Last Sunday I got back from Denver where I attended CHI 2017. As usual if was fun, exciting and overwhelming to be among 3000 attendees for almost a week.
My conference schedule started on Saturday with our workshop on Design Fiction for Mixed-Reality Performance, a collaboration with a bunch of interesting folks from The Mixed Reality Lab (Nottingham University), Open Lab (Newcastle University), The University of York, the University of Glasgow and, of course, my colleagues from DSV/SU. The workshop was inspiring as we played with crazy ideas of performative interactions, and addressed ethical issues emerging from introducing novel technologies into interactive performances. Something interesting we did, was to play with the whole idea of fictions by telling small lies about our respective research. I must say this wasn’t easy, but it was a playful way to push the limits of what we do and to discuss dreams and concerns about future research.
On Wednesday afternoon it was time to present my own paper Interactive Performance as a Means of Social Dialogue, coauthored with Maria Normark and Louise Barkhuus. Realising I was supposed to present in the plenary ball room made me really stressed because of the rock-concert feeling the stage had. But the talk went very well, and I’m really pleased about it. The paper has been awarded an honourable mention which means that it is among the 5% best papers at the whole conference which had a total of 2400 submissions. It presents the study of the performance Haimon (directed by Rebecca Forsberg, Rats Theater) and it draws attention to the aesthetical and political qualities emerging from participating in it. Drawing on the tension between these two qualities, the work illustrates the transition from being audience members to being engaged citizens and how this becomes the essence of a civic dialogue on socio-political concerns. Overall, a contribution to the growing CHI discourse on Digital Civics and Civic Technologies.
As usual, I came back from CHI with a lot of energy, new ideas (too many maybe) and ready for more writing.