Publications and (art)Work in Progress
Updated on Oct, 2012
- Xenakis I. & Arnellos A ., (2013) The relation between interaction aesthetics and affordances. Design Studies, 34(1), 57-73. doi: 10.1016/j.destud.2012.05.004
[Abstract] [Author's personal copy] [Read now]Even though aesthetics and affordances are two important factors based on which designers provide effective ways of interaction through their artifacts, there is no study or theoretical model that relates these two aspects of design. We suggest a theoretical explanation that relates the underlying functionality of aesthetics, in particular, of interaction aesthetics and of affordances in the design process. Our claim is that interaction aesthetics are one among other factors that allow users to enhance the detection of action possibilities and consequently, the detection of affordances. Our aim is first to discuss the role of interaction aesthetics in the design process, and second to suggest an explanation for their role in the detection of affordances when users interact with artifacts.
- Xenakis I., Arnellos A., Spyrou T. & Darzentas J., (2012) Modelling Aesthetic Judgment: An Interactive-semiotic Perspective. Cybernetics & Human Knowing, 19(3), 25–51
[Abstract] [Author's personal copy]Aesthetic experience, as a cognitive activity is a fundamental part of the interaction process in which an agent attempts to interpret his/her environment in order to support the fundamental process of decision making. Proposing a four level interactive model, we underline and indicate the functions that provide the operations of aesthetic experience and, by extension, of aesthetic judgement. Particurarly in this paper, we suggest an integration of the fundamental Peircean semiotic parameters and their related levels of semiotic organisation with the proposed model. Our aim is to provide a further theoretical understanding with respect to the perception of aesthetics and to enrich our models regarding the functionality of aesthetic interpretation, using the theoretical interpretive richness provided by the semiotic perspective.
- Xenakis I., Arnellos A. & Darzentas J., (2012) The Functional Role of Emotions in Aesthetic Judgement. New Ideas in Psychology, 30(2), 212-226, doi: 10.1016/j.newideapsych.2011.09.003
[Abstract], [Author's personal copy] [Read now]Exploring emotions, in terms of their evolutionary origin; their basic neurobiological substratum, and their functional significance in autonomous agents, we propose a model of minimal functionality of emotions. Our aim is to provide a naturalized explanation - mostly based on an interactivist model of emergent representation and appraisal theory of emotions - concerning basic aesthetic emotions in the formation of aesthetic judgment. We suggest two processes the Cognitive Variables Subsystem (CVS) which is fundamental for the accomplishment of the function of heuristic learning; and Aesthetic Appraisal Subsystem (AAS) which primarily affects the elicitation of aesthetic emotional meanings. These two subsystems (CVS and AAS) are organizationally connected and affect the action readiness of the autonomous agent. More specifically, we consider the emotional outcome of these two subsystems as a functional indication that strengthens or weakens the anticipation for the resolution of the dynamic uncertainty that emerges in the particular interaction.
- Xenakis, I., & Arnellos A., Aesthetics as an emotional activity that facilitates sense-making: Towards an enactive approach to aesthetic experience. In A. Scarinzi (Ed.), Aesthetics and the Embodied Mind: Beyond Art Theory and the Cartesian Mind-Body Dichotomy. Springer. (accepted for publication). [Abstract]
Xenakis, I. (2013). The Role of Aesthetic Emotions in Human-artifact Interaction Porcess (Phd). Product & Systems Design Engineer, University of the Aegean, Syros, Greece.
Articles Under Review or in Preparation
- The role of aesthetics in the design process (with Argyris Arnellos)
- Constructing the aesthetic judgement in the design process (with Argyris Arnellos) [Abstract]
- Aesthetics and Usability: a Cognitive Perspective (with Argyris Arnellos) [Abstract]
- The Psychological State of Being in Presence: a Naturalized Perspective (with Spyros Vosinakis)
- Xenakis I. & Arnellos A. (2012). Reducing Uncertainty in the Design Process: the Role of Aesthetics, Presented at the, 8th International Conference on Design & Emotion, London, UK.
