Presence Mediator: Creating Social Presence through Spatial Positioning of Everyday Objects

Daniel Egerer, Jelle van Dijk

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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In the situation where people live together in one household, the rearrangement of everyday objects (either accidental or deliberate) becomes a trace of social presence that people may use as part of their social interactions. This research aims at simulating that natural phenomenon in the context of a long-distance relationship. That is, mediation of social presence through domestic objects is extended over time and space. Our concept, the Presence Mediator, is an interactive system that is attached to an ordinary domestic object. Participants of a field test were in the belief that two mediating objects are synchronized and spatially representing each other’s action in the social relation. In fact, the prototype moved a few times per day at random distance and direction. The results illustrate the complexity mediating objects entail as they bring further consequences for the social relation into play. We discuss the difference between traces of social presence that form part of the common background of attention, versus social interaction as mediated by objects that form the center of attention. Furthermore, we discuss the object as a mediating trace of another person’s presence, versus the object as an explicit (anthropomorphic) representation of that other person.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventChi Sparks 2014: Creating the Difference - The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Hague, Netherlands
Duration: 3 Apr 20143 Apr 2014


ConferenceChi Sparks 2014
CityThe Hague


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