Nokia Invited Lecture Series: Gopinaath Kannabiran

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Nokia Invited Lecture Series: Gopinaath Kannabiran

When: Friday, April 12, 1:00-2:00PM

Where: TSRB Auditorium

Title: Sex, Subjects, and Interactions: A critical methodological exploration of subjecthood and sexuality in HCI

Abstract: In our attempts to create better technology, the scope of concern has broadened within HCI from ‘use’ to ‘experience.’ HCI researchers have attempted to develop different methodological frameworks to engage with the complexity and depth of this seemingly simple term – experience. While attempts have been made to understand the notion of experience from the user’s perspective and from the artifact perspective, this talk will focus on the agent of interaction – a hybrid subjectivity that is an emergent confluence of human actions and system features. I will present a methodological framework that has been developed as a result of two research projects on sexuality – a rich and complex topic that is well suited to explore notions of experience and the socio-political implications of our designs.

Drawing from the works of philosophers Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari, this methodological framework attempts to explore, understand, and theorize the notion of subjecthood by focusing on the phenomenon of interaction – the ground upon which experience unfolds and is made sense of. The subject, in this conception, is the dynamic interplay between the agency of the actual user and the agency of the system’s ideal user. This subject is dynamic in the sense that it not only controls and drives the interaction but also is constrained and shaped by and through it. In presenting this ongoing work, I will raise implications for design with a specific focus on political activism addressing issues of social equity and emancipatory goals.

Bio: Gopi (Gopinaath Kannabiran) is currently pursuing his PhD in Informatics (Human Computer Interaction Design track), with a minor in Critical Inquiry Methodology at Indiana University, Bloomington. Co-advised by Shaowen Bardzell and Jeffrey Bardzell, his research focuses on the experiential aspects of design and use of interactive technologies with an emphasis on social justice and political activism. Issues of identity, empowerment of marginalized groups, and individual emancipation are central to his work. His research draws from and is inspired by feminism, queer theory, phenomenology, postcolonial theory, body theory, and the Frankfurt school of critical theory. More details about his work can be found at He is affiliated with the Cultural Research in Technology (CRIT) Group at Indiana University.

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