Call for Participation

Join our workshop for a day of “disruptive improvisations” at CHI2018. As material exploration grows as a mode of inquiry within HCI community, it opens space to consider new forms of inquiry within design processes. This workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to discuss the value of and develop tactics for non-deterministic design practices in HCI. Taking inspiration from Fluxus, we will focus on the generative capacity of simple, non-digital, lightweight, and even useless prototypes. These modest and emergent objects open spaces of contestation and speculation, giving rise to unexpected insights that may not come about through more refined practices.

This one-day workshop will create a space for people interested in design research, materiality, and arts-inspired approaches to HCI to reflect on different techniques and productive forms of material disruption within a design process. The workshop will combine hands-on experimentation, comparison of experiences, and the production of an experimental instruction zine workbook to be distributed at CHI 2018.

We invite submissions on the following themes:

  • Modesty. Producing forms that tackle a small piece of a broader issue. Employing formal modesty in terms of materials and construction, aesthetics of experimentation and openness to simplicity, partialness, and incompleteness.
  • Scarcity. Making things quickly and/or with limited budgets/resources/materials. Using self-imposed constraints to break habits and open new perspectives.
  • Uselessness. Designing and making things without a preoccupation with conventional functionality. Allowing objects to take on lives apart from utility.
  • No-technology. Exploring issues relevant to HCI, digital culture, and human-technology relationships through non- or less technological means.
  • Failure. Trying things without knowing where they’ll lead. Being open to and reporting on failure.

Submitting a Position Paper
Interested participants are invited to submit a 2-4 page position paper in
CHI extended abstract format describing the following:

  1. a research project (past, current or future) where the aforementioned themes played a key role.
  2. a tactic for “disruptive improvisation” –  a description of a short task that can be performed by the participants of the workshop with the goal of breaking habit, perceptions, and/or meditating on one of the workshop themes. Ideally, the tactic takes the form of an instruction set or recipe for making, and follows the spirit of Fluxus event scores.
  3. a brief (200 word) personal biography.

Submissions will be published in the workshop webpage ( During the workshop, participants will present and perform the tactics in the submissions, documenting the processes, outcomes and insights in the form of a zine that will be informally distributed during the CHI conference. Participants who prefer not to have their work published in the zine can opt-out. Further instructions about the workshop, schedule, and on the format for the “disruptive improvisation” can be found on the workshop webpage.

Submissions will be accepted based on quality and interest and will represent a spectrum of practices, materials, backgrounds, and concerns. Submissions may be sent via email to workshop organizers at

Important Dates
Submission Deadline: 26 January 2018
Author Notification: 22 February 2018
Workshop Date: Saturday, April 21, 2018

At least one author of each accepted position paper must register and attend the workshop. All workshop participants must register for both the workshop and for at least one day of the ACM CHI conference.