Theo Humphries MA (RCA), FHEA
Theo Humphries is a lecturer at Cardiff School of Art & Design (CSAD), which is part of Cardiff Metropolitan University (formerly UWIC). He is also a part-time PhD student at CSAD, a designer/artist, a lead participant in MeAT Design Research (CSAD), and a contributor to Transtechnology Research (Plymouth University).
Using Design Methodologies to Understand Complex Human Behaviour: A Case Study in Humour.
One role of the designer is to bring coherence and organisation to complex and chaotic conditions. History contains many examples of designs that satisfy human needs and indulge human desires by materialising the imagination, and such examples are often discussed. This research is an attempt to refocus design attention on the human condition itself; to employ ‘design’ in order to bring some kind of fresh insight to the complexity of human being.
In order to focus this research, a particular aspect of the human condition has been selected; namely humour. Humour has been specifically chosen because of its complex, somatic, and pervasive nature. This complexity presents itself in the fact that finding something humorous is a subjective experience dependant on a mysterious interplay of seemingly objective stimulus, seemingly subjective experience, and mood – to name but a few factors – and is further compounded by the array of theories that deal with the phenomena of humour, situated as they often are in comparatively distant fields of study; visual arts, philosophy, cognitive science, performance, evolution, mathematics, politics, sociology, artificial intelligence, and so on.
Humour is of further interest because of its somatic character; culminating as it often does in that joyous climactic experience of laughter, and its aforementioned pervasiveness; humour appearing to be an almost universal human idiosyncrasy.
Whilst at an early stage, the aim of this research is to test whether the designer’s skills of purposeful, and arguably poetic, organisation, may themselves enable a more contingent and open understanding of the human condition than reductive scientific analysis, and a more coherent and ‘usable’ understanding than that of so many intellectually opaque philosophies. This ‘usability’, and other concepts, are explored through a number of means, including the creation of numerous ‘critical design’ artefacts that embody and challenge the ideas identified during this research.
Theo studied Design Futures at The University of Wales, Newport (graduating in 2002). He then worked at Pinewood Studios (UK) as an interaction designer for Ragdoll, before completing a Masters in Interaction Design at The Royal College of Art, London (graduating in 2005).
Theo is a co-founder of 3eyes Design Consultancy. Through 3eyes he has collaborated internationally with creative people, concentrating his ideas, skills, and cutting edge design ethos into commercial work for clients such as Sony (Berlin), Mattel (L.A.), and Nokia (Helsinki), as well as undertaking further academic research as a lead participant in the LOCA pervasive surveillance project that has been ‘deployed’ in the UK, Finland and the United States. Loca received an honorary mention at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, in 2008, and has featured on BBC World Service’s digital culture programme ‘Digital Planet’.
During 2005 Theo’s work featured in The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Sex in New York.
Having lectured regularly in universities since completing his degree, and acting as course director for MA Design at University of Wales Newport (UWN) in 2007, Theo took up a full-time lectureship at CSAD in 2008.
Theo’s work features in numerous books, journals, magazines, and websites.
Theo’s text and images have been published in several books, including:
RIESER, M. (ed), 2011. The Mobile Audience: Media Art and Mobile Technologies. Rodopi Press.
SEYMOUR, S., 2010. Functional Aesthetics: Visions in Fashionable Technology. Springer Press.
M. E. BUCQUOYE & VAN DEN STORM, D., 2009. Forms for Pleasure (Design Today). Belgium: Stichting Kunstboek BVBA.
WONG, K. (ed), 2007. [Art]ifact: Re-Recognizing the Essentials of Products. Hong Kong: Victionary.
KLANTEN, R. (ed), S. EHMANN, S. (ed), & HELLIGE, H. (ed), 2006. All Allure. Die Gestalten Verlag.
GIBBONS, J. (ed) & WINWOOD, K. (ed), 2006. Hothaus Papers; Perspectives and paradigms in Media Arts. ARTicle Press.
MARENKO, B. (ed), 2005. DiY Survival. Mute Press.
‘Smoking Dogs’. Bristol, UK: Biblos. June 2012.
‘Crapestry’. Bristol, UK: Niche. May 2012.
‘Sewing For Pleasure 2012′. Birmingham, UK: NEC. 22nd – 25th March 2012
‘The Stitch & Craft Show 2012′. London, UK: Olympia II. 15th –18th March 2012
‘Crapestry 2’. Bristol, UK: Biblos. 07th February – 02nd March, 2012.
‘Crapestry 1’. Bristol, UK: Biblos. 03 November – 05 December, 2011.
‘Lapjuicer’ in ‘Design in Sex/Sex in Design’. New York, USA: Sex Museum of New York. 31 January – 15 July, 2008.
(Lapjuicer object retained as part of permanent collection).
‘LOCA: Set To Discoverable’ at ‘Arte.mov’. Belo Horizonte, Brazil: International Festival of Art and Mobile Media. November, 2007.
‘LOCA: Set To Discoverable’. San Jose, California, USA: ISEA 2006/ZeroOne. 07 – 13 August, 2006.
‘LOCA: 1.0’. Helsinki, Finland: Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. 14 – 17 April, 2005.
‘Lapjuicer’ in ‘Touch Me’. London, UK: Victoria & Albert Museum. 16 June – 29 August, 2005.
Untitled Interactive Installation for T.I.E. Brussels, Belgium: European Commission. May, 2001.
Untitled Interactive Installation. Brussels, Belgium: European Parliament. February, 2001.
Humphries, T., 2010. Considering Intuition in the Context of Design, and of Psychology (conference paper and presentation). In: WIRAD (Welsh Institute for Research in Art & Design) 2nd National Symposium of Emerging Art & Design Researchers. Cardiff, UK: Wales Millennium Centre. 29-30 March 2012.
Humphries, T., 2010. Chindogu: Critical, Illustrative, Funny (conference paper and presentation). In: CSAD (Cardiff School of Ar & Design) 1st Illustration Symposium, Shadow Play: Alchemy, Redolence, and Enchantment. Cardiff, UK: Chapter Arts. 2-4 November 2010.
Humphries, T., 2010. Crapestry [lecture] Cardiff, UK: Chapter Arts. 7 October 2010.
Humphries, T., 2010. An Exploration of Humour and its Potential to be Defined as a Technology (conference paper and presentation). In: WIRAD (Welsh Institute for Research in Art & Design) 1st National Symposium of Emerging Art & Design Researchers. Newport, UK: Hilton. 28-30 April 2009.
Theo’s text and images have also been published in several magazines, including:
Design Week, Leonardo, Stuff, Arena, FHM, Maxim, Slitz, CrossStitcher, and others.
Theo’s current work can be found at meatresearch.co.uk, and crapestry.co.uk
An archive of Theo’s work (previous to 2008) can be found at 3eyes.co.uk
Cardiff School of Art and Design,
Cardiff Metropolitan University (formerly UWIC),