Critical Materiality: creating toolkits and methods for engaging materiality in HCI

Studio at TEI 2019 organized by Joanna Berzowska, Aisling Kelliher, Daniela Rosner, Matt Ratto, and Suzanne N. Kite

Critical Materiality Studio at TEI 2019, Sunday 17 March 2019, in Tempe, Arizona, USA. Studios at TEI encourage new and enriching perspectives in the fields of tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction by combining the practical and hands-on with academic debate/discussion around the chosen topic.

The miniaturization of electronic technologies, as well as advances in organic and material science, have contributed to the development of composite, smart, and computational materials that create promising narratives for the future of ubiquitous computing.

The goal of this one-day studio is to develop tools to acquire a deeper conceptual and critical understanding of materiality in HCI. The studio will draw on strategies from a broad range of sources including critical making, speculative design, experiential prototyping, and indigenous ontologies, in order to map out key questions and concerns.

The studio will give the participants the opportunity to discuss the concept of Critical Materiality as a framework for developing tangible, embedded, and embodied interfaces, by brainstorming narratives around the past lives, current uses, and the future imaginaries of materials.

Participants will co-develop a shared vocabulary and theoretical framework for Critical Materiality as a strategy to be deployed in conceiving and implementing HCI artifacts and experiences. The studio will culminate in the design and production of a deck of cards that propose keywords, questions, concerns, and opportunities for Hybrid Materials within this Critical Materiality framework.