Summary & Analysis
Mediated Presence in the Future
Eva L. Waterworth and John A. Waterworth

Mediated Presence
Previously defined as an alternate world to the physical. Completely immersed in a virtual world.

An illusion, home entertainment centers creates the perception of “being there”. The same experience as if being in a similar situation in the physical world.

The change of mediated presence:
New information technologies
– Blur the distinction between physical and virtual
– We become more accustomed and adapt, which changes the way we perceive the world
– Everyday our lives become more and more experienced through media.
– The feeling of being in an external world, realizing that technology directly affects it.
– As we become dependent on the media, we feel at loss without it, as if that world no longer exists, as if that memory was erased

– Built environments (video screens, sensor-based smart environments)

– Outdoor environments – mobile phones, navigation, and other location-based systems. Constant access to TV shows, movies, internet access from almost everywhere, emails, chat, texting, telephone

Physical World is natural, pre-media (pre-human), in the present.
– An organism knows when something is happening in the proximal world at the present time.
– Only knows what is going on around

Presence: Mediated presence is distinguishing self from other
Encoded ability – Survival, organism must feel directly conscious attention, focused on the external, the other, not on self (physical – primitive)

Evolution – Ability to distinguish external, physical, and shared events & situations from those that are realized only internally (unique to each individual). i.e. dream-state vs. real

How do you know what is real and what is imagined?

– Not through emotional appraisal or reality judgements. Real and imagine trigger the same emotional response as physical.

Perception vs. Imagination
– often misperceive aspects of an environment
– may imagine/remember scenarios (might or might not have ever taken place)

We must answer questions:
1. Is this happening in the world around me, or only in my head?
2. Is this likely to be true or is it fiction?
3. Is this good or bad for me (and how good or bad)?

To answer questions:
1. What degree of presence felt
2. Reality judgement
3. Strength of a positive or negative emotional response

How do you create a stronger presence?
No conscious effort of access
– Maximize presence with no attentional “effort of access” (a good gamer)
– Brain/computer Interfaces – Direct input through thought

No presence, still conscious: absence
– If not conscious then no presence
– Simple animals are conscious, to them perception is presence (animals without a subconscious)
– A very young infants seems to not experience differentiation of self from other
– Presence changes over a person’s lifetime

High presence – overt action to virtual reality, running away from a portrayed dangerous situation

Lumiere brothers, projection of a train had people running

– Rarely, if ever, feel totally present anywhere (even physical)

Different perspection of presence
First-person: Move your head it follows accordingly, classical virtual reality

Third-person: Social virtual space, virtual persona (SecondLife). Allows experimentation with self and personal identity

Second-person: Mirror-image camera view, interact with a virtual characterization of yourself. Sony Eye-Toy, Kinect.

How do all of these perceptions effect the sense of self?

First person? Third person? Second person? Will visual similarity (body-virtual image coordination, motion matching, etc.) make us connect more?

Individual, social presence
– Individual and social shape each other
– The self changes due to social interactions

Group presence (not individual or social)
– A shared sense of presence
– In a cinema
– Social networks, texting, instant messaging, constant social connection to physically-distant others

Future Evolution of Presence
Change in Technology – Mediated Digital Experiences
1. Increasingly part of our bodies (embedded & non-embedded such as cellphone, etc.)

2. Tangible or embodied interaction – physical objects stand for virtual things

3. The individual is in some way an abstraction
Technology extends the mind from the body, extends perception

The future: Will not be mediated or physical presence
blended realities of the physical and virtual

Mediated presence is distinguishing self from other, so digital media is becoming part of the self.

There is a strong presence in mediated environments, but to feel presence, we must realize the media externally and experience it as part of the other.

Linguistic media is realized internally, so experience is part of self

We become active & mobile in the physical world, but like before no world is purely physical

From Cyber to Hybrid : Mobile Technologies as Interfaces of Hybrid Spaces
Adriana de Souza e Silva

Themes: Hybridity, physical & virtual being together
The social and the physical world have been reshaped by technology (specifically mobile devices). “Because mobile devices create a more dynamic relationship with the Internet, embedding it in outdoor, everyday activities, we can no longer address the disconnection between physical and digital spaces.” (de Souza e Silva, 262).


About Cristal Sung

Cristal is a new media designer, who believes in the importance of feeding the soul with art, culture, and food. Her work focuses on themes of identity, sociopolitical problems and the concept of beauty. Cristal is from Hong Kong and studies in Toronto.

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