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Critical Waves

Tatar, D. (2015) “Critical Waves” Interactions, 13 July. Available at: [accessed 15th July 2015]

Tatar’s blog for Interactions reviews some of the current work in Critical Design and reflects in it’s relationship to HCI. Her post argues that the development of a Critical Design canon could be problematic for young designers and students. The writing works to highlight the similarities in meaning making in Critical Design and Contemporary or Conceptual Arts where the work is read with the use of “meta-data” to try and decipher the intentions of the piece. There are a number of problems with some of the posts assertions, for instance it it situated the audiences reception as only informed by the “juju marketing and circumstance give it.” but understands the cultural nexus that a design object inhabits once released into the public. The emphasis is on the design object to be able to be read and deciphered accurately, which is deeply rooted in a Structuralists understanding of meaning making, and ignores polysemic meaning construction and the work of the Post-Structuralists. This could be to do with the authors roots in the Computer Sciences but never the less there is a growing body of work which looks to decipher the authorial meaning and intent in Critical Design Practice which may sit in odds with the original mantras. The piece draws heavily on Bardzell and Bardzell’s work on Critical Design and the modes and methods for meaning construction and analysis of work from the field (summarised elsewhere on the blog)

Further Reading

Ferri, G., Bardzell, J., Bardzell, S., & Louraine, S. (2014, June). Analyzing critical designs: categories, distinctions, and canons of exemplars. In Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Designing interactive systems. (pp. 355-364). ACM.

Pierce, J., Sengers, P., Hirsch, T., Jenkins, T., Gaver, W., & DiSalvo, C. (2015, April). Expanding and Refining Design and Criticality in HCI. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2083-2092). ACM.

Tatar, D. (2007). The design tensions framework. Human–Computer Interaction, 22(4), 413-451.

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