Design as Inquiry with Jeffrey Bardzell – October 29

Jeffrey Bardzell

Jeffrey Bardzell

How does the making and presenting of artworks and designs as research (e.g., critical design, research through design, and constructive design) contribute to human knowledge and understanding? This question and others like it have received considerable attention recently in fields as diverse as museum studies, philosophy, literature, art, design, science and technology studies, film, and human-computer interaction and which ask:

Can a product, film, exhibition, or robot serve as a medium for original scientific or philosophical thought, or can it only illustrate thoughts already developed in science and philosophy?
What can anyone possibly learn from fictional characters and situations since they aren’t even real?
If science and philosophy already give us knowledge, why even bother with the arts?
Can the arts give rise to distinctive understandings, which cannot be obtained as well (or at all) through science or philosophy?

Jeffrey Bardzell, an associate professor of human-computer interaction/design in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Bloomington, will work through a number of the most interesting responses to these questions he has explored, using artworks and designs themselves as objects to think with as part of the “In the Loop” lecture series on design, innovation and entrepreneurship organized by IIT Institute of Design faculty from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at the IIT Institute of Design, 6th Floor, 350 N. La Salle Street, Chicago. The series engages a wide range of speakers that present on topics ranging from theoretical research and emerging methodologies that are relevant to the field of design as well as personal narratives and examples from current design practice.

In arguing that the arts do indeed serve a crucial role in knowledge production, Bardzell will pick out some of the things we consider to be examples of “knowledge,” including propositional knowledge, aesthetic perceptiveness, constructive search through themes and variations, and knowledge as acknowledgment. He’ll reflect on how understandings place claims on us by changing how we think about problems and situations and also by demanding new responses from us.

About Jeffrey Bardzell:

Having done his doctoral work in comparative literature and philosophy, Bardzell brings a humanist perspective to HCI and is known for developing a theory of interaction criticism. His other HCI foci include aesthetic interaction, user experience design, maker cultures, and digital creativity. Currently, he is writing a monograph on research through design, exploring design research objects and design theory using philosophical aesthetics.