Our homes are often considered refuge from modernity, from the frantic pace and the myriad of distractions in our daily life. An escape from the inhumane offices, factories, and industrial parks of our urbanized environment, however machines have crept in from these domains to offer our personal lives contemporary technological equivalents to the analogue objects with which we have traditionally adorned our personal spaces.
The relationship between individuals and their domestic technology is increasingly involved, some would argue pervasive. As we evolve many of our daily activities to include digital content, the importance individuals place on the objects and spaces, that have enabled these changes, become increasingly evident in how people spend their time, money and energy. In order to create useful and intuitive interaction with digital content it is essential for artists and designers to understand and explore the expected conventions users bring to these experiences.
With the increased use of technology in our daily lives, much of our time, energy and space are spent with objects that seemingly have no emotional significances or personal connection. We embrace these technological objects not because of their meaning but of what they facilitate. Mundane items such as washing machines do not hold emotional value, but enable us to live comfortable lives without the need to spend large amounts of time on tedious manual chores.
‘‘The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday like until they are indistinguishable from it.’’ M.Weiser (1991)
The argument for more considerate technology (to start to blend or camouflage these objects into our domestic setting) seems more important now than ever. As designers find new innovative ways of freeing up our time from menial tasks, more objects, devices and technologies that enable this fill our lives and personal spaces.
This strange symbiosis means we increasingly populate our domestic environment with complex and technological objects. These technologies demand attention similar to the objects we choose with which to express ourselves. They require maintenance, cleaning, monitoring and most importantly our space and time.