Academic journal article International Journal of Design

Materializing Movement-Designing for Movement-Based Digital Interaction

Academic journal article International Journal of Design

Materializing Movement-Designing for Movement-Based Digital Interaction

Article excerpt

Andrew Morrison is the Director of the Centre for Design Research at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). He has a BA in English and Law, BA(Hons) and MA in English, MSc in Applied Linguistics and PhD in Media Studies. He has published widely in these areas and in the past decade specifically on interdisciplinary Design. Andrew has also contributed to AHO's doctoral school and been its Co-ordinator. He is on the board of several journals and reviews widely. For project and publications see:


A Design Material View on Embodied Dynamic Movement

In everyday life we use our bodies to non-verbally navigate, negotiate, and communicate. We alter our posture, the dynamics and scope with which we move our limbs and handle our weight according to the spaces in which we find ourselves, the people we are with, and what we hope to express. Goffman (1959) describes these choices of glances, gestures, and positionings as a performance. If we see the way we present ourselves as a choice and an act, then we may understand that this communication can be read or sensed by technology as well as by other people.

Today, people move with and through an increasing amount of technology, whether the technology is in our pockets or just pervasively available through WIFI. This influences what we do, where we move, and in particular how we move. This tracking and influencing of movement reveals the importance of understanding movement as it is abstracted, applied, and influenced through interaction design. An analysis of how we move can give us an understanding of what movement is. Because designers now increasingly facilitate, build, and extend communications with movement data, if we shift the focus to how movement comes to be, we may better understand how movement might be influenced.

Designers today have access to movement data through readily available sensors, such as the iPhone or the Kinect. In addition, the open source community makes software increasingly accessible with for instance openFrameworks and Processing. However, few resources exist in interaction design to meaningfully engage with full-body movement data. This leaves us with the potential to draw knowledge and innovation from our everyday movement practice, including full body actions. There is also a need for technology and interaction design to envision the whole body beyond fingers swiping screens (Victor, n.d.).

This paper explores how we may approach movement for interaction design, and in particular how we may facilitate explorations of movement data for digital interactions. If we are to understand how we may build on movement data and how to design with such data, we need to know the properties and particularities of these data as a design material. As Hollan and Stornetta (1992) wrote, our needs to communicate do not depend on any media, yet how we communicate and the mechanisms with which we communicate are inextricably connected to particular media. Kirsch (2013) argued further that by exploring how we think through things, designs may draw upon our embodied, distributed, and situated cognition, our 'physical-digital coordination' (p. 28). In other words, communication is not only media specific, but body-media specific.

Movement data is distinctive in that it encompasses both computational and corporeal qualities. These qualities appear in the data as it is abstracted and in the visualization as movement is re-presented (i.e., both as sign and as signification). Below, we discuss concerns regarding this relational mix of the corporeal and the computational in movement data. To do this we draw on various approaches to the study of movement, such as dance and choreography, non-verbal communication, and modeling and animation of movement data. These we draw together in a schema for identifying semantic properties of movement dynamics for interaction design, informed by social semiotics. …

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