[Abstract], [Full paper]Uncertainty in the design process is a common situation in which, designers and users are making decisions that are uncertain with respect to the (degree of) fulfillment of their goals. Therefore, design-participants (designers and users) need to develop ways that will handle and reduce their design-uncertainty in order to choose the best action before learning and prevent the possible failure of the interaction. Providing an explanation for the general role of aesthetics in an interaction, we suggest that aesthetics through their emotional dimension (aesthetic emotions) are implicitly associated with the design process by inducing the reduction of design-uncertainty. From our perspective aesthetics are about action. They are a fundamental aspect of design that enhances the communication between the design-participants by promoting the achievements of goals in the design process.
- Xenakis I., Arnellos A. & Darzentas J. (2011). Emotions and their Functional Role in Aesthetic Judgment Interactivist Summer Institute 2011, Syros, Greece
[Abstract]As an autonomous agent attempts to increase his autonomy, he always tries to advance the complexity of the functions he uses in order to be able to serve his final decisions. In autonomous agents with a greater complexity that the basic one, emotional activity functions as a feedback system or a monitor mechanism that serves the regulation of the effectiveness of a potential or chosen interaction.
For most theorists emotions are highly related to the behavior as they are bound with agent's goals and biological needs. Generally, emotions with a positive value (euphoric) are associated with the attainment of a goal, leading to decisions that allow an agent to continue with its current plan. In contrast, emotions with negative values (dysphoric) emerge when the agent has problems with the ongoing plans and fails to achieve the desired goals. Those values lead to problem-solving mechanisms reconsidering the existing goal structures in order to reconstruct new plans.
Many aesthetic theorists have proposed that there are basic emotional states such as pleasure or pain, which are connected, some of them a priori, with beauty or ugliness. William James was the first to distinguish between a primary and a secondary layer of emotional response to aesthetic stimuli. The primary layer consists of subtle feelings, by which, pleasure is elicited through harmonious combinations of sensational experiences (e.g. lines, colors, and sounds). The secondary pleasure offers the elegance in aesthetic taste. Other authors add to pleasure and pain a value character, which is associated with our preferences, including aesthetic ones, to provide an explanation to what we like or dislike, while others put the aesthetic emotions in the top of emotional pyramid. Frijda offers also a definition of affect, which is referred to hedonic experience as an experience of pleasure or pain.
Exploring emotions, their evolutionary origin and their basic neurobiological substratum, our aim in this paper is to detect the way in which emotions responsible for an aesthetic response (pleasure and pain) are emerged and how they eventually affect the formation of aesthetic decision. As such, we propose a model of minimal functionality of emotions that are also related to minimal aesthetic decisions that probably constitute the formation of aesthetic judgment. Particularly, we propose a naturalized explanation mostly based on Bickhard's interactivist model of emergent representation, in order to detect the way in which emotions responsible for an aesthetic response are emerged and how they eventually affect the formation of aesthetic judgment. According to the interactive model of representation, emotions are implicitly associated to representations and in general, to the transformation of the factual knowledge in complex autonomous agents.
Taking into account also Damasio's neurological evidences about mental images, emotional activity and their relations to what the agent likes or not, we argue that aesthetic meaning is based on dynamic changes, which occurred in the agent's inner structure when he interacts with the physical structure of an object. Emotions are an outcome of a signal mechanism, which detects those differentiations of the environmental conditions and warn the agent for possible failures of those conditions. The signaling devices located in agent's structure, aid the construction of neural patterns resulting in possible emotional values.
As such, we strongly believe that the formation of aesthetic meaning could also be ascribed not only in the purely conscious part of the respective interactive process, but also in the respective emotional mechanism. Particularly, in the suggested model, aesthetic emotions are considered as functions that serve an evaluation mechanism, as the agent tries to resolve the interactive uncertainty in a given interaction. Consequently, we consider the aesthetic emotional states of pleasure and pain as a functional indication that strengthens or weakens the anticipation for the resolution of the dynamic uncertainty emerged in the specific interaction. Overall, this process serves the maintenance of the autonomy and the stability of the agent, since it functions as a detecting mechanism that could prevent the interactive error.
