Development of creative, digital human-computer interfaces (HCI): radical new flexible design interfaces for artists and industry

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Fac of Arts Creative Ind and Education


Sam will research practitioner-centred, digital interfaces for data capture and data manipulation within a workflow for 3D physical fabrication.

The context of this study relates to 2D software tools that have evolved alongside computers and the user experience of creative practitioners that is at the forefront of interface design for these software packages. 3D modelling systems (CAD) and digital fabrication tools are increasingly being used by artistic practitioners, both as a means of making multiples and more significantly in a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analysing, and refining products and processes. As well as using digital tools for prototyping and production, practitioners are capturing digital information to use as inputs within creative practice. The human experience is progressively lived in an environment submerged in information technology. This will be accelerated by the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).

The aim of this doctoral study is to address the requirements for creative practitioners and how they can interface, understand a data-rich environment and demonstrate complex data way for a range of audiences, from experts to non-experts. The digital interfaces that enable artists to do this, should be user-centred and practice-centred. The student will develop new practice-centred, radical interfaces for both data capture and data manipulation for use in 3D fabrication. If the source material in creative practice is data and the output is digital, how do artists manipulate this raw data to create artworks? What information do artists require when collecting data from their surroundings? How can the artist interact with a data rich environment?

Increasingly, creative practitioners are manipulating captured data with algorithms, using languages like Processing, Java, and interfaces such as Grasshopper. This iterative use of data mirrors the iterative methodology used in the prototyping phase within digital fabrication. However, the data alone may be meaningless without careful consideration as to how it is read, interpreted and expressed. The student will design and prototype tools enabling practitioners to express something meaningful with data.

The potential outcomes and contribution to new knowledge will lead to a user-centred, integrated toolkit for artists to interact with the sensor rich environment, comprising: instruments for data gathering, a user-centred, interface (HCI) with which to manipulate data algorithmically.


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