Panel 3: Interaction, experience and the ideoplastic.

Transtechnology Research Slow Conference. 18th April 2018.
Papers presented by Abigail Jackson and Nick Peres. Session chaired by Eugenia Stamboliev.

Abigail Jackson
Contingency in embodied interactions

When reflecting on the term ideoplasticity and its use in the 19th century as a way of referring to the somatic effects of mental ideas, my paper will connect most readily to the application of practices, from the arts, which afford creativity and imitation in facilitated interactions. Throughout my research the context of my work is engagement with autistic children, through movement and embodied experiences, alongside digital technologies. Here the instrumentalisation of affect, is considered best described as the encouragement of change, where affect becomes a tool, and perceived causality is favoured over evidence. This paper will, therefore, position the interaction itself, where movement, and embodied experience, gives premise to discuss the knowledge gained through the contingency of imitation between participant and facilitator. The understanding of embodiment is grounded in the field of dance and movement, with specific interest here in Somatic Movement Practices, but is also influenced by the cognitive sciences, in particular a paper by Alissa N. Antle, titled Research Opportunities: Embodied child-computer interaction. This paper has given increased insight into the role of physical movement experiences informs cognitive abilities and the different mechanisms affording cognition, socially (Antle, 2013). To support this information, this paper will begin with an introduction into the way autism is framed throughout this research, and will make specific comments on embodiment within interactions with autistic children, and the placement contingency in embodied interactions.

Antle, A. N. (2013) “Research opportunities: Embodied child–computer interaction”. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction. Vol. 1 pp. 30–36

Topics: Imitation and affordance, Embodied cognition and physical media, The virtual, physical and the simulated


Nick Peres
Attempting virtual realism through the unauthentic feel; Finding human in cardboard

In 2016 Google launched its cardboard constructed VR headset in the UK. The idea was simple: The creation of a low cost, no-frills enclosure that transforms a smartphone into a basic VR headset. The introduction of a low-fidelity entry into an otherwise highly priced and technically driven industry was aimed towards bringing the cultured ‘immersive’ experience to a mass audience. It achieved this to come degree through both marketing and self-construction kits. The reported problem however was that “it delivers a lousy experience compared to other devices because of the lack of optics and image perfection”.

The term ‘Image Perfection’ is of great interest in the context of user experience as this can be dependent on both the purpose of the content and both the role and environment placed on the apparatus; two aspects often forgotten when reliant on a technology driven expectation. Linking this term to my PatientVR project, which looks to place the VR audience into the perspective of a hospital patient, the imperfect image (as aided by the apparatus) instead becomes part of the desired effect towards the connection between experience and viewer. Within the backdrop of a healthcare setting, where this project sits, medical imagery can be considered as “an imperfect, often incomplete source evidenced by knowledge to interpret” Zhou, S. Kevin et al. This therefore opens the question for the seminar; is the idea of virtual realism more real when the imperfections are left in place? Indeed linking to the series theme of ideoplasticity, are our expectations of the cardboard apparatus reflective of our expectation of what a virtual reality experience of the content should be? The seminar will explore these themes further, by providing participants with a chance to construct their own cardboard VR headsets and experience a patient journey film within low fidelity virtual reality. A medical de-brief styled discussion will follow for understanding application context.

Useful reading:
Kevin Zhou (2017) Deep learning for medical image analysis.
Vivian. Sobchack (1992) The address of the eye: a phenomenology of film experience.
Ian Tucker (The Guardian) Google Cardboard: A VR Headset you make yourself.