Kristina Hook


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Kristina Hook is a professor in Interaction Design at Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden. She started and now works in the Mobile Life centre. She also upholds a part-time position at SICS (Swedish Institute of Computer Science).

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Li, Ian, Dey, Anind, Forlizzi, Jodi, Hook, Kristina, Medynskiy, Yevgeniy (2011): Personal informatics and HCI: design, theory, and social implications. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2011, . pp. 2417-2420.

Kaye, Joseph 'Jofish', Buie, Elizabeth, Hoonhout, Jettie, Hook, Kristina, Roto, Virpi, Jenson, Scott, Wright, Peter (2011): Designing for user experience: academia & industry. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2011, . pp. 219-222.

Salovaara, Antti, Hook, Kristina, Cheverst, Keith, Twidale, Michael, Chalmers, Matthew, Sas, Corina (2011): Appropriation and creative use: linking user studies and design. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2011, . pp. 37-40.

Ferreira, Pedro, Hook, Kristina (2011): Bodily orientations around mobiles: lessons learnt in vanuatu. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2011, . pp. 277-286.

Ferreira, Pedro, Hook, Kristina (2011): Bodily Orientations around Mobiles: Lessons learnt in Vanuatu. In: Proceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 7-12 May, 2011, Vancouver, Canada.

Vaara, Elsa, Silvasan, Iuliana, Ståhl, Anna, Hook, Kristina (2010): Temporal relations in affective health. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2010, . pp. 833-838.

Zangouei, Farnaz, Gashti, Mohammad Ali Babazadeh, Hook, Kristina, Tijs, Tim, Vries, Gert-Jan de, Westerink, Joyce (2010): How to stay in the emotional rollercoaster: lessons learnt from designing EmRoll. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2010, . pp. 571-580.

Hook, Kristina (2010): Transferring qualities from horseback riding to design. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2010, . pp. 226-235.

Sundstrom, Petra, Hook, Kristina (2010): Hand in hand with the material: designing for suppleness. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2010, . pp. 463-472.

Sanches, Pedro, Hook, Kristina, Vaara, Elsa, Weymann, Claus, Bylund, Markus, Ferreira, Pedro, Peira, Nathalie, Sjolinder, Marie (2010): Mind the body!: designing a mobile stress management application encouraging personal refl. In: Proceedings of DIS10 Designing Interactive Systems , 2010, . pp. 47-56.

Sundstrom, Petra, Jaensson, Tove, Hook, Kristina, Pommeranz, Alina (2009): Probing the potential of non-verbal group communication. In: GROUP09 - International Conference on Supporting Group Work , 2009, . pp. 351-360.

Isbister, Katherine, Hook, Kristina (2009): On being supple: in search of rigor without rigidity in meeting new design and evaluation . In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2009, . pp. 2233-2242.

Vaara, Elsa Kosmack, Hook, Kristina, Tholander, Jakob (2009): Mirroring bodily experiences over time. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2009, . pp. 4471-4476.

Hook, Kristina (2009): Affective loop experiences: designing for interactional embodiment. In Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 364 (0) pp. 3585–3595.

Ståhl, Anna, Hook, Kristina, Svensson, Martin, Taylor, Alex S., Combetto, Marco (2009): Experiencing the Affective Diary. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 13 (5) pp. 365-378.

Bylund, Markus, Hook, Kristina, Pommeranz, Alina (2008): Pieces of identity. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2008, . pp. 427-430.

Friedman, Batya, Hook, Kristina, Gill, Brian, Eidmar, Lina, Prien, Catherine Sallmander, Severson, Rachel (2008): Personlig integritet: a comparative study of perceptions of privacy in public places in Sw. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2008, . pp. 142-151.

Ferreira, Pedro, Sanches, Pedro, Hook, Kristina, Jaensson, Tove (2008): License to chill!: how to empower users to cope with stress. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2008, . pp. 123-132.

Ståhl, Anna, Hook, Kristina (2008): Reflecting on the design process of the Affective Diary. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2008, . pp. 559-564.

