[ISEA2020] Paper: Claudia Núñez-Pacheco & Lian Loke — Aesthetic Qualities of Thermal and Vibrotactile Materials for Somatic Contemplation


Keywords: Aesthetics, Bodily awareness, Haptics, HCI, Heat, Focusing, Somatics, Self-reflection

Wearable technologies for self-knowledge and selfimprovement are predominantly data-driven, whereas tools for somatic self-reflection based in sensory stimuli are less explored. Our research investigates the question of how do we facilitate access to aesthetic experiences for bodily awareness using heat and vibration as art and design materials? This paper presents a user study on the use of wearable props transmitting heat and vibration, integrated into the somatic technique Focusing. From our analysis, we discovered a series of aesthetic qualities categorized as heat as an embodied relation, and vibration as an immersed extension. These aesthetic qualities were reformulated as considerations to guide the design of wearable technology for self-awareness using heat and vibration as sensory focus on the body, facilitating the emergence of personal meaning making in the process of inner discovery.

  • Claudia Núñez-Pacheco (Valdivia, Chile) is a design researcher and artist. She holds a PhD and a Master degree from the Sydney School of Design at the University of Sydney, in the area of interaction design. Her research investigates how bodily self-awareness can be used as a tool for human self-discovery as well as a generative crafting material for the design of aesthetic experiences. In her research journey, she has engaged in a multidisciplinary exploration that merges Design thinking and the novel inclusion of Focusing as a method and philosophy.
  • Dr Lian Loke is an artist, designer and researcher, with the body as the central focus of her interdisciplinary practice. She is interested in exploring how new technologies are impacting on the lived body and its possibilities for expression, transformation and transcendence. Her work explores the creation of body-centred artistic works and human-centred design approaches to interactive technologies and spaces. She combines dance, design, human computer interaction and the aesthetics of interaction to critique and produce concepts, systems and performances. She has a background in design, human-computer interaction and software engineering, with extensive experience as a lecturer and researcher. She is an Associate Professor in the Design Lab, School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney, Australia, and Director of the Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts program.