The Aesthetics of Coupling: An Impossible Marriage
Lukas Van Campenhout, Joep Frens, Kristof Vaes, Caroline Hummels


This paper is about embodied interaction with digital products and systems, and more specific, about its aesthetics. We establish a particular form of aesthetics: the aesthetics of coupling. We start with illustrating them by presenting two design research projects, the rich actions camera and the Experimental Payment Terminal. We discuss the characteristics of the aesthetics, and coin their corner stone concepts, the persistent and the temporal. After that, we present the design process of two conceptual products: a night lamp and a medication dispenser. Both projects demonstrate how to design for the aesthetics of coupling. In a reflection, we position the aesthetics of coupling among several existing perspectives on interaction aesthetics, and elaborate on their significance for the design community. We conclude this paper by highlighting the broad lines of our framework, and by indicating directions for future research.

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