Behind The Scenes at HCI’s Turn to the Arts. Jacobs, R., Benford, S., & Luger, E. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 567-578). ACM.(2015)

Abstract: Since 2000, Human Computer Interaction (HCI) has seen a turn to the artistic, looking at more provocative, cultural and social experiences. In doing so HCI is increasingly collaborating with artists who engage with real world data. Much of this work focuses on engaging the public in the spectacle of interactive experiences. In contrast, this paper takes a look behind the scenes by studying a collaboration between artists, climate scientists and researchers as they designed a participatory sensing system to interpret scientific data for public presentation. This paper presents this cross-disciplinary approach from the perspective of an artist/researcher on the project.

Making Data Physical in the Design of The Prediction Machine. Jacobs, R., and Luger, E. A Workshop Position Paper Exploring The Challenges of Making Data Physical, CHI (2015)

Abstract: Artists have been increasingly using real world, scientific data as a material to create physical artworks. The concept of ‘performing data’ has arisen from these art practices as a term that extends beyond data visualizations towards more tangible, sensory, temporal and performative experiences, in order to build emotional and physical engagements with scientific data. This position paper presents one specific artwork.‘The Prediction Machine’, that demonstrates how a physical embodiment of data can encourage dialogue about climate data. This paper presents some of the challenges encountered and describes how the artist navigated issues of supporting the public to engage authentically with the science versus creating emotional and physical engagements with the data.

A Conversation Between Trees: What Data Feels Like in the Forest. Jacobs, R., Benford, S., Selby, M., Golembewski, M., Price, D., & Giannachi, G. (2013, April).In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 129-138). ACM. (Honorary Mention Best Paper Award)

Abstract: A study of an interactive artwork shows how artists engaged the public with scientific climate change data. The artwork visualised live environmental data collected from remote trees, alongside both historical and forecast global CO2 data. Visitors also took part in a mobile sensing experience in a nearby forest. Our study draws on the perspectives of the artists, visitors and a climate scientist to reveal how the work was designed and experienced. We show that the artists adopted a distinct approach that fostered an emotional engagement with data rather than an informative or persuasive one. We chart the performative strategies they used to achieve this including sensory engagement with data, a temporal structure that balanced liveness with slowness, and the juxtaposition of different treatments of the data to enable interpretation and dialogue.

Timestreams: Supporting Community Engagement in the Climate Change Debate. Blum, J., Flintham, M., McAuley, D., Jacobs, R., Watkins, M., Lee, R., Shackford R., Leal S., Selby M., Giannachi, G. Digital Futures Conference (2012).

Abstract: Arguably two of the greatest risks that the UK faces in common with the rest of the world are dangerous climate change and energy insecurity. Despite our best efforts to date, policy level discussions and climate science have not motivated a great deal of public response. An alternative to top-down science communication is of paramount importance to tackling these issues. We present a disruptive innovation that facilitates culturally-aware artistic community engagement with these issues through sensor data and blogging.

Smoke and Mirrors:  Liveness, Presence and Suspension of Disbelief, Jacobs R. Giannachi G. Benford S. Greenman A. Workshop Position Paper Exploring HCI’s Relationship with Liveness CHI (2012)

Engaging With Slowness: A Temporal Experience of Climate Change, Jacobs R. Selby M. Benford S. Workshop Position Paper Slow Technology DIS (2012)

Abstract: Slow Technology is an opportunity to create reflective, mesmerizing and tangible experiences of temporality in relation to human perspectives and situated experiences. Hallnas and Redstrom [1] proposed the concepts of ‘reflective’ and ‘time’ technology as part of their design philosophy of slowness; this paper focuses on these concepts in reference to a specific time based artwork that explores climate and environmental change. Investigatingt he experiential context of slow technology and how a combination of an artifact, the aesthetic intentions of the artists and the design of an experience can be combined in order to enable reflective, personal and emotional responses to complex temporal datasets.

Performing Natures’ Footprint, Jacobs R. Giannachi G. Benford S. VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS, Edited by Stephen Andrew Arbury Aikaterini Georgoulia, Athens Institute for Education and Research (2011)

The Challenges of Using Biodata in Promotional Filmmaking, Stuart Reeves, Sarah Martindale, Paul Tennent, Steve Benford, Joe Marshall, Brendan Walker, Forthcoming – ToCHI

Vicarious: A flexible framework for the creative use of sensed biodata, Tennent, P., Marshall, J., Walker, B., Harter, P., Steve, B In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Knowledge, Information and Creativity Support Systems, KICSS2014, Limassol, Cyprus, University of Cyprus (2014)

Abstract: In this paper we discuss vicarious, a flexible, extensible, distributed framework for capturing, processing, visualising, recording and generally handling sensed biodata. We outline six specific creative needs: heterogeneity of sensor inputs, liveness, high quality video, synchronisation, scalability, usability. Next, by outlining the architecture and features of vicarious, we show how the system meets each of those expectations. We then provide three examples of creative experiences developed
using vicarious. The paper thus contributes the tool vicarious as support for creative experience design, as well as concrete examples of creative, artistic or performative applications of the system.


