Designing and orchestrating technologies for future home or objects for arithmomaniacs


Session Title:

  • Posthumanism I

Presentation Title:

  • Designing and orchestrating technologies for future home or objects for arithmomaniacs


  • Abstract

    Arithmomania is a mental disorder that may be seen as an expression of obsessive-compulsive illness. Sufferers from this disorder have a strong need to count their actions or objects in their surroundings.

    1. Five electronic objects
    2. Five anecdotic stories
    3. One fictional failed research

    The electronic design project presents an experimental tangible narrative accompanied with five electronic design objects—the ‘scientific probes’. Ordinary products– a chair, a pair of shoes, a pair of boxing gloves, a doormat and a chestbelt– are supplemented with electronic digital counters that count peculiar interactions with their users. By ‘purifying’ the nature of the digital intervention to a simple counting act, the objects are transformed into interactive props that serve as both a sarcastic tangible rhetoric and avant-garde products.

    The project’s ambiguous nature is amplified even more by dressing and contrasting the tangible-functioning objects with a series of anecdotal stories of fictitious research. In this storyline, the ‘probes’ are used to collect statistical data of domestic psychological, social and physical dynamics and interactions in order to design a better domestic space. Research fails, alas! Though, happily, stimulating results are produced that prompt to rename the research ‘Objects for Arithmomaniacs’, crowning the comedy of the poetic failure. Beside poetic aims, the fictional story offers some creative ideas or scientific ‘comments’ rarely applied in conventional design. In doing so, a borderline is drawn between static and dynamic design (physical/tangible VS digital/interactive) to demonstrate that electronic design has still yet unexplored creative potential. The project’s narrative complexity is also used to criticize often boring conventional interaction design methods and processes, while at the same time keeping an open-end interpretation.
    Nonetheless, the objects are open for even wider interpretation or use since they may function as utilitarian objects with their own memory (of usage), as toys of design comedy, as occult instruments (e.g. for numerologists), or even placebos for arithmomaniacs, who are entirely neglected by designers (much like other minorities).