WORKING PAPERSUniversity of Art and Design Helsinki26        Discovering New Media                  Andrea Botero & Heli R...
1DISCOVERING NEW MEDIAWORKING PAPERSPU B L I C A T I O N SE RI ES, F 26University of A rt and design helsinkiHelsinki 2003...
3ContentsA NDREA   BOTERO AND HELI RANTAVUO : DISCOVERING ( OR            C ONSTRUCTING ) N EW M EDIA                     ...
3Andrea BoteroHeli RantavuoDiscovering (or Constructing?) New MediaThis working papers edition is dedicated toresearch car...
4Heidi Tikka (htikka@uiah.fi)Configuring the affective user?Recently, interaction design and research have             sub...
5development projects, the main focus of which is to          figurations, multiple, perhaps irreconcilablecreate personal...
6interesting discrepancy in how situatedness has been          technical networks of production.approached within the tech...
7has escaped the work of translation?                          emotions, together with the skills to respond in an  In ord...
8the determination of the baseline or in the                     recovery. The status of frustration is clear, itcategoriz...
9emotions form an essential element in how human               terms of setting standards for user experience, withbeings ...
10ambiguous process, in which the "I" may try to             "letting go". Using breathing and balance inviolently separat...
11particularly on its philosophical aspects.                  substrate, which is unlocatable in terms of inside-  Even th...
12INTER_SKIN AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF                          object for the communication. There is no way toHETEROSEXUA...
13something that is inside body? It seems to me, that       these three interface solutions to the notion of skinthe negot...
14dialogue between these three affective environments         7. http://www.immersence.com/seems to propose. How should on...
15Technology in Society: The approach of                Other sources:Constructive Technology Assessment, ed. Arie Ripp,Th...
16Lily Díaz-Kommonen (diaz@uiah.fi)Mariana Salgado (msalgado@uiah.fi)Interface Design and Usability Testing in the Digital...
17that distinguishes the proposed solution from other        USABILITY TESTING AT THE MUSEUM OF CULTURES“postcard” or “vid...
18special scientific interest while at the same time                   is a list of some of the problems that were identif...
19From the observations to the new version                   exhibition at the Gropius Bau Museum in Berlin,              ...
20the Zoom-in button, which is also the one used at                  unexpected movements. This happened once with athe be...
21museum piece, a professional research instrument,and an educational tool. As a museum piece and asan educational tool, t...
22Jazmín Avilés Collao (javiles@uiah.fi)Lily Díaz-Kommonen (diaz@uiah.fi)Mauri Kaipainen (mauri.kaipainen@uiah.fi)Janne Pi...
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This working papers were published by the University of Art and Design Helsinki, in 2003. They are the working papers nro 26. Edited by Andrea Botero and Heli Rantavuo. The paper: Interface Design and Usability Testing in the Digital Facsimile of Map of Mexico 1550, is part of this publication.

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Discovering New Media

  1. 1. WORKING PAPERSUniversity of Art and Design Helsinki26 Discovering New Media Andrea Botero & Heli Rantavuo (eds.) Jazmín Aviléz Collao Lily Díaz-Kommonen Mauri Kaipainen Wille Mäkelä Janne Pietarila Mariana Saldago Heidi Tikka
  2. 2. 1DISCOVERING NEW MEDIAWORKING PAPERSPU B L I C A T I O N SE RI ES, F 26University of A rt and design helsinkiHelsinki 2003T OIMITUSNEUVOSTOY rjänä Levanto (editor-in-chief), Pia Sivenius, Susann V ihmaGRAPH IC DESIGNJarkko H yppönenLAY -OUTPia SiveniusFURT H ER IN FO RM ATIONUniversity of A rt and Design HelsinkiHämeentie135 C00560 HelsinkiTel.+358-9-75631, fax +358-9-756 30433Publications/ A nnu A honen, tel. +358-09-756 30213, e-mail: annu.ahonen@uiah.fiResearch Institute/ Pia Sivenius, tel. +358-09-756 30528, e-mail: pia.sivenius@uiah.fiISBN 951-558-145-1 Painettu julkaisu: ISBN 951-558-098-6ISSN 1455-8955
  3. 3. 3ContentsA NDREA BOTERO AND HELI RANTAVUO : DISCOVERING ( OR C ONSTRUCTING ) N EW M EDIA ............... ..3H EIDI T IKKA : C ONFIGURING THE A FFECTIVE U SER ? ................ ................ ................ ............... ....... 4L ILY D ÍAZ -K OMMONEN AND M ARIANA S ALDAGO :I NTERFACE DESIGN AND U SABILITY IN THE D IGITAL F ACSIMILE OF M AP OF M EXICO 1550.......................16J AZMÍN A VILÉS C OLLAO , L ILY D ÍAZ -K OMMONEN , M AURI K AIPAINEN AND J ANNE P IETARILA :S OFT O NTOLOGIES AND S IMILARITY C LUSTER TOOLS TO F ACILITATEE XPLORATION AND D ISCOVERY OF C ULTURAL H ERITAGE R ESOURCES ....................................................22L ILY D ÍAZ -K OMMONEN : L OHIKÄÄRMEISTÄ JA LUOKITTELUISTA ............................................................27W ILLE M ÄKELÄ : O NKO ILMAAN PIIRTÄMINEN TÄHDELLISTÄ .................................................................38
  4. 4. 3Andrea BoteroHeli RantavuoDiscovering (or Constructing?) New MediaThis working papers edition is dedicated toresearch carried out in the Media Lab UIAH We hope that the projects and concepts(http://mlab.uiah.fi), now ten years old. As we presented in this issue will illustrate to our readerswork in a young, multidisciplinary field, our some of the variety of approaches and concerns ofarea of inquiry is extense and the boundaries new media; and how in addition to technicalare not well defined, we are constructing our experimentations, design issues, and artisticfield at the same time that we discover it. concerns, our work at the Media Lab alsoHowever and as stated in our mision, “the aim concerns social and cultural practices related toof the Media Lab UIAH is to explore, and the use of and representations in new mediacomprehend the new digital technology and itsimpact in society; to find and exploit thepossibilities it opens to communication,interaction and expression and to evaluate,understand and deal with the challenges itposes to design and creative production”.With this issue we wish to introduce to ourreaders what this means in practice bypresenting ongoing research at the Media Lab. In this edition, you will find articles onaffectivity in user interfases, on usability, onvisualization of digital information, and on digitalart practices. Heidi Tikka discusses critical designpractice through conceptualizations of users asaffective subjects in interface design. JazminAvilez et al. present and explain the potentials ofSelf Organizing Maps (SOM) as a method forflexible categorizations and visualizations in thefield of cultural heritage. Mariana Salgado et al.introduce the design and evaluation process of theDigital Facsimile of the Map of Mexico. LilyDíaz takes up the problem of classification, andthe implications of this activity for interactivemedia design. Last, Wille Mäkelä presents hisdoctoral research topic, exploring possibilities forfreehand drawing with digital technology.
