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  • 1. Barbosa, Janaina T.
    et al.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Mota, João A.
    Power of design agency in building and sustaining collaboration: two cases in São Paulo2017In: Nordes 2017: DESIGN+POWER, Nordes , 2017, no 7Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Design research has considered the power of collaboration in terms of the politics of artefacts, services and practices to build or to support publics. Working within a framework of “commons” as continuing processes of negotiation in collaboration, this study asks: How can designskills and agency build up collaborative capacities in urban communities for sustained processes of social innovation? This qualitative research explores two case studies in Brazil, where design agency is identified in social practices carried out by both designers and non-designers. Three key processes involved in designing collaboration were identified: experimenting, disrupting and sustaining. This work concluded that design skills facilitate the distribution of power to build collaboration through co-production of common spaces. This investigation contributes to the ongoing discussion of design and “infrastructuring,” identifying the power of design agency in building and sustaining collaboration in a complex social landscape of an emerging city.

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  • 2.
    Davoli, Lorenzo
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Redström, Johan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Trojans & Drones: Materializing possibilities for transforming industrial infrastructures2015In: Proceedings of the 2nd Biennial Research Through Design Conference, Cambridge, UK, 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Emerging post-industrial societal needs require the evolution of existing networks of industrial infrastructures toward more distributed and citizen-centered configurations. This opens up new questions regarding what design processes and practices are necessary to effect change within these systems that are often deliberately not accessible and open for design interventions. We here present a set of design explorations in tracing and materializing infrastructures in order to make them available for design and participation, taking logistic services in a remote rural

    area of northern Sweden as a case study and field site. A design concept consisting of a drone and drone postbox were used to speculate about the possibility of a community-owned delivery network operated by drones

    in synergy with existing infrastructures. We used these artifacts in staging participatory processes of imagination and experimentation in order to explore possible future configurations. The project provides an example of a possible framework for initiating and curating the transformation

    of industrial systems towards more open and locally adaptive forms and functions.

    In particular, it illustrates the rich potential and opportunities for design when it comes to ways of knowing and designing with the infra- structural—that which is usually hidden beneath the surface. 

  • 3.
    Hauser, Sabrina
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Redström, Johan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    The widening rift between aesthetics and ethics in the design of computational things2023In: AI & Society: The Journal of Human-Centred Systems and Machine Intelligence, ISSN 0951-5666, E-ISSN 1435-5655, Vol. 38, p. 227-243Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the face of massively increased technological complexity, it is striking that so many of today’s computational and net- worked things follow design ideals honed decades ago in a much different context. These strong ideals prescribe a presenta- tion of things as useful tools through design and a withdrawal of aspects of their functionality and complexity. Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, we trace this ‘withdrawal program’ as it has persisted in the face of increasing computational complexity. Currently, design is in a dilemma where computational products can be seen as brilliantly designed and engag- ing to use yet can also be considered very problematic in how they support hidden agendas and often seem less than trust- worthy. In this article, we analyse factors shaping this emergent ethical dilemma and reveal the concept of a widening rift between what computational things actually are and do and the ways in which they are presented as things for use. Against this backdrop, we argue that there is a need for a new orientation in design programs to adequately address this deepening rupture between the aesthetics and ethics in the design of computational things. 

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  • 4. Jarrahi, Mohammad Hossein
    et al.
    Snyder, Jaime
    Askay, David
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Karunakaran, Arvind
    From "Effects" to "Entanglements": A Fishbowl Discussion on Sociomateriality2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Multiple research areas within the field of information studies grapple with the notion of technology and its role in social processes and outcomes. Recent theorizations on sociomateriality reflect a renewed interest in studying the mutually constitutive nature of the relationships among technology, materiality and social contexts (e.g., Leonardi, Nardi, & Kallinikos, 2012; Orlikowski, 2007). In specific, the sociomaterial perspective offers a promising path for `information' scholars to move from theorizing about the "effects" of specific technologies on organizational and societal outcomes to considering the constitutive "entanglement" among them.

