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Women's Health. SpringBoard The Professional Nurse. Use Code SPF Shop Now. Double click on above image to view full picture. Read a Sample Chapter. Qty: Add to Cart. Now available on:. Performing Live represents a further stage in the development of somaesthetics in which its connection with the new media is discussed and different methodologies for heightening body consciousness are analyzed, while Body Consciousness constitutes my most comprehensive treatment of somaesthetics, though it focuses primarily on the experiential dimension of the somaesthetic field, whose general structure is outlined in the section 3 of this article.
Copyright terms and licence: Unknown pending investigation. See section "Exceptions" in the copyright terms below. A : The American psychologist and philosopher William James , whose pragmatist philosophy has inspired somaesthetics and its insistence on the interaction between theory and practice. B : In his book Aesthetica from , the German philosopher Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten coined the philosophical discipline of aesthetics that rehabilitates the cognitive powers of the senses.
Copyright terms and licence: All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with permission. Initially I thought of the somaesthetic project as being fully nested within the discipline of philosophy, perhaps as a branch of aesthetics. But I soon realized that somaesthetics should be an essentially interdisciplinary field, even if grounded in philosophy.
As all human perception and action goes through the soma, many different academic disciplines can contribute significantly to the study and improvement of somatic experience and performance. It would be foolish, therefore, to limit somaesthetics to the methods and concerns of philosophy.
Engaging a wide variety of knowledge forms and disciplines that structure our somatic experience or can improve it, somaesthetics is a framework to promote and integrate the diverse range of theorizing, empirical research, and melioriative practical disciplines concerned with bodily perception, performance, and presentation. While originally rooted in my philosophical research, it is not a single theory or method advanced by a particular philosopher but an open field for collaborative, interdisciplinary, and transcultural inquiry.
Its applications already extend beyond philosophy to a broad array of topics ranging from the arts, product design, and politics to fashion, health, sports, martial arts, and the use of hallucinogenic drugs in education footnote 4. Though dance may be the most paradigmatic of somatic arts, somaesthetics has been equally applied to theatre in analyzing the somatic styles of movement and posture of actors on stage footnote 5.
Somaesthetic concepts and theories have been even more extensively deployed for understanding music and music education footnote 6. In visual arts, somaesthetics has been used to explain not only how artists use their bodies in making artworks but also how observers deploy themselves somatically to perceive such works. The body with its multiple senses and movement through space likewise plays a formative role in architectural design and experience. Performance art presents a distinctive case in which the body is not only a tool of creation and means of perception but also the expressive medium and visual end-product or art object.
Building on my somaesthetic theory, Martin Jay shows the political import of body-centered performance works that challenge the prevailing norms of bodily form and comportment with their attendant sociopolitical hierarchies of domination footnote 8. Somaesthetics has begun to have an impact not only on the analysis of visual art, but also on its practice.
Somaesthetics has also been used as a creative framework for a series of photographic and cinematic works that the Parisian artist Yann Toma has realized in close collaboration with me footnote Among political applications of somaesthetics, feminist interventions loom large. This should not be surprising since women are traditionally identified with body and thus negatively contrasted with what our culture deems to be the superior male principle of mind.
Since race, like gender, is perceived through somatic appearance, racism provides another political issue in which somaesthetic strategies have been proposed both as explanations and as therapeutic remedies footnote For me, the most surprising extension of somaesthetics has been in the arena of high-tech design, particularly with new information technologies. I did not expect this because the somaesthetic project was initially inspired by ancient ideas of the embodied philosophical life and by traditional Asian somatic practices such as yoga and zazen or contemporary Western counterparts such as Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais Method that preserve a similar organic character by not treating the body with electronic appliances.
But I made no effort to envisage positive ways that our newest technologies might reshape somatic experience. How should somaesthetics prepare to deal with these changes and their corresponding new capacities for somatic self-cultivation, self-stylization, and social interaction? Philosopher Jerrold Abrams has helped remedy this omission by exploring, in a speculative way, issues in what some might call posthuman somaesthetics because these issues involve significant alterations or enhancements to the traditional biological human soma footnote Of course, the human soma is already a product of considerable evolution, and it seems plastic enough to absorb significant change and prosthetic devices without condemning us to being posthuman cyborgs.
