Embodiment data workshop – 2nd Oct 2012

The MODE embodiment data workshop (02.10.12) attracted some really different participants – brought together by an interest in the body, gesture and movement in digital environments – some from physiology, sociology, psychology, psycho-social studies, literacy studies most working in health, design or learning contexts. Early on the question of how we would come to a ‘consensus’ view of the video we were working with and our ways of talking was raised and resisted with a preference for exploring each others languages as a way to tease out the different ways of thinking in the room.

Across these differences we had a productive discussion viewing pieces of video data together and discussing analytical dimensions. Throughout we tried to both generate hypothesis and research questions and to explore the data. This included:

  • Understand the body placement and position in relation to the technological affordances and the features of the technology as well as how these are drawn into interaction through social practices;
  • The ways in which embodied interaction with the technologies made visible some design elements
  • The role of time and pacing in interpreting embodied interaction
  • Direction of gesture but also strength of gesture – its speed, tension in the body
  • The ways in which confidence and work can be achieved across different modes  – in this case a confidence in the voice, and hesitant character of the gesture
  • We explored physical synchrony – slowing down the digital video  –  to get at fluidity or fixed-ness of movement shared across participants, looking at the coordination of limbs, gaze, gesture
  • Some began to count and time the gestures, and others to try and classify their functions in the interaction
  • The ways in which children’s practices in other arenas (e.g. building blocks) is drawn into their interaction with digital technologies like the musical Reactable Tabletop
  • The possibilities for motion tracking technology were discussed

This process raised larger questions – analytical questions such as needing to defend against the ease of quick over interpretations, the question of what we can ‘get’ from video data; and substantive questions such as how we were interpreting stillness and movement in terms of passivity and activity including hyper-activity and the value judgements/associations this give rise to in different contexts notably in terms of engagement and depth of engagement.

Authors: Carey Price & Sara Price

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