Designing from Within: Exploring Experience through Interactive Performance

  • Author / Creator
    Taylor, Robyn L
  • This thesis describes a practice-based methodology in which an interdisciplinary team of computer scientists and musicians create, enact, and iteratively refine a series of technologically mediated participatory performances structured to investigate HCI research questions surrounding participant engagement with technological interfaces in public settings. We choose to “design from within” by taking active roles as performers in each piece, experiencing the performance alongside participants within an authentic public use context. We draw upon McCarthy and Wright’s pragmatic approach towards experience-centered design and evaluation, using their theoretical framework to interrogate the sensual, emotional, spatio-temporal and compositional aspects of collaborative behaviour through felt, lived experience. This self-situated manner of practice allows us to experience the enactment of our design interventions firsthand, and develop understanding of the performance scenario through our own personal processes of sense-making. Our participatory installations are intended for public consumption, meaning the works must always maintain production quality suitable for professional exhibition. However, they are intentionally implemented so that they may be constantly refined and re-configured, changing and developing as our understanding of and relationship to them grows over time. In this thesis, we describe the creation, performance, and evaluation of three in- teractive works: dream.Medusa (2007), humanaquarium (2009) and Nightingallery (2011). We explain how our experiences with the performances revealed insight into engagement with technologically mediated interaction in public spaces, allowing us to investigate how modifying performance design affected experiential issues such as the reduction of stage fright, the encouragement of collaboration, and the exploration of the relationship between legibility and expressivity. The novelty of our approach lies in how we have taken an active role as performer/designers within the use context of a series of performances, each subsequent performance being inspired by the research undertaken throughout the investigative trajectory. We draw upon personal, autobiographical experiences with the projects to develop understanding of public engagement with creative technologies, allowing our experiences with the projects to inspire avenues of HCI design intervention and research. Our method of investigation leverages interdisciplinary practice and expertise to inform interaction design for playful, ludic systems in a holistic, pragmatic, experience-centered way.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Computing Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Boulanger, Pierre (Computing Science)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Wright, Peter (Computing Science)
    • Hoover, H. James (Computing Science)
    • Ruecker, Stan (Design)
    • Benford, Steve (Computing Science)