the fourth space

those spaces in between life, thinking, the physical world, and humanity

Hybrid space counter-strategies Rebalancing our relationships with networked technologies

romich_thesis

Abstract

Our increasing dependency on the internet has had a significant social, behavioural and psychological impact on us all, and not entirely positive. Networked technologies provide an endlessly-renewing refuge of digital information from the uncertainties of life in the physical world, a potentially addictive and ultimately unfulfilling emotional sanctuary. A compulsive craving for constant connectivity has been normalized by broader trends in public life, including a celebration of hypermediated workaholism, unsustainable consumerism, and a corporatist agenda for commodifying personal data and social conformity.

Habitual use of networked digital media is crucial in order to socially and professionally thrive in contemporary society, so exposure cannot be completely curtailed and must be voluntarily monitored and managed at a personal level. Informed by an analysis of related socio-theoretical phenomena and historical counter-strategies, as well as expert interviews and interaction design theory, we explore how this could potentially happen through re-sensitizing the ‘smartness’ and ‘responsiveness’ of the technology itself, to appropriately curb its own misuse.

These issues are addressed by a design concept developed through two artifacts: the first, a web-based application; and the second, a semi-functional technology probe and conjectural video prototype. Design is enlisted to explore how rethinking the implementation of digital experiences could potentially re- empower an individual to achieve a temporary liberation from (or at least an increased self-awareness of) their splintered psychological predicament, in the hopes of ultimately guiding them towards a healthier, more balanced relationship with networked media technologies.

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2013 by .
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