three things you don’t want together: wedding organisation, alt-wedding organisation, and writing the first-year dry-run of your PhD thesis. all so important in life; all epic on the deadline front, all with just a week between them.
first to pass: the PhD nine-month review. 10+k words, finally a title i’m happy with, and most importantly, in it a coherent research programme that articulates both the bigger picture of why i got into this in the first place and the concrete in what i am going to study. liveness is a nebulous topic, and it has been quite the journey to get to this point.
the abstract is possibly the worst thing to put here, as it was the last thing to be re-written and i was beat by that point, but it gives the flavour. and in archiving this here, when the PhD is further along i can look back an wince…
Liveness: Exploiting the here and now of us together
The concept of liveness is fundamental to our understanding of what makes performance engaging but there is little consensus about what it is. This thesis will explore the issue by focussing on the role of interaction in liveness.
A review of technological interventions in these interactions has shown novel instrumentation, new modalities, and aspirations of immersion in dialog, yet overall the picture is one of clickers and twitter backchannels: little has been informed by any attempt to understand and design for the fine-grained interactional organisation of performer, audience and audience-member.
To address this a clear and appropriate problem has been identified, against which ideas of amplifying and augmenting interactional signals, behaviours and organisational features will be explored. In short: there is no point in a lecture continuing if the delivery is incomprehensible to the students, so how does the lecturer find out, how do the students let the lecturer know? Moreover, how do they do this while maintaining the shared focus of attention that is their very reason for being there? Pervasive media will be the means, and a iterative cycle of development, deployment and formative evaluation the process.
Leveraging human-computer interaction, this research shifts the analysis from crowd computing and active spectating to the performer-audience interaction required for informed performance.