The aesthetics of more-than-human design: speculative energy briefs for the Chthulucene

Wilkie, Alex and Michael, Mike. 2023. The aesthetics of more-than-human design: speculative energy briefs for the Chthulucene. Human-Computer Interaction, ISSN 0737-0024 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

This paper is a theoretical contribution to HCI that considers the more-than-human (MTH) as an intrinsic part of human–computer interaction design. In particular, it focuses on MTH as central to responses to the climate crisis as manifested in energy-demand reduction and smart meters. This is explored by expanding on the notion of the ‘design event’, defined aesthetically as the patterns or conformation of unfolding and becoming of heterogenous human and non-human elements. It is with this version of the design event that the MTH can be more directly and effectively engaged. We do this with reference to environmental problems as signaled by Haraway’s speculative future ‘the Chthulucene’ – a worlding for liveable futures. The paper views design briefs in HCI, and design more broadly, as problematics for exploring and determining aesthetic-possible pathways for invention, which necessarily involves MTH elements. Three interrelated design briefs are presented that propose how practitioners might go about addressing energy-demand reduction and metering and provide a set of guidelines on how to devise and write speculative more-than-human briefs. This, the paper argues, involves becoming sensitive to speculative MTH compositions where novel forms of ‘sense making’ orient alternative possibilistic – idiotic – relations to energy.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Aesthetics, more-than-human, design briefs, design event, meter, energy

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Design > Design Societies Research Unit


24 October 2023Accepted
6 November 2023Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

06 Nov 2023 13:37

Last Modified:

06 Nov 2023 13:37

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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