Last evening we had a great exhibition of six 'critical designs' called "The Fragile Self in Anxious Times." The exhibition was part of our involvement in the Intel ISTC Social Computing project. The designs are by our PhD students Shad Gross and Youngsuk Lee who are working with Jeff Bardzell, Shaowen Bardzell and me.
The six designs are exciting examples of what happens when you design interactive devices that are not designed for a well defined purpose and functionality and without any well-defined intended user. The designs are meant to express some aspects of 'criticality'. (I should have some pictures here of course, maybe I can add that later.)
In relation to the concrete design work we are also developing a theoretical framework about what 'criticality' stands for in design. The reason for this work is that we found ourselves quite frustrated with the way critical design has previously been defined. We are making good progress and will at some point present our theoretical framework.
Anyway, yesterday we had the exhibition and about 50 students and faculty were engaged with the designs, all documenting their immediate thoughts and reflections. We were also happy to have Melissa Gregg from Intel visiting us during the exhibition.