  5. 5. 4Heidi Tikka (htikka@uiah.fi)Configuring the affective user?Recently, interaction design and research have subject only. Rather, they engage the user into anbecome increasingly interested in the affective interactive process that can best be described asaspect of user experience. In my paper, I will affective. This means that the user in theseargue that affectivity should not be treated in environments emerges as a corporeal, emotional andisolation from socio-technical and cultural social entity, the complexity of which is crafted inproduction. Three research, design and art the socio-technical networks of production and theprojects that approach affectivity in varying ways intersecting cultural networks of meaningwill be looked at in order to investigate how the production.user becomes conceptualized in each project as In the following, I will approach the new affectivean affective subject. I will pay specific attention environments in the context of these networks, for itto how these projects address sexual difference. is my understanding that affectivity should not beFollowing Donna Haraway and Lucy Suchman, I treated in isolation from the socio-technical andwill argue for the importance of considering cultural production. Instead, affectivity should beusers embodiment and social place as well as inquired as one of those mechanisms, through whichthe socio-technical contexts of design. But I will users are being engaged into the global networks ofalso propose that critical design practice should power and economy. From this point of view,be aware of the operation of the unconscious in affectivity in user interface design is not only athe design process. Looking closely at the matter of designing subjective experiences, but haspresented three works, I will trace possible political implications as well. Often these"repressed thoughts" in their discourses. implications concern that which has remained The first, and considerably longer, draft for this unthought in the design process.paper was published in the Cultural Usabilityproject web site: Three caseshttp://mlab.uiah.fi/culturalusability.Cultural Usability was a preliminary research It is then my intention to engage in a dialogue withproject carried out at the Media Lab and three projects that in different ways approachcoordinated by professor Minna Tarkka. questions related to affective environment design.“Cultural Usability” was used as a working These projects share the idea that the affectivehypothesis for a design practice that reaches dimension in interactive experience can bebeyond the functional interests of contemporary developed using interface solutions that take certainusability research and interface development by corporeal processes as components of interaction.situating design in its wider socio-cultural The projects include the Affective Computingcontexts. research, directed by Rosalind W. Picard at the MIT, the virtual reality environment of Osmose byAFFECTIVE USER IN RESEARCH AND IN DESIGN artist Char Davies and the prototype of inter_skin by artist and designer Stahl Stenslie. All three projectsDuring the last few years, interaction design has are quite different both in terms of their approachbecome increasingly interested in the complexity of and their scope.user experience. Contemporary interactive Affective Computing [1] is an entire research areaenvironments do not address user as a cognitive at MIT consisting of thirty research and
  6. 6. 5development projects, the main focus of which is to figurations, multiple, perhaps irreconcilablecreate personal computational systems that can literacies are needed.sense, recognize and understand human emotions In order to inquire into the construction of theand respond to these emotions in an intelligent and "affective", I will approach it questioning the effectssensitive way. The virtual reality environment of the affective for user construction. I will ask, whoOsmose [2] first premiered in the Museum of is the affective user subject in each of the threeContemporary Art Montreal in 1995. Equipped with projects. As all of them, through their corporeala head-mounted display and a vest sensing breathing interfaces, address the user as an embodied subject,and balance, the user - or the immersant, as Davies I am curious as to what kind of a body is imaginedcalls the user - can explore the three-dimensional, for the user. How does design take into account theaudiovisual world of Osmose. It has since been fact that these users may have different bodies? Iexhibited worldwide and more than 10 000 people will particularly focus on inquiring how sexualhave already immersed into the worlds of Osmose difference is addressed both explicitly and implicitlyand Éphémère, Davies following work. The in the interface design of these projects. There is ainter_skin [3] project remains in the stage of wide agreement that certain paradigm shifts can beprototyping. Stenslies idea was to develop a body detected in how users have been conceptualized insuit that would transmit touch, accompanied with human-computer interaction discourse (HCI). Thesesound and thus engage on the very practical level in shifts can be conceptualized as a series of concentricthe cyber sex discourse. circles stretching outbound, starting from machine In this stage of my work, I will mainly focus on considerations and gradually extending towardshow these projects present themselves, how do they human users and the situated contexts of use. Asconceptualize and contextualize their work. I am Kari Kuutti has remarked, contemporary HCIalso interested in looking at the actual design research can be seen in search of approaches forapplications, but so far, only as design concepts. dealing with the complexity of interactive processes.The main source for looking at these projects (Kuutti, 1997, 20-24)consists of their web pages. In the context ofAffective Computing, I have looked at the most Situated user, situated designgeneral level in which the various research areas(such as Affective Pattern Recognition and It seems then, that the idea of the situatedness ofModeling) and individual projects are being user experience has provided one such approach. Inpresented. In the following I will refer to this level "Plans and Situated Actions", Lucy Suchmanas the Affective Computing overview. In relation to pointed out the importance of seeing the particularOsmose, I will draw on the introductory pages of social and physical circumstances in which actionsImmersence Inc. the company of Davies, some of are taking place and which the goal orientedher own publications as well as some commentaries cognitivist approach tends to overlook. In theand the audio-visual recordings of an immersive context of feminist epistemology and the "Situatedjourney in Osmose. The source material for Knowledges", Donna Haraway has elaborated on ainter_skin consists of the web pages, designed and knowledge practice that would take partialproduced by Stenslie himself. perspectives as the basis of its production. She argues for the located knowledges and for theThe effects of the “affective” for user construction network of connections that would be capable of translating knowledges - while accepting theI am interested in looking at how "affective" partiality of both knowledges and their translation -becomes constructed within the networks of both between different, and differently empoweredtechnological and semiotic production. This means communities. This embodied objectivity wouldthat I will approach the affective drawing on Donna replace the "view from nowhere" of the traditionalHaraways discussion of the figurations and their epistemology with the perspectives of the embodiedproductivity. Figurations, as Haraway sees them, are and locatable visions. (Haraway, 1991, 187-189)both literal and material. That is, they produce The interest in regarding the user subject as anmeanings, but also have very real effects on socio- affective and embodied subject, could, certainly, betechnical arrangements, such as technological seen against this background of situatedness.implementations. (Haraway, 1997, 11) For reading However, as Alison Adam has suggested, there is an
  7. 7. 6interesting discrepancy in how situatedness has been technical networks of production.approached within the techno scientific discourse. Suchman argues that there is a close link betweenWhile the majority of social constructionist understanding technological design as thetechnology studies has been predominantly production of commodities and what she calls theinterested in the social situatedness of the "design from nowhere". By separating thetechnology and its users, such fields as artificial technological objects from the design process andintelligence and situated robotics have looked at reinforcing the divide between designer-creator andsituatedness in the context of embodiment, ignoring user-consumer, such conceptualization forgets aboutthe social dimension of technology and its use. the socio-technical contexts of production and the(Adam, 1998, 129) various mediations and translations through which Both of these stances may then risk forgetting an technological design proceeds. (Suchman, 2000, 4)important aspect in understanding how power is Consequently, for Suchman located accountabilitysimultaneously inscribed in socio-technical relations would mean situating oneself within the actual sitesand bodies inhabiting them. In the context of of technological production and use, including thefeminist theory, situatedness is understood as the more extended networks of global economy and theembodiment of subjectivities, but also as the division of labor. (Suchman, 2000, 4-5) But thepractice of locating oneself within the socio- sensitization of the design practice fortechnical networks of power. As such it is not accountability also means perceiving the work ofpossible to think about situatedness without the translation in the technological design practice asrecognition of difference. Situated subjects are well as its partiality. (Suchman, 2000, 5-9)subjects living and acting within particular bodies There is an important point that Jeanette Hofmannand inhabiting particular and partial realities that makes in her study of the gendered user images inhave very real consequences on those subjects and word processing software that resonates withtheir bodies. Consequently then, following the line Suchmans account. The socio-technical contexts ofof thought of Adam, the notion of situatedness, with use are constantly changing, as technical objects andits ethical and political dimension, can turn out as an people are in the process of reciprocal exchange.invaluable tool for the elaboration of difference (Hofmann, 1999, 239-241) In the context of thewithin the context of feminist theory only if it situated and affective user subject, I want torecognizes both aspects of situatedness. elaborate