Performing Perception – Staging Aesthetics of Interaction

At the recent CHI 2009 conference in Boston, Lone Koefoed and I were invited to present our paper Performing Perception – Staging Aesthetics of Interaction, which was also recently accepted for a special issue on aesthetics of interaction in the journal Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI).

The paper argues that in interaction design for experience-oriented uses of technology, a central facet of aesthetics of interaction is rooted in the user’s experience of himself performing his perception. By drawing on performance theory, phenomenology, and sociology and with references to recent HCI-work on the relation between the system and the performer/user and the spectator’s relation to this dynamic, the paper discusses how the user is simultaneously operator, performer and spectator when interacting. By engaging with interactive systems, the user continuously acts out these three roles and his awareness of them is crucial in the use experience.
The paper argues that this 3-in-1 is always already shaping the user’s understanding and perception of interaction as it is staged through his experience of the object’s form and expression. Through examples ranging from everyday technologies utilizing performances of interaction to spatial contemporary artworks, digital as well as analogue, the notion of the performative spectator and the spectating performer is discussed. This discussion highlights how perception is also performative and how a focus on this aspect seems to be crucial when designing experience-oriented products, systems and services.

Dalsgaard, P., Hansen, L.K. 2008, “Performing Perception – Staging Aesthetics of Interaction”, ACM Transactions on Computer Human Interaction, vol. 15 no 3, pp 13:1-33.

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