Rebola lectures on Aging and Human-Robot-Hybridity

Claudia Rebola (Associate Professor, Industrial Design) will be speaking at two conferences in April.

SGS New Horizons in Aging
“Design Thinking as a Strategy for Older Adults Solutions”
Authors:  Dr. Claudia B. Rebola and Elizabeth Hermann (Professor, Landscape Architecture)

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, to find solutions towards creating a preferred future. Designing for aging requires focused expertise, considerations, and principles for bringing about effective solutions for the population. While there is vast knowledge on each of these areas, little has been discussed and presented at the intersection of the two. This presentation will introduce a system for design thinking for older adults. The system is comprised of a seven-phase “P” methodology: Position, Purpose, Prosthetics, Place, Participation, Potential and Presentation. The presentation will discuss a case study on the application of the designing thinking P process for a project “Aging and Health(care) 3.0: Place of Aging”. The significance of this presentation is to introduce approaches that better identify solutions when designing for the older adults. It is to discuss approaches that are contextual and personal, in the realm of designing for “one” in the context of “many”.


Imaginaries of the Future: Utopia After the Human 

“Human-Robot-Hybridity in Performance: Approaching a new Da-Sein by Disability”
Authors: Dr. Claudia B. Rebola and Dr. Stephan Sonnenburg

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” MORPHEUS IN “THE MATRIX”

We are living in a world of dramatic changes between structuring and fluctuating, between intemperate preservation and glorifying utopia, between the blue pill and the red pill. We want to swallow the red pill and critically observe the depth of the rabbit-hole by focusing on new constellations and (temporary) entities, which arise between humans and robots. Human-robot-hybridity can challenge our understanding of actors and performance. We need to understand the polarity of emerging technologies as being highlighted and shaped by human beings and also as self-willed actors, which in complex interconnections as per the Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) bring their own initially incalculable logic into the equation of hybridity producing unexpected effects. Prosthetics and disability pose a promising opportunity to elaborate on the human-robot- hybridity performance by pointing out futures where they are celebrated as a glorified norm of augmented abilities. Disability, as opposed to stigma, can embody a new meaning in the hybrid. Understanding that “to be” emerges out of being, out of performance, out of doing, who is the performer as a new being in the world? Is disability desirable? Is disability the future norm? As we are not “independent” anymore on the other side, we may anticipate a reality in which we do not or cannot any longer differentiate between disabled or non-disabled humans. While speculating on the controversial insistence on the capacity of nonhumans—devices to act or participate in the human-robot performance, our presentation will question the role of technology as personal, local and global prosthetics actors for augmenting the self. We will focus on different levels of the human-robot hybridity creating new forms of Da-Sein1 in the rabbit-hole by asking who is the self, what or how is human and where are the limits of acceptance? This presentation will be a collaborative, conversational journey of two international professors, who will ping pong, a hybrid between theory and practice, visuals and texts, presentation and performance on the topics of disability and human robot-hybridity.
1 *Dasein (German pronunciation: [ˈdaːzaɪn]) is a German word that means “being there” or “presence” (German: da “there”; sein “being”), and is often translated into English with the word “existence”.