5-8 February 2014, Amsterdam

Questions for Klaus Krippendorff

We’re very glad Klaus Krippendorff agreed to replace Peter Greenaway as keynote speaker. To get to know him better, we asked Klaus three questions.

How would you introduce yourself to the interaction design community?

I believe I can connect with the interaction design community in three ways:

  1. I am a designer by education and have worked, whenever I could, on participatory design projects that ranged from the design of information systems to corporate design policies. I was one of the originators of the idea of product semantics. In 2006, I published The semantic turn; a new foundation for design. It advocates a human-centered approach to design.
  2. As a cybernetician, I have written on information theory, cyberspace, systems theory, and cybernetic epistemology.
  3. Finally, in my capacity as a communication scholar, I have been developing social scientific research methods and theoretical frameworks for studying discourse and communication.

What is the main topic, issue or challenge you have been working on recently?

I am weary of technological solutions to social problems for they tend to create new problems and drive a vicious spiral of technologization. I am not sure how to tame that growth while preserving human-centered innovation. My hope is that designers, design theorists and researchers reflect on how their own discourse shapes their projects and actions, in particular, how it embraces the dialogical practices of the stakeholders of their design.

Can you share with us something about what your keynote will address?

In keeping with the focus of the conference, this presentation will distinguish four theories from the philosophy of language and elaborate on dialogical conceptions of how reality comes to be constructed. To me, languaging – the process of conversing in language – is a creative and fundamentally socio-cultural practice. Language does not merely describe, it creates realities in conversations and actions. Dialogical conceptions raise doubts in several common epistemological assumptions. Questioning them could open possibilities of seeing interaction design in a new way.

Three questions arise from these elaborations:

  1. What of everyday languaging can (or already does) inform human computer interactions (HCI) within its algorithmic affordances? Are there limitations or unrecognized possibilities?
  2. Beyond the individualist conceptions of professional HCI discourse, what might it take to enable interactions that facilitate the larger socio-cultural conversations, fundamentally altered by digital technology?
  3. And what does it take for the professional discourse of HCI to embrace everyday languaging. There are no simple answers. My only hope is to encourage conversations on what the discourse within the interaction design community does beyond its boundary.

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