Exploring Digital Encounters in the Public Arena
In this chapter, we explore the types of encounters that technology enables. We consider the differences between digital and nondigital encounters through two pilot studies carried out in the city of Bath, United Kingdom. We investigate how technology can be appropriated for shared interactions that support conscious (or unconscious) social encounters, and highlight the importance of space and the role of place in providing temporal and spatial mechanisms facilitating different types of shared encounters. Here, we apply a method based on intervention through “sensing and projecting” Bluetooth names and digital identity in the public arena, and describe initial observations about people’s reaction toward the projection of their Bluetooth names in public. In particular, we note the significance of constructing socially meaningful relations between people mediated by these technologies. We discuss initial results and outline issues raised in detail before finally describing the ongoing work.
The authors would like to thank Carolina Briones, Kaiti Papapavlou, Adi Ahmad, and Olivier Ottevaere from the MSc AAC, UCL London. We thank Tim Kindberg, Kharsim (Kaz) Al Mosawi and Eamonn O’Neill for their contribution. This research is partly funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant EP/C547683/1 (Cityware: urban design and pervasive systems).
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