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  • Objects in Motion: Exploring Kinaesthetic Empathy in Design

Miyoshi, Kensho, 2019, Thesis, Objects in Motion: Exploring Kinaesthetic Empathy in Design PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

The physical movements of designed objects not only have their utilitarian purposes but also make us experience the diverse sensations of motion. A look at a curtain swaying in the calm wind can make viewers feel light and relaxed as if they themselves are swaying in the air. By seeing ticket barriers creaking and moving at an awkward speed, one can somehow imagine how it would feel like if their bodies moved in such a manner despite them never being barriers.

Such imaginative projection of one’s own embodied sensation to observed movements is called ‘kinaesthetic empathy’, which has recently been studied in relation to human movement, e.g. audience’s experience of dance and theatre performances. On the other hand, the question of how kinaesthetic empathy works with the movements of designed objects that are usually non-anthropomorphic and functional is yet unexplored. Nevertheless, it has the potential to open up new opportunities for designers to explore the aesthetics of the physical behaviour of objects.

By addressing this question, this PhD by project investigates the nature of kinaesthetic empathy in the context of design and develops a design framework that supports designers’ aesthetic consideration of the element of movement. The practical research employs the methodologies of reflective practice and phenomenological research and attempts to weave my aesthetic observations and scientific theories such as embodied cognition, ecological psychology and mirror neuron theory.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Design
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2019 17:45
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2019 17:45
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/4190
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