IASDR 2015 Interplay Exhibition 2-5 NOV 2015

Seevinck, Jennifer, Chamorro-Koc, Marianella, & Gomez, Rafael E. (2015) IASDR 2015 Interplay Exhibition 2-5 NOV 2015. In IASDR2015 Conference : Interplay, 2–5 November 2015, Brisbane, Qld.

Curatorial Essay and Exhibits Catalogue (PDF 7MB)
Published Version. Digital.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.


It has been said that we are living in a golden age of innovation. New products, systems and services aimed to enable a better future, have emerged from novel interconnections between design and design research with science, technology and the arts. These intersections are now, more than ever, catalysts that enrich daily activities for health and safety, education, personal computing, entertainment and sustainability, to name a few.

Interactive functions made possible by new materials, technology, and emerging manufacturing solutions demonstrate an ongoing interplay between cross-disciplinary knowledge and research. Such interactive interplay bring up questions concerning: (i) how art and design provide a focus for developing design solutions and research in technology; (ii) how theories emerging from the interactions of cross-disciplinary knowledge inform both the practice and research of design and (iii) how research and design work together in a mutually beneficial way. The IASDR2015 INTERPLAY EXHIBITION provides some examples of these interconnections of design research with science, technology and the arts. This is done through the presentation of objects, artefacts and demonstrations that are contextualised into everyday activities across various areas including health, education, safety, furniture, fashion and wearable design. The exhibits provide a setting to explore the various ways in which design research interacts across discipline knowledge and approaches to stimulate innovation.

In education, Designing South African Children’s Health Education as Generative Play (A Bennett, F Cassim, M van der Merwe, K van Zijil, and M Ribbens) presents a set of toolkits that resulted from design research entailing generative play. The toolkits are systems that engender pleasure and responsibility, and are aimed at cultivating South African’s youth awareness of nutrition, hygiene, disease awareness and prevention, and social health.

In safety, AVAnav: Avalanche Rescue Helmet (Jason Germany) delivers an interactive system as a tool to contribute to reduce the time to locate buried avalanche victims. Helmet-mounted this system responds to the contextual needs of rescuers and has since led to further design research on the interface design of rescuing devices.

In apparel design and manufacturing, Shrinking Violets: Fashion design for disassembly (Alice Payne) proposes a design for disassembly through the use of beautiful reversible mono-material garments that interactively responds to the challenges of garment construction in the fashion industry, capturing the metaphor for the interplay between technology and craft in the fashion manufacturing industry.

Harvest: A biotextile future (Dean Brough and Alice Payne), explores the interplay of biotechnology, materiality and textile design in the creation of sustainable, biodegradable vegan textile through the process of a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). SCOBY is a pellicle curd that can be harvested, machine washed, dried and cut into a variety of designs and texture combinations.

The exploration of smart materials, wearable design and micro-electronics led to creative and aesthetically coherent stimulus-reactive jewellery; Symbiotic Microcosms: Crafting Digital Interaction (K Vones). This creation aims to bridge the gap between craft practitioner and scientific discovery, proposing a move towards the notion of a post-human body, where wearable design is seen as potential ground for new human-computer interactions, affording the development of visually engaging multifunctional enhancements.

In furniture design, Smart Assistive chair for older adults (Chao Zhao) demonstrates how cross-disciplinary knowledge interacting with design strategies provide solution that employed new technological developments in older aged care, and the participation of multiple stakeholders: designers, health care system and community based health systems.

In health, Molecular diagnosis system for newborns deafness genetic screening (Chao Zhao) presents an ambitious and complex project that includes a medical device aimed at resolving a number of challenges: technical feasibility for city and rural contexts, compatibility with standard laboratory and hospital systems, access to health system, and support the work of different hospital specialists. The interplay between cross-disciplines is evident in this work, demonstrating how design research moves forward through technology developments.

These works exemplify the intersection between domains as a means to innovation. Novel design problems are identified as design intersects with the various areas. Research informs this process, and in different ways. We see the background investigation into the contextualising domain (e.g. on-snow studies, garment recycling, South African health concerns, the post human body) to identify gaps in the area and design criteria; the technologies and materials reviews (e.g. AR, biotextiles) to offer plausible technical means to solve these, as well as design criteria. Theoretical reviews can also inform the design (e.g. play, flow). These work together to equip the design practitioner with a robust set of ‘tools’ for design innovation – tools that are based in research. The process identifies innovative opportunity and criteria for design and this, in turn, provides a means for evaluating the success of the design outcomes.

Such an approach has the potential to come full circle between research and design – where the design can function as an exemplar, evidencing how the research-articulated problems can be solved. Core to this, however, is the evaluation of the design outcome itself and identifying knowledge outcomes. In some cases, this is fairly straightforward that is, easily measurable. For example the efficacy of Jason Germany’s helmet can be determined by measuring the reduced response time in the rescuer. Similarly the improved ability to recycle Payne’s panel garments can be clearly determined by comparing it to those recycling processes (and her identified criteria of separating textile elements!); while the sustainability and durability of the Brough & Payne’s biotextile can be assessed by documenting the growth and decay processes, or comparative strength studies.

There are however situations where knowledge outcomes and insights are not so easily determined. Many of the works here are open-ended in their nature, as they emphasise the holistic experience of one or more designs, in context: “the end result of the art activity that provides the health benefit or outcome but rather, the value lies in the delivery and experience of the activity” (Bennet et al.) Similarly, reconfiguring layers of laser cut silk in Payne’s Shrinking Violets constitutes a customisable, creative process of clothing oneself since it “could be layered to create multiple visual effects”. Symbiotic Microcosms also has room for facilitating experience, as the work is described to facilitate “serendipitous discovery”. These examples show the diverse emphasis of enquiry as on the experience versus the product. Open-ended experiences are ambiguous, multifaceted and differ from person to person and moment to moment (Eco 1962). Determining the success is not always clear or immediately discernible; it may also not be the most useful question to ask. Rather, research that seeks to understand the nature of the experience afforded by the artefact is most useful in these situations. It can inform the design practitioner by helping them with subsequent re-design as well as potentially being generalizable to other designers and design contexts. Bennett et. al exemplify how this may be approached from a theoretical perspective. This work is concerned with facilitating engaging experiences to educate and, ultimately impact on that community. The research is concerned with the nature of that experience as well, and in order to do so the authors have employed theoretical lenses – here these are of flow, pleasure, play. An alternative or complementary approach to using theory, is using qualitative studies such as interviews with users to ask them about what they experienced? Here the user insights become evidence for generalising across, potentially revealing insight into relevant concerns – such as the range of possible ‘playful’ or experiences that may be afforded, or the situation that preceded a ‘serendipitous discovery’.

As shown, IASDR2015 INTERPLAY EXHIBITION provides a platform for exploration, discussion and interrogation around the interplay of design research across diverse domains. We look forward with excitement as IASDR continues to bring research and design together, and as our communities of practitioners continue to push the envelope of what is design and how this can be expanded and better understood with research to foster new work and ultimately, stimulate innovation.

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ID Code: 94442
Item Type: Conference Item (Other)
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Design, Design Research, Interaction, Cross disciplinary, Interplay
ISBN: 9780646946450
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Design Innovation (120302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Digital and Interaction Design (120304)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Design Practice and Management not elsewhere classified (120399)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
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Copyright Owner: IASDR 2015
Deposited On: 05 Apr 2016 06:13
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2017 04:10

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