Exploring skin conductance synchronisation in everyday interactions, P Slovák, P Tennent, S Reeves, G Fitzpatrick, NordiCHI14

Abstract: Detecting interpersonal and emotional aspects of behaviour is a growing area of research within HCI. However, this work primarily processes data from individuals, rather than drawing on the dynamics of an interaction between people. Literature in social psychology and neuroscience suggests that the synchronisation of peoples’ biosignals, in particular skin conductance (EDA), can be indicative of complex interpersonal aspects such as empathy. This paper reports on an exploratory, mixed methods study to test the potential of EDA synchronisation to indicate qualities of interpersonal interaction in real-world relationships and contexts. We show that EDA synchrony can be indicate meaningful social aspects in everyday settings, linking it to the mutual emotional engagement of those interacting. This connects to earlier work on empathy in psychotherapy, and suggests new interpretations of EDA sychronisation in other social contexts. We then outline how these findings open opportunities for novel HCI and ubicomp applications, supporting training of social skills such as empathy for doctors, and more generally to explore shared experiences such as multiplayer games.


On Becoming a Counsellor: Challenges and Opportunities To Support Interpersonal Skills Training, P Slovák, A Thieme, P Tennent, P Olivier, G Fitzpatrick, Proc. CSCW’15, ACM

Abstract: Well-developed interpersonal skills are crucial for all social interactions. However, understanding how interpersonal skills are taught or learned, and how technology can play a part in this, is yet an under-researched area in CSCW and HCI research. To start addressing this gap, our research explores the learning processes of counselling students, for whom developing interpersonal skills forms a fundamental part of their university education. We followed an iterative process to gain an in-depth understanding of a specific counselling program in the UK, combining interviews and low-fidelity technology prompts. Overall, 26 participants comprising tutors, students and expert counsellors took part. Our findings first provide insights into the highly collaborative and social learning process of the students. We highlight the complexity of interpersonal reflection as a crucial process for developing counselling skills, and identify the challenges to learning that students face. Second, we build on this understanding to draw out empirically grounded design considerations around opportunities for technology innovation in this setting.


Do Lab Effects Transfer into the Real-World? And Should We Care?, P Slovák, P Tennent, G Fitzpatrick, RepliCHI, 44-48

Introduction: We report on two of our own studies, each of which has built on a laboratory based finding and explored if and how the effects played out in everyday settings. In each, we found effects that in some ways validated the prior lab studies, but each also pointed to very different implications for HCI than those which were suggested by
the initial lab work. By lab-based work we mean here empirical studies that are tightly controlled and aim to uncover causal relationships.
We would like to use these examples to open a discussion within RepliCHI on whether or not the transferring of such lab findings into the field is a specific type of replication
that is especially important for HCI research, as (i) we generally do want our systems/findings to transfer into field settings; and (ii) it is plausible to expect similar
results to the ones in our studies when transferring other lab effects into the real-world. We expect that further discussion of this topic could well complement the existing
“into the wild” literature in HCI that now focuses more on open-ended, in-situ exploration (e.g., see [1, 2]).


“Breathalising games: understanding the potential of breath control in game interfaces,” P. Tennent et al., in Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, 2011, p. 58.

Abstract: This paper explores the potential for breath control as an interaction medium for gaming. In particular it examines the positioning of breath control within the stack of interface paradigms: As the only control, as a secondary control and as an ancillary or ambient control. It describes a technology developed using specially adapted gas masks to measure breath flow. By describing five simple games (or game modifications), each developed using breath in a somewhat different way, we show some of the possibilities of this unique interface paradigm. Crucially, the paper aims to demonstrate that breathing, though in principle a one dimensional interface medium, is actually a subtle and viable control mechanism that can be used either as a control mechanism in itself, or to enhance a more traditional game interface, ultimately leading to a satisfying and immersive game experience.

“The Machine in the Ghost: Augmenting Broadcasts with Biodata,” P. Tennent, S. Reeves, S. Benford, B. Walker, J. Marshall, P. Brundell, R. Meese, P. Harter, in Proceedings of the 2012 annual conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (CHI2012), Austin, TX, USA, 2012

Abstract: This paper examines how biodata’ physiological information captured from the human body — might enhance television shows by giving viewers access to actors’ physiological data. We broach this challenge through a prototype-show called The Experiment Live, in which four paranormal investigators were outfitted with sensors as they explored a haunted’ basement. This experience has enabled us to probe the challenges of using biodata as part of broadcasting and formulate an agenda for future research that includes: exploring whether/how biodata can be acted and/or simulated; and developing techniques that treat biodata visualisations in similar ways to existing camera-based production processes

“Performing The Experiment Live,” P. Tennent, S. Martindale, J. Marshall, S. Reeves, B. Walker, P. Harter,  Proc. ACM CHI Workshop on Exploring CHI’s Relationship with Liveness, Austin, TX, USA,2012

Contextualising the Innovation: How New Technology can Work in the Service of a Television Format Sarah Martindale, Stuart Reeves, Elizabeth Evans, Paul Tennent, Joe Marshall and Brendan Walker.In Adjunct Proceedings EuroITV 2012: 116-119.