Expression in interactive aesthetics: the case of physical computing


Session Title:

  • Posthumanism I

Presentation Title:

  • Expression in interactive aesthetics: the case of physical computing



  • Abstract

    Situated computing for embodied interaction.
    From a certain perspective, a tollgate, the latest robot at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a GPS mobile phone are not so different. They all integrate computation with physical processes. If the foundations of computing are built on the premise that the principal task of computers is the transformation of data, today a renewed attention to materiality unfolds alternative conceptual frameworks whose practical implications are productively engaged with vast and differentiated social and cultural realities. Neuro and cognitive sciences are showing an increasing awareness of the important interplay between perception, thought and action. Similarly, new models of HCI consider richer and more complex ecologies of people, physical artefacts and electronic systems, while robotics and AI expand their focus from
    thought to action, from search spaces to physical environments and from problem solving to long term activity.

    With the extension of cognitive dynamics into the environment and the incremental game of perception and action into spatially and temporally extended processes, the consequences for the praxis and poetics of interactive aesthetics are manifold. In interaction design, for example, such situated and embodied perspectives not only provide an alternative framework for evaluation but also opportunities for design to take a deeper advantage of multisensory interfaces and multimedia. If today’s technology can be perceived by some as intrusive and overbearing, an approach which emphasises the environmental physicality of computational action could then – along with, and thanks to, the massive increase of computing power and the consequent expanding context in which we can use it – enable fluent interaction with the minimum effort on the part of the user, bridging the gaps between cyberspace and the physical ‘external’ substrate of practice.