“We not experience any movie only through our eyes. We see and and feel films with our entire bodily being, informed by the full history and carnal knowledge of our accultured sensorium.”‘; Even if the body is often forgotten or not consciously experienced by spectators while watching a film, it nevertheless represents the irreducible condition of the possibility of sensory and aesthetic experience.” p 116 (Cinema as skin and touch)
The quote above really resonated with me as it relates to my capstone. Through my pre-writing I became aware of this idea of the “Sensorium”, and a book called Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art, where the main argument is that embodied experience through the senses (and their necessary and unnecessary mediations is how we think” (p5)
In particular these 2 quotes:
“The making of subjects through psychological discourses and pharmacology, I argue, is part of what Foucault so provocatively termed “technologies of the self.” Our bodies do not allow us to “escape” from technological mediation – they are themselves mediating apparatuses, without which there can be no knowledge of the world.” (p 2) Our current yearnings for materiality, for thingness, for the concrete stuff of the physical world are here located in the body’s desiring negotiations with the virtual and the mediated – ever more intimately naturalized as the sensory technological envelope in which we live.” (p 4)
“In conjunction with the visuality historians have charted as characteristic of the modern, we should begin to reckon the auditory, the olfactory, and the tactile as similarly crucial sites of embodied knowledge. The resulting set of experiences can be called a sensorium: the subject’s way of coordinating all the body’s perceptual and proprioceptive signals as well as the changing sensory envelope of the self.” (p 8)
(Arning, B., Farver, J., Hasegawa, Y., Jacobson, M., Jones, C. “Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art”. (2006), MITPress)
I think this is extremely relevant to our roles as designers, in particular when it comes to creating digital experiences. I feel we have been neglecting the rest of our bodies when it comes to designing digital experiences. We are designing for people that move around in the world, who think, feel, see, hear, and smell, not just see. So how can we leverage the ideas exposed in this cinema as skin and touch article? Even if the interactions we craft are not tangible in some way?
What is more interesting to me is this idea of thinking through our senses, and how we make sense of the world, or an experience, and how we can index the “carnal knowledge”, and through that, communicate with others… How much richer could our interactions be if we leveraged other senses? Where is the balance between overwhelming the senses and crafting an out of the ordinary sensorial experience?
I think this also yields itself very well to third wave approaches (not just first wave approaches of information processing from different senses), but in the sense that by designing contingent designs, for contingent individuals, we cannot ignore the physical world. So how does contextual experiences vary from individual to individual? Can we facilitate physical states through our experience and interaction design?
What do y’all think?