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A glossary for interactive technologies:

Acousmatic sound, acousmatic space
"Acousmatic sound is sound one hears without seeing their originating cause - a invisible sound source. Radio, phonograph and telephone, all which transmit sounds without showing their emitter are acousmatic media

Offscreen sound in film is sound that is acousmatic, relative to what is shown in the shot. In a film an acousmatic situation can develop along two different scenarios: either a sound is visualised first, and subsequently acousmatized, or it is a acousmatic to start with, and is visualized only afterward.

* The first cause associates a sound with a precise image from the outset. This Image can then reappear in the audience mind each time the sound is heard off screen
* The second case, common to moody mystery films, keeps the sound´s cause a secret before revealing all. (De-acousmatization)

Opposite of Acousmatic sound is Visualized sound - a sound accompanied by the sight of its source or cause. In film an onscreen sound whose source appears in the image, and belongs to the reality represented therein."

(Edited excerpt: Michel Chion, Audio-Vision: Sound on the Screen) via Maria Castro

Aha! effect
In this context: An epiphanial moment of "understanding"; seeing it in a new or different way, recognising new relationships where there were none before. The "aha-effect" or lightbulb moment. Sudden "understanding". The Eureka moment.

"Seeing and understanding the true nature of something. It is, in other words, a  conscious  recognition of "pre-associational" Gestalts or organized wholes.  So the reason for insight not getting more attention is rather clear:  The physiological, behavioral, and cognitive mainstreams of modern psychology don't deal with consciousness, Gestalts, or the conscious recognition of Gestalts." (thanks to Chris Roast)

uses physical or emotional body actions to trigger an external device. In return information about these in some cirumstances unconscious physiological process' are mirrored back to the person as visual, auditory, or tactile signals. This enables to excert certain control over the physical activity. This is usually experienced as very moving and intensive. Commonly used as a therapeutic device against pain, stress lately also to trigger interactive art installations. Examples: Ulrike Gabriel, Charlotte Davies, David Rokeby. Has been excellently described by David Rokeby.
See also Transformation

Two or more people participating in a mutually beneficial activity to achieve a common goal. Collaboration typically involves planning, communication, shared agency. It occurs through understanding of the issues, open communication, mutual trust, and tolerance of differing points of view. To collaborate means to co-labor, working together.

Embodied Interaction
"Using the physical world as a medium for interacting with digital technology", "the creation, manipulation and sharing of meaning through engaged interaction with artefacts" This revolutionary concept emerged from Paul Dourish conceptually fusing tangible computing (using everyday interactions and artefacts as interfaces to digital media) and social computing (meaning changes through context and social patterns that are negotiated and fluid). More about this here

Experiential Quality
in this context the perceived experiential intensity of the different constituents (sound, image, voice, usability, responsiveness, its form and content) of the interactive installation as one whole, coherent work. This also includes its look and feel, behaviour and content.

Feeling of interconnectedness
in this telematic context the vivid experience of a live connection with a remote place or person. People experience this for example in the written form of online chat more then during a chat on the telephone. The acoustic link of the phone provides a factual external connection whereas the written chat is more an imaginative internal one. The special immersive properties of the verbal-acoustic exchange leave less dissociate and reflective factulties.

Flow Experience As described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow "is optimal state of experience for the individual is one in which intentions are not in conflict with each other. In this state of inner harmony people can freely choose to invest their psychic energy in goals that are congruent with the rest of their intentions. Subjectively this is felt as a state of heightened energy, a state of increased control. This experience is considered challenging and enjoyable. Inviduals are immersed in this situation and can loose track of time.

Richard Bartle writes:Computer Mediated Communications (CMC) researchers view "perceptual immersion" and "psychological immersion" as equal partners; virtual world designers view psychological immersion as paramount, considering perceptual immersion to be merely one of many possible means to achieve that end.

Immersion is also connected with the psychological concept of flow. Indeed, some designers see the two as equivalent. Flow is an exhilarating sense of control and mastery that can arise from pursuing a focused, goal-driven activity; it's a deep involvement that transcends distractions and sense of time, leading to an ecstatic state of peak productivity. However, although flow regularly occurs in virtual worlds, it's not the kind of immersion that I'm talking about here. Players can be fully immersed without any sense of ecstasy-indeed, they could be quite miserable. Flow and immersion (as I mean it here) can play off each other, but neither is dependent on the other.
... immersion is often misunderstood. It's an important facilitator, but that's all that is [...] it's not immersion that itself is intoxicating, rather, it's what immersion helps deliver: identity.
Designing Virtual Worlds by Richard Bartle, 2003, p. 157, New Riders Pub.

