KTH R1 Experimental Performance Space

Research key words: Mediated spaces, presence design, presence production, ICT-mediated human activity, media technology, architecture.

Mediated Spaces and presence design

An interdisciplinary research group with combined skills in architecture, media technology, anthropology, film, and television has focused on spatial and technical design to enable mutual gaze and to support remote presence in synchronous video-mediated spaces (Enlund 2001; Lenman et al. 2002; Knudsen 2004; Gullström et al. 2003; Gullström 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 (forthcoming); Räsänen 2006, 2007; Handberg 2007). From different contexts of use, numerous design prototypes have emerged over the last ten years (See examples: mediated spaces, windows and walls).

We refer to this practice as presence design. The illustration below shows how design-driven presence research is informed by users and by research in human cognition and perception.

text f├Âr hover In designing for presence, a design process ensures that a combination of spatial and technical design meets users needs. A design process results in mediated spaces which are material and immaterial artefacts. Combined, these are used for mediated interaction between people in different locations, a context of use we refer to as a presence situation. Each individual user will experience the situation differently: the presence experience is individual.
(Illustration by Gullström and Handberg 2009)

The outcome of these design processes is material and immaterial artefacts, constituted of both physical and virtual tools, demanding a resolution of contrary experiential and spatial concepts. Participants at each location experience a sense of presence negotiated through dialogic interaction. They also share material and immaterial spaces from designs based on a juxtaposition of space(s). Mediated spaces may be referred to as hybrid spaces. Our contribution to presence research primarily concerns the combination of spatial and technical design to support mediated interaction.

A large body of research which informs the design of synchronous mediated spaces concerns the concept of presence. Studies in human cognition and perception have advanced our understanding of presence as an individual experience; as "a perceptual illusion" (Lombard & Ditton 1997; Held & Durlach 1992); and as a "product of the mind" independent of the technology at hand (IJsselsteijn & Riva 2003).

Several scholars have observed the importance of gaze and mutual gaze in human interaction (Argyle & Cook 1976) and made comparisons with video-mediated interaction (Heath et al. 1995). Later studies of video-conferencing have shown that when mutual gaze is not possible, conversation is reduced and people are less likely to talk and share their views (Vertegaal & Ding 2002). However, such research appears to have had limited influence on the parallel development of presence technologies. To date, there are few commercially available products which enable mutual gaze and which incorporate spatial design considerations imminent to related design practices, such as architecture, film and theatre.

For more information about mediated spaces and presence design, contact
Charlie Gullström, Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).
Leif Handberg, Senior Lecturer, Department of Media Technology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

Examples of Mediated Spaces

Argyle, M., Cook, M. 1976. Gaze and Mutual Gaze. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Enlund, N. 2001. Being virtually there - reality and presence in mediated learning. In Proceedings of the 2001 International Conference on Telecommunications for Education and Training. Prague: Charles University.

Gullström C., Erixon, M., Lenman, S., Räsänen, M., Thuresson, B., Westerlund, B., Wiberg, A. 2003. Samhörighet på distans. Rapport från Fas 1. (In Swedish). Centre for User Oriented IT-design, Report 248. Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology.

Gullström, C. 2006. Meeting Spaces:Spaces Meeting: On the threshold of a new spatial aesthetic? In Hernwall, P. (ed.), The Virtual - a room without borders? Stockholm: Södertörn University College.

Gullström, C. 2008. Nära möten trots stora avstånd. (In Swedish). In Johansson, B. (ed.), Ska hela Sverige leva? Stockholm: Formas.

Gullström, C. 2009. Designing (for) presence. In Proceedings of Communicating (by) Design, international conference on research and practice in architecture and design. Sint Lucas: Sint Lucas University.

Heath, C., Luff, P. Sellen, A. 1995. From video-mediated communication to technologies for collaboration: reconfiguring media space. In Emmott, S. J. Superhighways: Multimedia users and futures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gullstr÷m, C. (forthcoming 2010) Designing for presence: enabling knowledge-sharing and remote presence in architecture. Doctoral dissertation, Royal Insitute of Technology (KTH) , Department of Architecture. Stockholm: KTH

Held, R. M., Durlach N. I. 1992. Telepresence. In Presence 1, pp. 109-112.

IJsselsteijn, W., Riva, G. 2003. Being There: The Experience of Presence in Mediated Environments. In Riva, G., Davide, F. and IJsselsteijn W. (eds.), Being There: Concepts, effects and measurement of user presence in synthetic environments. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

Knudsen, C. J., 2004, Presence Production. Doctoral Dissertation. Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology.

Lenman, S., Räsänen, M., Thuresson, T. 2002. A User-Oriented Approach to Building a Video Community in a Distributed Workplace PDC 02 Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference, Report on Work in Progress, Malmö, Sweden, 23-25 June 2002.

Lombard, M. and Ditton, T. 1997. At the Heart of It All: The Concept of Presence. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Volume 3, No. 2, University of Southern California.

Räsänen, M. 2006 (in Swedish). Om möten i Distansen - uppfattningar om möten på distans mellan arbetssökande och handläggare. Technical report. School of Computer Science and Communications. Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology.

Räsänen, M. 2007. Islands of Togetherness: Rewriting Context Analysis. Doctoral Dissertation. Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology.

Vertegaal, R. and Ding, Y. 2002: Explaining effects of eye gaze on mediated group conversations: amount or synchronization?. In Churchill, E. F. et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the 2002 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work November 16 - 20, 2002, New Orleans.