New materials with new capabilities demand new ways of approaching design. Destabilising existing methods is crucial to develop new methods. Yet, radical destabilisation—where outcomes remain unknown long enough that new discoveries become possible—is not easy in technology design where complex interdisciplinary teams with time and resource constraints need to deliver concrete outcomes on schedule. The Poetic Kinaesthetic Interface project (PKI) engages with this problematic directly. In PKI we use unfolding processes—informed by participatory, speculative and critical design—in emergent actions, to design towards unknown outcomes, using unknown materials. The impossibility of this task is proving as useful as it is disruptive. At its most potent, it is destabilising expectations, aesthetics and processes. Keeping the researchers, collaborators and participants in a state of unknowing, is opening the research potential to far-ranging possibilities. In this article we unpack the motivations driving the PKI project. We present our mixed-methodology, which entangles textile crafts, design interactions and materiality to shape an embodied enquiry. Our research outcomes are procedural and methodological. PKI brings together diverse human, non-human, known and unknown actors to discover where the emergent assemblages might lead. Our approach is re-invigorating—as it demands re-envisioning of—the design process.
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