Hook, Kristina (2008): Affective Loop Experiences - What Are They?. In: Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri, Hasle, Per F. V., Harjumaa, Marja, Segerståhl, Katarina, Oehrstroem, Peter (eds.) PERSUASIVE 2008 - Persuasive Technology, Third International Conference June 4-6, 2008, Oulu, Finland. pp. 1-12.

Hook, Kristina, Ståhl, Anna, Sundstrom, Petra, Laaksolaahti, Jarmo (2008): Interactional empowerment. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 5-10, 2008, . pp. 647-656.

Sundstrom, Petra, Ståhl, Anna, Hook, Kristina (2007): In situ informants exploring an emotional mobile messaging system in their everyday practi. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 65 (4) pp. 388-403.

Isbister, Katherine, Hook, Kristina, Laaksolahti, Jarmo, Sharp, Michael (2007): The sensual evaluation instrument: Developing a trans-cultural self-report measure of affe. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 65 (4) pp. 315-328.

Isbister, Katherine, Hook, Kristina (2007): Evaluating affective interactions. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 65 (4) pp. 273-274.

Hook, Kristina (2006): Designing familiar open surfaces. In: Proceedings of the Fourth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2006, . pp. 242-251.

Isbister, Katherine, Hook, Kristina, Sharp, Michael, Laaksolahti, Jarmo (2006): The sensual evaluation instrument: developing an affective evaluation tool. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2006 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2006, . pp. 1163-1172.

Ståhl, Anna, Sundstrom, Petra, Hook, Kristina (2005): A foundation for emotional expressivity. In: Proceedings of the Conference on Designing for User Experiences DUX05 , 2005, . pp. 33.

Sundstrom, Petra, Stahl, Anna, Hook, Kristina (2005): eMoto: affectively involving both body and mind. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2005, . pp. 2005-2008.

Sjolinder, Marie, Hook, Kristina, Nilsson, Lars-Goran, Andersson, Gerd (2005): Age differences and the acquisition of spatial knowledge in a three-dimensional environmen. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 63 (6) pp. 537-564.

Oulasvirta, Antti, Tamminen, Sakari, Hook, Kristina (2005): Comparing two approaches to context: realism and constructivism. In: Bertelsen, Olav W., Bouvin, Niels Olof, Krogh, Peter Gall, Kyng, Morten (eds.) Proceedings of the 4th Decennial Conference on Critical Computing 2005 August 20-24, 2005, Aarhus, Denmark. pp. 195-198.

Sundstrom, Petra, Ståhl, Anna, Hook, Kristina (2005): A User-Centered Approach to Affective Interaction. In: Tao, Jianhua, Tan, Tieniu, Picard, Rosalind W. (eds.) ACII 2005 - Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction, First International Conference October 22-24, 2005, Beijing, China. pp. 931-938.

Isbister, Katherine, Hook, Kristina (2005): Evaluating affective interfaces: innovative approaches. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems , 2005, . pp. 2119.

Fagerberg, Petra, Ståhl, Anna, Hook, Kristina (2004): eMoto: emotionally engaging interaction. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 8 (5) pp. 377-381.

Hook, Kristina (2004): Active co-construction of meaningful experiences: but what is the designer\'s role?. In: Proceedings of the Third Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction October 23-27, 2004, Tampere, Finland. pp. 1-2.

Paiva, Ana, Costa, Marco, Chaves, Ricardo, Piedade, Moises, Mourao, Dario, Sobral, Daniel, Hook, Kristina, Andersson, Gerd, Bullock, Adrian (2003): SenToy: an affective sympathetic interface. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 59 (1) pp. 227-235.

Paiva, Ana, Prada, Rui, Chaves, Ricardo, Vala, Marco, Bullock, Adrian, Andersson, Gerd, Hook, Kristina (2003): Demo: playingfFantasyA with senToy. In: Proceedings of the 2003 International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces , 2003, . pp. 303-304.

Prada, Rui, Vala, Marco, Paiva, Ana, Hook, Kristina, Bullock, Adrian (2003): FantasyA - The Duel of Emotions. In: Rist, Thomas, Aylett, Ruth, Ballin, Daniel, Rickel, Jeff (eds.) IVA 2003 - Intelligent Agents - 4th International Workshop September 15-17, 2003, Kloster Irsee, Germany. pp. 62-66.

