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Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. (Aldous Huxley)

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The experiment of marrying two theories

On 12, Nov 2014 | No Comments | In News and Events | By Peter

Peter Benz

Benz tries to marry Eisenstein’s attraction theory with Luhmann’s system theory for ground-breaking insights into the nature of experience.

Though Peter Benz quit theatre and film studies in university, he found one thing in a theatre course that still inspires him today in his professional and academic life.

According to Benz from the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, it’s Sergej Eisenstein’s polemic manifesto Montage of Attractions of 1923.

“Though it’s only two A4-pages long—the important bits are roughly in two paragraphs—I have since revisited, applied and used this at numerous occasions, in various contexts, and with changing intentions,” he said. “It’s never disappointed me, remaining the most intellectually stimulating scholarly text I’ve come across.”

Benz turned to the manifesto again when he started to look into the emerging discipline of experience design some years ago. “Reading it again I noted that Eisenstein’s definition of ‘attraction’ seems to resonate closely with the theory of social systems of German sociologist Niklas Luhmann,” he said.

“If my intuition proves correct—that Eisenstein’s attraction theory and Luhmann’s system theory could be ‘married’— this could indeed provide ground-breaking insights into the very nature of experience, how it works, and how it may be applied by experiential designers,” he added.

Benz will present his paper Montage of Events: Towards a Structure in Designed Experiences during the XD Conference.

Designing Experience: ‘The Ballerina on the Elephant’ is a 3-day international conference on experience design (27-29 Nov 2014). Make your booking here.