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Karmen is head of Interaction Design at Zurich University of the Arts since 2011. She joined this university in 2006 as researcher at Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts, and in 2008 she begun working within the IAD team as a lecturer, teaching courses in embodied interaction, research methods, sonic interaction and embodied theories of design. She leads research projects on sonic interaction design and responsive architectures at the European, Swiss, and local levels.
Karmen's research gravitates around the subjects of responsive environments and sonic interaction design. The focus is on physical interfaces that engage bodily knowledge in interaction, mainly through non-visual senses involving sonic and haptic feedback. Her work challenges established interaction paradigms and to foster critical and playful uses of technology in everyday life. Her theoretical research on enaction, agency, play, hospitality and participation manifests in responsive spaces, digital architecture, video and interactive installations. Her doctoral thesis "Amplifiying Actions: Towards Enactive Sound Design" (2012) proposes an enactive approach to interactivity and to sound design.
In ZHdK, Karmen has been leading research on responsive environments and sonic interaction within the Design departement and at the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts. The goal of her recent book "Sonic Interaction Design" (MIT Press, 2013) is to introduce this emerging field to designers and artists. The project is supported by the European Science Foundation COST Action on "Sonic Interaction Design" for which she acted as a Swiss national delegate and collaborated with colleagues across Europe, Canada and Australia. She is also involved in the COST Action on "Soundscape of European Cities and Landscapes". From 2006 to 2009, she led design research within the European FP6 project CLOSED: Closing the Loop of Sound Evaluation and Design. The CLOSED project, undertaken with partners at Ircam (Paris), University of Verona and TU Berlin, was a milestone for fostering research on sonic interaction at the European level, and the first such project to be based at a university of the arts in Switzerland.
In the field of responsive environments, Karmen's work aims at engaging social and sensorial interaction in public space. Her urban installations invite passers-by to explore, modulate and affect the evolution of the multidimensional urban fabric, together with the presence and condition of its co-inhabitants. Play is used as a strategy for challenging habitual behaviors and opening up alternative context in which unknown individual and collective gestures may be revealed. These projects act as research probes into sensorial and social tissues of which urban spaces are composed. Karmen's works in this domain have been exhibited internationally, at institutions including Ircam/Centre Pompidou (Paris), SF Camerawork (San Francisco), Fondazione Sandretto (Torino), Miami Bienal, MoMA Ljubljana, Far Eastern Memorial Foundation (Taipei), DEAF (Rotterdam), The Junction (Cambridge), and Oboro (Montreal), among others. She is a memeber of the Internet of Things Council where questions of embodied interaction are discussed on European level. Most recently, she is working on creation of self-actuated materials, such as self-moving surfaces (electroactive polymers) and self-illuminating surfaces (electroluminescent paper) with a goal of designing a more alive and responsive architecture.
Karmen Franinović (born 1975) received the Laurea degree Summa cum Laude from Istituto Universitario di Archittetura di Venezia, MA degree from the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea and a PhD degree from the School of Art and Media at the University of Plymouth. Karmen has worked as an architect on large scale public buildings and urban projects while employed at AltenArchitekten at Studio ArchA, and in collaboration with Arata Isozaki and Associates, and Arup. She contributed to the design of structures such as the olympic hockey palace for the 2004 winter games in Torino. She has previously taught in departments of design and art at Concordia University in Montreal and Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milano. Prior to joining IAD, Karmen explored related social and embodied aspects of interactivity within Zero-Th Association, a non-profit research entity that she co-founded together with Yon Visell.
BA (Dep. Design) Courses
In this course we developed products that can put one to sleep and gently wake one up.
BA (Dep. Design) Courses
The course's focus is on sound produced in interaction with physical artifacts and the ways in which sound and movement are interlinked.
This course taught students how to creatively investigate existing contexts of use, potential user communities and innovative technologies, and how such research can lead to design concepts for new interactive products and services.
BA (Dep. Design) Courses
Our senses teach us that action and perception are aspects of experience that cannot be divided. In this course we learn about scientific and conceptual basis of embodied cognition and play with perceptual illusions that can stimulate our design ideas.
This course explores questions and methods that are at the core of interaction design practice.
This course is an introduction to embodied interaction design, on theoretical, practical and technical level.
This course will help you identify methods best suited for your BA thesis and structure an interaction design process that leads you towards an innovative design solution.
This course is an introduction to embodied interaction design, on theoretical, practical and technical level. Students will learn how to augment everyday artefacts and spaces, with non-visual feedback such as sound, motion or vibration.
We explore interactions situated in urban space and design sonic and haptics interfaces addressing topics such as play, privacy, navigation, appropriation of public space, participation and social encounters.
BA (Dep. Design) Courses
Interdisciplinary course on development and application of self-actuated materials.