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    From "Effects" to "Entanglements": A Fishbowl Discussion on Sociomateriality
  • 5. Jung, Heekyoung
    et al.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiberg, Mikael
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
    Stolterman, Erik
    School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, USA.
    Metaphors, materialities, and affordances: hybrid morphologies in the design of interactive artifacts2017In: Design Studies, ISSN 0142-694X, E-ISSN 1872-6909, Vol. 53, p. 24-46Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As materiality of interactive artifacts is diversified with integrated physical and digital materials, metaphoric design approaches in Human–Computer Interaction (HCI) go beyond resembling the appearance of physical objects, exploring novel materials and forms of interactive artifacts. The hybrid materialities and forms of artifacts influence how interactivity is perceived, reframing the concept of affordances according to its evolving relationship to metaphors and materialities. By conceptualizing interactive forms in their surface, behavioral and systemic aspects, we examine multifaceted roles of metaphors in HCI from concealing and revealing a formal system to expanding and reifying its meaning; and propose a morphologic perspective on affordances as an invitation for making variations of interactive forms by compositing multiple design resources.

  • 6. Michelfelder, Diane P.
    et al.
    Wellner, Galit
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Designing differently: toward a methodology for an ethics of feminist technology design2017In: The ethics of technology: methods and approaches / [ed] Sven Ove Hansson, London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017, p. 193-218Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 7.
    Neidhardt, Anja
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Croon Fors, Anna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
    Beyond progress: Exploring alternative trajectories for design museums2022In: DRS2022: Research papers / [ed] Dan Lockton; Sara Lenzi; Paul Hekkert; Arlene Oak; Juan Sádaba, Design Research Society, 2022Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    How can design museums be disentangled from systems like patriarchy, so that they become able to support change towards more justice? To explore this question, we use our standpoint as design researchers in combination with a feminist perspective. Historically, most design museums supported a path of progress which supposedly leads straight from the past into the future. Even though today attempts to change design museums can be observed, criteria for good design and methods for collecting and exhibiting mainly stay unchanged. However, when questioning them, it becomes clear that they were shaped by a white, male, imperialist perspective. Through shifting focus and leaving the well-trodden path, we identify three possible paths toward envisioning what we call alternative design museums that might contribute to the bigger struggle for changing the design discipline, and shaping a more just world.

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  • 8.
    Neidhardt-Mokoena, Anja
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Generous crowdedness: cultivating space(s) for care at alternative design museums2023In: Nordes 2023: Exploratory papers / [ed] S. Holmlid; V. Rodrigues; C. Westin; P. G. Krogh; M. Mäkelä; D. Svanaes; Å. Wikberg-Nilsson, 2023, article id 6Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The design discipline is implicated in thetrajectories that have led us to an unsustainable present. There is an urgency to re-direct the design discipline, so that it can become able to not onlystay with past and present trouble, but also to develop other futures. To see how design museums might support change rather than preservation, welook to the example of protest archives. Based onan analysis of relational space, we suggest that therelative crowdedness of protest archives emerges out of matters of care, and allows for the development of alternative ways of being and creating. We thus identify a set of qualities that might be used to inform development of alternative spaces for care in design that aim to become able to respond to urgencies and to open up more just futures.

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  • 9.
    Redström, Johan
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Changing Things: Innovation through Design Philosophy2019In: Academy for Design Innovation Management Conference 2019: Research Perspectives in the Era of Transformations, London: Loughborough University, , 2019Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Digital networked technologies are currently at the forefront of contemporary innovation, driving changes in sociotechnical practices across industrial sectors and in everyday life. Yet technical innovation has been outpacing our capacity to make sense of these technologies and the fundamental changes associated with them. This sense-making enterprise is the focus of our current research in developing a design philosophy for changing things. We describe a conceptual framework developed around the concept of things as fluid assemblages to investigate and articulate what is going on with things, and how their development might be (re)directed toward preferable futures. Specifically, we here examine the important role of design philosophy in innovation, using the conceptual framework developed as a way to point toward potential sites for innovation in the current sociotechnical landscape. The line of investigation we pursue suggests that doing philosophy should become a central part of innovative design practices.

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  • 10.
    Redström, Johan
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Changing things: the future of objects in a digital world2018Book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many of the things we now live with do not take a purely physical form. Objects such as smart phones, laptops and wearable fitness trackers are different from our things of the past. These new digital forms are networked, dynamic and contextually configured. They can be changeable and unpredictable, even inscrutable when it comes to understanding what they actually do and whom they really serve.