on the practice of translation and its partiality, suggested by Suchman and Haraway andUser representations in technological design the procedural point of view, proposed by Hofmann.practice In addition, I would like to propose a third one, namely the work of the unconscious in the designIn order to inquire into how the user of a particular process that from my point of view participates intechnological design is being conceptualized, one all cultural production and the trajectories of whichhas to proceed to interrogate the technical choices of can be detected in the finalized technologicalthe design. For, as Madeleine Akrich has pointed product. Consequently, the completed design willout, user representations most often remain never be what the designers think it is, for there willunarticulated only to become objectified in the always be something that slips through the material-design process as those technical choices. (Akrich, semiotic process of design.1995, 177, 182) Akrich argues for the recognition ofthe complexity of the socio-technical contexts of use The skin as technological and semiotic figureand the need to develop methods for making userimages more visible. (Akrich, 1995, 177, 182) Even As all three projects that I am going to discussthough she explicitly addresses only technical and establish a link between corporeality and affectivitymarketing aspects of design and their reconciliation through their interface solutions that connectinto a successful product, it seems to me, that this directly to the body, I am interested in inquiringrecognition also concerns larger cultural what this "directly" means in every case. What areconstructions. This has also been argued by Lucy the technical solutions used for accessing body?Suchman, who sees the unarticulated aspects of user What kinds of translations are needed? How is theconstruction as symptomatic for technological partiality of translations dealt with? Is theredesign forgetting its own situatedness in the socio- something that insists in the design as that which
  8. 8. 7has escaped the work of translation? emotions, together with the skills to respond in an In order to inquire into the work of translation, I intelligent, sensitive, and respectful manner towardwill then introduce another notion that for me is the user and his/her emotions."suggestive of that work, namely skin. Skin is that Emotions, in the project, are understood aswhich separates the inside and the outside of the "dynamic states that consist of both cognitive andbody, both in the material and the semiotic sense. In physical events". Consequently then, the modelingeach of the projects, skin figures, either through of emotions has to pass through translationstechnical choices or metaphorically - or both. I will between these physical events, the cognitivethen question, what does skin stand for in each processes that are involved and that can beproject. I will ask how these projects ground symbolically communicated, the equipment and thethemselves conceptually and in terms of their design type of data used for modeling and the existingin skin and how consistent are these groundings. In models of human cognition. In the Affectiveother words, I will interrogate how skin is produced Computing research, skin plays a significant role inin each of these projects both metaphorically and communicating the physical aspects of emotions.practically. The Prototype Sensing System consists of the It is here that Haraways notion of figuration turns Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) Sensor measuringout to be particularly helpful, for it seems to me that skin conductance, The Blood Volume Pulse (BVP)the metaphoric and artefactual skins of these Sensor measuring blood pressure, the Respirationprojects are partially incommensurate, not only in Sensor measuring the depth of breath and the rate ofrelation to each other but also in relation to the users respiration, and The Electromyogramthemselves. I am therefore intent on applying the (EMG) Sensor measuring the electrical activity ofnotion of skin also as a critical tool, informed by the the muscle when it is being contracted. [5]psychoanalytic concept of repression. I am The complex system of modules processing datainterested in investigating whether there is from thereon can be roughly conceptualized in asomething that insists in these multiple articulations following way: The data will be processed first byof skin in ways that are indicative of the work of the Affect Pattern Recognition Module, the purposerepression. I will do this, bearing in mind that it of which is to determine and categorize relevantinsists not only there, but also here in my encounter affective signal features and then by the Affectivewith these works of art, design and research and is Understanding module, which will receive, processtherefore partially produced by my engagement with and store the information provided by the sensingthem. However, with this encounter some foreclosed and recognition modules. The purpose of therealities of others could, perhaps, be made more Understanding module is to model both the usersvisible. current mood as well as his or her emotional profile. It will receive and pass information between itself and the other modules and eventually build andAFFECTIVE COMPUTING: REPRESENTING AFFECT maintain a more complete and contextually aware model of the users behavior.Affective Computing Research Group, [4] directedby Rosalind W.Picard at the MIT, is undoubtedly The affective user subjectone of the most influential projects conductingresearch and development on the emotional aspects What I am curious about is, how, exactly are theof computing at the moment. The project started in parallels between the physical states, the cognitive1995 and now involves thirty subprojects, including states and the affective models being drawn. Theprojects in Affect Recognition, such as Computer user has a body, for it is through body that theResponse to User Frustration, Detecting Driver affective states of the user become articulate andStress or Mood Interfaces. The research project measurable. Does it matter, what kind of body? Dounderstands affectivity as the emotional aspect of bodily attributes, such as age, gender or ethnichuman-computer interaction. It is "computing that background count as differences?relates to, arises from or deliberately influences As the group is careful to point out, the baselineemotions. (The) research focuses on creating for skin conductivity, for instance, is affected bypersonal computational systems endowed with the such factors as "gender, diet, skin type andability to sense, recognize and understand human situation". What counts as a significant difference in
  9. 9. 8the determination of the baseline or in the recovery. The status of frustration is clear, itcategorization of a group of baselines? Do baselines prevents the human-computer system fromoperate as background information that serves in the achieving its goal, whether it is successful learningfactoring out of difference in order to arrive at clear, or safe and pleasant driving. Emotions then appeardistinct representations of emotional states? Within in the form of positive or negative feedback that thethe tradition of the HCI research, the Affective system needs to be able to recognize and regulate inComputing research is taking an adventurous step order to stay functional. Both emotions and thetowards taking the embodiment of the human user physical states involved are seen as unintentionalinto account. Yet, as it seems to forget the social and layer of interaction, arising independently from thesemiotic situatedness of the subject, it may risk goal oriented action of the user.representing the affective user as a cognitive subject This kind of approach places skin in a curiousequipped with an additional channel for affective position in the translation from physical emotionalinformation, that is free from all social and cultural states into representations of emotions. Skin, as thedeterminants. surface of the body, becomes that mediating surface It is possible, that the absence of social context in through which the unintentional, and to some extentthe discourse of the Affective Computing is related uncontrollable flow of fluids, such as sweat, isto its isolation into the confines of a laboratory, that translated into representable data. The Galvanicoften characterizes the preliminary stages of such Skin Response (GSR) Sensor figures as a piece ofinnovative development. There are some references equipment that turns the flowing underside ofin the Affective Computing research overview that human communication into controllablesuggest an inadvertent slippage of a designer into representations. Semiotically, skin seems to take thethe place of the user. When describing the place usually reserved for nature in the"Affective Understanding" module, which technological discourse. It serves as the limitconstitutes the "brains" of the system, the designers between the inside and the outside, and as theexpress the need of the module to recognize if "the membrane through which the transgression from theuser has not slept in several days, is ill or starving or reality of uncontrollable fluids into the reality ofunder deadline pressure". For this kind of context symbolic representations is being most intenselysensitivity the module should respond for instance articulated.by "playing uplifting music" or even opening "an There is an aspect in the discourse of theapplication that can carry on a therapeutically- Affective Computing overview that I, personally,motivated conversation with its user". find most intriguing. The ethical dimension of the Consecutively, it seems to me that the missing Affective Computing is addressed in relation tocontexts should be critically interrogated also in the privacy. The affective user is pictured as anpreliminary development stage. Else, what will individual, independent subject that has privatebecome inscribed in the prototypes that may access to and the ownership of his or her emotions.significantly structure future developments, are the The strong emphasis on privacy may risk ignoringunexamined values of those in the privileged other kinds of political dimensions, for one may ask,position of doing the prototyping work. whether emotions are such a private business after all. In the context of situatedness, I would prefer toSkin as the underside of human communication see the affective user as an embodied, culturally conditioned, socio-technically located andWhat kinds of emotions figure in the Affective connected subjectivity.Computing overview? It seems to me, that the most From that perspective, affectivity does not appearcommon one is frustration. There are several in the form of private property but as an amalgam ofprojects that recognize frustration in the form of mechanisms through which these subjectivities aredriver stress, in various situations arising at the constituted as intelligible, culturally meaningfulcomputer or in relation to videoconferencing. In beings and as actors in the global networks of"Computer Response to User Frustration" project, power, economy and technoscience. That is, asfor instance, an HCI agent is designed to "support situated subjects, affective users are seen asusers in their ability to recover from negative agencies, the actions of which are constituted andemotional states, particularly frustration. The agent conditioned by their locatedness within theseuses social-affective feedback strategies" for networks. From the perspective of situatedness,
