Uprooting Products of the Networked city
From a techno-cultural view on interaction, this article takes up the relationship between the technologies of the networked city and domestic networked products, and material and conditioning relations to the field of design. This contrasts with more infrastructural framings of networked cities and ubiquitous computing. To reveal and discuss such relationships a research approach was adopted which involved the design and making of a prototypical playful networked product that connects to the Internet and the location-based service Foursquare. The product acts both as an epistemic object that holds arguments and bears knowledge for unpacking, and as a heuristic device for ‘critical making’. The research is framed within a discursive design view, that focus on the socio-cultural aspects of interaction and technology. Via a discursive tracing and a related visual ontography I reflect on and discuss the material realities of designing for and with the networked city, and how design research and practice can challenge pervasive tropes of seamlessness and immateriality. I argue that discursive and cultural approaches to interaction design are needed to further extend and explore our design notions about what networked cities and products are and might become in the near future.