    In this compelling new volume, Johan Redstrom and Heather Wiltse address critical questions that have assumed a fresh urgency in the context of these rapidly-developing forms. Drawing on critical traditions from a range of disciplines that have been used to understand the nature of things, they develop a new vocabulary and a theoretical approach that allows us to account for and address the multi-faceted, dynamic, constantly evolving forms and functions of contemporary things. In doing so, the book prototypes a new design discourse around everyday things, and describes them as fluid assemblages.

    Redstrom and Wiltse explore how a new theoretical framework could enable a richer understanding of things as fluid and networked, with a case study of the evolution of music players culminating in an in-depth discussion of Spotify. Other contemporary 'things' touched on in their analysis include smart phones and watches, as well as digital platforms and applications such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

  • 11.
    Redström, Johan
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Indiana university.
    On the multi-instabilities of assembled things2015Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    One of the key features of a postphenomenological account is its attention to the multistability of artifacts and the many variations that are possible in use. In other words, any given artifact can be perceived and appropriated in a vast number of ways. Recognition and analysis of these multistabilities counters technologically-deterministic readings of artifacts that might see them in the more narrow light of intended use cases and dominant narratives around particular kinds of (technological) progress. It thus helps to ward off reductive approaches that can risk misunderstanding or not seeing what technologies actually do in the world in various contexts, and it does this by pointing to the rich variety of predispositions and possibilities that creative human beings bring to their engagements with the world.

    However, in addition to the possibilities around use, and especially when dealing with contemporary technologies, there is now what might be seen as another kind of destabilizing dynamic that is inherent in the technologies themselves. Many of the technologies that we now interact with on an everyday basis are digital products and services that are dynamic and unique in many ways—not only in the interactions and uses they support, but also in their very constitution as things assembled and made available for use. We here outline an account of the multi-instabilities of dynamically-assembled contemporary digital things, suggesting that such a framing and analysis is required in order to understand their character and the many roles they play in the world.

  • 12.
    Redström, Johan
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Press Play: Acts of defining (in) fluid assemblages2015In: Nordes 2015: Design Ecologies, Stockholm: Nordes , 2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Although design continuously has been expanding its scope of concern and intervention from products to processes, experience, and entire product and service ecologies, ‘things’ remain central to how we think about design and use. but ‘things’ have changed. contemporary materials, technologies and contexts of design and use, we argue, now result in ‘things’ that need to be understood as fluid assemblages rather than traditional objects. these often combine a surface-level simplicity of use with dynamic, sophisticated, and hidden back- end complexity.

    In order to investigate these issues we consider a simple design case and how it has evolved over time and through technological developments: that of pressing play to listen to music. Noting the tendencies in the ongoing evolution, with focus on the simple design element of the ‘play’ button, we suggest that traditional distinctions between design and use are breaking down. coming to grips with the materials and ecologies of contemporary design practice thus requires the development of design theory and methodologies that allow us to articulate and bring into focus these significant new dynamics. 

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  • 13. Rodgers, Paul
    et al.
    Innella, Giovanni
    Bremner, Craig
    Coxon, Ian
    Broadley, Cara
    Cadamuro, Alessia
    Carleklev, Stephanie
    Chan, Kwan
    Dilnot, Clive
    Fathers, James
    Fennell, Jac
    Fremantle, Chris
    French, Tara
    Henriques, Diogo
    Lloyd Jones, Peter
    Kettley, Richard
    Kettley, Sarah
    Khan, Mashal
    Logge, Karl
    Archer-Martin, Jen
    McHattie, Lynn-Sayers
    Pulley, Robert
    Shahar, Dina
    Teal, Gemma
    Tewari, Saurabh
    Treadaway, Cathy
    Tsekleves, Emmanuel
    Moradi Valadkeshyaei, Hamed
    Ventura, Jonathan
    Watt, Trudy A.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Winton, Euan
    The Lancaster Care Charter2019In: Design Issues, ISSN 0747-9360, E-ISSN 1531-4790, Vol. 35, no 1, p. 73-77Article in journal (Refereed)
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  • 14.
    Torretta, Nicholas B.
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Sanchez de La Barquera, Xaviera
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Who gets to situate design? Reflections from engaging with diversity in design2018In: EASST2018:: Meetings: Making Science, Technology and Society together, 2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The current unsustainability crises have called on design to pay greater attention to the social, political, cultural and environmental dynamics of designing. These include the processes, relations, consequences, and response-abilities of design. As design practices continue to move out of the studio and engage with 'the social', the character of these design practices and their relation to the contexts in which they operate come into focus. The basic orientation of design—to approach with an intention to bring about change—can strongly activate and reveal the colonial ethos of design in these contexts, and raise questions of how to navigate different and even incommensurable value systems and types of knowledge. These issues are brought into sharp relief in our current project of working with Sami people in a project that is part of an advanced professional industrial design education. The project is motivated by an ambition to challenge ourselves and our students to open up to change through engaging with diversity. These engagements have required those involved to rethink their worldviews, values and understanding of knowledge. Situating design in this context, we must also ask: at what point does situating become imposing? Who gets to situate? Who are we to suggest something to this community as outsiders? Who gets to decide value? What does design have to offer? And, more hopefully: how might we shift from imposing our methods and values to a more transformational process of learning to design (and live) together, negotiating and sharing through an interweaving of partial perspectives?

