Is data a 'design material' - maybe knots have the answer

We had various presences at the workshop Data as a Material for Design at the 2023 CHI conference. Jesse was one of the co-organisers; thank you to him and the rest of that team for arranging a brilliantly-run workshop.

Meanwhile I and Dave co-authored some poems inspired by the work of R.D. Laing, collated them into a paper, and presented that as our contribution to the workshop. This extended a line of work that I and Dave first explored when using digital portraiture to explore the materiality of Machine Learning and, I was happy to discover that we weren’t the first to connect Laing’s work to design research when I discovered that Dan Lockton (whom we visited on our Lab Engagement series) had adopted a similar approach in the past.

You can read the poems and download the paper here: The Words are Knots and data is not not a Design material.

Example poem from the paper I have smashed many vases (extract from the paper)

Written by

Dr Joseph Lindley

Joe leads Design Research Works and is a Senior Research Fellow at Lancaster University. He is passionate about the value of Design Research, in particular in applying that value to the challenges associated with emerging technologies, rapid societal change, and living sustainably. Probably best described as a 'generalist' his research practice usually involves material engagements with possible futures.