Publication statistics

Pub. period:1990-2011
Pub. count:13
Number of co-authors:24


Number of publications with 3 favourite co-authors:

Norman Jaffe:
Christopher Welman:
Nima Motamedi:



Productive colleagues

Thecla Schiphorst's 3 most productive colleagues in number of publications:

Tom W. Calvert:23
Frank Nack:20
Lora Aroyo:19

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Thecla Schiphorst

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Thecla Schiphorst is a Media Artist/Designer and Faculty Member in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Her background in performance and computing forms the basis for her research which focuses on embodied interaction, sense-making, and the aesthetics of interaction. She is particularly interested in the poetic forms that cultivate affect, materiality and experience-modeling within human computer interaction. She is a member of the original design team that developed Life Forms, the computer compositional tool for choreography and has worked with Merce Cunningham since 1990 supporting his creation of new dance with the computer. She is the recipient of the 1998 PetroCanada award in New Media awarded biennially to a Canadian artist, by the Canada Council for the Arts. Her media art installations have been exhibited internationally in Europe, Canada, the United States and Asia in many venues including Ars Electronica, the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival (DEAF), Future Physical, Siggraph,, the Wexner Centre for the Arts, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and the London ICA. Thecla Schiphorst leads the whisper[s] research group an acronym for: wearable, handheld, intimate, sensory, personal, expressive, responsive systems.


Publications by Thecla Schiphorst (bibliography)

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Schiphorst, Thecla (2011): Self-evidence: applying somatic connoisseurship to experience design. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2011. pp. 145-160.

This design case study examines and illustrates the concept of self-evidence by applying somatic connoisseurship to experience design. It invites a re-thinking of the process of design for technology, one that includes design for the experience of the self. Supported by concepts of somatic phenomenology and discourse surrounding 'felt-life' within HCI, this case study articulates the concept of self-evidence through the application of somatic body-based practices as a framework for technology design within HCI. The case study utilizes examples from the design process of the interactive, networked wearable art installation called whisper. Concepts of somatic connoisseurship are exemplified throughout all phases of an interdisciplinary artist-led design process.

© All rights reserved Schiphorst and/or his/her publisher

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Corness, Greg, Carlson, Kristin and Schiphorst, Thecla (2011): Audience empathy: a phenomenological method for mediated performance. In: Proceedings of the 2011 Conference on Creativity and Cognition 2011. pp. 127-136.

This research investigates audience experience of empathy with a performer during a digitally mediated performance. Theatrical performance necessitates social interaction between performers and audience. We present a performance-based study that explores audience awareness of performer's kinaesthetic activity in 2 ways: by isolating the audience's senses (visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic) and by focusing audience perception through defamiliarization. By positioning the performer behind the audience: in their 'backspace', we focus the audience's attention to the performer in an unfamiliar way. We describe two research contributions to the study of audience empathic experience during performance. The first is the development of a phenomenological interview method designed for extracting empirical evaluations of experience of audience members in a performance scenario. The second is a descriptive model for a poetics of reception. Our model is based on an empathetic audience-performer relationship that includes 3 components of audience awareness: contextual, interpersonal, and sense-based. Our research contributions are of particular benefit to performances involving digital media, and can provide insight into audience experience of empathy.

© All rights reserved Corness et al. and/or ACM Press

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Schiphorst, Thecla (2009): soft(n): toward a somaesthetics of touch. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2009. pp. 2427-2438.

This paper explores the concept of somaesthetics as an approach to the design of expressive interaction. This concept is exemplified through the design process of soft(n), an interactive tangible art installation developed in conjunction with V2_Lab in Rotterdam. Somaesthetics is a term coined by Richard Shusterman, a pragmatist philosopher interested in the critical study of bodily experience as a focus of sensory-aesthetic appreciation and agency. In the context of interaction, somaesthetics offers a bridging strategy between embodied practices based in somatics, and the design of an aesthetics of interaction for HCI. This paper argues for the value of exploring design strategies that employ a somaesthetic approach, presents a definitional framework of somaesthetics that can be applied to interaction, and links the concept of somaesthetics to a specific design case in which tactile interaction is applied to the design of a networked, tangible interactive artwork called soft(n).

