David Weininger on Sat, 1 Apr 2006 20:09:06 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> [pub] Book announcement - Dunne


The MIT Press is pleased to announce the reissue of Anthony Dunne's 
*Hertzian Tales*. More information is available at 
http://mitpress.mit.edu/promotions/books/SP20060262042320 -- thanks.

Hertzian Tales
Electronic Products, Aesthetic Experience, and Critical Design
Anthony Dunne

As our everyday social and cultural experiences are increasingly 
mediated by electronic products--from "intelligent" toasters to 
iPods--it is the design of these products that shapes our experience 
of the "electrosphere" in which we live. Designers of electronic 
products, writes Anthony Dunne in Hertzian Tales, must begin to think 
more broadly about the aesthetic role of electronic products in 
everyday life. Industrial design has the potential to enrich our 
daily lives--to improve the quality of our relationship to the 
artificial environment of technology, and even, argues Dunne, to be 
subverted for socially beneficial ends.

The cultural speculations and conceptual design proposals in Hertzian 
Tales are not utopian visions or blueprints; instead, they embody a 
critique of present-day practices, "mixing criticism with optimism." 
Six essays explore design approaches for developing the aesthetic 
potential of electronic products outside a commercial 
context--considering such topics as the post-optimal object and the 
aesthetics of user-unfriendliness--and five proposals offer 
commentary in the form of objects, videos, and images. These include 
"Electroclimates," animations on an LCD screen that register changes 
in radio frequency; "When Objects Dream . . .," consumer products 
that "dream" in electromagnetic waves; "Thief of Affection," which 
steals radio signals from cardiac pacemakers; "Tuneable Cities," 
which uses the car as it drives through overlapping radio 
environments as an interface of hertzian and physical space; and the 
"Faraday Chair: Negative Radio," enclosed in a transparent but 
radio-opaque shield.

Very little has changed in the world of design since Hertzian Tales 
was first published by the Royal College of Art in 1999, writes Dunne 
in his preface to this MIT Press edition: "Design is not engaging 
with the social, cultural, and ethical implications of the 
technologies it makes so sexy and consumable." His project and 
proposals challenge it to do so.

Anthony Dunne is Professor and Head of Interaction Design at the 
Royal College of Art in London. He is also a Partner in the design 
practice Dunne & Raby, London.

7 x 9, 200 pp., 96 illus., cloth, ISBN 0-262-04232-0

David Weininger
Associate Publicist
MIT Press
55 Hayward Street
Cambridge, MA 02142-1315
617.253.1709 fax
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