Between 16th – 27th of November 2015 I was invited to teach a course at the National University of the Arts in Bucharest on interactive art and design. The course was addressed to master students from Textile and Fashion Department.
The course “Performative Objects, Augmented Materials, Critical Actors” addresses the issues related to the increasingly presence of interactive objects, reactive materials and connected producers. Made possible by the democratization of electronic and computational devices, movements and communities created around Arduino soft- and hardware, FabLabs, New Craftisms, Make magazine and Maker fairs, Hackatons are gaining importance. After a first incubation period into academic and artistic silages, the interactivity is now transferred to an enlarged community, gaining new dimensions.
The course intends to offer a theoretical introduction to what defines interactivity, to follow its historical developments and to offer a framework for a critical approach of its implications for both the formal means of expression and the production constraints.
After a first introduction to some of the interactivity key notions (information, computation, cybernetics, theory of action, actor-network theory) and a short analysis of how our understanding of what matter is has changed following last century scientific discoveries and technological advancements (augmented materials, materials as machines) we will critically analyse the ways in which the digitalization had affected our modes of conception and project implementation (labour, creative work, industries, creative industries).
Therefore, our scrutiny will be multi-layered: from what could be a pertinent and significant interactive object, to what constitutes a radical design (a design questioning its modes of production). A particular interest will be dedicated to the methods used in the design processes.