Paiva, Ana, Prada, Rui, Chaves, Ricardo, Vala, Marco, Bullock, Adrian, Andersson, Gerd, Hook, Kristina (2003): Towards tangibility in gameplay: building a tangible affective interface for a computer ga. In: Proceedings of the 2003 International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces , 2003, . pp. 60-67.

Paiva, Ana, Prada, Rui, Chaves, Ricardo, Vala, Marco, Bullock, Adrian, Andersson, Gerd, Hook, Kristina (2003): Demo: playingfFantasyA with senToy. In: Oviatt, Sharon L., Darrell, Trevor, Maybury, Mark T., Wahlster, Wolfgang (eds.) Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces - ICMI 2003 November 5-7, 2003, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. pp. 303-304.

Hook, Kristina (2003): Social navigation: from the web to the mobile. In: Szwillus, Gerd, Ziegler, Jürgen (eds.) Mensch and Computer 2003 September 7-10, 2003, Stuttgart, Germany.

Hook, Kristina, Sengers, Phoebe, Andersson, Gerd (2003): Sense and sensibility: evaluation and interactive art. In: Cockton, Gilbert, Korhonen, Panu (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2003 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 5-10, 2003, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. pp. 241-248.

Paiva, Ana, Prada, Rui, Chaves, Ricardo, Vala, Marco, Bullock, Adrian, Andersson, Gerd, Hook, Kristina (2003): Towards tangibility in gameplay: building a tangible affective interface for a computer ga. In: Oviatt, Sharon L., Darrell, Trevor, Maybury, Mark T., Wahlster, Wolfgang (eds.) Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces - ICMI 2003 November 5-7, 2003, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. pp. 60-67.

Andersson, Gerd, Hook, Kristina, Mourao, Dario, Paiva, Ana, Costa, Marco (2002): Using a Wizard of Oz study to inform the design of SenToy. In: Proceedings of DIS02: Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, & Techniques , 2002, . pp. 349-355.

Paiva, Ana, Andersson, Gerd, Hook, Kristina, Mourao, Dario, Costa, Marco, Martinho, Carlos (2002): SenToy in FantasyA: Designing an Affective Sympathetic Interface to a Computer Game. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 6 (5) pp. 378-389.

Sengers, Phoebe, Liesendahi, Rainer, Magar, Werner, Seibert, Christoph, Muller, Boris, Joachims, Thorsten, Geng, Weidong, Martensson, Pia, Hook, Kristina (2002): The enigmatics of affect. In: Proceedings of DIS02: Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, & Techniques , 2002, . pp. 87-98.

Svensson, Martin, Hook, Kristina, Laaksolahti, Jarmo, Waern, Annika (2001): Social Navigation of Food Recipes. In: Beaudouin-Lafon, Michel, Jacob, Robert J. K. (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2001 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference March 31 - April 5, 2001, Seattle, Washington, USA. pp. 341-348.

Dieberger, A., Dourish, Paul, Hook, Kristina, Resnick, Paul, Wexelblat, Alan (2000): Social navigation: techniques for building more usable systems. In Interactions, 7 (6) pp. 36-45.

Svensson, Martin, Laaksolahti, Jarmo, Hook, Kristina, Waern, Annika (2000): A Recipe Based On-Line Food Store. In: Lieberman, Henry (eds.) International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces 2000 January 9-12, 2000, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. pp. 260-263.

Hook, Kristina (2000): Steps to Take Before Intelligent User Interfaces Become Real. In Interacting with Computers, 12 (4) pp. 409-426.

Hook, Kristina, Svensson, Martin (1999): Evaluating Adaptive Navigation Support. In: Maybury, Mark T. (eds.) International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces 1999 January 5-8, 1999, Redondo Beach, California, USA. pp. 187.

Hook, Kristina (1999): Designing and Evaluating Intelligent User Interfaces. In: Maybury, Mark T. (eds.) International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces 1999 January 5-8, 1999, Redondo Beach, California, USA. pp. 5-6.

Hook, Kristina (1998): Designing and Evaluating Intelligent User Interfaces. In: Marks, Joe (eds.) International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces 1998 January 6-9, 1998, San Francisco, California, USA. pp. 5-6.

