Visual Communication: Course

The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation (IL)

Interplay - Dialogic interaction

Arnon Asher, Prof., Semester 2, Thursday, 14:00-18:00
The aim of the course is to approach interaction design from the standpoint that interaction is a multidimensional dialogic event which meaning spans beyond the goal of achieving efficiency in the encounter between “user” and “interface”.The term Interplay resembles the term Interaction however differs in emphasis. While Interaction depicts the encounter between different agents and the way they activate each other, Interplay emphasises the reciprocity among them - the way they affect each other and mainly the combined effect of their encounter. Hence, if we think of an interface as a plane for a user to act, the notion of Interplay suggests a possibility of transformation of both the plane (i.e. the interface) and the user as a result of their encounter. For example; in an encounter between two football teams the performance of each of the groups affects the performance of the other and the interplay between them may yield an enthralling (or disappointing) game for the audience. Such is the encounter between musicians performing in a jam session or that of a robotic vacuum cleaner with the apartment space through which it navigates (and the condition it was left in by the dwellers). The emphasis in all these examples is on interaction as an event in which different agents converge for a dialogue which outcome is not predetermined rather than on an “interactive” object. The course will deal with dialogic interactive events between different agents through a few interdependent dimensions: - The spatial dimension in which the interaction takes place and through which we will explore verbal, visual and sonic mediums (and their combinations) as platforms for delivering information in physical or virtual spaces. - The temporal dimension, through which we will explore possible evolutions of interactive encounters, such as predetermined scripts, improvisation or chance.- The perceptual and cognitive dimension through which we will explore elements such as instincts, cultural conventions and subjective points of view which affect our senses (visual, auditive and tactile) and the way we experience, interpret and react to the interaction. The course’s standpoint is that every encounter between a visually-communicative object and an audience includes an interactive situation, however commonly with an emphasis on one-directional communication which goal is to deliver a clear message and to evoke an anticipated reaction rather than a dialogue. Hence the course espiers to explore possibilities of open-ended formats which invite undetermined and unexpected elements into the construction of the outcome. The course’s outcomes will be conceptual, critical and practical and will be realised in diverse mediums (image, sound and space) according to the students’ competencies, preferences and choices. The aim of these would be to challenge known formats (from printed books to digital apps) through their transformation to generators of dialogue. The competencies which the course aspires to develop are:- Development of approaches to experimentation (taking risks, avoiding bias, defining objectives and methods for evaluation of results).- Conceptual development and realisation of a dialogic interactive object.- Incorporation of mediums unfamiliar to the students in the conceptual and creative process and outcome.- Interplay between creative, practical and analytical approaches. *The course is directed to all students of the departments’ diverse visual-communication orientations and not only to those interested in digital/interactive design.**The term “laboratory” implies that the course would be experimental in the way of raising questions and conducting experiments in search of creative unpredicted answers.