Research Output

Creation of Id

  The built environment in which we live has been designed in an attempt to make it intuitive, efficient, and purposeful. The potential of designed objects are activated upon activation. In order to facilitate this moment of interaction designers apply the principles of affordance. While the foundations of affordance emerged from humans' tacit comprehension of the natural world, we now live in a world where nearly all of our daily interactions with the world are interactions with carefully designed experiences with built environments and objects. This investigation critically interrogates people’s dependence on familiar attributes of affordance.

The art piece explores participants’ visceral interaction with a rudimentary form. By presenting the participants with an object of reduced affordances the interaction presented becomes on based on primal instinct rather than apperceptive influences. It was expected and observed that participants would attempt to interact with their hand(s). It was then observed that participants would engage in a process of affordance addition and create a feature of on the object.

In order to capture these interaction signatures, and in an attempt to reduce the influence of the visual culture on participants, the primary resultant outcome of interaction is presented as non-visual but instead interaction with the sculpture produces a sonic output. Through this approach participants are influenced toward focusing on a sensory stimulus that humans are much less expert in, the auditory stimulus. As a secondary outcome, the project has managed to capture the sounds of tactile interaction and the sound of the creation of affordance. As Freud put forward, the ‘id’ is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends, that lead to the defining of self and other. Through this work participants instil some sense of identity in the non-prescript sculpture.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    28 June 2018

  • Publication Status:


  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


O'Dowd, A. Creation of Id. [Mixed Media]. Exhibited at Casa da Prelada, Porto, Portugal. 28 June 2018 - 20 July 2018. (Unpublished)



interaction, interactive art, affordance, object, critical design

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