Becoming the energy aware clock: Revisiting the design process through a feminist gaze

Karin Ehrnberger, Loove Broms, Cecilia Katzeff*


This paper explores the border between technology and design (form giving) from a feminist perspective. Looking at the energy system and how it has been integrated in the household, we want to address the underlying structures that have been built into the ecology of electrical appliances used in daily life, preserving certain norms that could be questioned from both a gender and a sustainability perspective. We have created an alternative electricity meter, the Energy AWARE Clock, addressing design issues uncovered in an initial field study. In this paper, we will make parallels to these issues. We also use feminist technoscience studies scholar Donna Haraway’s theory of the cyborg in order to clarify useful concepts that can be derived from feminist theory and that can act as important tools for designers engaged in creative processes. From our own experience with the Energy AWARE Clock this approach has great potential for questioning and rethinking present norms within sustainability and gender, from the viewpoints of design research and design practice.

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