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Keeping in Touch: Situating myself amidst the incomprehensible systems of the modern world through intimate, everyday interactions

posted on 31.10.2022, 19:29 authored by Malika Khurana

In our modern world of networks, sensors, and interfaces, there is a promise that technology will allow us to connect to others and better understand and predict the world around us. Our digital tools manage our experience of

time, space, and relationships to make them supposedly better: efficient, seamless, and accessible. In that convenience, we stop effortfully orienting and noticing for ourselves, and grow disconnected from phenomena around us. Rather than striving for interactions that are so seamless that we do not feel or register anything, we need to create more seams in how we experience the world: the way we mark months, perceive global-scale distances, and/or check the time of day. These seams give us opportunities to stay engaged and anchor ourselves in time and space through our relationships with the natural world and other people.

In this thesis, I outline my criteria for experiences that create these anchoring opportunities, as a directive for this project and my future work. I design three intimate, daily interactions with a situated and embodied approach, to anchor myself in the relationships and contexts in which I am entangled. I enable myself to participate in the passage of time with a textile calendar that I unravel each day, direct my thoughts to loved ones in other parts of the world through an orientation-based radio, and reference the time of day through a web application that shows a photograph of the sky. I find that the interactions that ask for some effort from myself, through physical movement, time, and attention, are most enriching and anchoring. The craft of designing interactions that ask something of a person, without feeling like work, requires nuance and understanding that this thesis explores in detail.




Degree Type

Master's Thesis



Degree Name

  • Master of Science in Computational Design (MSCD)


Daragh Byrne, Golan Levin, Mark Baskinger

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