Soma Design – An Experiential, Felt, Aesthetic Interaction Design Stance

Course coordinator: Kristina Höök, KTH

Dates: October 12-15 2021

  • 12th of October: arrival around dinner-time at the place where the course will take be given
  • 13 – 15th of October: course activities that require physical presence — uninterrupted time
  • 15th of October: we end around 16 in the afternoon

Register to Soma Design Course here.

Information about the course:

To take the course, we expect students to read some material before they come. The actual course days will be mainly physical, bodily activities and design work together. Afterwards, to get approved, we expect a short text describing the take-away from the course or alternatively, a design diary.

The course will probably take place in one of the islands in the Swedish Archipelago. We will book this as soon as we know how many plan to attend.

Short description of Soma Design:

Somaesthetic Design entails a qualitative shift from a predominantly symbolic, language-oriented stance, to an experiential, felt, aesthetic stance permeating the whole design and use cycle.  We draw upon the theories of Richard Shusterman on somaesthetics, joining the two words soma and aesthetics:

• Soma: Our “living, purposive, sentient, perceptive body or bodily subjectivity”

• Aesthetics: the process of training your sensory appreciation abilities, allowing for “an awakening from the mindless, joyless behaviours” of everyday life

Soma Design is an analytical project, but also, by necessity, a pragmatic study of methodologies to improve our functioning as designers and in our design work; as well as a practical study where we test those pragmatic methods on ourselves and our design work to render concrete experience. The course will teach some of the key activities in a soma design process: increasing body awareness, increasing awareness of the technical affordances of autonomous systems/AI-systems, the coming together of the two into design work.