That we can sometimes be considered human cyborgs by having manufactured enhancements incorporated into our embodied selves contact lenses, pace makers, false eyelashes, wigs Questions such as the possible limits of the human soma and whether or how should we should speak of nonhuman somas are interesting topics for somaesthetic analysis that I cannot properly address in this article.
They depend not simply on the future of technology but also on the evolution of our conceptual schemes concerning the human and concerning the notion of soma footnote But putting aside futuristic speculations, I will discuss some recent work relating somaesthetics to human-computer interaction research after the following section on the structure of somaesthetics. Somaesthetics, as I conceive it, consists of three branches that sometimes overlap to some extent.
The first, analytic somaesthetics , is an essentially descriptive and theoretical enterprise devoted to explaining the nature of our bodily perceptions and practices and their function in our knowledge and construction of the world. Such studies, most famously advanced by Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu, show how the body is both shaped by power and employed as an instrument to maintain it — how bodily norms of health, skill, and beauty, and even our categories of sex and gender, are constructed to reflect and sustain social forces.
In contrast to analytic somaesthetics, whose logic is essentially descriptive, pragmatic somaesthetics has a distinctly normative, often prescriptive, character because it involves proposing specific methods of somatic improvement or engaging in their comparison, explanation, and critique. Since the viability of any proposed method will depend on certain facts about the body whether ontological, physiological, or social , this pragmatic dimension presupposes the analytic dimension.
However, it transcends analysis not only by evaluating the facts analysis describes but also by proposing methods to improve certain facts by remaking the body and the environing social habits and frameworks that shape it. A vast and complex array of pragmatic disciplines has been designed to improve our experience and use of our bodies: various diets, forms of grooming and decoration, martial and erotic arts, yoga, massage, aerobics, bodybuilding, calisthenics, and modern psychosomatic disciplines such as the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method.
These different methodologies of practices can be classified in different ways. We can distinguish between practices that are holistic or more atomistic. While the latter focus on individual body parts or surfaces — styling the hair, painting the nails, shortening the nose or enlarging the breasts through surgery — the former practices are emphatically oriented toward the whole body, indeed the entire person, as an integrated whole.
Penetrating beneath skin surfaces and muscle fiber to realign our bones and better organize the neural pathways through which we move, feel, and think, these practices insist that improved somatic harmony is both a contributory instrument and a beneficial by-product of heightened mental awareness and psychic balance. Such disciplines refuse to divide body from mind in seeking the enlightened betterment of the soma or body-mind of the whole person. Somatic practices can also be classified in terms of being directed primarily at the individual practitioner herself, or instead primarily at others.
The distinction between self-directed and other-directed somatic practices cannot be rigidly exclusive since many practices are both. Moreover, just as self-directed disciplines like dieting or bodybuilding often seem motivated by a desire to please others, so other-directed practices like massage may have their own self-oriented pleasures. Despite these complexities which stem in part from the deep interdependence of self and other , the distinction between self-directed and other-directed body disciplines is useful for resisting the common presumption that to focus on the body implies a retreat from the social.
That presumption is surely wrong because not only is the body shaped by the social; it also contributes to the social. We can share our bodies and bodily pleasures as much as we share our minds, and they can be as public as our thoughts. Our bodies are visible social markers of our values, affiliations, and tastes. Somatic self-stylization generates an enormous commercial market that feeds the cosmetic, fashion, dieting, exercise, and plastic surgery industries, along with the advertising industry that supports them by stimulating our desire to stylize ourselves somatically.
This desire typically takes the paradoxical form of wanting to fit in yet also stand out as distinctive. I need to make myself somatically comfortable so as not to be distracted by my own body tensions and in order to communicate the right message to the client. Otherwise, I will be passing my feelings of somatic tension and unease to the client when I touch him.
And since one often fails to realize when and why one is in a mild state of somatic discomfort, part of the Feldenkrais training is devoted to teaching one how to discern such states and distinguish their causes. Clearer awareness of one's somatic reactions can also improve one's behavior toward others in much wider social and political contexts. Much ethnic and racial hostility is not the product of logical thought but of deep prejudices that are somatically marked in terms of vague uncomfortable feelings and are thus engrained beneath the level of explicit consciousness.