Embodied Interaction Advanced course in fall 2011 focused on interfaces for movement rehabilitation.
BA (Dep. Design) Courses
This studio-based course focuses on tangible interaction and the embedding of interactive technology in everyday spaces and architecture. This year's theme is the design of interactive floor elements, tiles, carpets or seating modules.
Objects and events in our surroundings make us perceive and act. Sometimes we do this intentionally. Sometimes we are unaware that something or someone changes the way we move through space.
The Closing the Loop in Sound Evaluation and Design (CLOSED) project aims at providing a interactive sound evaluation tools and methods that can be profitably used by designers.
Sonic Interaction Design is fostered by a number of parallel developments that have increased relevance of sound in interactive products today.
In cooperation with the EPFL Lausanne we are developing scenarios of introducing robots to a a very sensitive part of the house: the children room. Acceptance is a key issue.
Research exploring notions of agency, materiality and interactivity
Aktivitätsfördernde Interaktion im neurologischen Gangtraining
The EFS Evaluation of Feedback-Systems in automated Gait Training Project is based on the previous KTI project A-Int (Activity boosting Interaction in Neurologic Gait Training).
Naïveté as a Way of Working with Interactivity
How can we approach, understand and design interactivity? During the last ten years, I have been tackling this broad question from two perspectives: one focused on direct experimentation with interactive matter, be it smart materials or sonic feedback to action, and the other based on exploring social behavior within everyday contexts. The former, hands-on approach allows designers to play with the unknown, while the latter, situated approach follows an empathic way of observing the world, resulting in ideas that stem from understanding the existing situations. What connects these two perspectives is a certain kind of naïveté in approaching digital/analog/chemical/biological responsive materials on one hand, and people/places/activities on the other hand. In this talk, I will present methods and projects that come out of this interweaving double path, aiming to show how such naïve way of looking, doing and questioning affects our ways of working with interactivity.
course by Karmen Franinovic and Florian Wille
The Actuated Matter workshop explored the application of smart materials and their ability to transform space into responsive, adaptive environments. We developed a speculative model for membrane structures that exhibit properties of sensitivity, resilience, and decay. By physically engaging with the behaviours of active materials, we experimented with the threshold between the electronic and mechanic, the analog and the digital. The workshop followed a do-it-yourself approach and resulted in the development of sonic, luminous and moving modules that will populate and activate the environment. This workshop was part of a recent research initiative called “Emotive Environments”.
The EFS Evaluation of Feedback-Systems in automated Gait Training Project is based on the previous KTI project A-Int (Activity boosting Interaction in Neurologic Gait Training). In the latter, we developed various interaction concepts that have the potential to significantly improve the effectiveness of gait rehabilitation. However, the patient's responsiveness to a certain interactive feedback depends on the individual and the state of recovery. Thus, the goal of the EFS project is to develop evaluation systems for measuring the effect of developed sonic interaction techniques on the progress of walking rehabilitation, and thus improve those or develop new ones.
The project merges the following research areas:
• sonic interaction design for guiding movement
• evaluation of sonic feedback and motivational strategies
• motivational strategies for walking rehabilitation in stroke patients
Prof. Dr. Karmen Franinovic
Andrês Villa Torres
Ability, NTB (Interstaatliche Hochschule für Technik Buchs), ZHAW-G
The Commission for Technology and Innovation (KTI), Switzerland
A pulsating light on the sea sends a signals to a lost boat, a noise of the traffic diverts your walk to a quieter street. Objects and events in our surroundings make us perceive and act. sometimes we do this intentionally. Sometimes we are unaware that something or someone changes the way we move through space.
When designing any spatial experience: an installation, a sound walk through the city, a public service or a responsive scenography, we shape the inhabitants’ experience by creating various objects of attention, or so-called perceptual attractors. We can design such objects of attention by shaping their spatial qualities such as brightness or size – an illuminated large door in a dark room that leads our way out. The temporal qualities such as speed can also divert or attract attention – we may notice a branch of a plant suddenly breaking down (short term response), but not see the growth of the same branch and how us not watering the plant led to its damage (long term response).
In this course, we will study how such attractors shape our experiences within existing urban contexts, and we will create new spatial experiences by designing such attractors within a performative setting – an installation or a dance scenography. Students will develop their own methods to capture, research and understand attention and movement in space, as well as have a possibility to work with motion capture systems, haptic floors and smart material sculptures. We will use the notion of Liquid Space to explore different ways of shifting between perceptual textures and objects, backgrounds and foregrounds.
The course will culminate in the workshop organized by a research project called Raüme der Aufmerksamkeit (Spaces of Attention) which will take place at Gessnerallee, in collaboration with students, researchers and dozents from music and performing arts.
Leitung: Prof.Dr.Karmen Franinovic
Assistenz: MA Clemens Winkler
MA Moritz Kemper