By thinking through Exceptional Norms, we investigate how technologies, particularly those related to embodied computing, literally encode normative assumptions and expectations in their artefacts. We conduct critical analysis of existing work which we augment with the development of artifacts in a manner of research through design to account for the vast varieties of human bodies.
Project Homepage: https://exceptional-norms.at
Team: Katta Spiel
Computing technologies in our environment moved from being large mainframe setups increasingly towards, on and even inside human bodies. Innovative technologies like wearables, on-body tattoos or somaesthetic mats engage bodies in interaction. However, a thorough and critical investigation into the conceptualisation of human bodies in interaction with these technologies albeit highly relevant for the research community, is missing so far. With this FWF supported Hertha-Firnberg project hosted by the Human-Computer Interaction Group at TU Wien, we critically analyse how bodies are constructed within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Interaction Design, conduct participatory design with people whose bodies are marginalised by technologies and create two robust research products materialising alternatives to the status quo. Our work details the epistemological and designerly consequences as well as potential counter strategies to dominant normative assumptions.