Digital encounters and its characteristics

No time to read and write stuff lately with this mediamatic workshop but presentations here are very insightful. I manage to dig some papers by Avah Fatah gen. schiek who talked yesterday and was particularly interested in one entitled "Exploring Digital Encounters in the City". The paper is about how to study and support technologically different encounters in an urban environment. The authors are interested in digital and non-digital encounters (I would prefer the term "mediated" and not as an opposition between digital/not-digital) defining them as "an ephemeral form of communication and interaction augmented by technology".

The most interesting part for my work is the one about "consciousness of communication and intention of interaction:

"In our analysis, rather than draw boundaries that specify what is or is not a digital encounter, we chose to provide a map that explores human consciousness and intention orthogonally. These are considered in instances where one party communicates/interacts with another party. Note that this can involve any combination of human or device (...) Our map takes the very simplistic form of Table 1, where at any given instant a human can be conscious or unconscious of the communications taking place, and can carry out interactions intentionally or unintentionally (...) conscious-intentional encounters are the ones that a person initiates, for example seeing a friend on the street and shouting to get their attention. (...) Conscious-unintentional encounters are situations where a person is aware of the communication taking place but does not intentionally interact. Examples of this are when a person is talked to on the street, or is the recipient of a Bluetooth message in a café. "

They also add "synchronicity and duration" as other characteristics to explore. Why do I blog this? even though the distinction they make is more rhetorical than supported by psychological facts (there is a whole literature about these topics), I find it very relevant in the context of urban ubicomp of today. These concepts of consciousness or intentions of interaction are spot on on stuff we are discussing with Julian about offline gaming. The granularity of mediation is certainly of importance here.