Postgraduate Researcher Profile: Guy Keulemans
Affect and the experimental design of domestic objects
PhD, under examination 2013 -2014
Supervised by Dr Katherine Moline & Dr Anna Munster
Experimental product designers have a history of tackling the problems of production within consumer culture, however little has been said in design discourse about the role of affect. This research explores how the theory of affect, as described by Deleuze and Guattari, assists the interrogation of studio practice of designing and producing critical domestic objects.
Product designers from experimental design movements have a history of tackling the problems of production within consumer culture. Specifically, the Italian Radicals, Dutch conceptual designers, and most recently Critical design include projects that reflect on the increasing strain consumption places on society. However, little has been said in design discourse about the role of affect, as described by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. For these writers, affect is the primary conduit for the transmission of sensation and a product of art that works upon the body, stimulating our response to objects. Specific areas of affect theory on which I focus are the role of affect as a primary sense, its ability to trigger feedback mechanisms within the body and the interplay across the senses produced as a result of these mechanisms. Affect, as a rich interpretative framework, is capable of interrogating experimental design practises concerned with sustainability. As a practitioner, I propose to challenge my findings through the design of domestic objects intended to highlight specific theoretical issues, question sustainability perspectives, and test the value of affect as a framework for design discourse.