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Introduction   Project in brief   Seminar


Project in brief

Cultural Usability is a preliminary research project funded in 2000-01 by the University of Art and Design Helsinki UIAH and carried out at the university’s Media Lab. The project develops critical approaches to new media design by creating exchanges between cultural studies, sociology of technology, design research and technology development.

In addition to work by the two researchers, the project involves seminars which aim at bringing a critical orientation to the study and practice of new media. Some of its these approaches are published on this site. Among its results the project proposes a framework of further research directions and collaboration.

Project researchers

Minna Tarkka’s professional activities include writing, production and education within media, art and design. As professor at the Media Lab, University of Art and design (1996-), she has been responsible for developing the department’s interdisciplinary MA in New Media programme. Currently she is involved in research concerning the discursive and rhetorical aspects of interactive design practice.

Heidi Tikka is a practicing media artist and researcher at UIAH Media Lab. Her work explores visual technologies and the subjectivities they constitute; the dislocations produced by her installations deconstruct spectatorship as a spatial and bodily experience. In the context of feminist analysis, she has inquired into spatialities, distance and representation. Currently she elaborates on the notion of affectivity in interface design and media art, approaching it as a series of boundary breakdowns in intersubjective as well as subject-object relationships.

Project participants

Cultural Usability seminar at the Media Lab

During Fall 2000, the researchers led a seminar for media design students at UIAH Media Lab. The work involved lectures and discussions as well as readings of key texts in cultural studies, science, technology and society and philosophpy of technology.

The student participants engaged in a dialogue with these critical approaches and their design own practice, in case studies and working papers dealing with interface and information design, classification, software design, collaborative design and learning, virtual communities, cybertext and the design of mobile and augmented spaces. This work will be continued in thesis projects and other productions (see student presentations in the Participants section).