© All rights reserved Schiphorst and/or ACM Press

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He, Yin and Schiphorst, Thecla (2009): Designing a wearable social network. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2009. pp. 3353-3358.

This paper presents a framework and design for a wearable social network based on Facebook. We begin with a discussion of social networking by isolating key characteristics of social interactions in three research areas: Social Networking Sites, Mobile Computing, and Wearable Computing. These characteristics are analyzed to suggest a design framework that can be applied to the design of social networks. Using this framework, we have designed and created a wearable social network called Patches, which extends the social interactions available in most wearable devices today.

© All rights reserved He and Schiphorst and/or ACM Press

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Castellanos, Carlos and Schiphorst, Thecla (2009): BodyDaemon. In: Proceedings of the 2009 Conference on Creativity and Cognition 2009. pp. 423-424.

This paper describes BodyDaemon a techno-conceptual art project that includes a server that is powered and configured by a participant's physiological states and a protocol for exchanging bio/server data across the Internet.

© All rights reserved Castellanos and Schiphorst and/or their publisher

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Aroyo, Lora, Nack, Frank, Schiphorst, Thecla, Schut, Hielke and KauwATjoe, Michiel (2007): Personalized ambient media experience: case study. In: Proceedings of the 2007 International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces 2007. pp. 298-301.

The prototype illustrates a scenario for social interaction in which users can manipulate audio-visual sources presented on various screens through an interaction with a sensor-enhanced pillow. The technology developed for uses the surface of a pillow as a tactile interface. We describe the underlying concepts of and its motivations. We present a case study of the environment as the context of evaluating aspects of our approach and conclude with plans for future work.

© All rights reserved Aroyo et al. and/or ACM Press

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Schiphorst, Thecla, Nack, Frank, KauwATjoe, Michiel, Bakker, Simon de, Stock, A, Aroyo, Lora, Rosillio, Angel Perez, Schut, Hielke and Jaffe, Norm (2007): PillowTalk: can we afford intimacy?. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction 2007. pp. 23-30.

This paper describes the interaction prototype developed in conjunction with V2_lab in Rotterdam. proposes a scenario for social interaction and the notion of social intimacy. Interaction with sensory-enhanced, soft, pliable, tactile, throw-able cushions afford new approaches to pleasure, movement and play. A somatics approach to touch and kinaesthesia provides an underlying design framework. The technology developed for uses the surface of the cushion as an intelligent tactile interface. Making use of a movement analysis system called Laban Effort-Shape, we have developed a model that provides a high-level interpretation of varying qualities of touch and motion trajectory. We describe the notion of social intimacy, and how we model it through techniques in somatics and performance practice. We describe the underlying concepts of and its motivations. We illustrate the structural layers of interaction and related technical detail. Finally, we discuss the related body of work in the context of evaluating our approach and conclude with plans for future work.

© All rights reserved Schiphorst et al. and/or ACM Press

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Schiphorst, Thecla (2007): Really, really small: the palpability of the invisible. In: Proceedings of the 2007 Conference on Creativity and Cognition 2007, Washington DC, USA. pp. 7-16.

Our physical technology continues to grow smaller and smaller; so small that the computer itself is no longer seen as an object but a set of invisible distributed processes. Technology is becoming an inseparable aspect of experience, palpable yet invisible. At the same time, an extra-ordinary wealth of literature is emerging within human-computer interaction that is exploring experience, embodiment, subjectivity, and felt-life. This interest is often accompanied by research questions that are continuing to re-balance our understanding of the relationship between subjective and objective knowing, making, and doing. These emerging trends can be seen as a response to the phenomena of the really, really small: and marks a cognitive and creative shift from the visible to the invisible. This paper contextualizes the emerging recognition within HCI that there is value in designing for technology as experience, and offers a framework from the field of Somatics that can contribute to the discourse, particularly with regard to the body in everyday life. Somatics is exemplified through first-person methodologies and embodied approaches to learning and interacting. I present a set of design cases that demonstrate its application within HCI.