  10. 10. 9emotions form an essential element in how human terms of setting standards for user experience, withbeings are being integrated into the networks of the development of ubiquitous and multiple pointspower. of contact for information access. Consequently, emotions should not be seen as Second, I could imagine an implementation indiscrete entities, but within the larger framework of which the users skin would constitute the mediatingculture that participates in the production of the surface. An application, based on direct skincomplex psychical realities of the speaking and contact, might; however, lead to a different set ofinteracting subjects. The discourse on emotional questions that border the issue of exclusion fromprivacy may inadvertently participate in covering another direction. For, as a designer of such athe very operation of those mechanisms of system, I might not be able to avoid reflecting,production. whether there are any bodies after which I would prefer not to interface with the system.Public information systems and skin contact So far, I have been able to locate surprisingly few references to hygienic concerns in relation toFor me then, there is something in the discourse on interfaces requiring extensive bodily contact, [6] butprivacy that insists on further interrogation. As the if they are ever considered for implementation intoAffective Computing overview states, "research any publicly accessible information systems, thefocuses on creating personal computational systems political dimension of the hygienic concerns isendowed with the ability to sense, recognize and likely to become more explicit. Any unwantedunderstand human emotions, together with the skills conductivity, such as an outbreak of a new disease,to respond in an intelligent, sensitive, and respectful might constitute the basis for exclusive practices, inmanner toward the user and his/her emotions." I am which the questions of identity, politics, economycurious as to how the Affective Computing research and intimacy intertwine, as the recent news on sarswould have to readdress its agenda, if the group epidemic have proved.decided to develop an affective interface, requiringcorporeal contact, for public use instead of personal Abject skinuse. Let me imagine a public information system, anarena for communal exchange that might greatly In the very beginning of her meditation onbenefit from being emotionally responsive. Could abjection, Julia Kristeva addresses abject as thatan implementation based on skin contact be used for which threatens the certainty of the bordersuch purpose? It seems to me that the design could separating the inside and the outside of the "I".proceed in two directions, at least. Abjection emerges in a process in which a not-yet- First, I could imagine a wearable interface that subject makes an effort to separate itself from whatwould, perhaps wirelessly, connect into the public is to become an object. In Kristevas words: "Weinformation system. Such an interface would remain may call it a border; abjection is above allin personal use and become an additional skin-like ambiguity. Because, while releasing a hold, it doeslayer. The actual, physical contact point between an not radically cut off the subject from what threatensindividual user and the public system would be it – on the contrary, abjection acknowledges it to betechnically mediated. There would be no skin in perpetual danger." (Kristeva, 1982, 9)contact between the physical body of the user and In the context of Kristevas account, one is thenthe public information space. tempted to think about skin conductance, not as This kind of solution would raise questions seamless and neat, but as a leaky process, in whichconcerning the social contexts of use. Would there will be something, a leftover that cannot bewearable interface elements constitute an exclusive mapped into the artefact. The inexplicable andborder between affective and non-affective nauseous uneasiness, evoked by the idea of skininformation access - and even a border between conductance turned bad, might suggest that thisaccessible and inaccessible forms of information? uncertain terrain is the site of abjection. As theThis potential asymmetry in information access border between the inside and the outside of theraises questions concerning information design, for body, skin embodies both psychical and corporealinterfaces are not to be considered as external layers negotiations, in which the inside and the outside offor information only. One may only imagine how the "I" becomes established. These negotiations astricky future information design might become in Kristeva suggests, constitute an ephemeral and
  11. 11. 10ambiguous process, in which the "I" may try to "letting go". Using breathing and balance inviolently separate itself from the part that threatens navigation is intuitive to certain point, for it isits identity. impossible not to breathe. Interestingly, unlike the Later, Kristeva has addressed the rejection of a Affective Computing research that treats bodily"stranger" in the context of difference, associating it processes as non-controllable, involuntarywith the experience of otherness. What is not processes, Osmose lets the immersant use breathingculturally assimilable becomes rejected. For her, the as a way to control ones movement. In other words,process of positing the other as a stranger draws on in Osmose, the activity of breathing lingers betweenthe psychical mechanism, in which the disturbing uncontrollable and controllable. Davies has pointedand irreducible otherness of the self is externalized. out the connection between her interface and the(Kristeva, 1991, 191-192) The unthought matter of practice of breathing in meditation, in whichhygiene or "bad conductance", that in my reading breathing participates in altering the state of thecontaminates the margins of the Affective consciousness of the meditating subject. (Davies,Computing overview, may also indicate the 1998: 1, 65-74)exclusion of certain social realities. For, it might be In the space of Osmose the metaphoric skin andthat as soon as their existence was taken into the affective subject then form a chiasmatic entity.account, designers would also have to deal with the Skin is no more the surface that envelops theabject dimension of those realities as well as their subject, separating the inside and the outside. Itown otherness to themselves. becomes a porous entity, serving as the vehicle for multiple transmissions. The name of the piece refers to the biological process of osmosis involvingTHE TRANSGRESSIVE SKIN OF OSMOSE passage from one side of a membrane to another. For Davies, osmosis is a metaphor "forOsmose, [7] an immersive interactive space, created transcendence of difference through mutualby Char Davies was first introduced in the Museum absorption, dissolution of boundaries between innerof Contemporary Art in Montreal during the and outer, inter-mingling of self and world."(Davies,ISEA95. It is an immersive virtual environment, 1998: 1, 65-74)utilizing stereoscopic 3D computer graphics and The thematic of the boundary breakdown in thespatialized sound through real time interaction. The experience of the world is prevalent in both Davies"immersant", Davies term for the user, enters own discourse and that of the commentators."Osmose" wearing a head-mounted display and a Drawing on phenomenology she intends to place themotion capture vest with breathing and balance immersive subject into an embodied relation to thesensor. The interface is highly body-centered; with virtual world in which that which differentiates thebreathing the immersant is able to rise and fall in inner and outer space is subject to constant flow andspace and with altering ones balance to change transmission to the extent of the dissolution ofdirection. difference. Osmose thus demonstrates a new, more physicalapproach to the relationship between the perceiving Feminine spacebody and the experiential virtual space. Theinterface does not bracket out the bodily processes A lot has already been written about Osmose andfrom the means of navigation. Sense of balance and the work of its originator, Char Davies. The waybreathing constitute an interactive surface that, Osmose is being presented both by Davies and herwhile moving the body in the immersive space commentators, ascribes it to her vision in such ansimultaneously alter the physiological condition and extent that the discourse always seems to passstate of the body. Deep breath does not only move through her personal experience as an artist, herone down in relation to the stereoscopic 3D space unique position in the corporate world and herbut also brings more oxygen to the body and affects personal philosophy. It is as if Davies person servedits physical and chemical balance. to hold together the various discourses through which Osmose and the following Éphémère areBoundary breakdown being accessed, for in them technological, corporate and philosophical intermingle in an interesting way. The interactive experience in Osmose is about Davies has also written extensively about her work,
