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HCII Seminar Series: Carl DiSalvo

Carl DiSalvo
Associate Professor; School of Literature, Media, and Communication; Georgia Institue of Technology


NSH 1305

Video link

Design Experiments in Speculative Civics Design is increasingly involved in our public lives, giving form to issues and working to enable new modes of participation. Usually this takes an instrumental approach in which the goal is to use design to provide solutions to pressing or perceived matters of concern. In this talk I’ll discuss an alternative approach that I call speculative civics. To ground this discussion, I’ll present two, ongoing, design research projects. The first is a study of issue-oriented hackathons that provides insight into practices of ad-hoc design, through which new notions of civics are enacted. The second is a study of the use of hobbyist drones, DIY sensor, and open imaging technologies for urban foraging that demonstrates how design can work to support non-traditional civic endeavors. What is common to both is a speculative orientation, an approach to design and civics meant to explore conditions and potentials, rather than provide solutions. In addition to discussing the immediate implications of these projects to HCI and design studies more broadly, I will also discuss how such an approach may challenge what we consider to be the purpose of academic design research: is it to inform design, or is it a legitimate mode of inquiry on its own

Speaker's Bio

Carl DiSalvo is an Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology. At Georgia Tech he directs the Public Design Workshop: a design research studio that explores socially-engaged design practices and civic media. He is also the co-director of the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing.  DiSalvo’s work explores and analyzes the social and political qualities of design. His current work is concerned with forms of collectivity and the role of design in shaping and enabling collectivity. DiSalvo publishes regularly in design, science and technology studies, and human-computer interaction journals and conference proceedings, and he serves on the editorial board Design Issues. His first book, Adversarial Design, is part of the Design Thinking, Design Theory series at MIT Press. His experimental design work has been exhibited and supported by the ZKM, Grey Area Foundation for the Arts, Times Square Arts Alliance, Science Gallery Dublin, and the Walker Arts Center. DiSalvo holds a Ph.D. in Design from Carnegie Mellon University (2006). From 2006 – 2007 he was a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University with joint appointments in the Studio for Creative Inquiry and the Center for the Arts in Society.

Steven Dow