© All rights reserved Schiphorst and/or ACM Press

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Schiphorst, Thecla, Motamedi, Nima and Jaffe, Norman (2007): Applying an Aesthetic Framework of Touch for Table-Top Interactions. In: Second IEEE International Workshop on Horizontal Interactive Human-Computer Systems Tabletop 2007 October 10-12, 2007, Newport, Rhode Island, USA. pp. 71-74.

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Nack, Frank, Schiphorst, Thecla, Obrenovic, Zeljko, KauwATjoe, Michiel, Bakker, Simon de, Rosillio, Angel Perez and Aroyo, Lora (2007): Pillows as adaptive interfaces in ambient environments. In: Proceedings of the 2007 ACM International Workshop on Human-Centered Multimedia 2007. pp. 3-12.

We have developed a set of small interactive throw pillows containing intelligent touch-sensing surfaces, in order to explore new ways to model the environment, participants, artefacts, and their interactions, in the context of expressive non-verbal interaction. We present the overall architecture of the environment, describing a model of the user, the interface (the interactive pillows and the devices it can interact with) and the context engine. We describe the representation and process modules of the context engine and demonstrate how they support real-time adaptation. We present an evaluation of the current prototype and conclude with plans for future work.

© All rights reserved Nack et al. and/or ACM Press

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Calvert, Tom W., Bruderlin, Armin, Mah, Sang, Schiphorst, Thecla and Welman, Chris (1993): The Evolution of an Interface for Choreographers. In: Ashlund, Stacey, Mullet, Kevin, Henderson, Austin, Hollnagel, Erik and White, Ted (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 93 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 24-29, 1993, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. pp. 115-122.

This paper describes the evolution of the interface to Life Forms, a compositional tool for the creation of dance choreography, and highlights some of the important lessons we have learned during a six year design and implementation period. The lessons learned can be grouped into two categories: 1) Process, and 2) Architecture of the Interface. Our goal in developing a tool for choreography has been to provide computer-based creative design support for the conception and development of dance. The evolution was driven by feedback from the choreographers and users who were members of the development team, combined with our knowledge of current thinking on design and composition. Although the interface evolved in a relatively unconstrained way, the resulting system has many of the features that theoretical discussion in human interface design has projected as necessary. The Life Forms interface has evolved incrementally with one major discontinuity where adoption of a new compositional primitive required a completely new version. The choreography and composition of a dance is a complex synthesis task which has much in common with design. Thus, the lessons learned here are applicable to the development of interfaces to such applications as computer aided design.

© All rights reserved Calvert et al. and/or ACM Press

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Calvert, Tom W., Welman, Christopher, Gaudet, Severin, Schiphorst, Thecla and Lee, Catherine (1991): Composition of multiple figure sequences for dance and animation. In The Visual Computer, 7 (2) pp. 114-121. http://

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Schiphorst, Thecla, Calvert, Tom W., Lee, C., Welman, Chris and Gaudet, S. (1990): Tools for Interaction with the Creative Process of Composition. In: Carrasco, Jane and Whiteside, John (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 90 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference 1990, Seattle, Washington,USA. pp. 167-174.

This paper explores the nature of creative composition particularly as it applies to dance, and describes the development of interactive computer based tools to assist the composer. The hierarchical nature of the composition process calls for an interface which allows the composer the flexibility to move back and forth between alternate views and conceptual levels of abstraction. COMPOSE, an interactive system for the composition of dance has been implemented on Silicon Graphics and Apple workstations. The user visually composes in space and in time using menus of postures and sequences. Paths can be edited and an animation of the dance composition allows the final result to be evaluated.

© All rights reserved Schiphorst et al. and/or ACM Press

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