In "Universal Principles of Design: A Cross-Disciplinary Reference" (2003) by William Lidwell, Kristina Holden, Jill Butler (rockport publishers) they also use "flow" and "immersion" almost synonymous:
Immersion: A state of mental focus so intense that awareness of the "real" world is lost, generally resulting in a feeling of joy and satisfaction." p. 112

Global awareness, Global consciousness
an enhanced, dissociate state of awareness of the gestalt of the globe, its finite resources and interconnected ecosystem. Perhaps a result of the first photographs of the whole earth taken from space, together with the realisation that industrialisation, trade, migration and ideas interconnect cultures and natures across vast geographies with one another; an experience of connectedness and unity with the planet. Alexander von Humboldt described as "Weltbewusstsein" the enlightenment ideas of westerners travelling spreading over the world.

GA is different to the holistic overview, overview effect in that it emphasises the long term change of perspective which is a result of the temporary, ephiphanic experience of the overview effect, the holistic overview.
GA entails a change in Weltanschauung (view of life, world view). Perhaps also what Roy Ascott calls "global consciousness" and Alexander von Humboldt as "Weltbewusstsein." (a worldconsciousness)

Peter Weibel differentiates between two different states: a "global consciousness" a hightened sense of shrunken distances by telecommunications, remote sensing and media (McLuhan's "global village") - and a second conceptual state, an "orbital consciousness," the orbital view from above, a holistic overview of the globe.
See also holistic overview, overview effect

overview effect, holistic overview
Seeing the Earth from a distance as Astronauts do, and realising the "inherent unity and oneness of everything on the planet." The effect creates a lasting shift in perception, a paradigm shift, so that the viewer moves from identifying with parts of the Earth to identifying with the whole system. A deeply moving experience which has permanent effects upon the viewers lifes, ideals and perception of the world. Frank White (1987) "The overview effect"

We differentiate between two different states of immersion, physical'perceptual and psychological immersion.
Physical/perceptual immersion
suggests that either a virtual environment or image surrounds the user as in a Victorian Panorama Space, a CAVE or a CUBE environment, or disturbances are reduced by other means that sustain focusing, such as a head mounted display (HMD) or a dark space that excludes external sounds as in a cinema. Immersion can be seen as a quantifyable property of technology meaning the bigger and better display technologies are the more immersed a person will feel. Immersion also includes a psychological component as someone can be immersed in reading a book. It is closely related to the concept of "Presence", how "natural," "immediate," "direct," or "real," a mediated experience feels. See also "flow."

Another definition:
"The experience of entering a multi-sensory representation of three-dimensional space."
Randall Packer, Maryland

Psychological Immersion
"There are no days more full in childhood than those days that are not lived at all, the days lost in a book. I remember waking out of one such book [...] to find my sisters all around me. They had unlaced and removed one of my shoes and placed a straw hat on my head. Only when they began to move the wooden chair on which I sat away from the window light did I wake out of the book, to their great merriment."
John McGahern "The promise", The Guardian, Review, 02005.08.27

Interaction paradigm
the conceptual model or way of thinking of interacting with the work.

Interaction Principles
describe the actual possibilities of interacting with the installation and enclose “interaction characteristics” and “qualities of use” for the more subtle details of the actual interaction process.

Interactive Environments
spaces equipped with devices, not necessarily computer controlled but provided with automatic features, that fulfil a certain function in responding to, or provoking actions of, users through defined means.

Interactive or “reactive”
suggest that a dialogical and dynamic communication between system and user is taking place.

"A way of thinking about and studying (social phenomena)."
(Emphasis by me)
Juliet CORBIN in "Basics of Qualitative Research"

"Techniques and procedures for gathering and analysing data."
Juliet CORBIN in "Basics of Qualitative Research"

Multimodal mapping see transformation

Natural interaction:
implies the intuitive use of gestures and common knowledge as basis of interaction. “employment of the senses” actually refers to touch, feel, hearing and sight – as opposed to rational, cognitive intake of information in form of text.

