Design Laboratories as Everyday Theater: Encountering the Possible

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In this presentation I will try to get hold of some very special moments that have
become almost an obsession for me in my work with what my colleagues and I call the design laboratory. These very special moments are not some that we can easily stage and though we have experienced them again and again they always come as a surprise and with a deep feeling of fulfillment. One of such moments arrived in the middle of an intense design research project where we were a group of colleagues working for the Sony Ericsson company to educate their UX team in codesign approaches to user research. Together with a small network of mobile phone users we had explored the everyday transition going to
work and returning back home. We had played design games with visual materials gathered through our participation in these transitions and together we had enacted a small series of fictional video stories about how we imagined mobile phones in the future. At the end of one of the first workshops our small research group was gathering and one of my colleagues very nicely summed up one of those moments I am talking about, by saying that now it is like the lid has come off and everything is possible. What he pointed to was not (solely) a sense of alignment with the company or our user collaborators, nor was it
(just) a feeling of knowing how to bring the project successfully to an end. It was a more specific experience of being at a point where the design and use of possible future mobile phones was no longer a blind search for openings in the company product strategy (or for that sake in the mundaneness of established user practices), but instead a completely open and contingent landscape unfolding in front of us. It is such moments of encountering the possible that I will address in the following, and though the remark of my colleague may well be seen as a reflextive thought on what had just passed, I will try to show
that these moments are not moments of reflection or “breakdown” but rather moments of flow and becoming that bring different worlds within reach. I will however start with a brief introduction to the design research practice that we call the design laboratory.
Publikationsdato10 apr. 2014
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 10 apr. 2014
Udgivet eksterntJa
BegivenhedResearch Network for Design Anthropology: Ethnographies of the Possible - Aarhus University, Aarhus, Danmark
Varighed: 10 apr. 201411 apr. 2014


SeminarResearch Network for Design Anthropology
LokationAarhus University