  12. 12. 11particularly on its philosophical aspects. substrate, which is unlocatable in terms of inside- Even though Davies does not explicitly ground outside dichotomy.her discourse on Osmose in sexual difference – by The metaphoric skin of Osmose acquiresfor instance making claims about the "femininity" of connotations both through technologized mediationthe Osmoses space – it is hard not to think about of the interface as well as through the physiologicalOsmose in a gender specific way. Both she and her processes of the body. However, in the discoursescommentators suggest that Osmose provides an surrounding Osmose, the bliss of dissolution tendsalternative for the Cartesian representation of space, to forget both aspects of the mediating substrate.which in the context of feminist theory has been Osmose is described as if opening an unmediatedcriticized as the phallic acquisition of spatiality. [8] access to the experience of nature - or, in my Moreover, many of the characteristics of the reading, to the maternal body. [11] However, asinteractive experience in Osmose, such as Morse points out emphatically, the immediateembodiment, sensitivity, surrendering the desire for experience is only possible because of the secondcontrol or the enveloping quality of space, are skin. As skin, the mediating interface surface masksculturally coded as feminine rather than masculine. the very apparatus of that mediation. And as filmAlso, because the discourse tends to pass through theory has so well demonstrated, a series ofDavies and her subjective experience, which is the negations and foreclosures are in operation when theembodied experience of being a woman, it is mediating technology is organized to stay out ofdifficult to resist the temptation to read Osmose as frame. (Morse, 1998, 134)the articulation of a female experience of space.However, I suggest, that it should rather be read as The invisible technological mediationsthe fantasy of a female space, more specifically asthe fantasy of the maternal body. In Osmose, the artistic vision of Davies as well as her ethical commitment to the questions of ecologyImmediacy of the maternal body is so tightly connected to the audiovisual representation, the interface, and the discourses ofFrom the point of view of psychoanalytically Osmose that they might be seen symptomatic forminded feminist thinking, Osmose is then most such a foreclosure. This is not to say, that Osmoseintriguing. It seems to me that Osmose, in a very would not be able to produce those deep andextraordinary way, situates the subject in a space engaging psychical experiences that so many havethat is the other to the dominant mode of described. I seriously believe that the virtual worldsrepresentation. Davies herself has called Osmose a like Osmose could increase our sensitivity and our"counter-environment". [9] But it can also be capability for empathy by placing us into the skinsthought of in terms of "second skin", a term of others, helping us to see from the embodiedproposed by Margaret Morse. Under the electronic perspectives of those others - and I believe, that inskin, as Morse suggests, one can adopt the place of this, exactly, is the power of Osmose.another persona and experience the virtual world as However, what needs to be interrogated - and notif it was an immediate experience. (Morse, 1998, only in the context of Osmose – is how virtual and132-133) embodied technologies while opening heightened, Who then, is the affective subject in Osmose? immersive realities simultaneously foreclose others.What characterizes the fantasy of the maternal body In other words, the beauty of Osmose may seduce usis the lack of distance, needed for the constitution of from seeing its situatedness within the socio-the subject and object in the symbolic relation of technical networks of production. The discourserepresentation. [10] It seems then, that the addressing Osmose as the site of privilegedimmediacy of the experience within the embodied subjective experience and the body as its ultimateinterface of Osmose provides access to this fantasy. grounding risks forgetting Osmoses position as oneIn other words, Osmose draws the user into the of the technologies of the self, that, perhapsfantasy in which the not-yet-subject is not separable increasingly, will be used for aligning subjects intofrom the maternal body. Interaction in Osmose is the socio-technical networks of the future.mediated simultaneously by the motion capture vestand the chemical balance induced in breathing, insuch a way that these two constitute a diffuse
  13. 13. 12INTER_SKIN AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF object for the communication. There is no way toHETEROSEXUAL ENCOUNTER forget myself or hide out what actions I take. If I touch my genitals, you will feel that I touch them. InInter_skin [12] consists of a datasuit designed for this way a very direct form of communicationmediating touch by Stahl Stenslie. Its preliminary arises."version, cyberSM by Stenslie and Kirk Wolford was Now, for me, what seems to be arising is a seriespresented in the ISEA94 art exhibition in the of questions concerning the embodied subjectivitiesHelsinki Ateneum. [13] Where cyberSM still used in datasuits. What exactly does directvisual interface for controlling the remote communication mean in this context? If Stenslieenvironment, inter_skin wraps around the user like touches his genitals, how am I supposed toanother skin. Inter_skin is intended for sharing an experience that? For, me being a woman, somethingaffective space with another affective and sensual would certainly have to be reconfigured in thesubject. The interface enveloping users body is datasuit. And after that reconfiguration, how directdesigned to transmit affective touch in such a way would communication be? The idea of directthat it becomes the extension of the users skin both communication that inter_skin is built on, thenreceiving and passing stimuli. As Stenslie describes seems to foreclose the possibility for heterosexualthe interface: "The main emphasis of the relation, for one to one mapping would require twocommunication is in the transmission and receiving similar bodies.of touch. By touching my own body I transmit the There are two images depicting inter_skin. Onesame touch to my recipient. The strength of the shows an androgynous figure posing with thetouch is determined by the duration of the touch. datasuit. The other shows the upper torso of a maleThe longer I touch myself, the stronger stimuli you figure engaged in an activity that takes place belowwill feel." In addition to touch, the user in inter_skin the frame of the picture. The image that schematizescan communicate with voice. the full androgynous body has erased any signs of As the material on this case is still relatively sexual difference and only indicates with an arrowsparse, consisting only of a short description in the place in which sexual stimulation is supposed toStenslies personal website, I will limit my take place. The way the inter_skin maps thediscussion of it in a few preliminary remarks. erogenous zones of the human body is then, to someHowever, I think it merits a short discussion in the extent left for the imagination of the reader. Thecontext in which I have, more extensively, images and Stenslies account suggest for me that inaddressed Affective Computing and Osmose. For inter_skin, the encounter between two similarwhat is interesting in inter_skin is that it takes the bodies is not only homoerotic, but also, what Luceissue of cyber sex and tries it out in the real world. It Irigaray designates as, hommoerotic, an encounterhelps to realize the missing sexual dimension of between two male bodies, which conceive ofembodiment that characterizes the discourses of themselves as universal.both preceding cases. Inter_skin is about the sexualaspect of affectivity. Stenslie specifically describes The unthinkable feminine bodyinteraction in terms of a sexual contact. However,the sexual contact in inter_skin is quite difficult to For it seems to me, that the way inter_skinimagine, for in it, strangely, autoerotic stimulation conceptualizes human sexual body, foreclosesand the touch of the other are mixed and mediated heterosexual relation, because in its terms theby the datasuit. female body appears, to certain extent, unthinkable. If the female body version of the inter_skin wereAutoeroticism specifically designed, the designer would have to figure out how to map the hole that in the maleStenslie himself brings up the importance of imaginary constitutes the female sexual organ. Forautoeroticism in his discussion. I will quote him in in such representational economy female body is notlength: "The fact that I must touch my own body in enveloped, it envelops.order to send tactile information imply several How then, would this enveloping surface besignificant aspects to the communication. First of all conceptualized in terms of the technologyI must do to myself what I want my accomplice to constituting inter_skin? How can an envelopingfeel. This makes my own body to a self-referential surface be enveloped? Could inter_skin cover
  14. 14. 13something that is inside body? It seems to me, that these three interface solutions to the notion of skinthe negotiations, such a design task would have to has opened up some interesting spaces for furtherengage in, would have to pass through the uncertain discussion. If skin in the Affective Computingterrain of inside/outside ambiguity and the research is taken as the measurable substrateimpossibility of its representation. mediating between the affect and the computer, the Inter_skin then seems to reproduce the old dream articulations of skin in the contexts of the Osmoseof symmetry of the self and the other, which here and the inter_skin seem to gather an abundance ofeffectively erases the sexual difference from its cultural connotations that they both consciously andsystem. But one may wonder how much the dream unconsciously play with.of direct communication would turn out as a Engaging in a dialogue with them, I have wantedfantasy, for even in the encounter between two male to show that affectivity cannot be conceived of inbodies an endless series of experiences, memories isolation from the socio-technical and culturaland meanings would inhabit the surfaces of the two production. In order to make some of the trajectoriesbodies. of this production more visible; I have interrogated For me, then, the potential of a system like the affective subjectivities constituted by them. Iinter_skin is not in the fantasy of direct have further inquired into the metaphoric power ofcommunication but in the recognition of the skin. In my discussion skin has figured as afundamental difference between two embodied technologically fabricated artefact and as the site ofselves. This is why the voice is important, as complex and conflictual meaning production. I haveStenslie also points out. In my visions, evoked by shown that multiple literacies have been needed toStenslies inter_skin, something like inter-skin could trace these various networks of production andbe conceived of as an intimate, acoustic space in particularly their intersections.which tactile stories enumerating uncountabledifferences would be shared. The “return of the repressed” in affective design projectsCONCLUSION I have inspected closely those discourses framing the three affective environments. What I haveThe three cases that I have discussed are attempted to show is, that there will always befundamentally incompatible. They set out to explore something that the design leaves unthought, and thatthe affective dimension in computing with varying what is left unthought is likely to have socialframes of mind and with different goals. It is also implications, invisible to the designers themselves.important to notice how their idea of the affective Moreover, I have suggested that this unthought canaspect of interaction varies. In