  • 15.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    #83 A tuning theory of design[ing]2021In: 118 theories of design(ing) / [ed] Paul A. Rodgers, Craig Bremner, Vernon Press , 2021, p. 211-211Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 16.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    #94 A disempowering theory of design[ing]2021In: 118 theories of design(ing) / [ed] Paul A. Rodgers, Craig Bremner, Vernon Press , 2021, p. 233-233Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 17.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Book review of Materiality and Organizing: Social Interaction in a Technological World, edited by Paul M. Leonardi, Bonnie A. Nardi, and Jannis Kallinikos. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013. 365 pp. ISBN 9780199664061 (paper).2013In: The Information Society, ISSN 0197-2243, E-ISSN 1087-6537, Vol. 29, no 5, p. 322-323Article, book review (Refereed)
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    Book review of Materiality and Organizing: Social Interaction in a Technological World
  • 18.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Care is expensive2017In: Does Design Care...?: An International Workshop of Design Thought and Action, 2017, p. 79-83Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 19.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Conceptualizing digital mediations2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Postphenomenology provides a productive framework for thinking through technological mediation. However, understanding digital mediations in particular requires further development and expansion of its conceptual toolkit, even as the orientation in postphenomenology toward ’the ways in which we are present in our world and the world is present to us’ (Verbeek 2005) highlights the very real mediations of these not-only-virtual technologies. In order to unpack the ways in which digital technologies can mediate perception and engagement by making activities visible, I have developed a conceptualization of digital material mediation involving substrates and traces (Wiltse 2014) . The ways in which digital technologies now often configure themselves in relation to particular users calls for analytic sensitivity to multiinstability (Redström and Wiltse 2015). Building on a conceptualization of digital networked things as fluid assemblages (Wiltse, Stolterman and Redström 2015;; Redström and Wiltse 2015), multiintentionality (Wiltse 2017) points to the multiple intentional relations involved in these things, including reverse intentionality in which use of a thing is a means for other actors to find out more about the one doing the using. This is the model of dataveillance in a contemporary context in which data is the resource fuelling social, economic, and governance processes. An incisive conceptualization of digital mediations is needed to understand and articulate the role they now play in not only experience, but also in distributions of power and agency, visibility and invisibility—and to provide insight on how to design in order to better care for their consequences.

  • 20.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Data Economy Interfaces: Mediating Relations in Fluid Assemblages2020In: EASST4S 2020: Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and Agency of STS in Emerging Worlds, EASST , 2020Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Everyday connected things have become key sites for the production of behavioral data about people’s lives, enabling corporate actors to predict and control behavior in service of enormous profit under the economic model of surveillance capitalism. This production of data and nudging have come to be primary functions of digital networked technologies. However, when it comes to the design of these things and the ways in which they are presented to end users, it is the utility and experience that are in focus. These other functions of things typically do not come to presence at the level of the interface during use. There has come to be a rift between the way things come to presence and what they actually are, between appearance and function, when it comes to everyday things that are fluid assemblages. This paper will consider conditions needed for a moral economy of data at the level of the interface and interaction, through looking at how they play out (or not) in a series of cases. This opens up the larger question of what is acceptable, which also gets to the core issue of the kinds of relations that are mediated by these kinds of things. The paper ends by considering possible alternatives that can point toward ways of intervening to tune industrial systems and surveillance capitalism toward possible postindustrial futures in which data technologies are used for good of the many rather than profit for the few.

  • 21.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Human-Technology-Human Relations, or Politics by Other Means2020Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Work in philosophy of technology, and specifically postphenomenology, has highlighted the role of technologies in mediating perception and action; and information and communication technologies have clearly shaped the ways in which people now interact and do things together. Yet there is another sense of human-technology relations that is currently coming into view in the case of connected things. These kinds of things typically produce data about people through use that is primarily for the benefit of others, who are able to process behavioral data in service of massive profits based on surveillance for purposes of prediction and control. The exploitation and non-transparency of this arrangement strongly echoes that of the industrial-era cases that Winner used when making the argument that artifacts have politics. Specifically, in these cases it is not human-technology relations that are the most central, but what might be called for emphasis ​human-technology-human relations:​ or politics by other means. 

    In this contribution I will use the lens of technological mediation and analysis of a few small case studies to examine the ways in which data-producing things mediate human-human relations, and the use of some people for the benefit of others. These dynamics, along with the increasing agentive and learning capacity of technological things, foreground the relational dimensions of connected things as central to what they actually are and do. Caring for these constitutive (political) relations must be the foundation of a new kind of design practice adequate to the current sociotechnical condition and its more hopeful possibilities. 

  • 22.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Introduction: relating to things that relate to us2020In: Relating to things: design, technology and the artificial / [ed] Heather Wiltse, Bloomsbury Academic, 2020, p. 1-12Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 23.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Maneuvering in the interval: reflections on immanent entanglements2022In: Foundations of Science, ISSN 1233-1821, E-ISSN 1572-8471, Vol. 27, no 3, p. 915-920Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Both perspective and leverage are needed in order to arrive at a place where it is possible to do the philosophical work required in order to adequately account for our present sociotechnical landscape. One of the key characteristics of this landscape is the collapse of scale, as things become more like fluid assemblages and the economic incentives of surveillance capitalism turn ordinary things into surveillance devices tuned for others’ profit. In this context we need a language not only of imagination and humility in the face of countless gaps between things, but also one of entanglement, care, and response-ability.

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  • 24.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Materiality and Organizing: Social Interaction in a Technological World2013In: The Information Society, ISSN 0197-2243, E-ISSN 1087-6537, Vol. 29, no 5, p. 322-323Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 25.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Mediating (Infra)structures: Technology, Media, Environment2017In: Postphenomenology and media: essays on human-media-world relations / [ed] Yoni Van Den Eede, Stacy O'Neal Irwin, Galit Wellner, Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2017, p. 3-25Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 26.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    On Being Turned Inside Out2015In: interactions, ISSN 1072-5520, E-ISSN 1558-3449, Vol. 22, no 3, p. 20-21Article in journal (Other academic)
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  • 27.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    On the multi- intentionality of assembled things2017Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 28.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Relating to things: design, technology and the artificial2020Collection (editor) (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We relate to things and things relate to us. Emerging technologies do this in ways that are interesting and exciting, but often also inaccessible or invisible. In Relating to Things, leading design researchers and philosophers respond to issues raised by this situation - inquiring into what it means to live with and relate to things that can actively relate to us, and that relate to each other in ways that do not involve us at all. Case studies include Amazon's Alexa, the Internet of Things, Pokémon Go and Roomba the robot vacuum cleaner. Authors explore everything from the care work undertaken by objects, reciprocal human/machine learning, technological mediation as a form of control, and what it takes to reveal things that tend to be hidden and that often (by design) conceal the ways in which they use us. As a whole, the book is a collaborative philosophical inquiry into the nature and consequences of contemporary technological things. It is a design inquiry into the current nature of the artificial, and possibilities for how things might be otherwise.

  • 29.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Revealing relations of fluid assemblages2020In: Relating to things: design, technology and the artificial / [ed] Heather Wiltse, Bloomsbury Academic, 2020, p. 239-255Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 30.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Surveillance (Alternatives), by Design2019In: The State of Responsible IoT 2019: Small Escapes from Surveillance Capitalism / [ed] Andrea Krajewski, Max Krüger, Berlin: ThingsCon e.V. , 2019, p. 53-58Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
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  • 31.
    Wiltse, Heather
    School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University, United States.
    The mediating role of responsive digital materials: a conceptual investigation and analytic framework2013Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Digital technologies have become thoroughly enmeshed in everyday life, forming a backdrop of experience. We live not only with these technologies but also through them as they mediate our engagement with the world. This mediation calls for closer attention with respect to practical design concerns as well as more theoretical and philosophical questions regarding the role of technologies in experience and society. This dissertation is an inquiry into this mediating role of technology. Its purpose is to analyze and theorize the relation between mediating technologies and the activities they make visible; to theorize the structure and dynamics of digitally-mediated engagement; and to provide a flexible conceptual framework that can be used for analyzing these aspects during design and critique. It develops a conceptualization of digital technologies as responsive digital materials that function as substrates that can make activities visible as traces. It then applies and extends existing postphenomenological theories of technological mediation in order to account for these specific components of digital material and to examine the structure and dynamics of digital material mediation. These theoretical developments are empirically grounded in a set of structured close analyses of specific digital material cases. This analytic, artifact-centered method was developed in order to analyze specific mechanisms by which digital technologies make activities visible, and in a way that can be useful in both practical design work and more theoretical analyses. The primary contributions of this dissertation are a theoretical framing of the mediating role and capabilities of technologies as a unit of analysis; development and extension of existing conceptualizations of digital material and technological mediation; a conceptual framework that can be used in framing and analysis; a method of framing and analyzing digital material cases; and an archive of cases that illustrate this method and approach. The high-level goal of this dissertation is to enable and contribute to a philosophically-grounded understanding of the role of digital technologies in society and human experience, and its contributions are intended to enable further, more precise, and more practical inquiries into the ways in which digital materials mediate engagement with the world.

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    Wiltse dissertation
  • 32.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    The Smartphone: Digital Mediation Through Fluid Assemblages2019Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    There is much exciting work being done at the intersection between media theory and STS. As objects become ‘smart,’ as in the Internet of Things, smart homes, and smart cities, they will continue to shape our knowledge of the objectified world we have constructed since at least the 18th century. Contra McLuhan, but in line with the recent work of John Durham Peters, the human body becomes medium; and scientific knowledge is dependent on novel and emerging mechanisms of (prosthetic) sensation and perception that allow for the observation of phenomena. This panel brings together scholars working in this emerging area to explore how attention to media theory can inform STS and how STS can inform the study of media theory.

    We invite scholars from the fields of media studies and science and technology studies to engage in theoretically and empirically informed dialogues, which investigate and define the relationship(s) between media formats and the production of knowledge in both contemporary and historical periods. Our goal in convening this panel is to set an agenda for the productive mingling of these fields towards an understanding of the epistemologies and possible practices that are embedded in the media-objects with which we engage. In short: to know knowledge-as-mediation, and mediation-as-knowledge. Each panelist is invited to bring one object (slide, film clip, written excerpt, piece of technology …) which for them operates in both media theory and STS. After a short presentation of each object, a panel discussion will ensue.

  • 33.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Unpacking Digital Material Mediation2014In: Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, ISSN 1091-8264, E-ISSN 2691-5928, Vol. 18, no 3, p. 154-182Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Digital technologies mediate engagement with the world by making ac- tivities visible. The automaticity and physicality of the ways in which they do this suggest that it could be productive to view them as responsive digital materials. This paper explores the structure and function of responsive materials in order to develop a conceptualization of responsive digital materials. It then begins to unpack the com- plexities of digital material mediation through both drawing on and extending existing postphenomenological theory. 

  • 34.
    Wiltse, Heather
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Lindh Karlsson, Monica
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Lindström, Kristina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Pawar, Aditya
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Ståhl, Åsa
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Non-local situations: speculating about future response-abilities of postindustrial design (research)2016Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Design deals with the material, social, political, cultural, economic, and more, and in relation to history—past, present, and (possible) future(s) At the same time, the objects of design are becoming less traditionally thing- like and rather connected, dynamic, ‘smart’ components of product and service ecosystems. We need, then, to find ways to grapple with (eco)systems, contextual specificities, new forms of technologies, and societal needs in a changing world where we have yet to even begin to adequately come to grips with the implications of our dwindling resources and impending climate collapse; political structures are often woefully ineffective; and advanced capitalism seems to be spinning disastrously out of control. The aim of this conversation is to speculate about future articulations, practices, and contexts of postindustrial design (research), and in the process to prototype the inclusive, rich, realistic yet hopeful discourse among passionate partial perspectives that is necessary to support it. This is a process of developing our ‘response-abilities’—our ‘collective capacity to respond’.

