Explication of the value of Presence

In today's ever changing network society the amount of multi-media information we can access within seconds is unprecedented: we are, in fact, experiencing a tsunami of information at a speed that society has not experienced in the past. Our experience of time, place and authenticity is changing (Benjamin 1936, McLuhan 1964, Baudrillard 1983, Postman 1985, Virilio 1989, Lovink 2012).

Some argue there are possibilities as never before, others claim that in the tsunami of copies at grand scale and speed the concept of ‘meaning’ implodes. In these times of fast transformation into the network society, place and time are still distinct factors in human lives and the social structures that are built. It is often, however, unclear how the ‘space of places’ in the physical world relates to the ‘space of flows’ in the many networks in which we participate (Giddens 1984, Castells 1996). In the collective experience of the emerging society a new culture and a ‘next nature’ is emerging in which we redefine, design and establish how we want to live our lives (van Mensvoort 2012, Lunnenfeld 2003). In the flow of images, text, and audio-visual communication a new sense of authenticity is emerging creating media-auras as a result (van der Meulen 2011). Key to this new culture and next nature is how we perform presence and participate in the complex networks that constitute our day-to-day reality (Brazier & Nevejan 2014).
The many online experiences and representations of selves mandate a new perspective on design of social, technical and ecological networks and infrastructures, including consideration of related values such as privacy, integrity and trust. The ethical dimension of presence design, including augmented reality design, is acknowledged as a value for the design of larger social technical en ecological infrastructures in a variety of public debates around privacy, integrity and trust (Hamelink 2000).
As mentioned above, different notions of presence function in a variety of social, political, religious, spiritual and ideological contexts. The focus of this chapter is on our natural presence qualified by breathing and a heart that ticks. It grounds presence in our physical nature.