Design, Technology and Experience (May 2011, Turkey)

DATES: May 12-13 2011
PLACE: Izmir University of Economics, Faculty of Fine Arts and Design

Technology has been a prominent theme in design history since the foundation of the discipline.  Firstly, the design object is almost always a technological product.  Secondly, technology effects design as much as design calls for new technologies, and this mutual determination is always already related to non-technical aspects of design.  These issues and the relationship between technology and power need to be kept alive, especially at a time like now when digital technologies are integrated with the design fields in unprecedented ways.

Digital technologies, which have developed since the 1960s and have particularly gained pace in the last decade, articulated with other social and technical factors and spread to such fields as service design, process design and systems design.  These developments have opened new doors to designers and have turned “experience” into a design element in subject-environment-object relationships.   At one level, experience can be considered as a direct consequence of subject-object relationships.   The obvious difference in the relationship between design objects as products of mechanical, electrical and electronic technologies with bodily, mental and psychic experiences is open to substantial research and theorization. On another level, the articulation of these specific experiences with economic, political and cultural power structures constitutes a potent field of inquiry.

As new technologies produce new formal and experiential effects, they are often mobilized to generate experiences that involve nostalgic gestures towards past or futuristic projections.  Hence, the expectations of users include new experiential effects that are related to a glorified past or a glamorous future.  In short, “experience” emerges as a significant concept that is inherent to design, which involves such aspects as function, aesthetics, ethics, prestige and status.

This years’ 4T meeting aims to form a platform to discuss the following themes in the context of design history in Turkey.

Design, Technology and Bodily Experiences:

The mutual production of bodies and objects, and the constitution of bodies as cultural products have been discussed since the 1980s. Examples would include different body languages produced by casual and formal outfits in the field of fashion design; possibilities of different bodily encounters in spaces produced by conventional or digital tools in architecture; and radically different bodily experiences produced by everyday objects in industrial design.  Papers in this category are invited to focus on the relationship between the technology of the design object and the body.

Design, Technology and Mental/Emotional/Psychic Experiences

Besides their material impacts on bodies, technology-based designs such as the computer, the iPod or iPad, generate mental, emotional and psychic impacts.  The relationship between memory and the technology of design objects; the attractive power of futuristic design; the articulation of design technologies with nostalgic feelings; and the subjective experiences generated by the new communication styles by means of digital technologies constitute the foci of this category.

Design, Technology and Power

Design and production technologies articulate with economic, political and cultural power structures at times in direct but mostly in indirect ways.  The effects of individual or collective experiences generated by these articulations range from changing consumption patterns to critical design practices.  Most recent examples for these include the production of mono-functional cell phones to protest the latters’ transformation into complex electronic networks.  Papers in this category are expected to analyze the relationship between design, technology and power on the basis of individual or collective experiences.


Those interested in contributing to the fifth 4T seminar with a paper are invited to send a title and an abstract of 250-300 words (in English and Turkish) by February 15, 2011 to Selected proposals will be announced on March 1, 2011.


The conference fee of 150 TL covers lunch, tea and coffee services throughout the event, the conference dinner (May 12), the closing reception (May 13) and a copy of the proceedings to be published after the conference.


About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: