Morse Things are Internet connected ceramic cups and bowls that communicate with each other in Morse Code. This ongoing research iteratively asks thing-centered questions of things and technology. A premise of the Morse Things is that any understanding of a thing or technology is unstable and arguably fragile. In this pictorial, we reflect on how we as researchers, in the course of doing research with the Morse Things, unexpectedly found ourselves literally entangled in the conceptual and physical fragility of the research. This pictorial describes our growing awareness of this instability, beginning with a kintsugi repair of a broken Morse Thing, our false confidence in our package design for shipping, and the difficulties to conceptualize the machine learning world that we ourselves created. We reflect on these experiences, and now see these as reminders of the inevitable fragility and instability of research on thing-perspectives.
Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '20)
Fragile! Handle with Care: The Morse Things
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