single, speaker

michael hohl

Michael Hohl, Ph.D.
Professor of Design Theory
Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Dessau

Field of research: Conversational systems, digital media

Living in cybernetics: Design and Learning from Polynesian Voyaging culture

In this presentation I reflect on how traditional practices of Hawaiian culture can inform designerly ways of knowing and acting and may lead to a practice of lived Cybernetics, a sustainable way of life. Cybernetics addresses how we perceive and understand complexity, and the relationship between systems and observers, with implications for the social sphere. Hawaiian culture integrates a deep reverance for nature, a desire for harmony among all living things, lokahi.  Sustainable practices are deeply embedded in the culture, as are communal activities. Designing is the activity of addressing perceived problems, from a perspective of empathy, creativity, intuition, analysis and reflection.


Michael Hohl is Professor of Design Theory at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences and a kind of research tutor in Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art in London. He is a designer, design researcher and educator, holding a Ph.D in fine art and computer science from Sheffield Hallam University and a Diploma in Digital Media Design from the Berlin University of the Arts. Michael investigates questions around data visualisation and epistemology, practice-based research in design, knowledge and 2nd order cybernetics. He is also interested in how conferences may become places of asking questions and discussion instead of listening to answers.