Affective Computing be approached as the "repressed thoughts" of theresearch, affect is understood as an emotional design process. In psychoanalysis the idea of thereaction and as component of a regulatory feedback "return of the repressed" is conceived of as ansystem consisting of the computer and the human inexplicable and uncanny insistence that comes touser. The situation with Osmose and inter_skin is haunt the well-constructed realities of subjects.quite different, for they both are interested in I have then investigated what is it that insists inevoking affection. In Osmose, the interface each piece of affective technology, its context of useenveloping body monitors respiration and balance, and the discourses in which it is framed. It is notserving navigation in the virtual and immersive surprising then that the corporeal technologiesworld. Inter_skin is intended to share an affective aiming at embodied and affective interaction tendspace with another affective and sensual subject. not to think embodiment in all its viscerality.The interface that wraps around the users body is Drawing on Julia Kristevas notion of abjection Idesigned to transmit affective touch in such a way have suggested that the foreclosure of certainthat it becomes the extension of the users skin. embodied realities, which too intimately may come By staging them against each other and by to touch upon the embodied realities of thethematizing them in terms of skin, I have wanted to designers, might result in the foreclosure of certainelaborate on that affective space that is emerging in social realities as well.conjunction with the innovative design focusing on However, for a conclusion, I want to introduce acorporeal interfaces. It seems to me that exposing more specific and a practical question, which the
  15. 15. 14dialogue between these three affective environments 7. http://www.immersence.com/seems to propose. How should one, as a designer, immersence_home.htmengage with the user? In other words, how should 8. see Irigaray (1990) see also my elaboration onthe designer place him or herself in relation to the Irigaray in the context of VR space, Tikka, (1994,user? As Madeleine Akrich argues, in technology 1995)development, more visibility is needed for the 9. Davies refers to McLuhans concept of "counter-processes in which user representations are formed environment" and Henri Lefevbres idea of "counter-and applied. Her account also suggests that space" in "Landscape, earth, body. being. Space anddesigners should be aware of their tendency to time in the virtual environments of Osmose andunproblematically slide themselves into the place of Éphémère" in "Women in New Media", ed. Judythe user in the course of the design project. But as Mallory (Boston: MIT Press, 1998) see alsoLucy Suchman points out, neither should the Marshall McLuhan and Harley Parker. 1969.designer isolate him or herself from the realities of Through the Vanishing Point: Space in Poetry andusers or the realities of technological production. Painting: New York. Harper & Row, 241, 252 andLocatedness means increased sensibility to the Henri Lefevbre. Production of Space. 1991.consequences of ones design decisions. Blackwell. Oxford, p. 407 Working from a situated and embodied 10. For an extended discussion of distance and theperspective also means recognizing ones lack of it in representation, see my licentiate thesisvulnerability. And this is what the dimension of "Negotiating Proper Distance", Tikka (1999).abjection might suggest. Learning to engage with 11 As Char Davies puts it: "As technology Osmoseother located and embodied realities might mean does not seek to replace nature. Immersion withinlearning to deal with the strange and the frightening Osmose is not a replacement for walking in thewithin. It may be then, that as soon as the realities of woods. Osmose is a filtering of nature throughthe others were addressed, as soon as difference artists vision, using technology to distil or amplifywas, truly, taken into account, the designers of certain interpretive aspects, so that those who enteraffective computing systems would also have to Osmose can see freshly, can become re-sensitized,negotiate their psychical relation to the irreducible, and can remember what its like to feelwonder. Ininassimilable difference of the other. reminding people of the extraordinariness of simply being alive in the world, Osmose acts as aNOTES spatialtemporal arena where we ca perhaps re-learn how to "be"." Davies (1998, 65-74)1. http://www.media.mit.edu/affect/AC_affect.html 12. http://sirene.nta.no/stahl/projects/2. http://www.immersence.com/ interskin/ise.htmlimmersence_home.htm 13. The work consisted of two suits and a graphical3. http://sirene.nta.no/stahl/projects/interskin/ interface. However, it suffered from technicalise.html difficulties and did not work for the most of the4. http://www.media.mit.edu/affect/AC_affect.html exhibition. The presentation of the inter_skin does5. The GSR Sensor measures skins conductance not specify whether what is presented is a prototypebetween two electrodes. These electrodes can be and how functional it is. For my purposes, theattached to any part of the users body, but are functionality of the piece does not matter, for what Itypically attached to the fingertips. Skin am interested in, is how it conceptualizes skinconductivity is understood as the function of the discursively.skins pore size and the sweat gland activity, whichis controlled partly by the sympathetic nervous BIBLIOGRAPHYsystem. When the subject experiences stress oranxiety, the skins conductance will increase rapidly Printed sources:because of the increased activity of the sweatglands. After the excitation of the sympathetic Adam, Alison 1998. Artificial Knowing: Gendernervous system the skin conductivity will decrease and the Thinking Machine. London & New York:gradually as the duct of the sweat gland fills and Routledge.pours out. Akrich, Madeleine 1995. User Representations:6. Riedel, Oliver & Deisinger, Joachim (1996) Practices, Methods and Sociology. In Managing
  16. 16. 15Technology in Society: The approach of Other sources:Constructive Technology Assessment, ed. Arie Ripp,Thomas J.Misa and Johan Schot. London & New Tikka, Heidi 1999. Negotiating proper distance.York: Pinter Publishers. Licentiate thesis. UIAH, Helsinki.Davies, Char 1998 (1). Osmose: Notes on Being inImmersive Virtual Space. Digital Creativity, Digital publications:Volume 9 Number 2Davies, Char 1998 (2). Changing Space: VR as an Affective ComputingArena of Being. In The Virtual Dimension, ed. John http://www.media.mit.edu/affect/AC_affect.htmlBeckmann. New York: Princeton Architectural CycorpPress http://www.cyc.com/Haraway, Donna J 1997. Immersence (Osmose)Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan http://www.immersence.com/©_Meets_OncoMouse™. London & New York: immersence_home.htmRoutledge. inter_skin projectHaraway, Donna J 1991. Simians, Cyborgs and http://sirene.nta.no/stahl/projects/interskin/ise.htmlWomen: The Reinvention of Nature. London: Free Riedel, Oliver & Deisinger, Joachim 1996.Association Books. Ergonomic Issues of Virtual Reality Systems: Head-Hofmann, Jeanette 1999. Writers, texts and writing Mounted Displays. In: Virtual Reality World 1996.acts: gendered user images in word processing Conference documentation. Hudak Druck München.software. In The Social Shaping of Technology, at:http://vr.iao.fhg.de/papers/hci/ergonomi-en.htmDonald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman. Buckinham Suchman, Lucy 2000. Located Accountabilities in& Philadelphia: Open University Press Technology Production (draft). pub. Department ofIrigaray, Luce 1992. Speculum of the Other Woman. Sociology, Lancaster University at:Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Tr. http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/Gillian G.Gill. sociology/soc039ls.htmlIrigaray, Luce 1990. This Sex Whic Is Not One. Tikka, Heidi 1995. Cyberspace - A feminist point ofIthaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Tr. view. On line MuuMediaFestival proceedings. AV-Catharine Porter. arkki, Helsinki, at:http://www.uark.edu/depts/Kristeva, Julia 1991. Strangers to Ourselves. New comminfo/cmc/tikka.htmlYork: Columbia University Press. Tikka, Heidi 1994. Vision and dominance - AKristeva, Julia 1982. Powers of Horror: An Essay critical look into interactive systems. ISEA’94on Abjection. New York: Columbia University conference proceedingsPress.Kuutti, Kari 1997. Activity Theory as a PotentialFramework for Human-Computer InteractionResearch. In Context and Consciousness, ed. BonnieA.Nardi. Massachusetts & London: MIT Press.Lenat, Doug 1998. From 2001 to 2001: CommonSense and HAL. In Hal’s Legacy: 2001’s Computeras Dream and Reality, ed. David G.Stork.Massachusetts & London: MIT Press.Morse, Margaret 1998. Virtualities: Television,Media Art, and Cyberculture. Bloomington andIndianapolis: Indiana University Press.Suchman, Lucy 1994. Plans and situated actions:The problem of human-machine communication.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  17. 17. 16Lily Díaz-Kommonen (diaz@uiah.fi)Mariana Salgado (msalgado@uiah.fi)Interface Design and Usability Testing in the Digital Facsimile ofMap of Mexico 1550This paper describes the usability test carried The concept of the Digital Facsimileout as a part of the interface design to furtherdevelop the Digital Facsimile of Map of Mexico Printed and material facsimiles of historical and1550. The working method used brought insights archival artifacts are frequently used by scholars forregarding the social and individual subjective research, as valid replacement for working with theexperience involved in navigating an interactive original. For reasons of security and preservation,piece. The work also triggered reflections related facsimiles are also routinely used in exhibitions byto user testing and experimental methods museums and libraries. Because of their value andemployed. It also defined the guidelines for the rarity, printed facsimiles are usually also exhibitedsecond version of the Digital Facsimile that is in glass containers, where they are out of the reachpresented from May of 2003 at the Gropius Bau of the public unable to peruse its contents. InMuseum in Berlin, Germany. contrast, researchers and audiences frequently raise The Digital Facsimile of Map of Mexico 1550 is questions about both the accuracy and consistencya work in progress of Systems of Representation of digital artifacts, with regards to their materialresearch group in Media Lab [1]. The Facsimile is counterparts.being designed by Lily Díaz-Kommonen, Janne In spite of the fact that digitalization could solvePietarila, and Mariana Salgado. many problems regarding access to rare and unique archival materials, traditional image scanningBACKGROUND: THE MAP OF MEXICO techniques do not properly address many of the needs and issues of museums and libraries that alsoThe map, that is thought to be the work of the noted happen to be major research centers. For one, theseSpanish cosmographer Alonso de Santa Cruz, is one methods cannot accurately transfer radiometric andof only two known maps that give a fairly accurate volumetric properties of archival items made ofpicture of the city of Mexico and its surrounding organic materials, such as parchment and vellum,regions in the mid 16th century. The clearly drawn and which through the passage of time haveroads over the mountains to other parts of the acquired an almost three-dimensional topography.country permit us to retrace the routes taken by the (Brown, 1994, 95) A sizable amount of archivalSpanish conquerors. The map also gives information artifacts in European libraries belong to thisabout the ethnography and the flora and fauna of the category of parchment items.region. The population is shown performing avariety of activities, such as woodcutting, canoeing, The Map of Mexico 1550hunting, and fishing. The approximately 150 glyphson the map, representing human and animal heads, As used in this project, the concept denotes a digitalfeet, hands, circles and stars, refer to name places. representation of the original object of such a high(Larsson, 2002, 492) quality, in terms of resolution, color and shape accuracy, that it is accepted by researchers who would normally require to get access to the material version of the object. This is a significant feature
