the design of interfaces through the lense of the philosophy of technology

“We don’t know what to do with our physical bodies which need massages as much as messages“ wrote Kenya Hara in regard to the environment of today‘s information society. Under the title of „grasping“ technology with its two meanings of physically grabbing or abstractly understanding something, this thesis explores the meaning of physicality in the relationship between humans and technology in order to seek for new means in the mediation between the two. Rather than through the lens of the established practice of interaction design, the philosophy of technology can highlight technologies‘ holistic impact on human life. Aim of this work is the exploration as to how far the philosophy of technology can be relevant for the design of interfaces and which additional qualities can arise from it. This thesis analyzes theories from the modern philosophy of technology to uncover additional design parameters for new human-machine-interactions. Applied to a series of experimental interfaces, the standard of cognitive psychology is confronted with the theory of embodied cognition. Classical semiotics are replenished with the additional layer of material mediation. The industries’ concept of aesthetics is challenged. And the notion of engaging artifacts is explored in contrast to the thriving for efficiency of today‘s technology-driven society.


Pia-Marie Stute
European Studies in Design /