Gert Hasenhütl Former Research Fellow

Gert Hasenhütl
October 2010 - September 2011


Gert Hasenhütl studied industrial design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. From 1996 to 2000 he worked as a research assistant at the Federal Pathologic-Anatomical Museum Vienna (Narrenturm). Between 2001 and 2007 he was a freelance creative consultant for »EOOS,« »design working group bkm« and »GP designpartners.« Since 2007 he has held a teaching position at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Institute for Education in the Arts. He earned his PhD in 2008 from the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Centre for Art and Knowledge Transfer with a thesis on design drawing (»Die Entwurfszeichnung«). From 2008 to 2010 he worked and taught as a research scholar at the Graz University of Technology, Institute of Architectural Theory, Art History and Cultural Studies. At the IKKM he is pursuing the research project »Epistemological Aspects of Design Processes,« which is part of the research fellow program »Tools of Drafting.«

Dated from 2011

Research Interests

Design studies, research for cultural technologies, sociology of technology, philosophy of science.

Research project at the IKKM

Epistemological Aspects of Design Processes

The research project deals with the epistemological aspects of design processes in architectural, graphical and industrial design. Tools and media used in design processes are reviewed in terms of their changing roles as non-human actors. The question is if or whether processes of design can be discussed in terms of epistemology. A further issue is the extent to which design processes instigate a specific type of production of knowledge, which requires particular descriptions, e.g. alternative concepts of knowledge, abductive conclusions or models of artistic research. The research project focuses on the concept of »quasi-objects«, which enable processes of transformation between scientific methods and social values, and make them relevant for the analysis of design tools. As a concept of epistemology, »quasi-objects« are socialized facts or constructions that cannot be distinctly allotted to science and nature on the one hand and society and art on the other. The artistic concept of »disegno« also acts as a mediator between science and nature and society and art. Classical media, e.g. »design by drawing« (Christopher Jones), generate facts on the basis of visual features, i.e. they enable the perfect visual coverage of matters of interest, but provide only an insufficient yield with respect to social elements. The detachment of processes of design from contexts of reality, e.g. by using visually sophisticated media, generates a specific type of design that results in solutions based on second hand experience. The simulated space created by media and tools of design has nothing to do with the real social area of action of architectural, graphical and industrial design. Tools in design can facilitate processes of transformation, i.e. processes between drawing and symbol systems on the one hand, and on the other processes between programmes of action and anti-programmes of human and non-human actors. Processes of transformation in the analysis of the design process are of interest because social issues can be considered to a greater extent than technical features. In connection with technical anthropology, philosophy and sociology cultural skills like talking and drawing are regarded as tools to be used as artificial organs. Cultural skills emerge from externalized thoughts. Against the background of the actor-network theory, the tools of the designer can be compared with the reasonings of the scientist. Consequently, the research project asks whether the tools used by designers influence their reasonings, i.e. can a computer graphic be regarded as more valuable as a drawing, a sentence or a wax figure? Of decisive importance is the issue of the connection and interdependency between tool and designer. Theories and methods of technical anthropology, philosophy and sociology can be used for a micro-level analysis of tools in design, e.g. the question as to the extent to which engineering influences society and vice versa. The research project could possibly result in the development of a macro-level model enabling the description of design processes in architectural, graphical and industrial design.