Forsberg, Mattias, Hook, Kristina, Svensson, Martin (1998): Design Principles for Social Navigation Tools. In: Stephanidis, Constantine, Waern, Annika (eds.) Proceedings of the 4th ERCIM Workshop on User Interfaces for All October 19-21, 1998, Stockholm, Sweden. pp. 13.

Hook, Kristina (1997): Evaluating the Utility and Usability of an Adaptive Hypermedia System. In: Moore, Johanna D., Edmonds, Ernest, Puerta, Angel R. (eds.) International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces 1997 January 6-9, 1997, Orlando, Florida, USA. pp. 179-186.

Hammarstroem, Kent Saxin, Hook, Kristina, Ereback, Anna-Lena (1997): Convene -- MUD Interfaces for Disabled Users. In: Stephanidis, Constantine, Carbonell, Noelle (eds.) Proceedings of the 3rd ERCIM Workshop on User Interfaces for All November 3-4, 1994, Obernai, France. pp. 6.

Hook, Kristina, Karlgren, Jussi, Waern, Annika (1993): Inferring Complex Plans. In: Gray, Wayne D., Hefley, William, Murray, Dianne (eds.) International Workshop on Intelligent User Interfaces 1993 January 4-7, 1993, Orlando, Florida, USA. pp. 231-234.

Hook, Kristina (2014): Affective Computing. In: Soegaard, Mads, Dam, Rikke Friis (eds). "The Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd Ed." The Interaction Design Foundation .

Hook, Kristina

21.10 Commentary by Kristina Hook

In designing for bodily experiences, there has been a lack of theories that can provide the underpinnings we need to understand and deepen our design thinking. Despite all the work we have seen on designing for embodiment (Dourish, 2004, and others), the actual corporeal, pulsating, live, felt body has been notably absent from both theory and practical work. At the same time, digital products have become an integral part of the fabric of everyday life, the pleasures (and pains) they give, their contribution to our social identity, or their general aesthetics are now core features of their design. We see more and more attempts to design explicitly for bodily experiences with digital technology, but it is a notably challenging design task.  With the advent of new technologies, such as biosensors worn on your body, interactive clothes, or wearable computers such as mobiles equipped with accelerometers, a whole space of possibilities for gesture-based, physical and body-based interaction is opened.

Some claim that the technologies we wear today treat our bodies in a negative way:

Electronics, robotics, and spintronics invade and transform the body and, as a consequence of this, the body becomes an object and loses its remaining personal characteristics, those characteristics that might make us consider it as the sacred guardian of our identity.
-- Longo, 2003

How can we do a better job in interaction design involving our bodies — the sacred guardians of our identity? This is where I think Shusterman’s theories of somaesthetics are relevant.

21.10.1 Three questions: What experiences? Articulation? Experiential qualities?

To design for corporeal, bodily, movement-based interactions, speaking to our senses and aesthetic experiences is difficult. Three questions immediately pops to my mind. First, what kinds of subjective, pleasurable or displeasurable, experiences are we aiming to design for? Glossing them over as all being about designing for flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) or good gameplay experience is too vague (as we argue in Isbister and Höök, 2009). We need to drill deeper and better understand exactly what experiences we are talking about. Are we designing for pleasurable or unpleasurable ones? Are we designing for those that are subjective and unique, or ones that are common and shared? Ones that deliver serendipitous experiences or ones that are evocative and emotional? These are not all the same, even if they all emphasise aspects of bodily experience.

A particularly difficult issue lies in understanding how these kinds of experiences may unfold over time — both in the particular interaction with and manipulation of the artefact but also as parts of our everyday on-going lives. As Löwgren puts it, a gestalt for interactive artefacts is defined as a “dynamic gestalt” which “we have to experience as a dynamic process.
-- Löwgren, 2001: p. 35 - 36

Second, once we know what kind of experience we are aiming to design for, we need to articulate them in a form that makes sense and that we can share within a design team. Ways of knowing can arise from your bodily acts without any language translation in-between. The feel of the muscle tensions, the touch of the skin, the tonicities of the body, balance, posture, rhythm of movement, the symbiotic relationship to objects in our environment — these come together into a unique holistic experience. It is not the ability to fulfil a task, but the experience of the corporeality of doing so that matters here. Those descriptions also need to be shared with the users that we invite to test our designs, or even participate in the design process.