Such prejudices and feelings thus resist correction by mere discursive arguments for tolerance, which can be accepted on the rational level without changing the visceral grip of the prejudice. We often deny that we have such prejudices because we do not realize that we feel them, and the first step in controlling or expunging them is to develop the somatic awareness to recognize them in ourselves footnote Somatic disciplines can further be classified as to whether their major orientation is toward external appearance or inner experience.
Representational somaesthetics such as cosmetics is concerned more with the body's surface forms, while experiential disciplines such as yoga aim more at making us feel better in both senses of that ambiguous phrase: to make the quality of our somatic experience more satisfying and also to make it more acutely perceptive. The distinction between representational and experiential somaesthetics is one of dominant tendency rather than a rigid dichotomy.
Most somatic practices have both representational and experiential dimensions and rewards , because there is a basic complementarity of representation and experience, outer and inner.
How we look influences how we feel, and vice versa. Practices such as dieting or bodybuilding that are initially pursued for representational ends often produce inner feelings that are then sought for their own experiential sake. A third category of pragmatic somaesthetics could be distinguished for disciplines that focus primarily on building strength, health, or skill and that would include practices such as weightlifting, athletics, and martial arts.
The different methodologies of pragmatic somaesthetics need also to be distinguished from actual somatic practice, which I construe in more robust terms than the mere writing and reading of body-related texts, even those outlining pragmatic methods. Thus, besides analytic and pragmatic branches of somaesthetics, there is a further branch — practical somaesthetics —which involves actually engaging in programs of disciplined, reflective, corporeal practice aimed at somatic self-improvement whether representational, experiential, or performative.
This dimension of not just saying but of physically doing seems sadly neglected by contemporary accounts of the body in philosophy and other humanities disciplines, though it has often been crucial to the idea of the philosophical life, and it is essential to the idea of somaesthetics as integrating both theory and practice. I therefore teach workshops on practical somaesthetics to convey this practical dimension in a more embodied way than merely verbal insistence. Researchers and practitioners in the field of Human-Computer Interaction have been increasingly engaging with somaesthetics in their work, particularly in the field of HCI design.
Though their interest initially surprised me, I should have expected it because the soma is central to everything that we do. Not only does it serve as the basic tool through which we perceive the world and deploy all further tools including computers but the soma is also our most intimate example of an interactive system of interdependent but also to some extent autonomously functioning interacting subsystems with extensive, complex, subtle, yet amazingly rapid and efficient feedback loops.
In plotting how computers interact with human systems, the multifaceted somatic complex system should be at the core. At present somaesthetic-related HCI design research includes both theoretical models and more concrete productions. My discussion will choose an example from each. One promising theoretical effort developed by Youn-Kyung Lim and her colleagues proposes a model that integrates the basic sensory and affective experience of the computer user together with the physical properties of the tools deployed in computer interaction and then explains how these and other factors produce higher, emergent qualities of interactive aesthetic Gestalt that belong to the overall interactive situation or experience footnote At this stage in somaesthetics research, we have only been concerned with somatic feelings of human bodies and thus with only one side of the HCI interaction.
But, in principle, it may be possible to consider the somaesthetics of nonhuman somas, including computer bodies. If these are complex, sensitive, and responsive enough in their perceptions and reactions, perhaps we can eventually speak, in some way, of their somatic experience in the interaction. Perhaps we can speak of their own bodily experience of or physical response to rough or clumsy handling or smoothly flowing use, even if there is no good way of attributing to these computers human-like conscious feelings.
This idea of computer or robotic somaesthetics may seem wildly futuristic, and it seems more promising for now to focus somaesthetic research on human somatic experience. But it would be wrong to preclude in principle that somaesthetics could be developed beyond the human soma to make its contribution to HCI research still richer by dealing with both sorts of bodies — organic and mechanical, particularly since the human soma is increasingly lived through mechanical enhancements, including such traditional ones as eyeglasses and hearing aids.
With respect to the lived integration of human and computer bodies I can bring an intriguing example of a practical application of somaesthetics to HCI research. Other works are soft computerized bodies that react to human touch but also to their own movement by responses of vibration, light, and sound which they can communicate wirelessly to enlarge the network of interactive response to other such bodies in the network footnote The practical applications of somaesthetics are as wide-ranging and diverse as the uses of the soma in our lives, for it is the core medium of all our perception, cognition, and action.
