First of many assignments when returning to UID (second year, finally) was to define Aesthetics of Interactions. In. thirty. minutes. 5 weeks later we had to revise and I'm finally less annoyed by the outcome. Promising. I hope I will make sense of it at some point. Here we go:
The Aesthetics of Interaction
The Aesthetics of Interaction is how an experience mediates our understanding of the world. Interactions can be expressed using similar terms to languages, such as rhetoric or figures of speech. But the absence of a unique strong goal (such as efficiency or persuasion only) when analysing an interaction can produce richer* expressions and journeys through emotions, feelings, thoughts and actions.
Since we can't restrict interactions to only one type of media, the Aesthetic principles are also not restricted. By trying to design or observe an interaction is possible to identify those principles. Yet they seem unnoticed to us most of the time on our daily life. This bridge between an artefact and an experience has many formats, such as words used as rhetorical figures. Every contact with an artefact starts a chain of events in our mind and bodies, with pleasant or unpleasant effects. Our reactions toward these effects are instinctive. Our cultural background mediates the conclusions or long-term reactions. We express these ‘interactive figures’ aiming to repeat, omit, transfer or transform our perception. With that we affect our emotions towards the artefact and ultimately our actions.
The role of “goal” while design interactions is different from result. Analysing the context we can identify a Subject, an Experience, an Artefact and an Agent, and a goal can be a motivation from only one of these parts. An Agent is someone who either placed, designed or observed the Experience between a Subject and an Artefact. A Subject can sometimes be in the role of Agent, when the action is observation of its own experience, a reflective position. Each piece of an Experience can act as a certain rhetorical figure. But the group of figures reveals its intention when combined with the Subject knowledge and instinctive reactions.
The three dimensions of aesthetic elements of interaction influence our dialog with the artefact: arrangement, intensity and form. The arrangement concerns the order of the elements, the sequence we interact with them, if there is any. The intensity is how our emotions will be affect by them. The form is the media, how it gets in contact with us. A person can occupy the place of a form of aesthetic element. As an example, a message carried on written paper by a specific person can influence the reception to the message.
*richer than the passive interaction analyzed by other fields today