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Søren Rasmussen

Designing Through the Archive: Eventful Organisations of Memory and Affect in Co-Creative Interaction Design

1. title and short overview of your PhD thesis. With the working title “Designing Through the Archive: Eventful Organisations of Memory and Affect in Co-Creative Interaction Design”, my PhD investigates how new digital apparatuses of archival organisation influence the constitution of memory and the distribution of power. The PhD deals with sociotechnical issues on both an affective and a discursive level, and it experimentally questions how knowledge is captured, accessed, and disseminated, and who controls the archives of contemporary digitized society.

The PhD is situated within the field of interaction design, and more specifically it focuses on co-creative design processes and power distributions herein and discusses interaction design research and practice as a core driver of contemporary culture.

2. the nature of your ‘non-written work'. My ‘non-written work’ range from collaboratively annotated video and audio recordings, over public interactions with a sound installation and a design team’s interactions with a probe, to multimedia presentations of research edited by the audience in real time. The nature of my work is multimodal including audio, video, photos, diagrams and drawings, physical artefacts and objects created and collected.

3. in what way your ‘non-written work' relates to your PhD thesis. Working with a kind of Research through Design, the design projects and experiments I conduct and engage in throughout the duration of my PhD continuously inform my theoretical outset. Likewise, I engage in theoretical thinking that informs how I create and perform design experiments, particularly in exploring different philosophical concepts. This way, new forms and formulations of thought and actions inform each other.

4. how you integrate or consider integrating your ‘non-written work' into your PhD thesis. I have chosen to write my dissertation as a monograph. The reason for this is a wish to experiment with the traditional format of the written dissertation due to the experimental focus of my PhD on archival organisations of knowledge. I consider implementing multiple reading techniques into the dissertation that allows for it to be accessed and read differently. I will thus attempt not so much to write about my design experiments as to translate and incorporate their techniques into the dissertation.

5. which scholarly traditions you base your methodology on. In order to form an understanding of the cultural, social, and political issues at stake in designing digital systems and artefacts, I need to look at different levels of abstraction – from technical execution, over designerly conception and production, to societal adoption. With interaction design as the core (multidisciplinary) scholarly tradition, I position my research at the threshold of multiple traditions and disciplines and draw on traditions such as Human-Computer Interaction, process philosophy, cultural theory, and software studies.

6. which difficulties you have encountered regarding your ‘non-written work’. Having an experimental focus on power relations and distributions in design processes means that I also have to take my own positions as designer and researcher into account, since I intentionally or not intervene into existing relations. It may be difficult to articulate such meta-approach to design and research practices.

7. what you wish to gain from the workshop. I wish to discuss the potential for experimental research to not take time from the PhD project but instead give time. Rather than having to think of practice-oriented research as a structural disadvantage compared to more theoretically and analytically oriented fellow scholars, I would like to build an understanding of how the, often invisible, design work may be appreciated in its own right.