous collaborations for an openness towards unknowable possibilities and crafting different measures through the tensions of coinciding scales.

Keywords
bodily fluids, collaborative survival, queer scales
National Category
Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-298043 (URN)
Conference
Nordic Design Research Conference
Funder
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research , RIT15-0046
Note

QC 20210629

Available from: 2021-06-28 Created: 2021-06-28 Last updated: 2023-01-09Bibliographically approved
6. A Speculative Ethics for Designing with Bodily Fluids
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Speculative Ethics for Designing with Bodily Fluids
2022 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This essay performs a speculative ethics in designing with a researcher's own bodily fluids. This is through the creation of "performative texts", which are autoethnographic accounts of past experiences in which written words perform through visual and spatial compositions alongside verbal readings aloud. I present three performative texts about moments of discomfort in designing with milk from my own breastfeeding relationship. They are to reflect upon felt experiences of potential harm and to understand social and material relations of care. From these I offer three possibilities for how HCI might consider the ethics of first-person research in attending to more-than-human entanglements: unsafe spaces, situated escapes, and censored inclusion. These possibilities and the approach of performative texts contribute to research for more sustainable futures by exploring the decentering of humans through an intimate engagement with the self.

Keywords
ethics, care, bodily fuids, biomaterials, milk, breastfeeding, autoethnography, performative, more-than-human, research-through-design, posthumanism
National Category
Design Bioethics Interaction Technologies
Research subject
Art, Technology and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-311004 (URN)10.1145/3491101.3516395 (DOI)2-s2.0-85129762445 (Scopus ID)
Conference
CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Extended Abstracts
Funder
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research , RIT15-0046
Note

QC 20220419

Available from: 2022-04-14 Created: 2022-04-14 Last updated: 2023-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Helms, Karey

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