Phd Dissertation

Crafting digital artifacts: a sympoietic approach to HCI


This dissertation presents a practice-based, three-year academic inquiry into the possibilities and emergent properties of blending crafts with digital technology to mediate biotic data and foster empathy with nature. This dissertation comprises a selection of publications and artifacts, framed by an overview. This dissertation has been developed through a sympoietic, (i.e. collective creation or organization) process, using craft-based practice as its point of departure. My work is motivated primarily by concerns about current environmental destruction, which I perceive as a symptom of a significant ontological rift between humans and the natural environment, that is at the core of the dissertation lies an interest in restoring a respectful relationship between humans and the nonhumans of this world, such as materials and organisms, through the use digital technology combined with design and craft practice.

This dissertation’s contributions fall into three general categories:

1) Exemplary: introduces three handcrafted, digital artifacts and installations, each presenting an instance of embodied design knowledge;

2) Conceptual: posits two design concepts which may be used as guiding principles for applied design practices, and to evaluate projects in the nascent field of craft-based HCI and related practices, such as Research through Design;

3) Epistemological: presents a methodological framework based on sympoiesis, which may be used to evaluate and understand practice-based research trajectories, which are often perceived as messy and unstructured.

Owing to the sympoietic nature of my research, I do not regard any of the three contributions as playing a primary role, but perceive each as a mutually constitutive and interdependent part of a greater, coherent whole.

The various research outcomes are discussed in detail in the publications I have included and, in case of the artifacts, have been exhibited and disseminated internationally. In addition to the publications and artifacts, the overview introduces an explicit and detailed chapter on sympoietic methodology, and a discussion of craft-based HCI as a sympoietic practice.

Author: Raune Frankjaer (2019).

The full text can be found here: CraftingDigitalArtifacts_SympoieticHCI_phd_frankjaer

Documentation of the artifacts presented in the dissertation is here: dissertationArtifacts_phd_frankjaer