Non-visual & Multimodal Visualisation see transformation

Quality without a name
"The quality without a name" when something is alive and complete. This can be a man, a woman, a bridge, a fire ... " Christopher Alexander, "The Timeless Ways of Buidling"

Simultaneous, events that can take place at the same time. In a telecommunications example a telephone conversation would be perceived as simultaneous as both parties can be active listening and speaking at the same time, while when using a walkie-talkie one party is always passive. This is perceived as non-simultaneous as it interfers with our natural tendencies of verbal and non-verbal interaction of gesturing, speech acts and interruptions.

soulful, soul:
"Every culture in every era has had a word that we translate as "soul," and each has had just as much trouble defining it as we do. But the word has been necessary because it describes not an entity but an experience: the experience of something deep within us that is unspeakably private and our own -- yet at the same time this feeling connects us to everything and everyone around us in the most concrete and unavoidable ways. It is the experience that leads us to posit, to believe in, the entity: soul. For the experience, though felt as intensely personal, feels larger than the realm of the personal. In an experience of soul we feel the Self as part of All. It is the experience of connecting what seems otherwise, in our innate isolation, unconnectable. In such an experience we feel larger and deeper and older than ourselves, than our persona, than our personality. For we are having an experience that can't be explained by the combination of all the little bits we know about ourselves, our personalities, our psychologies. And so we conceive of an entity within us that is larger, deeper, older -- the soul. Whether this entity has an independent existence, no one knows for sure; yet all cultures have needed to conceive of such an entity, as though our lives depended upon it."
Michael Ventura in the Austin Chronicle 2003-12-12

Symmetrical Communication/Asymmetrical Communication

Viewed from our techno-social perspective the symmetry of communication implies that the parties involved have equally distributed media available to express themselves.
An example would be to have a video-conference with another party that has no video camera but only a microphone as input channel (and speakers for output). While they could hear AND see us - we would only be able hear them without the visual representation. Another example would be chatting in Skype or iChat with someone who can only respond by typing. I have done it and it is very strange.
For a synchronous telematic connection exchanging data between remote people or places this means not only having a synchronous simultaneous feedback-channel available, BUT also HOW the (human) sensorial modalities, the contents' medium, format and bandwidth are distributed (equally?) symmetrically between the parties.

Synchronous, taking place in realtime, instantanously, without perceived delay. This may underly people's perception over time. Letters used to take several months, if a letter was received within a fortnight this was perceived as almost instantaneous in 1820. (Goethe, Humboldt?)

"an evolutionary confluence of art, technology, and consciousness" Roy Ascott

The exchange of data between machines and/or individuals across geographical distance. Usually a synchronous (realtime) and bi-directional connection and often used to control the remote device. "Telematics, as Ascott has defined it, is ...a term used to designate computer-mediated communications networking between geographically dispersed individuals and institutions... and between the human mind and artificial systems of intelligence and perception." Edward Shanken in "Introduction: Art and telematics, a match made in heaven?"

Telepresence: A phenomenon developed by the operator of a remote device. It comprises a sense of being physically present at the remote location rather then in the immediate physical surrounding. The effect is created through actions and their synchronous feedback provided by the tele-operation interface. The term was coined in 1980 by Marvin Minsky and Pat Gunkel (Minsky quoting Gunkel in in Omni magazine). More recently its meaning has changed somewhat and it is less about the perception of leaving the local space behind but is more generally understood as “the union of telematics and elements of remote physical action.” (Kac, 2005,193) Stephen Wilson also has a wider definition and suggests that “every kind of telecommunications is telepresence - a technology for a person to be present in some form in a distant place” (Wilson, 2002, 526) adding that email was telepresent to an extent. Brenda Laurel and Scott Fisher define it as a technology ”that enables people to feel as if they were actually present at a different place or time,” (Wilson, 2002, 527) a definition that includes the change of the spatial properties of a local environment as telematic data is augmented and can also include travel through time (historical simulation). For Rosenberg or Sheridan (Wilson, 2002, 527) telepresence is not complete without the ability to act at the remote location, something other researchers would define as teleoperation.

Transformation of data. Transforming a (possibly indiscernible) sensory stimulus from one sense to another or to several ones. Similar to the manner in which mp3 plug-ins' map music from one modus to another into colourful, animated visuals. Transformation of data from one medium to another allows to create effects similar to Synaesthesia, a neurological phenomenon of mixing senses. This can result in colours being tasted or sounds being seen. This is also closely related to computer-mediated biofeedback. The morphology and relationships remain consistent - yet the output medium refers to an additional sense.

Transformation of data can be seen as a natural expansion of graphic-design, the domain of meaningful information visualisation. It is becoming lately increasingly accessible through prolific digitision of data and remote sensing technologies.

Also referred to as non-visual & multimodal visualisation or multimodal mapping.

Transformation, often wrongly, referred to as visualisation is an interesting process that has not received the attention it deserves by the community. Fundamentally we can distinguish between two different ways of transformation: Remote data being transformed into a local display and indiscernible local data transformed to a sensorial modality. The relationships can either be transparent and comprehensible and thus make sense - or they are arbitrary and ambiguous and merely create an effect, visual or audible.

implies that no physical interface is required to mediate between person and system.

Visualisation see transformation

last update: 12/26/02009 4:45

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