Abstract

Design exploration research refers to various interaction design research practices that explore tensions issued from the interplay of science, technology, culture and society. Most of them explicitly trigger discussions and debates in the audience, for instance “critical design”, which raised the interest of members of design research communities. However its generalization suffers from a lack of shareable methodology. This paper aims at clarifying it practically and theoretically. We claim that these practices trigger people’s reactions using a specific narrative strategy which provoke an “uncanny feeling”. By producing “uncanny enough” artefacts that embed a subtle entanglement of familiarity and unfamiliarity, designers can elicit responses from viewers. First, a review of literature on critical design texts presents the “uncanny balance” as being a recurrent design principle for the creation of these artefacts. We then present an exemplary case study produced by one of the authors, exploring communication technology—called Dog&Bone. Using classical rhetoric, we present a theoretical overview of the project. The outcome consists of a conceptual framework based on the narrative dimension of the uncanny plus the rhetorical dimension (composed of three elements: legitimacy, emotions, argumentation). We conclude that Design is a form of communication between designers and their audience.

Keywords:

Debate; Uncanny; Rhetoric; Critical Design; Speculative Design

Share

COinS
 
Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

The Rhetoric of Design for Debate: triggering conversation with an “uncanny enough” artefact

Design exploration research refers to various interaction design research practices that explore tensions issued from the interplay of science, technology, culture and society. Most of them explicitly trigger discussions and debates in the audience, for instance “critical design”, which raised the interest of members of design research communities. However its generalization suffers from a lack of shareable methodology. This paper aims at clarifying it practically and theoretically. We claim that these practices trigger people’s reactions using a specific narrative strategy which provoke an “uncanny feeling”. By producing “uncanny enough” artefacts that embed a subtle entanglement of familiarity and unfamiliarity, designers can elicit responses from viewers. First, a review of literature on critical design texts presents the “uncanny balance” as being a recurrent design principle for the creation of these artefacts. We then present an exemplary case study produced by one of the authors, exploring communication technology—called Dog&Bone. Using classical rhetoric, we present a theoretical overview of the project. The outcome consists of a conceptual framework based on the narrative dimension of the uncanny plus the rhetorical dimension (composed of three elements: legitimacy, emotions, argumentation). We conclude that Design is a form of communication between designers and their audience.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.