Teresa Macchia

University of Trento

Twitter: @_terema_

Modeling a mediated and invisible relation

Matters of interest are related to the current complexity of the environment. Over the last decade, divers forms of technologies had been introduced hidden technologies, which reconfigure and reshape the environment, and the way of people interact [5]. In this panorama, the ecological approach is drawing a new pace in Human Computer Interaction researches and methods: in a recent work, Kaptelinin and Bannon [3] underline the use of an ecological perspective to expand the concept of User Centered Design, while Nardi and O’Day [4] describe the environment as a system where “humans activities are served by technologies”.

In this framework, this research investigates the relation existing between groups of people with different roles, who are communicating and interacting together, without an explicit intention, through the mediation of technologies and of enhanced environment.

More over we focus on invisible relations: those relations, in which the parts are implicitly influencing each other without recognizing it. To model the relation existing between different groups of people and supported by the use of technologies and the action in enhanced environment we focus on museums of modern arts, and on groups of visitors and curators, in order to stress three elements: (1) reconfiguration of the environment; (2) high level of participation in designing the environment; (3) the engagement people. The use of a museums as work field, focuses our attention in specific kind of interactions, in fact we are stressing the practice of transmit cultural property and to the ability of express and preserve visual and concrete representations of culture. In addition, as Kaptelinin underlines [2], museums are characterized by complex activity and circumstances where artifacts and people (visitors and curators) take place.

To understand and study how visitors and curators are connected each other through the exhibition, we intend to use a Participatory Design perspective. We aim to emphasize a specific design process, to underline a social and collaborative agenda, and to display forms of collaborative interaction and communication.

With the purpose to develop understanding about behavior and meaning of visitors and curators in visiting and design the exhibition, we intend to observe visitors in the space of the exhibition, following their action and movement. As interrelated phase, we intend to understand the point of view of curators, what they want to tell throughout the exposition, what are they expectation about visitors. Then, through a second step of observation, we intend to focus on the environment, how it is considered/used/performed by people.

In this research we consider the exhibition as a communication media, as a tool able to communicate, a channel to transfer the knowledge between the two agents. First of all we have to understand where the communication takes place, where visitors and curators understand that, and where/when an interaction starts.