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Curious Rituals is a research project conducted at Art Center College of Design (Pasadena) in July-August 2012 by Nicolas Nova (The Near Future Laboratory / HEAD-Genève), and Katherine Miyake, Nancy Kwon and Walton Chiu from the media design program.

This research project is about gestures, postures and digital rituals that typically emerged with the use of digital technologies (computers, mobile phones, sensors, robots, etc.): gestures such as recalibrating your smartphone doing an horizontal 8 sign with your hand, the swiping of wallet with RFID cards in public transports, etc. These practices can be seen as the results of a co-construction between technical/physical constraints, contextual variables, designers intents and people’s understanding. We can see them as an intriguing focus of interest to envision the future of material culture.

The aim of the project is to envision the future of gestures and rituals based on a documentation of current digital gestures, and the making of design fiction films that speculate about their evolution.

The Curious Rituals booklet (3.1 MB / 145 pages) describes the gestures and postures the team observed, introduced by an insightful essay by Dan Hill and followed by a design fiction by Julian Bleecker and the script of A Digital Tomorrow, the design fiction film the team produced.