Doctoral defence: Qualities of Simplicity in Designing Interactive Art
Tomi Knuutila’s (M.A. Arts and Design) doctoral dissertation entitled Qualities of Simplicity in Designing Interactive Art belongs to the field of interactive design. It contributes new knowledge about user and design experience of interactive art through practice-led design research.
User experience and design of interactive art installations are examined
through the concept of simplicity as defined in the dissertation.
According to Knuutila, simplicity can be both perceived and designed. In
the present study, it is conceived of as embodying the following
qualities: reduction, organisation, affordances, tangibility,
intuitiveness, and familiarity.
Knuutila’s monograph dissertation
is closely related to the interactive artwork entitled Climatable: The
design process of the work and the experience of the interactive
situation from the user’s perspective are examined through the concept
of simplicity. Examples of the manifestation of the qualities of
simplicity are listed under frameworks referred to as Simplicity
Framework and Simplicity Matrix. These frameworks can function as tools
for designers and artists seeking to improve the usability of
interactive artworks. The present study also tests the usefulness of the
frameworks in interactive design and design research.
study, interactive design takes place in the context of participatory
media art, bringing new perspectives into discussion and promoting more
user-centered approaches to design of interactive media art. The
starting point has been the idea of participatory art as an art form
that is activated only in the context of use. Interactive art entails
active, concrete and physical participation of the audience, creating a
particular relationship between the participant and the artwork. This
relationship is what makes interactive art different from all other art
forms, says Knuutila.
It can be stated that meanings of
interactive art are created in and through participation. The starting
point of the present study is the notion that creators of interactive
art must take this point into consideration. In this study, interaction
in the context of artworks is examined primarily from the perspective of
design, taking into consideration the participant’s key role in the way
artworks function. The title of the present research—Designing
interactive art— refers to this point.
—The study is also a
contribution to the discussion on the goals and objectives of
interaction design and the ways in which interactive artworks function.
The concept of gamification, among others, challenges interaction design
to seek new insights in addition to the more traditional usability
perspectives, says Knuutila.
The present study brings to focus
special characteristics of interactive events: real-time immersion,
social interaction and embodied participation. The relationships between
these and the concept of simplicity as well as qualities of simplicity
are addressed with the objective of elucidating the experientiality of
interactive art: the various relationships that emerge when humans and
machines interact with each other.
Information on the defence:
public examination of M.A. Tomi Knuutila’s doctoral dissertation
Qualities of Simplicity in Designing Interactive Art will take place at
the University of Lapland Faculty of Arts and Design on Tuesday, 4
December at 12:00 (noon) in the Lecture Hall 19 (Eeli Hall),
Yliopistonkatu 8, Rovaniemi. The opponent appointed for the examination
is Associate Professor Andrés Lucaro (Aalto University), and Professor
Eija Timonen (University of Lapland) will act as the custos. After the
public examination, a coffee reception organised by the Faculty of Arts
and Design will take place at the Restaurant Petronella. The artwork
Climatable, which forms the artistic part of the dissertation, is
presented in Galleria Kopio (Yliopistonkatu 8, Rovaniemi) from 4
December 2018 to 24 January 2019.
Information on the doctoral candidate:
Knuutila (born 1973) holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of
Jyväskylä (1998) and a Master’s Degree from the University of Art and
Design Helsinki—Taideteollinen korkeakoulu (2000). He has been working
at the University of Lapland Faculty of Arts and Design since 2002,
first as a part-time teacher of multimedia and later as digital media
lecturer. He has been working as a freelancer in the fields of culture
and ICT, and as a media artist for over 20 years.
tomi.knuutila [at] ulapland.fi
Tel. +358 40 484 4384
copies of the thesis and a photograph of the doctoral candidate are
available at the University of Lapland, Communications and External
Information on the publication:
Knuutila: Qualities of Simplicity in designing interactive art. Acta
Universitatis Lapponiensis 383. ISBN 978-952-337-115-6. Hansaprint Oy,
Turenki 2018. Electronic version:
Acta electronica Universitatis Lapponiensis 250. ISBN 978-952-337-116-3