Doors of Perception

A last crucial influence that I will discuss in my approach and my understanding of the research question "How to design presence in environments in which technology plays a crucial role?" is the Doors of Perception conference and network.note 8 From 1993 to the present day I have been associated with the Doors of Perception conference and network in which the creative and the commercial world 'show and tell', seek inspiration and explore philosophical themes that are connected to information and communication technologies. The big technology companies like Motorola, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Sony and Nokia all participate, and also the small promising ones, artists and designers in their own right, as well as philosophers and social scientists. The Doors conferences have taken place in Amsterdam, in New Delhi and Bangalore in India. Every conference seeks to find an answer to the ultimate question that John Thackara, Doors of Perception's first perceptor, raised again and again: "What is this stuff for?". At the first Doors of Perception Conference in 1993, I saw the 'hype' surrounding information and communication technologies for the first time. What was possible was amazing, it was beautiful, it was shocking, it was dangerous. Over the years the conference has continually posed the same question from different perspectives with more and more urgency because the ecological as well as the technological developments demand it. The shift from product design to service design has been high on the agenda. The respect for human dignity has been implicit and ubiquitous, while at the same time there has been an exploration filled with curiosity about possible perspectives that are under construction. The question 'What is this stuff for?', which suggests the question 'How do we want to live our lives?', may seem outdated since technology has become omnipresent in many places. This research aims to contribute to keeping these questions 'alive'.