Thirdly, if we try to design interaction that builds on bodily movement, seeking certain experiential qualities, many different aspects of the interaction have to be fine-tuned to enable the experience, as, for example:

  • the timing of interaction: movement has to render response in exactly the right moment for exactly the right kind of length of time in order to create for a particular experience (Sundström et al., 2005)
  • linking emotion and movement: certain movements and body postures are more likely to coincide with certain emotional experiences (Darwin, 1872, Sheets-Johnstone, 1999, Laban and Lawrence, 1974, Moen, 2006, Paiva et al., 2003)
  • harmony of modalities: the modalities of the interaction, such as graphics, haptics or gestures, all have to speak together — harmonize (Ståhl, 2006)

Before turning to what Shusterman and his work on somaesthetics can provide us with here, let me remind just give a few examples of how bodily interactions have been seen in the field of HCI or interaction design.

21.10.2 Strands of interaction design dealing with bodily interactions Ergonomics

In ergonomics (preceding HCI — see Grudin 1990), the actual physical body is the core focus. The body has been measured and designed for in spaces such as airplane cockpits, cars or nuclear plant control rooms. As pointed out by Harper and colleagues, the perspective taken is one where humans are seen as part of a machine. The pilots, car drivers and factory workers are part of a larger machinery. They must be trained to follow certain routines automatically as if they are one part of the machine. The machinery must be fine-tuned so that human error is minimized and this can only be done through designing the machinery to fit with meticulous measurements of our physical capacity. In those situations, we want to see our bodies as machines, able to follow routines and act in error-free ways in the spur of a moment (Harper et al., 2007).

While it may sound negative to take such a narrow view on the body, treating it as a machine, we must remember that sometimes we really do want to see ourselves as machines. It is of key importance to us that risks are minimized with driving a car or controlling a nuclear plant. Ergonomics has also cared for the body, aiming to avoid harming the body. By changing the way a machine works, its users can fit better into the machinery. But in ergonomics, for the most part, we assume the body to be passive — the interface will be sending signals to the human body that the passive body receives, sending onwards to the way more important mind. The body is not a subject, actively perceiving and acting. Cyborgs

Another position towards the body sometime taken in HCI is that of cyborgs. A cyborg consists of both artificial and natural systems, or to phrase it differently, of both human body and designed tools that extends out capacity. In its simplest form the extension can be the stick that a blind man uses to find his way. The stick becomes a part of how he feels the world, an embodied part of his own body. But framing tools as part of our cyborg existence goes beyond this one- way extension of our bodies. The cyborg concept comes with various ethical and moral implications when we regard how the technical tools we extend our bodies with in turn speak back to us. This positive side of being a cyborg is in some sense that we can free ourselves from our bodies — as discussed by the feminist Donna Haraway in her cyborg feminist writings (1991). The focus in this movement is on extending the mind, freeing us from our corporeal reality.

While this body-less cyborg being on the internet was much discussed in the beginning of the virtual reality-era, the pendulum has now swung back and most regard it as bad behavior to not connect your real identity to your virtual identity. In addition, more and more technologies are tying reality and virtuality more strongly together, entering our physical selves into the virtual spaces. For example, in the computer games area, we have new interaction devices, such as WII, fake guitars in Guitar Hero, or mobiles, connecting more strongly with our physical selves. Trimming the body

A growing body of work, focuses on the body itself as the domain or the focus of attention. Here, HCI focuses on interactions for sports, healthy living, or physical activity. These systems often treat our bodies as objects that we can study from the outside, that can be trimmed and controlled. Again, the body becomes subordinate to mind, as an instrument or machine, passively receiving sign and signals, but not actively being part of producing them.