  18. 18. 17that distinguishes the proposed solution from other USABILITY TESTING AT THE MUSEUM OF CULTURES“postcard” or “videogame” quality solutions, which IN HELSINKIare mainly intended for non-expert audiences andexperiential purposes. This latter option makes it The usability test was conducted in March 2003.possible to develop diverse types of digital cultural During four consecutive days, we carried out aheritage artifacts targeted to different audiences. series of interviews in the Museum of Cultures,The intensive data acquisition strategy presupposed Helsinki in order to test the current application andfor such a product could also ensure that there will to set the guidelines for future steps.be enough for future generation products. A detailed user test plan was created before the Digital Facsimiles offers significant benefits: they interviews, and some reformulation of this plancan protect the original from excessive use, make appeared as the interviews were carried out. Thethe material available in the best possible quality to people interviewed include some that werethe widest audience, and they provide the option of especially invited as well as normal visitors to thereconfiguration and augmentation – the facsimile museum. For each of these two groups, we preparedcan be made a part of new works. a differentiated set of tasks and questions. Some of the people invited were experts in anthropology, history and education. All interviews were videoTHE GAP BEWEEN A PROTOYPE AND A PRODUCT recorded for later analysis. This was a special usability evaluation test,The gap that exists between the model in the because the visitors to museums are a huge varietydesigner’s mind and a final product that can be of people. At the same time it was not possible tosuccessfully employed by people has been a subject generate the conditions of a usability laboratory.of research for quite some time. Donald Norman, for The advantage of this situation was that weexample, talks about the system that is the outcome collected a large amount of data coming fromof the designer’s effort and the system that emerges different sources. The disadvantages were that itas a result of the user’s interaction with an artifact. was not possible to isolate the place, so in severalBetween these two is a gap that results from the fact interviews we had other visitors to the museumthat designers do not really communicate directly observing the test. In these cases we observed thewith the user but rather, through the system reactions and comments of them, and consider thisimage.[Norman, 1990] The system image results as a part of the data to analyze.from the physical structure that has been built. In the During the interviews, we tried to answer thecase of the map, this includes the type of projection concerns about the interface using an open formatscreen utilized, the tools for interaction itself, and for the questionnaire. We asked some questionsthe types of screens available in addition to the map from all visitors, but depending on the performanceitself, such as the introduction and the help screens. of the user, we chose the order of them. We also Yet in spite of the very thorough usability testing left some time for improvisation speaking freelythat can be done, at a more basic level, we will still about the project.have the situation of being confronted with the We were as impartial as possible, not solving allindeterminacy emerging from a complex system of the problems immediately, so as to stimulate theinteraction. As Nielsen points out: visitors to find their way in the application. “A basic reason for the existence of usability Sometimes it was difficult not to help once we were engineering is that it is impossible to design an there in front of the screen too, producing a dialogue optimal user interface just by giving it your best with the visitor. Anyway all the observations were try. Users have infinite potential for making based on the moments when the users needed help, unexpected missing interpretations of interface trying to identify which features were difficult or elements and for performing their job in a impossible to access without help. different way than you imagine.” (Nielsen, 1993, 10) General characteristics, usability, and functionality In this context, the main objective of the usertesting was to use the opportunity to evaluate and The usability goals were to make the navigationimprove the already existing interface. easy to understand. In the case of the application, this translates into being able to find details of
  19. 19. 18special scientific interest while at the same time is a list of some of the problems that were identified:preserving a mental image of the whole map. The - Lack of clarity with respect to functionality: Thenew version of the interface aims to enhance the Moving button had an icon whose meaning wasexperience of perusing through the map by giving unclear. Nobody who was asked could imagine whatthe viewer an extreme close up view of the details, was the function of this button before pushing it.providing the feeling of touching the map, allowing Also, the Intro button suggested to most users that itfor navigation according to different rhythms, and led to more information about the map. Instead it ledcreating the feeling of being in front of an to the Title page that contained the name of theaugmented version of the map. application and developers information. This was The older version of the application contained problematic, since most of the interviewees wereonly two display screens: A Title page and the very curious about the map, asking a lot of questionsactual application with the image of the map and the related to the original map and to historical facts.interface tool, or Button Area. (See image below.) Most of the people tried to drag the smallThe original interface tool provided the following rectangle that was in the Button Area while doing sofunctionalities: a Zoom-in button that provided a they touched different points of this small map. Themagnification of 16 times the original, a Zoom-out delay in this function provoked people to continuebutton that zoomed down to a view of the whole touching in this area without understanding themap, an Intro button that led to the Title page of the results. The program remembered all the pointsapplication, and Moving button that allowed the touched and began to jump, confusing the user.user to move the entire Button Area. - Incorrect positioning of the interface elements: The whole Button Area was positioned in the bottom right corner of the screen, with the button in the upper left corner being the most visible. In the old version the Intro button was in the upper left hand corner. This seemed to suggest to some users that they should press this button before the others with the result that the first interaction would bring them back to the Title page. - Unclear use of the interface elements: The buttons should work only when they are touched in the center. As the borders between the buttons and the small map were thin, there were misunderstandings. For example, sometimes users Image 1. Older version of interface tool, or Button Area. wanted to push the button and they went to the Clockwise starting at upper left corner: the Zoom-in button, the corner of the screen because in fact they were Moving button, the Intro button, and the Zoom-out button. touching one point inside the small map of the Button Area. Inside the Button Area, there was a reduced map Because it was not done from the Button Area,image with a rectangle framing the area currently some people did not find at all the function ofdisplayed on the screen. Touching a section of this dragging and moving the map. This state ofmap image also allowed the user to move from one uncertainty may also be related to the fact that forsection of the map to another, while maintaining the the test, we used a very large touchable screen.same magnification level. This was supposed to help Since this is an unfamiliar gadget for general users,to orient the user in the navigation of the map. they did not realize that they could touch it unless Outside the Button Area, there was also the they were specifically invited to do so.functionality of being able to select and drag the - Unclear indication of current application state:entire map to all sides of the screen. The map could be left in a position occupying only a quarter of the big screen. This sight can make theObservation and concrete problems identified map uninteresting for the next visitor, who sees only a quarter of image of the map on the screen.The observations were based on testing anddiscussion of the older version of the interface. Here
