Monthly Archives: February 2013

Pointing and clicking on Curious Rituals

“Haunted” interfaces, sensor tricking, and cell trances are just a few of the gadget-enabled gestures cataloged in the fascinating online publication Curious Rituals: Gestural Interaction in the Digital EverydayProduced by researchers working last summer at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA—Nicolas Nova, Katherine Miyake, Nancy Kwon, and Walton Chiu, along with Dan Hill and Julian Bleecker—this recent work investigates the pervasive—but often overlooked—gestures and behaviors that emerge from our co-habitation with electronic devices, such as waggling a dying remote in front of a TV, or rapidly inserting and ejecting wonky DVDs as an “obsessive fix.”

Haunted interface

The impetus for the project in part is the cultural misperception that digital devices and their interfaces somehow render users passive, even paralyzed. As one of the researchers frames in the introduction to Curious Rituals, casual use of the term “digital” often neglects its original definition—manual manipulation:

The hidden assumption behind the use of such an adjective is that these digital artifacts are not very engaging from a physical standpoint. That is, people sit at their desks with their laptops; couch potatoes play games on their sofas; commuters stare at their smartphones in their smart-phone with blue-glow faces. But is this clichéd version of the everyday life true? Are we really so immobile when using the vast panoply of digital apparatuses? (7)

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