Self-evidence: a fertile resistance, a non-alienated view


Session Title:

  • Interactivity and Immersion

Presentation Title:

  • Self-evidence: a fertile resistance, a non-alienated view



  • This paper explores the concept of self-evidence in our experience with technology. Hilary Putnam, has suggested that a ‘non-alienated’ view of knowledge should include the internal reckoning of the self in connection with external account of the world: “The current views of ‘truth’ are alienated views; they cause one to lose one part or another of one’s self and the world… my purpose is to sketch the leading ideas of a non-alienated view.” Supported by concepts of somaesthetics, somatic phenomenology and discourse surrounding ‘felt-life’ within human computer interaction, this paper describes a history of applying somatic body-based practices as an epistemological framing to interaction design. The purpose is to invite a re-thinking of the process of design for technology, one that includes design for the experience of the self. This paper critically reflects upon the historical design of a series of wearable installations called whisper, exhale, soft(n) and tendrils. By engendering a role for cultivating self-awareness within interaction, our digital technologies can support the development of an attentional skill-set for experience. Viewing experience as a skill that can be evolved, is an epistemological framing that is central to somatics practice and growing interaction design principles which include self-efficacy and self modification as experiential outcomes of interaction. In Personal Knowledge , Michael Polanyi proposes the concept of indwelling: the application of experiential skills within our use of tools and technology. Polanyi describes the way in which we ‘share a field of experience’ by extending ourselves into our tools and technologies. Polanyi exemplifies the connection between an experiential self-evidence leading to a non-alienated view of technology design. By framing somatic body-based practices as an epistemological strategy that incites a fertile resistance within normative technology design, we suggest a fertile resistance that includes self-evidence as a central material in the design of ourselves.