These kinds of systems may have many benefits; relieving our bodies from pain, creating interesting experiences, or making us healthy. At the same time, by making the body into a machine that can be measured and studied as an object, we risk putting ‘goals’ and ‘tasks’ to our bodies without turning to our felt life. Pedometers measure how many steps we take and the goal becomes to walk at least 10.000 steps per day — not matter how we feel about walking that particular day. Again, many of these systems reinforce a dualistic stance where the body is a separate entity that can be measured and dealt with as an object. It is not the sensory-locus of ourselves. Third wave

In the “third wave” of HCI, design for experiences goes beyond those of task completion, efficiency, and tool-based perspectives. This includes designing for bodily experiences. So far, when it comes to involving bodies and creating for bodily experiences, the focus has mainly been on sports and games (e.g. from early work (Ishii et al., 1999) to current (Benford et al., 2012)). The aim is to design for experiential qualities such as flow, immersion or uncomfortable experiences. But there is also a growing body of designs aimed at other experiences. One example is Moen’s Body Bug — a wire that you wrap around your body where a ‘bug’ registers your actions and climbs up and down a wire (Moen, 2006). The bug is a simple robot, moving along the wire. When you strap the wire around your body and start making movements, the bug will move along the wire, in a sense mirroring your movements. The bug makes you want to ‘dance’. The sought experiential quality is that of enjoying your own body movement as we do when we dance.

To reach designs in which such qualities arise, designers and researchers have repeatedly reported that as designers, we need to experience our own bodies in the design process (Hummels et al., 2007). This in turn requires new methods in the design process.

Recently, we have started to see other studies where HCI researchers attempt to observe different cultures or communities of practice, for insight on how to design for novel bodily experiences. There are ethnographic studies about hunting culture (Juhlin and Weilenmann, 2008), skaters and golfers (Tholander and Johansson, 2010), horseback riding (Höök, 2010) to citizens constrained by electronic surveillance bracelets (Troshynski et al., 2008). These studies repeatedly tell us that bodily experiences have been undervalued in ICT design and that there is little knowledge on how to address them.

The study by Tholander and Johansson (2010), on skaters and golfers show that those practices do not distract their users from being in the world together with their skateboards or golf clubs. Tholander and Johansson convincingly argue that interactive technologies that aim for physical interaction too often force users to interact through some type of screen interface, taking away focus from the environment. Instead of interacting with others around us or with the surrounding nature, we focus on the screen.

The study by myself on horseback riding, (2010) I try to provide a rich account of how horseback riding involves all our senses, at moments involving us in centaur-experiences — feeling as one with horse and environment. My point is to show both how impoverished interaction with many of our interfaces are compared to the sensory richness of riding, and also how impoverished our articulations of interactions are, the lack of an agreed upon language for describing interactions.

Troshynksi and colleagues, in their study on paroled sex of- fenders who are required to wear a GPS tracking electronic bracelet on their ankle (2008), show how this technology constrains their bodies in ways beyond that of the original intent of the technology. A considerable amount of work is put into preserving the technology intact during everyday routines like showering, and their mobility in the environment is considerable constrained, among other implications.

All of these studies point to limitations in the ways we think of today’s wearable and mobile technologies and their impact on bodily behaviors and practices.

21.10.3 What Shusterman brings to the table

From this brief walk through some of the work involving our bodies in digital interactions, we can now turn to Shusterman’s work and perhaps see a bit more clearly why his theories on somaesthetics are appealing to some of the interaction design researchers in our field.

When designing for a non-dualistic stance towards body and mind, we need some way of talk about what experiences we strive to engage ourselves and our users into. While most accounts of corporeal involvement will be mainly descriptive, Shusterman’s somaesthetics is also normative. He tells us that by engaging in certain practices, in inward listening and learning, we can know ourselves better, and thereby understand and interact with others more fully. It trains our empathy — both with ourselves and others. While this may all sound mysterious and fluffy, the take away message is, in my view, not religious or mysterious. It simply says that we can train our bodies, our muscles, our nervous system (including the brain), to become more knowledgeable and aware of ourselves. As I am a horseback rider, I know that any predominately movement- and body-based practice requires this kind of training and knowledge.
As mentioned above, I have tried to describe the complexity of knowledge required to ride a horse in an autoethnographic study (Höök, 2010). The interaction with a horse is obviously not word-based. It happens through physical signs and signals: the riders use the muscles in their legs, the placement of their sitting bones, bodily balance, head movement, hand and arm connection to the horse’s mouth and sometimes tone of voice. The horse talks back through its movement, direction, pace, activations of muscles that can be felt throughout the horse’s body, its head movements, tail movements, flipping ears, bend of neck and noises. In order to be a good rider, you need to learn this wordless language. As in any language, understanding and communication arises in interaction over time. When you have experienced a particular bodily schema or concept yourself this understanding may arise.