The proposed model of such a signal/evaluation mechanism, which leads to emotional aesthetic values, is structured upon the evidence of the appraisal theory of emotions, as it has been introduced by Lazarous and Frijda. Appraisal theory is also used as a vehicle for the detection of specific functions by which the evaluation mechanism is related to the elicitation of the aesthetic emotional meaning.
The ideally ultimate aesthetic verdict is a much more complex process than the one described and analyzed in the suggested minimal model. According to this model, the aesthetic judgment has to resolve also qualitative aspects of the emergent aesthetic emotions, which in turn construct more complex appraisal structures. Consequently, aesthetic emotions are more than what we use to name as pleasurable or painful; they have qualitative differentiations (e.g. intensity), which are causally dependent on the dynamic character of appraisal.
The whole approach to explore the functional significance of aesthetic emotions, which affect the complex aesthetic judgment is developed apart from non-naturalized explanations and abstract philosophical terms like beauty, sublime, aesthetic sensitivity, etc. that aesthetic philosophy has proposed so far as notions with a central role in aesthetic experience.
In contrast, according to the proposed model we suggest that:
• The aesthetic elicitation is always a goal-related attribution, in contrary with the more dominant and philosophical approach to aesthetic theory that claims for disinterestedness of pleasure (free of satisfaction), when the agent is about to call something beautiful.
• Considering that the appraisal of an event takes place prior to the outcome of the aesthetic emotion, we could conclude that aesthetics, in general, and aesthetic judgment, in particular, is not an a priori mysterious process and most probably, but refers to processes/mechanisms, which result in emergent outcomes with particular characteristics.
• Autonomy is a precondition for the agent to produce aesthetic emotions. The contrary is not true.
• Aesthetic emotions have also a functional role that provides new motives and new knowledge. The knowledge of new aesthetic meanings and new aesthetic judgments, form the basis for further aesthetic emotions, judgments, and actions.
• The dynamic character of the appraisal process confirms the philosophical claim for the subjectivity of the aesthetic judgment. Particularly, the same cognitive agent in different instants of the same interaction process could elicit different aesthetic judgments even if we consider the environment as consistent.
Consequently, we consider the aesthetic emotional values of pleasure and pain as a functional indication that strengthens or weakens the anticipation for the resolution of the dynamic uncertainty emerged in the specific interaction. Those aesthetic indications partly form, in a fundamental level, the elicitation of the aesthetic experience.
- Vosinakis S. & Xenakis I. (2011). A Virtual World Installation in an Art Exhibition: Providing a Shared Interaction Space for Local and Remote Visitors. Proceedings of the Re-thinking Technology in Museums 2011 (pp. 253-264), Limerick, Ireland
[Abstract], [Full paper]Visiting museums and exhibitions represented in multi-user 3D environments can be an efficient way of learning about the exhibits in an interactive manner and socialising with other visitors. The rich educational information presented in the virtual environment and the presence of remote users could also be beneficial for the visitors of the physical exhibition space. In this paper we present the design and implementation of a virtual exhibition that allowed local and remote visitors coexist in the environment, access the interactive content and communicate with each other. The virtual exhibition was accessible to the remote users from the Web and to local visitors through an installation in the physical space. The installation projected the virtual world in the exhibition environment and let users interact with it using a handheld gesture-based device. We performed an evaluation of the 3D environment with the participation of both local and remote visitors. The evaluation results indicate that the virtual world was considered exciting and easy to use by the majority of the participants. Furthermore, according to the evaluation results, virtual museums and exhibitions seem to have significant advantages for remote visitors compared to typical museum web sites, and they can also be an important aid to local visitors and enhance their experience.