Its applications to the arts, to health and fitness, to socio-political issues such as racism, sexism, and ethnic hatred, and to education have been discussed extensively elsewhere footnote I confine my remarks here to applications in product design, with special attention to HCI. But I believe that the design of any product chair, cereal box, car, or cell phone could beneficially employ somaesthetic principles.
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Somaesthetics is not ergonomics. Somaesthetics works not only with the level of explicit consciousness of bodily feelings but with reflective somatic consciousness, that is with how awareness of the somatic feeling modifies that feeling. In this way, somaesthetics can provide for more effective, richer feedback loops in interaction. Moreover, somaesthetic recognition that our bodily perceptions and feelings are transmodal can help designers avoid the mistake of not taking into account sensory integration but rather base their interactive design by considering individual senses in isolation and treating them as separate capacities often to be ranked and hierarchized.
Somaesthetics appreciation of the particularities of individual body consciousness offers a further advantage for interactive design. Interactive products are not necessarily sensitive to individual tendencies so that each person must try to conform to the standards set by designers, which are often arbitrary and based on visual form. This greater responsiveness, if developed through changing input, could make the product interaction also more meaningful to the user, providing an input on his or her current state. Another example might be a hand-held object like a cell phone; how does the object feel in the hand.
The emphasis on lightness in design can be exaggerated. Sometimes things with a greater weight feel better in the hand and are more effectively held and used. The reasons for a heavier object feeling better to us can be very complex. They include not only sensory reasons and habitual expectations of certain weights but also psychological associations, for example the association of weight with sturdiness, durability, and thus reliability. The Danish audio-visual company Bang and Olufsen actually add unnecessary metal to their hand-held remote control products to give their consumers confidence that these products are well-made and sufficiently rugged to endure hard use.
More generally, designers could improve their design skills by becoming more aware of how they use themselves and how they feel when using particular products rather than merely thinking of how the product is conventionally used. Does the handle make your forefinger grip tightly, and how does this affect the rest of your arm, the rest of your body, and by extension, the feeling of drinking? Rooted in ancient philosophical ideas and body disciplines that have been reconceptualized through contemporary pragmatist philosophy, somaesthetics is firmly grounded in philosophy, history, and theory, but its future directions, I hope, will be increasingly interdisciplinary and practical.
It is a vast and extremely diverse research project that can welcome a wide variety of researchers. The most profitable interdisciplinary engagement I envisage for somaesthetics would not be a mechanical application of somaesthetic principles derived from philosophical speculation and then applied to another field such as health, design, art, and so on. A more rewarding future is for interdisciplinary teams to work together on somaesthetic questions in which experts in somaesthetic theory, disciplines of body consciousness, and other disciplinary fields interested in applying somaesthetic ideas would dialogue and experiment together.
It is hard to combat disciplinary inertia due to the professionalization of knowledge in terms of compartmentalized disciplinary structures and specialties, each with their restricted vocabularies and restricting gatekeepers. One way of tackling that problem is through a practical workshop setting in which theoretical ideas not only can be exemplified and tested in real life somatic actions but can also be refined and new ideas generated through experiential input that is filtered and elaborated through transdisciplinary communication but rooted in a common experiential process structured by the workshop protocol.
As disciplines such as HCI show greater interest in somaesthetics, I envisage working with IT and design experts in developing criteria for somatic profiles of use, comfort, ease, and pleasure that could be employed in interactive design. The field of robotics is another HCI area to which somaesthetics could contribute by analyzing how people feel in interacting with other bodies both human and mechanical in space.
Such studies could teach us what robotic movements and not simply what robotic shapes are friendlier for human interaction. In addition, there is a somaesthetics bibliography of the author and a somaesthetics bibliography of other authors. Cambridge University Press. I begin my commentary by expressing my excitement to see an important philosopher directly engaging the HCI community. For a relationship between somaesthetics and HCI to prosper, linkages will need to be developed.