When designing digital interactions, we should be able to articulate, shape and design for equally detailed descriptions of movement, body and physical signs and signals flowing back and forth between us and the system we are designing.
More importantly, as Shusterman points out, moving your body is not only a matter of performing a function, it is also an aesthetic experience. There is a plenitude of activities that we do for the pleasure of moving — dancing, sports, jogging, cycling. The pleasures of these activities are of course not only soft, flowing movements, since some of the activities involve pain, applying yourself really carefully to make your body do them, adjusting your own body in various ways, even making your body build certain muscles that you normally do not use so much, embarrassment when you do not get it right, and so on.

Interaction design has perhaps been a bit too obsessed with zero-learning time, an issue that will not sit well with some of the movement-based practices Shusterman is advocating. A take-away message from Shusterman is that it takes time to learn. You have to apply yourself. Getting to know yourself, your own body, changing your movements, training yourself, is not “natural” — even if your body is “there for you” all the time. Similar to how you must learn to think and reason, you must learn how to listen to your body, how to improve your body knowledge.

21.10.4 Turning to design

As pointed out by Bardzell in his comment to this chapter, the translation from theories of somaesthetics into HCI and interaction design is non-trivial.
Obviously, any body will have different parts (legs, arms, brain, nervous system) and different processes in that body will have different characteristics, but they are intimately linked. Likewise, bodies move through difference spaces, social and physical, shaping interactions. Or as put by Suchman picking up on Latour, unavoidably a part of complex temporal, material and social assemblies, the body is unceasingly (re)configured in relational terms. We perceive, act and understand the world as unities of mind, body, routine, culture, social settings and with machines as part of our ways of being in the world. The design process needs to consider the connections between these processes, moving beyond a narrow focus on cognition as it happens in our brains.

In particular, I have been interested in the linking from movement to emotion and back. Early on Darwin made a strong coupling between emotion and bodily movement (Darwin 1872). Since then, researchers in areas as diverse as neurology (LeDoux 1996; Davidson et al. 2003) to philosophy and dance (Laban & Lawrence 1974; Sheets-Johnstone 1999) describe the close coupling between readiness for action, muscular activity and the co-occurrence of emotion. Sheets-Johnstone makes the case that:

Without the readiness to act in a certain way, without certain corporeal tonicities, a certain feeling would not, and indeed, could not be felt, and a certain action would not, and indeed, could not be taken, since the postural dynamic of the body are what make the feeling and the action possible.(
-- Sheets-Johnstone 1999: p. 265

Or as Dewey puts it:

There is, therefore, no such thing in perception as seeing or hearing plus emotion. The perceived object or scene is emotionally pervaded throughout.

If we attempt to define a lived emotional experience in dualistic terms, we will surely fail, but with a perspective where man is seen as a whole, both body and mind, both individual and part of the world, the gulf between our interpretative experiences and what can/cannot be studied will not be as problematic.

Just to make it slightly clearer, here is an example of such a co-occurrence of emotion and movement from my horseback riding account:

As horse and rider move together, they create a rhythm. Depending on the gait, it can be a two-beat (trot, pace), three-beat (canter), or four-beat (walk, gallop, tölt), in different paces. To allow the horse to keep the beat in a balanced way, the rider needs to make herself invisible in the saddle, not disturbing the rhythm. [..] The problem was that I was sitting back into the saddle with a ‘splat’ slightly out of rhythm with the horse. Given how many years I had been riding before going to lessons with Christian [my horseback riding teacher], it was horribly embarrassing for me to be out of synch. Following the rhythm of the horse is one of the most important pleasures of riding. As discussed by others (Moen, 2006), rhythmic movement as in dance or riding, moves us in way which are immediately appealing. But just as it can be very awkward to watch someone dancing out of rhythm, it is very awkward to experience it. [..] The embarrassment came from the actual physical experience of being out of rhythm. Our bodies are used to rhythms, our own bipedal swagger (Sheets-Johnstone, 1999), our mother’s heart beat, waves beating the beach, music and dancing, and, for those who are fortunate enough to experience it: the horses’ different gaits.

