emotion as a working material

work with the new media design programme at the national institute of design: on their semester-long staging (experience design) projects.


micro-projects help students develop an objective prototyping skillset1 (tools, techniques, vocabulary) at the start of their semester. this is a broad (clickable) outline for the briefs i set for them:

over ,
functioning as :

pick any one of these:

  • object: ,
  • spot: , or
  • mode (effect): ;

and: stage an experience
to help
this affect: .


invite people to experience it;
document and write a project-note;
present it to the group in under 2 min;
and, reflect on everyone’s projects.

once they seemed up to the task, modifications (like: “craft a fleeting experience”) and technical excursions (involving sensors and actuators) were also thrown into the mix.

history, theory, philosophy

theory, experiences and group-discussions (accompanied by readings, listenings, smellings, feelings, visits, etc) helped students develop a shared vocabulary around their work.2

listening to max richter's ‘sleep’ at midnight.

scaffolding (for tutorials)

during a group discussion in 2022, we wrote an objective framework for staging an experience2 (a cheat sheet, so to speak). this helped structure feedback to students at various stages of their projects.

staging framework.


  1. broadly, these exercises helped students appreciate how the working material of design is emotion

  2. while i drew on work i’d performed, studied or encountered in the past, my work with new media design was based largely on jignesh khakhar’s lectures, writings, methods and suggestions. (jignesh: discipline lead, new media design; and dean, postgraduate campus, national institute of design, india. (during 2020–23, at-least.) 2