Everything in nature has a rhythm. Rhythms help us orient in time and space and make sense of the world around us. Yet, when it comes to technology, in this context meaning networked computational things, most so called smart devices seem to miss the quality of rhythm.
There is a gap in our understanding of these things, since their computational processes are often hidden away or inaccessible to the one interacting with the thing. There is a lack of expression in things that help us understand what it is that they actually do, see, hear etc.

What if computational things instead expressed their internal processing rhythms? What could these expressions be like? And how might humans interacting with the things respond to these expressions?

This project was conducted within the course Interaction Concept at Umea Institute of Design.
Course responsible:
Heather Wiltse & Marije de Haas

Thanks to external tutors:
Holly Robbins, Jeroen Peeters, Joshua Bronson
In four design examples, I’ve tried to explore the design space of temporality and rhythm and the issues of lack of expression in networked things. I’ve situated these things in a home environment, considering the home as a place for disconnection and reflection, in a reality where human users have adapted new rituals in relation to things as a way of sense-making. Each artifact is given a name that relates to its perceived function in the view of the human interacting with it, The OracleThe InterpreterThe Motivator and The Storyteller. The four cases illustrate different scenarios, each with their own set of questions, but with these 3 interaction layers in common:

1). An artifact with an internal processing rhythm. (Code logic)
2). An expression of the artifacts internal processing rhythm. (Motion, sound)
3). A response from a human interacting with the artifact. (Ritual)

This project is also published on the Medium page of the Fluid Assemblages research project.