Soma Design foregrounds the lived body of the designer, involving extensive bodily experience through personal practice. It entails an active stance, inviting us to seek out new bodily practices and, in its application within HCI, new digital technologies to support these. Soma Design therefore encourages us to design for deepening aesthetic appreciation and meaning-making from a position as sentient, subjective selves. Through engaging somatically with the digital and physical materials we design with, their somaesthetic potential is revealed and can be shaped into felt experiences relevant to the design aims. I will discuss how we approach this challenge through Soma Design—a process that allows designers to examine and improve on connections between sensation, feeling, emotion, subjective understanding and values— nd their relationships to technology.
I will argue that by engaging in a soma design process we can better probe which designs lead to: deepened somatic awareness; social awareness of others in the environment and how they are affected by the human-technology assemblage; enactments of bodily freedoms rather than limitations; making norms explicit; engage with a pluralist feminist position on who we are designing for; aesthetic experience and expression; and, ultimately an aesthetic and ethical position on how to design for being human.
Kristina Höök is Professor in Interaction Design at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and also works part-time at RISE. Höök has published numerous journal papers, books and book chapters, and conference papers in highly renowned venues. A frequent keynote speaker, she is known for her work on social navigation, seamfulness, mobile services, affective interaction and lately, designing for bodily engagement in interaction through soma design. Her competence lies mainly in interaction design and user studies helping to form design. She has obtained numerous national and international grants, awards, and fellowships including the Cor Baayen Fellowship by ERCIM (European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics), the INGVAR award, she is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and elected ACM SIGCHI Academy. Professor Höök is one of the world’s leading researchers on Human-computer interaction (HCI).
Höök is also a horseback rider, mother, grandmother, and feminist.
Please note: While visiting SLATE in Bergen for her guest lecture in March, Professor Höök will also act as the first opponent for the PhD defense of Joakim Vindenes, a PhD Candidate at SLATE. The event takes place on Thursday March 30th at 10:00 - 14:00 at Sydneshaugen skole, Auditorium A, the University of Bergen. The topic of Joakim Vindenes' thesis is the interaction between human beings and VR technology, and the PhD defense is open for all to attend.