What does it mean to Like Art?

When a person approaches a piece of art, they take on a critical perspective. They form opinions internally, and maybe discuss their opinions with someone nearby. On Facebook, there is an understood way of externalizing your opinion, and it is through the like button. Using a critical design approach , we recreated the digital form of liking an object shared on the internet as a physical totem present in a public space.

Team Members:

Katya Ivanova

Julia Rickles

Clark Mullen

Ke Zhang


Duration : 3 months

My roles :




Design Intentions

The LIKART intends to explore:


Critical Design Approach

Defined by Dunne is an approach to

producing conceptual electronic products that encourage complex and meaningful reflection on inhabitation of a ubiquitous, dematerializing, and intelligent environment: a form of social research to integrate critical aesthetic experience with everyday life”

- Dunne


Vine Prototype

Two Vine videos were created that displayed two different types of low-fidelity prototypes both employing the use of a simple button to discover what the opportunity space will be through the installation of a button below a piece of artwork. The Vine videos were then interpreted by two people.


Vine Video 1

This video feature no like button, it just focuses on the button under the painting, allowing the user to interpret what it does.


Vine Video 2

This video feature a like button. It is a bit more explicit about what the button does.


What we learned:



SparkCore Prototype


In this phase of the project we explored the form and user interpretation of our prototype in situ. For this phase we have iterated on the physical form of the enclosure and correlating the affordance and feedback of the electronics in the feedback.



What we learned:



Final LIKART Prototype



For the final prototype, deployed the LIKART at the Grunwald Gallery in Bloomington, Indiana. We observed interactions with the art and the device. We also interviewed art goers, artists, and gallerists.



Our design initially seems very simplistic but it provided a jumping off point to start a dialogue about art, social media, the context of art, and what it means to like something.

Placing a like button next to art changes the art experience

One interviewee thought reaction to Art is way more than Like or Dislike and “would a button like this maybe devalue art?”

Influence by quantification

We found that numbers influence responses. One study participant thought that people would think something with more likes was better, or at least warrant more detention.

Influence by context

Initially it seems like adding a Like button completely changes the art experience, but there are already so many factors that change the art experience (the lighting, current conversation) that Likart joins this ongoing conversation.

The button became art in itself

Art causes people to stop and think about humanity, emotion, craft, time, and so on. Art is a conversation, an image without a caption, and the conversations around art fill the void between the finite piece of art and the infinite interpretations. When observing people using Likart we found that “It makes Facebook physical”.



Poster (pdf)

Promotional Video

Additional Projects