Treating and Teaching Aesthetics as Personality
Paper i proceeding, 2008
The environment changes direction fast /
Thinking like a pen flies /
Through the wall the headache is thrown /
My fear is created by you others /
I should have tasted freedom /
I call out.
This is not the anguished work of some angst-ridden young poet; instead it is the result of a conversation between a group of digital personalities, manifested as dolls trapped in an elevator, but also in graphics, in words and wording, in gestures and in relations and reactions. The system is called Physical Poets, and the creation of it was a workshop aiming at teaching interaction design students how to reason about, and make, aesthetic decisions. In this project, we taught one possible view on aesthetics, namely the view that when designing complex systems, it can sometimes help to assign a “personality” to the system in order to make all aspects of it merge together to an unified set of expressions and behaviors. By designing actual personalities – the poets – this concept washighlighted to the students, as were the issues with expressing these personalities and making sound aesthetical decisions fitting both their personalities and the system as a whole.