  20. 20. 19From the observations to the new version exhibition at the Gropius Bau Museum in Berlin, Germany. For this version, we have added a Home A deep, and thorough analysis of the video data screen as first page. (See Image 2) It has a signgathered still remains to be performed, however the inviting the visitors to touch the screen. The screenusability test has been a useful way to identify also includes the title of the project, informationproblems. Here is an example of how a problem was about the developers, and the URL of the web siteidentified that was extracted from an interview: where people find more information about the”Subject 1: Intro... research project.Subject 2: Yes, Intro. We have also added an Intro screen that has someInterviewer: Where do you think this button will information about the original map. This serves thelead you? purpose of providing some historical details, as well Subject 2: Something about the history of that… the as relating the digital application to the originalbackground of the whole project. [She presses it and map. (See Image 3)arrives at the Intro screen.]Subject 1: No, it is just the beginning.” Additionally, some of the suggestions that camefrom the users were implemented. This was the casewith the changes made to Intro screen. Here is anexample extracted from another interview:“Interviewer: When you go to the Intro, which kindof information would you like to have? Subject 3: No just the date, as much as I knowabout the original, about where is it know, moreabout the library, and the actual material, thephysical material, the size, basic data that you canrelate this version to the original artifact. The storyreferring to the original sources, because this seems Image 4. The Intro screenthe original, but is not the original. Interviewer: Do you think it was difficult to A Help screen has also been added. It can beunderstand how to navigate it? reached from the Intro screen and it is a clear and Subject 3: It was easy.” simple guide to help users in their first steps. In case that nobody has touched the computer screen forGeneral description of principal changes in the new more than two minutes, the applicationversion automatically returns to the Home screen. Image 2. The Home Screen Image 5. The Help screen.After these observations we defined aspects thatcould be improved for a new version. This version The Button Are was re-designed. The buttonswas especially developed for the AZTECS inside were repositioned. This allowed us to place
  21. 21. 20the Zoom-in button, which is also the one used at unexpected movements. This happened once with athe beginning, in a privileged position, on the upper group of ten-year old girls, and another time withleft hand corner. A Reset button was added. This two young men whose age is around twenty-seven.button resets, or returns, the application to its initial The older people interviewed were moststate that shows a view of the whole map. precautious, waiting their turn to approach the map We think that the functionality previously but giving advices or suggesting what to do.assigned to the Moving button is clearer. This In order to enjoy the experience of perusingfunctionality has now been placed on the top bar of through this map, one needs a bit of time. Thethe Button Area where we have also added arrows persons that came to the museum took the time andto indicate directionality. Our rationale for this they had positive reactions towards the map. Theychange is that this task affects only the Button Area found it especially pleasing to drag and move theand not the image of the map on the screen. map with their hands on the screen and to have the possibility to see in detail an interesting part of the item. We think that part of the feedback we received was positively influenced by the fact that the interviewees knew that we were doing the survey on a project that we had done by ourselves. However, this fact did not prevent the exchange of opinions, and we received a lot of good critique that will inform newer versions. For example: Some people tried to find in this application the same features Image 6. Revised interface design for Button Area. Clockwise commonly used in popular interactive media and starting on the upper left hand corner: Zoom-in button, Intro button, Home page button, Reset button, and Zoom-out button. CD-ROMs: In order to “open” other links with different information, they clicked on different parts The color that the buttons assume when they have of the map. We explained why, at this point, wereached their operational limits, such as is the case didn’t want to put links and described the concept ofwhen you cannot zoom in any further, has been Digital Facsimile. We found that the concept is notchanged from blue to gray. Also, since it was easy to understand for those who are not artdeemed to be confusing, the function of moving historians or who are not familiar with the genre offrom one section of the map into another by facsimiles as a whole. It is anticipated that thetouching inside the small map in the Button Area concept will be modified as the project is furtherhas been eliminated. developed.Social and individual subjective experience CONCLUSIONWe think that there are two ways to experience the The Digital Facsimile intends to give the user themap, social and individual. The social experience experience of being in front of an augmentedoccurs when there is more than one person in front version of the original map. The current designof the map. For example, it can be that the other represents the culmination of the first stage of theperson, the one not touching the screen, enjoys it project. It is an interactive display that providespassively, or gives suggestions of how to use it. In visitors with an easy and simple way to handle aboth of the cases, s/he is actively participating digital replica. It also allows detailed examination ofenjoying and navigating the map, with the rhythm of the item.the one that is actively interacting. During the second stage, a 3D stereographic In some cases it happened that two or more of the model incorporating volumetric data derived fromusers wanted to interact with the map at the same the already existing photographs of the map will betime. Perhaps the big touchable screen motivated produced. A website version that displays the mapseveral users to approach simultaneously. The and also allows for compilation, dissemination, andapplication is a single user application, so it was not sharing of information is also being created.prepared for this kind of use. But the users in such The potential future directions are to proposecases found a great deal of fun, observing the product solutions that involve the creation of a
  22. 22. 21museum piece, a professional research instrument,and an educational tool. As a museum piece and asan educational tool, the objective will be to extendthe project into an interactive media exhibit thatincludes data related to Mexico City, thus tracing alink between the historical features and the currentdaily life in the city. As a professional tool for theresearcher, the Digital Facsimile will have the three-dimensional aspect that is part of the originalversion. We would also like to add some type ofsound feedback. The results of this evaluation validated the threepotential future directions for the project since theuser test indicated the necessity of havingdifferentiated interactive products for the threeprobable contexts of use. At the same time, itconfirmed that the expectations of different userscouldn’t be fulfilled in a universal efficient tool. Theproject will benefit if these three directions aredeveloped in parallel. In that way, we will have thepossibility to compare issues about the roles andimplications of an interactive media project tied toits context of use.NOTES1. http://cipher.uiah.fi/Systems_of_representation.BIBLIOGRAPHYBrown, Michelle. 1994. Understanding IlluminatedManuscripts, A Guide to Technical Terms, The J.Paul Getty Museum and The British Library.Larsson, Lars-Olof, Díaz-Kommonen, Lily. 2002.“Catalogue Entries” in Aztecs, Thames & Hudson,Ltd., London, UK.Norman, Donald. 1990. The Design of EverydayThings, Basic Books, New York, pg 16-33..Nielsen, Jacob. 1993. Usability Engineering,Academic Press, Boston,
  23. 23. 22Jazmín Avilés Collao (javiles@uiah.fi)Lily Díaz-Kommonen (diaz@uiah.fi)Mauri Kaipainen (mauri.kaipainen@uiah.fi)Janne Pietarila (jpietari@uiah.fi)Soft Ontologies and Similarity Cluster Tools to FacilitateExploration and Discovery of Cultural Heritage ResourcesIn this essay, we describe a system and tools repositories containing cultural heritage knowledgethat we are creating and that allows us to on a global scale. We want to use these tools toproduce similarity (SC) cluster representations empower visitors to investigate, navigate, andof the contents of our Culture Heritage (CH) research the contents of the CH Forums created. InForum, namely the Exploring Carta Marina addition, users will be encouraged to produce theirForum at Harkko Museum in Raisio. The concept own personal spaces, as well as shared spacesof the CH Forum is being developed as part of owned by emerging communities of interest.the CIPHER project. CIPHER, which stands forCommunities of Interest to Promote the Heritage Cultural Heritage Artifactsof European Regions, is a research anddevelopment project at the Media Lab that is The system is being tested with two culturalfunded as part of the IST Programme’s 5th heritage artifacts: A Description of the NorthernFramework. The motivation for introducing these People, 1555, and the Carta Marina of 1539. Olaustypes of technologies in the context of cultural Magnus, the last Catholic bishop of Uppsala,heritage materials is to allow the use of spatial Sweden is the author of both of these items.vector-based computational techniques that Considered by many to be one of the greatresult in similarity mapping. achievements of European cartography, Carta We propose that similarity mappings can be Marina provided the first comprehensive descriptionused to build navigation tools that enable users of the landscape, the people, and the customs of theto explore these types of materials without Nordic region. In addition to documenting many ofknowing the search parameters in advance. the ethnographic aspects, the pictorial elements alsoAlso, this method of access to cultural heritage elaborate the mythical narratives of the region. Thismaterials might be less dependent of a priori is particularly true of the myriad representations ofdetermined ontologies than conventional monstrous figures included in the map. The mapcuratorial practices. This is on line with our final consists of nine separate wood-cut sheets putobjective of developing representation methods together into a map, the total size of which is 1,25 mand visualization tools that describe cultural x 1,70 m.heritage material while at the same time allowing It can be argued that the Description of thethe user freedom to interpret the material, i.e. the Northern People, 1555, is the written counterpart ofopen interpretation approach. Carta Marina. It is a chronicle written in Latin containing 22 Books. Each Book is furtherINTRODUCTION subdivided into chapters for a total of 778 chapters. The work examines the history, landscape, beliefs One of the aims of the CIPHER project is to and customs of the people in the Nordic countries.develop innovative technologies and methodologiesthat enable the exploration of large information

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