Open Doors
  Who Is Who  

Amsterdam - 14, 15, 16 November 2002

My Life

Pat Rodden

Pumpkin Jaime. This is my daughter Jaime.

Storytelling and Humanity
With today’s 24/7, frantic, homogenized, mass-marketed, media delivered stories, combined with the hectic pace of our lives, our individual stories are almost never told.
We have replaced our own personal stories with those provided by the media.

I recently read that people purchase the items in their life, in part, to help create their own stories.

We are so starved to create our own stories that we resort to buying them.

Storytelling is core to our very being.

As designers of our collective future what can we do to better address the visceral and sensual needs of people in creating and telling their stories?

Computing devices are pervasive throughout our culture…

Little has changed
…so why is it that today, people collect and reflect upon their experiences in much the same way as they did over 100 years ago?

Collection of the discreet
Our memories and experiences, almost exclusively documented through photos and images, are viewed and understood discreetly, with little context from image to image and memory to memory.

We can do better. Technology can enable better.

By collecting experiences and viewing them contextually we can revitalize the process of storytelling.

Pervasive computing can enable the collection of our experiences and the creating of our stories. Today we collect billions if not trillions of images that represent our experiences.
Yet very few are related to one another in time and space.

Context and Perspective
We need to put in place context and perspective from which all “experiences” can be recorded.

We need to relate experiences with respect to one another in time. Imagine that from this point forward we all agree to record our images and experiences against some mutually agreed upon time standard such as Grenwich Mean Time.

Regardless of where an experience was captured, and completely independent of the type of device that captured these experiences, they can all be related to one another in time.

In order to provide perspective to our experiences we can enable future devices with location positioning technologies.

Both time and location information can be acquired without any additional thought or effort required of the user.
Pervasive computing can allow it be that simple.

Collecting experiences
We can begin assembling our experiences into experience collections.
Looking beyond the tradition of documenting experiences almost exclusively in photography we can consider other mediums for collecting our experiences.
Recordings, music, personal performances, art, ideas, events, internet links, letters, novels read, movies, etc.

In fact, let us begin to think in terms of “experience records” that can document the highlights of our lives.
We can design an open system that can be working today and yet provide limitless expansion for collecting experiences in the future.

Enabling Devices
At the same time we implement our new system we need to begin freeing ourselves of our device bondage and be empowered to experience our lives without device interruptions. A seeming contradiction.
Today our “experience” devices fall within a category that we call “staged” devices.
Cameras, video recorders, computers, PDAs.
All requiring conscious action on our part – taking away from the very moments that we are trying to enjoy.

Now imagine expanding the collection of our experiences from a new group of devices that allow for a more spontaneous recording of our experiences.

These natural devices could include wearable pendant cameras that see experiences from our perspective, olfactory recorders, and embedded kitchen clocks and devices located on the fireplace mantel that capture the social interactions at home.
In the very near future we could begin designing performance devices that capture our experiences in competition, sports, or recreating.
They could include performance data, site, sounds, and location.
All of these devices could capture our experiences randomly or upon some predetermined set of actions such as motion, sound, or periodic time setting.

Organizing experience records
Now we can begin to organize what was previously the discreet.
For instance I can look at past and future experiences of my daughter in relation to one another. All experiences related in time, and in the future, location.
Imagine my daughter wearing her pendant camera, playing with her friends at the beach, and capturing her experiences thru the eyes of child.
Imagine her as an older woman able to look back and relive those moments thru a story told to her by a child.

Creating our Stories
Envision experience software that allows the rapid integration and editing of experiences collected from yourself, family, and friends into the stories you would like to tell.
Personal stories can be created that can describe an event, a day, a week, or a lifetime.

Sharing Experiences & Telling Stories
Imagine the power of interconnecting our shared experiences…

Personal documentaries, journaling, self reflection, a better understanding of our personal contributions to those we touch, family history and continuity, sharing of experiences across social, cultural and interest groups, an improved understanding of others…
Imagine, creating not a homogenized, mass media prescribed story, but a collective grass roots approach to creating our own personal and cultural stories.
Imagine our stories relived and shared in the Flow that we once lived….
Pumpkin Jaime

updated Monday 31 March 2003
Address: Wibauthuis, Wibautstraat 3 • 1091 GH, Amsterdam
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Doors of Perception 2002. We are happy for this text to be copied and distributed, as long as you include this credit: "From Doors of Perception: www.doorsofperception.com".
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