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    fulltext
  • 35.
    Wiltse, Heather
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Redström, Johan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Philosophical Imaginaries for Connected Sociotechnical Realities2021In: SPT 2021 - Techological Imaginaries: The Society for Philosophy and Technology Conference - June 28-30 2021, The Society for Philosophy and Technology , 2021, p. 405-405Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is now well-recognized that technologies do not stand on their own and only serve rational, instrumental purposes, but are rather part of complex sociotechnical systems that reflect diverse and complex values, purposes, and power structures. They can also be seen as having their own existence independent of humans, drawing on flat ontology and materialist perspectives. Yet in common sense reasoning around technology, not to mention in its (experience) design, there persists a basic technological imaginary based on technologies as passive tools that humans pick up and put to use in serving their more or less heroic purposes. Now, however, even everyday experience seems to challenge this perspective on technology as strictly submissive tools as we find that what music to listen to next, books to read, movies to watch or products to purchase seem to have been all but already selected for us by the apps and services we use. Indeed, 'becoming part of' is probably a more accurate description than 'using'. 

    In order to explore the implications of these changes while also highlighting persistent elements of our collective technological imaginary, we here examine a few classic examples within philosophy of technology through this lens. Playfully reimagining examples such as the hammer, the cane or the clock, what happens if we instead start from the assumption that things possess agencies and intentionalities as important or influential as our own? What if we consider ourselves extensions of the tools we use, rather than the other way around? Here, we aim to sketch the contours of a new kind of philosophical imaginary that might be more relevant for our current sociotechnical reality. 

  • 36.
    Wiltse, Heather
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Stolterman, Erik
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design. Indiana University.
    Redström, Johan
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wicked Interactions: (On the Necessity of) Reframing the 'Computer' in Philosophy and Design2015In: Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, ISSN 1091-8264, E-ISSN 2691-5928, Vol. 19, no 1, p. 26-49Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The digital computational technologies that over the past decades have come to be fully integrated into nearly all aspects of human life have varying forms, scales, interactive mechanisms, functions, configurations, and interconnections. Much of this complexity and associated implications for human experience are, however, hidden by prevalent notions of ‘the computer’ as an object. In this paper, we consider how everyday digital technologies collectively mediate human experience, arguing that these technologies are better understood as fluid assemblages that have as many similarities with the infra-structural as they have properties typical for objects. We characterize these aspects in terms of ‘wicked interactions,’ drawing on and adapting the classic theory of wicked problems in design discourse that has similarly consid-ered the complexity of interactions with and within other types of social infrastructure. In doing this we emphasize the need and the potential for building up connections between philosophy of technology and design discourse, with the hope that this might further the shared goals of understanding digital technologies and their consequences and determining how to act in relation to them and their design.

  • 37.
    Özçetin, Seda
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Wiltse, Heather
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Umeå Institute of Design.
    Terms of entanglement: a posthumanist reading of Terms of Service2023In: Human-Computer Interaction, ISSN 0737-0024, E-ISSN 1532-7051Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Contemporary connected things entail ongoing relations between producers, end users, and other actors characterized by ongoing updates and production of data about and through use. These relations are currently governed by Terms of Service (ToS) and related policy documents, which are known to be mostly ignored beyond the required interaction of ticking a box to indicate consent. This seems to be a symptom of failure to design for effectively mediating ongoing relations among multiple stakeholders involving multiple forms of value generation. In this paper, we use ToS as an entrance point to explore design practices for democratic data governance. Drawing on posthuman perspectives, we make three posthuman design moves exploring entanglements, decentering, and co-performance in relation to Terms of Service. Through these explorations we begin to sketch a space for design to engage with democratic data governance through a practice of what we call revealing design that is aimed at meaningfully making visible these complex networked relations in actionable ways. This approach is meant to open alternative possible trajectories that could be explored for design to enable genuine democratic data governance.

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    fulltext
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