The past is a different place: they do things differently there

This paper reports the trial of a wearable data capture device, SenseCam, as a resource for digital narratives and uses data from the trial to reflect on the models of the ‘mind’ that underscore HCI. More particularly, over a period of one week, 5 participants and 2 researchers used SenseCams to capture digital traces of their experiences, and used the same to create ‘story telling’ materials for presentation at a workshop at the end of the trial. The study found that all users delighted in the devices, but found that the traces that SenseCams produced were not analogues to their own memory. Instead, SenseCam data presented a picture of daily lives which was at once different to the one recollected by participants and yet brought a sense of wonder, depth and felt-life that was strangely enriching; furthermore, SenseCam data enabled participants to create artistic and evocative stories about prosaic activities that would not normally merit being recounted; and finally, SenseCam data could be used to tell parables about ‘life’ and hence about the characters in those parables. The paper will comment on the implications these findings have for digital narrative technologies, on concepts of memory prosthesis devices, the sociology of memory and for the concept of mind that underscores HCI.

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Publisher  Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.
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