Doing so is a book or at least a lengthy journal article, and I have here only a commentary to work with. So I will pursue the more modest goal of sketching out a position for somaesthetics in HCI, with the hope that others from HCI, from philosophy will join those of us who are already exploring those linkages. My thesis in this commentary is that somaesthetics occupies a unique theoretical position in our field, able to connect pragmatist approaches to HCI design theory, experience design and embodied approaches to HCI affective computing; mobile, pervasive, and ubiquitous computing.
This has implications both for users, and in particular, norms for serving users in the deepest and most important ways possible ; and also for interaction designers, and in particular, the cultivation of the professional self as an expert subject. My argument will first sketch out recent calls for a more designerly HCI, exploring what those calls really mean, and specifying the challenges this community faces in responding to them; and second it will explore somaesthetics and related pragmatist traditions as a collection of useful concepts that has practical, pedagogical, and normative implications for a somaesthetic HCI.
I will conclude by reflecting on some limitations of somaesthetics and HCI, which could guide future work. As is well documented elsewhere, since the s there have been increasing calls for a more designerly approach to HCI, calls which have picked up steam since As computing has moved from the workplace and into everyday life, e. Today design is a thriving subcommunity of HCI, with its own official subcommunity within CHI, a highly successful biannual conference in DIS, and ongoing calls for even more design contributions to the field.
This turning towards design is often couched in critiques of the limits of social scientific approaches that have dominated HCI for decades. There is a lot going on in this quote, including a critique of an HCI dogma that privileges objective measures over other legitimate forms of design knowledge-making, a prioritization of the social sciences over design and engineering innovation, and above all the practical consequences that we are too narrow to innovate. Restating this argument more simply, Greenberg and Buxton imply that innovation depends on subjective expertise and is hard to get at using the objective methods valorized by the HCI community.
So the lack of design thinking inhibits innovation, and it is characterized by impoverished theory and a dogmatic fetish for objectivity. What then is a designerly approach to HCI? What sorts of theories, methodological strategies, and goals add up to a designerly HCI? A few choice quotes can at least offer some insights:. Whereas user-centered design positions the designer in an almost passive position of discovering existing needs using scientific methods and then designing around and for what is discovered in that activity, traditional design activates the designer as a perceptive, insightful, and imaginative meaning-maker, an ability that is individualistic to a certain degree and dependent on judgment rather than data, and offers a radically different view of the foundations of a design problematic.
Cockton offers a more specific account of the sorts of things that designers do as a part of their profession:. This is a different sort of list than one might expect from a traditional textbook on HCI: reflection, theory, a foregrounding of purpose, transdisciplinarity, thoughtfulness, exploration of alternative design means all characterize a designerly approach. Again, the role of a subjective expertise is unmistakeable in this list. It is quite easy to imagine how one designer could be superior at reflection, use of theory, creativity with alternative means, and so on than another.
Guiding all of this seems to be a holistic interpretation of what the design will be, accompanied by a rationale, and vetted by an intensely iterative and ongoing critical process involving stakeholders and other designers. This situates design in a dialogic and argumentative tradition. Again, the subjective expertise of the designer—as an active meaning-maker and speculative reasoner—is the foundation of the whole activity.
Others are brought in on similar terms: their own ability to interpret, frame, re-frame, and speculate determines the quality of critical feedback that they can provide. In short, design professionals require a cultivated ability to read socio-cultural signs and trends; a creative and reasoned ability to explore alternative futures; a verbal ability to articulate these activities; a receptiveness to alternative framings and a willingness to explore highly variable alternative directions; and above all a personal identity or coherence that holds all of these moving parts together through a given process.
Much more is personally demanded of designers than is personally demanded of traditional usability engineers. There are several answers to this question.centsachoobihe.gq
Creating such a culture has implications both for how interaction designers are trained and also for how the community legitimates certain knowledge practices. But however that happens, one thing is for certain: theory is going to be in the middle of it. Theory has historically been central to design and the humanities, inasmuch as each is concerned with the insightful and imaginative understanding of culture. Inasmuch as HCI now wants such accomplishments to be part of its discipline, HCI will have to get over its aversion to theory and fetish for methods.
