Performative Interaction in Public Space

Workshop at CHI 2011, 8 May 2011

..:: Camera ready extended abstract (pdf)

Please note: deadline for submission of position papers has been extended to 18 Feb. See below.



We often use personal digital technologies while public, and more and more public interfaces find their way into our everyday lives. Simultaneously, metaphors from performance and theatre studies find their way into research on these interfaces, addressing how interaction with technology can be understood in a performative sense. However, the term ‘performativity' is rarely addressed in ways that accentuate its nuances and its analytic power, and this is the focus of the workshop.

The workshop is relevant to media theorists, practitioners and/or designers interested in:

  • Gestural interaction and on-body sensing (e.g. wearable computing/sensing, Wii, Kinect and proprietary systems)
  • Interactive media art (e.g. installations, performances or mobile experiences)
  • Public screens or installations (e.g. in public squares, airports, theme parks and science museums)
  • Interfaces for use in public (e.g. kiosks, tangible and mobile interfaces)

We aim to create a community around performative interactions and will focus on group discussions and activities rather than individual presentations. The goal is a dynamic meeting where discussions evolve as the day progresses.

Three main interpretations of ‘performance' and ‘performativity' are likely to interweave in this workshop:

  • everyday performances (inspired by Goffman's seminal work). E.g. the social acceptability of technology related actions in public spaces; appropriations of UX discussions as well as spectator and performer roles in interaction.
  • staged/explicit performances (inspired by performance studies and possibly phenomenology) E.g. using ‘performativity' as a term that allows for a rich understanding of how, and under which circumstances, people interact with technology.
  • explorative interfaces. E.g. interfaces that are intentionally designed for a playful discovery of its affordances or subversive interfaces addressing use and perception of interfaces (e.g. inspired by critical design).

We seek works-in-progress, early results papers, and theoretical position papers, with preference given to papers that discuss issues of performativity in ways that allow for further development and discussion.

Submit a position paper (appr. 4 pages) using the CHI extended abstracts format ( via email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

At least one author of each accepted position paper must register for the workshop and for at least one day of the conference.

Important dates

  • Submission deadline - Jan 14, 2011 extended to Feb 18th
  • Notification of acceptance - Feb 11, 2011 March 1st
  • Workshop at CHI2011 - May 8, 2011


Lone Koefoed Hansen is Assistant Professor at the Department of Aesthetic Studies, Aarhus University. Her main areas of interest are mobile media, design theory, urbanism, aesthetics, digital art, and exploratory ways of combining the above. She is currently partaking in the research project Digital Urban Living, focusing on the interplay between urban life, mobile media, and digital art.

Julie Rico is a PhD student in the Glasgow Interactive Systems Group (GIST) at the University of Glasgow. Her research revolves around the use of performative actions as input for mobile phones, examining user perceptions and the social acceptability of taking part in such interactions. She has explored these issues through a variety of methods including surveys, on-the-street user studies, interviews, and focus groups.

Giulio Jacucci is professor at the School of Art and Design, Aalto University, he has published a PhD on Interaction as Performance and is leading several international projects that apply advanced interface technologies in support of novel interaction formats and experiences. He is chairman of the board and co-founder of MultiTouch LtD a company providing products and services to create scalable multitouch displays.

Stephen Brewster is a professor of human computer interaction at the University of Glasgow. His research focuses on sound, haptics, and gestures as ways of interacting with mobile devices. His recent work has included gesture-based interaction that moves away from hand-based gestures and 3D audio as an eyes free media consumption technique.

Daniel Ashbrook is a Senior Researcher in New Mobile Forms and Experiences at Nokia Research Center Hollywood. He has worked for over a decade with mobile and wearable computers; his current research concentrates on the usability of systems while the user is on the go.

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Contact Info

Center for Digital Urban Living
Aarhus University
Helsingforsgade 14
DK-8200 Aarhus N

Tel. (+45) 8942 9205
Fax (+45) 8942 9201