Introduction Project in brief Seminar
This is a list of the abstracts and biographies of Keynote speakers in
the Cultural Usability Seminar 24.4.0, the program
of the seminar is available here
Located accountabilities in technology production
This paper explores the relevance of feminist reconstructions of subject/object
relations, or what Helen Verran has named ontic/epistemic politics,
for the development of alternative practices of technology production
and use. I take as my starting place the working relations that make
up the design and use of technical systems. Working relations are understood
as sociomaterial connections that sustain the visible and invisible
work required to construct coherent technologies and put them into use.
I outline the boundaries that characterize current relations of development
and use, and the reconfigurations required to transform them. Three
contrasting positions for design - the view from nowhere, detached intimacy,
and located accountability - are discussed as alternative bases for
a politics of professional design practice. From the position of located
accountability, I close by sketching aspects of what a feminist politics
and associated practices of technology production could be.
Lucy Suchman is Professor in the Sociology Department
at Lancaster University. She received a Ph.D. in Social/Cultural Anthropology
from the University of California at Berkeley, and spent twenty years
as a researcher at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. Her research has
centered on the sociomaterial practices that make up technical systems,
explored through critical studies and through experimental, interdisciplinary
and participatory interventions in new technology design.
Hunting for the lost user
The concept of usability is directly connected with the concept of
user. This has, however, meant very different things in different times.
The paper traces the changes in the conception what the user is and
what is user's role in system development through the last 25 years
in the areas of information systems design, human-computer interaction
and computer-supported cooperative work. This development has not been
linear or straightforward, on the contrary, but a certain evolution
from a passive informant in the process towards an active actor and
cooperative constructor of one's own lifeworld can be identified.
Kari Kuutti is a professor of Human-Computer Interaction
and Group Technology in the Department of Information Processing Science
at the University of Oulu. His research interest lies in the relationship
between humans, computer systems, and organizations. He has been working
mainly in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction, Computer-Supported
Cooperative Work and Information Systems helping to construct methods
to develope usable and useful computer technology.
The collective designer
Modern design was born with the Bauhaus in the beginning of the last
century. It was a great political project with a background in the radicalm
and revolutionary movements of that time in Europe. The Bauhaus designer
was a collective designer and his design manifestos envisioned a new
unit of art and technology in the service of the people. However, as
all Utopias also the Bauhaus showed to be full of contradictions. Transformed
into modernism and functionalism it produced rational living contexts
of regular geometric shapes far from the dreams of the people that had
to occupy them. Later we have had other collective designers: Scandinavian
design, socio-technical design, participatory design, etc. All with
great espoused politics as collective designers, with democratic dreams,
and lost Utopias. The contemporary designers in the information age
rather participate in hybrid networks of mind and matter than make modern
products. Could this participation be carried out as professional wisdom
and artistry taking the form of collective design as an anxious act
of political love? Is this yet another espoused vain dream of democratic
utopism lacking concrete power analysis, or is there action space in
the new networks for the reflective collective designer to participate
in shaping a new unit of art and technology in the service of humanity?
Pelle Ehn is professor at the School of Arts and Communication
at Malmö University, and one of the founders of the school and
of the Interactive Institute, the associated national research institute.
For the last 15 years his research has been focused on design and digital
media. His books and papers in journals and international conferences
on the subject include Computers and Democracy (1987), Work-Oriented
Design of Computer Artifacts (1988), Scandinavian Design - on skill
and participation (1992) and Manifesto for a Digital Bauhaus (1998).
Digital consumption: from the market direct to the home
The burgeoning of the industrial age was visited by various stoic,
epicurian and academic reincarnations, through Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham,
Thomas Carlisle, and John Ruskin. The antagonism they provoked persists
in contemporary discourses surrounding digital media and its economic
aspects. An examination of these ancient legacies, and the spatial metaphors
on which they drew, sheds light on design with and for digital media,
in ways other than those offered by the prevalent Marxist critique.
We follow Aristotle in settling on the origins of economic theory in
the home. The home also provides the latest target for e-commerce: as
the presumed site of both unmediated consumption and the amateur entrepreneur.
Professor of Architectural Computing and Head of the
Department of Achitecture at the University of Edinburgh, Richard Coyne
is the author of Designing Information Technoloy in the Postmodern Age
: From Method to Metaphor, 1995, and Technoromanticism : Digital Narrative,
Holism, and the Romance of the Real, 1999, both published by The MIT
Press. Currently he is engaged in research on e-commerce and design
and economic theory.