politics

Contextual Breathing: The Importance of Opening in an Increasingly Closed World

APRIL JEFFRIES Ipsos Understanding Unlimited PechaKucha Presentation Context cannot be ignored. The ability to pull back, observe and listen deeply balanced with internal analysis and reflection has significant impact on our individual and societal health. Myopic views that ignore or distort what is happening around us have resulted in a social, cultural and political bipolar effect that occurs within a narrow spectrum of isolation. Extreme swings from close-minded tribes to secluded self dialogue, wreak havoc on our broader needs for transcendence and compassion. A study of middle-class moms in America, found a pull toward insular communities in unexpected places. Hostile or challenging political arguments were increasingly infiltrating conversations in venues ranging from Facebook to book club. Emotional eruptions in previously “safe spaces” caused retreats to like-minded groups. Women who may have otherwise enjoyed open curiosity or stimulating debate, in these situations, were ill-equipped to handle feelings of rejection...

Regarding the Pain of Users: Towards a Genealogy of the Pain Point

DAVID PLATZER Berggruen Institute This essay offers an analysis of the “pain point,” a commonplace figure of speech in UX design and contemporary business contexts more broadly. By situating this everday trope within a wider discourse of pain, and its politiciztion in the United States, I seek to problematize the modes of relationality and forms of care entailed in the practice of design research. Ultimately, I will argue, while the “pain point” can be an effective tool for communicating with stakeholders and fomenting alignment about research objectives, it also implicates the more troubling ethical dimensions of applied practice. Through a narrative account of an innovation focused ethnographic research project conducted within the design unit of a major tech company, I argue that questions of solidarity, and its contemporary aporias, can be obscured by the humanitarian rhetoric of contemporary design praxis; a rhetoric of which the “pain point” is a prime example....

Reaffirming Our Values in Critical Times: How Will the EPIC Community Respond?

Shortly after we opened our Call for Participation for EPIC2017 in Montréal, President Trump ordered a temporary travel ban for many people with joint citizenship as well as a halt to refugees and immigrants from 7 predominately Muslim countries. We’d like to take a moment to reassert the values at the heart of this organization…