And this is where a philosophical program such as somaesthetics enters the picture. This context translates to some core positions. One core position is a formulation of somaesthetics as comprising a holistic and even organic perspective on life, work, and the self. HCI has long debated about the relative values of function versus aesthetics, with traditional HCI siding with function; but Shusterman follows Dewey in rejecting the distinction and seeing aesthetics as a holistic and inclusive term that encompasses the categories traditionally subsumed under function and form. Shusterman follows Dewey in rejecting divisions, distinctions, formalisms, and hierarchies.
This is not merely an abstract chin-scratching philosophical position, but rather a practical position that has serious methodological implications: it basically rejects atomism or scientific reductionism of experience Bernstein, Applied to HCI, such a view would reject the ways that affect researchers decompose affect into mood and emotion, emotion into positive and negative valence, positive valence into n number of positive emotions, and each of those into d degrees of intensity.
Somaesthetics, like any other philosophical position, can be characterized as comprising a system of relating concepts. I will consider this in two different directions, both of which are central to HCI:. Among the most common views of aesthetic perception in HCI is the stimulus-response model. On this view, an object in the world, such as an interface, acts as a stimulus to the human cognitive system, which responds to it, e. But the stimulus-response model has epistemological limitations, and these have implications for interaction design professionals.
The key limitation is that such a model assumes the existence of certain interpretative skill in the first place. For instance, when we go to a museum or historical site, a docent not only relates historical backgrounds and contexts, but more importantly tells us what to look at. But if it is right before our eyes all along i. Why is it that a professional and amateur photographer standing side-by-side looking at the same thing will take very different pictures of it?
How can a professional designer look at a given design material and come up with surprising and expressive new forms, where others simply rehash existing forms? Docents, accomplished photographers, and designers see and understand in richer ways than others do, and this is fundamental to their professional abilities. In the stimulus-response model, and in most empirical science itself, such qualities have no meaningful place. Visual stimuli, and by extension empirical data, are seen to speak for themselves: the experiencing subject has only to perceive them to understand them.
Much UX research in this tradition assumes that research subjects are fundamentally interchangeable and simply seeks to average their physiological or reported emotional responses e. But what Shusterman wants to emphasize is—and here he is leveraging phenomenological hermeneutics and reader-response theory as well as pragmatism—that understanding and hermeneutic skill must also exist before perception. Though we often speak commonsensically as if object, lightwaves, visual perception, mental image, understanding, judgment, and decisionmaking all happened in a causal linear sequence, in fact it cannot characterize what actually happens.
Meaning-making is an active process; meaning is not a form stamped in our cognition like a seal ring to wax. Some people can perceive more keenly than others; some have more penetrating insights, some have a greater imaginative capacity. Somaesthetics is substantially responsive to the calls for a design sensibility in HCI because it offers an epistemological account of what such a sensibility actually is: a sensitive, imaginative, penetrating, tasteful, poetic, and expressive habit or disposition to design problems, materials, processes, opportunities, and situations.
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But how does one achieve such habit or disposition? Common to each of these is a long-term commitment to body refinement. Thus, for Shusterman, the cultivation of somatic sensibility is an outcome of corporeal training. And surely he is right about this. I trained myself to skate well enough to join an amateur hockey league, and I also enjoy watching ice hockey.
It is certainly the case that my appreciation for the watching the sport is partly based on a somatic understanding of the sheer skill of good players: people who have themselves tried to skate backwards while turning and accelerating and also while controlling a puck and keeping it from an opposing player can almost physically appreciate the somatic aesthetics of such movements as they are displayed gracefully and effortlessly in a professional game. Indeed, how many somatic spectacles e.
Somatic training is also a part of HCI. These are all somatic exercises, and all of them require considerable training before anyone becomes good at them. Even among HCI researchers, the rising interest in critical design e. Critical design is not easy to do, and seems to be an activity that requires iteration, practice, and training Bardzell et al. The other obvious area of HCI that involves somatic training is pedagogy. Somatic training is substantially responsive to the call for a design sensibility because it relates design processes and practices to the underlying epistemology of an expert subject.
Design processes are a form of somatic training: they entail disciplined embodied practices, and these practices eventually heighten perceptual and expressive sensitivities towards human needs, visual forms, problem reframings, socio-cultural meanings.