Translating from this experience in horseback riding, we can see many possible digital interactions picking up on rhythm. Take for example the work by Danielle Wilde named hipDisks recently exhibited at CHI 2012 (Wilde, 2012):

Possibly the most undignified musical instrument ever, hipDisk exploits changing relationships between torso and hip to actuate sound. Simple horizontal disk-shaped extensions of the body exaggerate, so make highly visible, the interdependent relationship of the hip and torso. Soft switches, strategically placed around the perimeter of each disk, allow the wearer to play a chromatic scale, and so play simple melodies, restricted only by flexibility and speed of swing
-- Wilde, 2012
Figure 21.1 A-B-C: Thecla Schiphorst dancing with Danielle Wildes' Hipdisk

A designer that has picked up more directly on somaesthetics (and who is also commenting on this chapter) is Thecla Schiphorst. She suggests interactions and design methods that require particular movements, such as moving very, very slowly in order to listen to your own bodily state in interaction or attaching users by velcro asking them to move and interact together in order to explore extensions of the body and their meaning in terms of privacy (Schiphorst, 2007). She has also built a couple of systems, like soft(n), that explores the somaesthetics of touch and interaction through interactive artifacts:

The soft(n) installation is an intelligent tangible network comprised of soft physical objects that exhibit emergent behavior through interaction. soft(n) is a group of 10 interactive soft objects, each containing a specially designed and custom-engineered multi-touch soft input surface and motion detectors. Each soft object has an ability to actuate vibration, light and sound in response to its tactile induced state.
-- Schiphorst, 2009

Another compelling example is the work by Høbye and Löwgren on the system named Mediated Body (2011). A performer and a participant both wear earphones and through turning them into human antennas, they can generate evocative music when they touch each-others’ bare-skin or “auras”. Again, this invites a somaesthetic, in this case, social experience.

Richard Shusterman and Kia Höök using the 'Mediated Body' system at the CHI 2012 conference.
Figure 21.2: Richard Shusterman and Kia Höök using the 'Mediated Body' system at the CHI 2012 conference.

In my view, apart from using Shusterman’s somaesthetic theories to train ourselves as designers or train our users to express what they experience (as discussed by Bardzell in his commentary), I believe that we can build some of the ideas into the actual designs of interactive systems.

21.10.5 In summary

In a sense, the interest in emotional experiences and third-wave HCI has served as a bridge for the whole field of HCI to turn from symbolic, analytical ways of doing task analysis and designing for efficient ways of supporting tasks, to caring more about experiences in general. It has also, to some researchers in HCI, served as a bridge to start addressing our physical, corporeal bodies in interaction and to attempt to bridge the dualism chasm.

This has, in turn, created a huge space of opportunities for design that puts our bodily ways of being in the world first and attempt to address our corporeal experiences. The systems we have been designing in my group (eMoto, Affective Health and others — turn to the chapter on Affective Interaction in the Encyclopedia of for a longer description) have all been attempts to address the interaction between emotion and movement. While each of these systems has its deficiencies, none of them is trying to reduce human experience to something that can be measured and modeled, and then packaged as an information piece to be sent to others. They are “non-reductionist” (Höök et al., 2008). The experience of using them emotionally and corporeally is shaped by the participants. In a sense this becomes the “participatory design”-movement of the third wave of HCI (Höök, 2006).

It remains to be seen how we can translate the insights from Shusterman’s work on somaesthetics into design. And perhaps, we will have to look for other, complementing theories of bodily interactions, sometimes with less normative perspectives on what is good and what is bad, and perhaps with a stronger orientation towards our socio-bodily practices. Most of all, if we continue to create interactions that come closer and closer to our bodies, our “sacred selves”, we need to be guided by some values or ideas of why and how to do so. The world is flooded with crappy technologies that harm our bodies and our means to be corporeally present in the world, together with others. Addressing aesthetics of the soma, also means addressing important values in design.

21.10.6 References

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