7th International Workshop on the Design & Semantics of Form & Movement. 18-20 April 2012

Call for Papers, Performances and Demonstrations

“It is not the matter that is constantly changing, but the way we view it. When we talk about matter
we are not referring to something that is out there waiting for us, to an object or a thing, but to a
cultural construction that is directly affected by social or political transformations, by evolution in the
field of art and thought, and evidently, by discoveries or progress in technology and science.”

— Cristina Díaz Moreno and Efrén García Grinda, Breathable (Madrid : Holcim, 2009)

Design semantics—or the making of meaning through ‘matter’—is of increasing relevance
to the practice of design in the twenty-first century. Rapidly evolving techniques and
processes are creating pathways for new modes of interactivity, expression, and experience.
These modalities offer expanded opportunities and contexts for design to communicate
meaning through form, movement and experience, extending the parameters of semantic
interpretation. Swift, on-going shifts in the ‘vocabulary’ of design suggest that it is time
to revaluate our understanding of ‘semantics’, posing new questions for present and
future practice: What new engagements are being created and what boundaries are being
crossed or blurred in the digital age? How is digital design and manufacturing changing
relationships between designers, producers, and users? What role does the ‘material’ play
in an increasingly ‘immaterial’ culture of design? Can we maintain notions of creator and
ownership when all objects are digital and effortlessly duplicated? How will the products of
design be valued when the engines of creation become both powerful and commonplace?

DeSForM 2012: MEANING.MATTER.MAKING will critically address these questions and
others, exploring the design of physical and digital things, systems and environments with
the aim of articulating how meaning is both created and conveyed in the twenty-first
century. Emphasizing future-oriented design, MEANING.MATTER.MAKING invites a broad
range of scales and approaches, from the singular to the multiple, the hand to the machine,
the conceptual to the self-organising, and the sensory to the theoretical. DeSForM 2012:
MEANING.MATTER.MAKING asks researchers, designers and students to share their ideas,
methods, and theories about the creation and communication of meaning through design

Key themes for the conference include, but are not limited to:

Sensory Engagements (the body)

How do embodied experiences contribute to or encourage our interaction with things,
systems, and one another? Mediating across known and emerging forms of semantics, in
what ways might these engagements offer insights for designers of the role of the sensorial
spectrum in both the process and ‘life’ of designed things and systems? How might the
sensory offer new contexts for performance and the expression of emotive responses? This
stream will address sensory engagements with:

  • the body: posture, gesture, touch, vision, smell
  • physical and digital environments/space
  • immaterial forces: light, sound, vibration, memory, etc.
  • avatars
  • the performative, emotive and aesthetic
  • interfaces and experience

Machinic Processes (the tool)

If we interpret the ‘machinic’ in the Deleuzian sense of an “assemblage of parts that work
and produce” (Leach, 2010), how might this definition inform our understanding of digital
design? What can be gained by approaching design as a physical, social, cultural, and
sensorial assemblage? What are the ‘machinic processes’ that drive design today? What role
do digital techniques, and indeed, the very language of the digital, play in creating new and
more meaningful assemblages between people and the designed object or environment?
What is the eventual and appropriate division of responsibility between designer and
algorithm? This stream will investigate the ‘machinic processes’ of:

  • methods and modes of making
  • generative design
  • code and form
  • digital manipulation and fabrication
  • the craft and crafting of design
  • distribution or dissemination

Reciprocal Systems (the environment)

As environments and contexts merge, expand and perhaps, momentarily link, what dynamic
reciprocities are creating from these connections and new interactions? Is our identity just
a collection of data, or can it be designed? How might radio-frequency identification (RFID),
wireless networks and smart systems become more reciprocal or interactive? How can we
utilise these technologies for more than harvesting data, but rather as a means of increasing
communication and creating more meaningful interactions? This stream will explore the
potential of ‘reciprocal systems’ across a diversity of technologies and environments and
scales of experience, including but not limited to:

  • smart systems
  • RFID technology and ethics
  • serious games
  • audio visual culture
  • interaction design
  • interactive spaces
  • nano to global (scales of reciprocity)
  • physical and digital environments

Submissions and Deadlines

DeSForM 2012:MEANING.MATTER.MAKING welcomes participation from practice-led researchers and research-led practitioners from academia and industry, as well as others representing the many disciplines and perspectives bearing on the conference themes.

Abstracts for proposed research papers, performances and demonstrations are due 19 August 2011.

Submissions will be double-blind peer reviewed by the review committee, and notification of acceptance will be sent to authors no later than 16 September 2011. Selection will be based on the proposal’s significance, innovation and clarity of intent.

Final research papers must be no longer than 15 pages, including figures and references. Performance and demo papers must be no longer than 5 pages, including figures and references.

Final submissions are due 5 December 2011.

The refereed conference proceedings will be published online and additionally as a paper volume.

Click here to download this information in PDF form.

Click here to begin the submission process.

Click here for author guidelines.

Click here for all key dates.