Much of my commentary thus far has focused on the suitability of somaesthetics as a theory that offers a rich and useful account for training the specialized sensibilities expected of design professionals. And that means that somaesthetics also provides normative criteria for the design of aesthetic experiences for users.
That is, if we want to reframe UX away from usability and towards something more robustly aesthetic, then we need to replace existing UX goals with new ones. Traditional ones include low task completion time, low error rates, high learnability, etc. Kutti proposes three alternative criteria that seem in the spirit of Deweyan pragmatism:. These sound like good goals, but their abstractness creates a practical challenge for designers.
Here somaesthetic and pragmatist theory can begin to unpack some of these concepts. From a pragmatist perspective, aesthetic interaction should contribute to some combination of the following user experience-abilities. The following are normative goods valorized by pragmatism in general and somaesthetics in particular. That is, an aesthetic interaction is one that adheres or contributes to some critical mass of the following:. An aesthetic experience is one in which a the aesthetic goods listed above are experienced or felt , and also b the experience of them contributes to the long-term somaesthetic skills of insightful perception, imagination, meaningful self-stylization, and a disposition to do good.
All of this is not to suggest that every single interaction design must meet all of the above norms; rather, pragmatist holism would seem to suggest that interactions need only to contribute to and participate in lived ecologies where these qualities are experienced and subsequently cultivated through practice into skills.
It is the lived world that ideally needs to have these qualities, not every single thing a person touches within the lived world. But inasmuch as our lived world is artificially designed—buildings, clothing, parks, appliances, furniture, and now interactive technologies—the burden is on us as designers to make that artificial world humane.
Somaesthetics offers normative criteria and a conceptual vocabulary to facilitate the design and evaluation of humane interactive products. It is probably obvious that I am sympathetic to somaesthetics and believe that it can contribute to HCI and interaction design. By exploring both strengths and limitations, as a field we can use theories more effectively and have some sense for when alternative theories are needed. At stake is an epistemological disagreement about how best to produce knowledge.
A traditional experimental methodology, such as that described by Tractinsky in his interaction-design. For Kutti at least, such an approach is the antithesis of how designers operate:. I think there is a valid point here. And now I will also add that I think a somaesthetic approach to HCI basically has the same shortcoming for basically the same reasons. Again, while somaesthetics is strong at offering an account of how an individual trains or cultivates the self as a perceiver and expresser not just a thinker , it offers fewer tools to try to understand the content of particular experience x , and yet designers do have reason to want to know that.
For an encyclopedia entry on interaction design, Shusterman not only used examples that take a lot of work for HCI readers to understand in the way that he wants them to, but he also missed opportunities to explore somaesthetic HCI with appropriate examples from the field. Nonetheless, it is a huge missed opportunity, not just rhetorically in terms of his ability to persuade HCI readers to engage with somaesthetics but also substantively some examples from HCI surely would help everyone think more deeply about somaesthetic HCI.
An obvious starting point is the field of robotics, in particular robotic work for domestic settings and everyday contexts, where the robots are designed to be appropriately meaningful as computational bodies in everyday life. They can be delicate and beautiful. Beyond robotics, several areas of HCI have explored embodied computational artifacts in relation to human embodiment. In designing for bodily experiences, there has been a lack of theories that can provide the underpinnings we need to understand and deepen our design thinking.
Despite all the work we have seen on designing for embodiment Dourish, , and others , the actual corporeal, pulsating, live, felt body has been notably absent from both theory and practical work. At the same time, digital products have become an integral part of the fabric of everyday life, the pleasures and pains they give, their contribution to our social identity, or their general aesthetics are now core features of their design.
We see more and more attempts to design explicitly for bodily experiences with digital technology, but it is a notably challenging design task.
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With the advent of new technologies, such as biosensors worn on your body, interactive clothes, or wearable computers such as mobiles equipped with accelerometers, a whole space of possibilities for gesture-based, physical and body-based interaction is opened. How can we do a better job in interaction design involving our bodies — the sacred guardians of our identity? To design for corporeal, bodily, movement-based interactions, speaking to our senses and aesthetic experiences is difficult. Three questions immediately pops to my mind. First, what kinds of subjective, pleasurable or displeasurable, experiences are we aiming to design for?
We need to drill deeper and better understand exactly what experiences we are talking about.