Julian Schwarze

Product semantics and mobility space. Investigation of and theoretical groundwork for the prerequisites and limits of a product-language analysis of spaces and processes in mobility systems.


Julian Schwarze’s Ph.D. project examines the preconditions and limitations of applying a product-language-based analysis to mobility spaces. The theory of product language analyzes design objects, which are understood as “communicative media of meaning,” with a view to their product semantics. Product semantics can be observed in users’ interaction with objects. If we are to extend this space of interaction to mobility spaces, in which users, who either move about themselves or are transported, interact not only with things but also with virtual as well as physical spaces in a time-based utilization process, then the question of the applicability of the theory of product language arises. As a theory, is it able to constitute the basis of the analysis as well as the definition and development of the design parameters derived from it – and where are the limitations?

In product semantics, interaction and communication between objects and users are conceived as a process, yet the position of those interacting remains static. Furthermore, products are understood as things that may be delineated. Mobility spaces feature two fundamental differences when compared to this definition – firstly, the users are mobile, meaning they move or are moved, and secondly, these are not things that may be isolated, but complex spaces, which further manifest a specific interaction context through their mobile, time-based use. This raises the question as to whether the theory of product language is still adequate when it comes to analyzing this specific context, and where it may be limited or require expansion. In order to answer this question, design-theoretical and art-critical literature must be evaluated, yet an analysis based on architectural theory must also be included. The dissertation takes a critical look at the methods and instruments of analysis of the theory of product language and intends to examine it in terms of the practical application to mobility spaces with a view to a possibly necessary redetermination, and to categorize the insights ensuing from this.

In the practical part of the work a separate section of the study of a mobility process will serve by way of example. It will center on a mobility node to be observed, whereby the application of product language shall allow for the latter’s potential and limitations to be defined.

Prof. Kai Vöckler

Prof. Peter Eckart