Collaborative Research Platform

Witnessed Presence and Systems Engineering is an exploratory and interdisciplinary research project and is an iterative project to which the development of a collaborative research platform is fundamental. The collaborative research platform is built in Anymeta, developed by Mediamatic Lab in Amsterdam.

The initial content of the platform is the dissertation Presence and the Design of Trust, in which the YUTPA framework is first formulated, The YUTPA framework describes four dimensions of time, place, action and relation to be distinct for trade-offs of presence and trust (Nevejan 2007)[1].

The platform supports ‘surfing’ through an emerging body of knowledge in which every contribution can be seen it its own right. Fundamental to the design is the presentation of contributions as a series of ‘units of meaning’ to which metadata (expressed in a meta-language) are attributed by the principal investigator. The meta-language contains a new ontology for thinking about witnessing, presence and trust. The collaborative research platform builds on the hypothesis that meaning emerges because metadata are authored.

Between 2008 -2010 principal investigator Caroline Nevejan conducted 20 in-depth interviews with experts in India, Great Britain and the Netherlands on how witnessing, having presence and establishing trust, is affected by information and communication technologies in their day-to day practice. These interviews are filmed, transcribed, and published on www.being-[2] These interviews provided a more in-depth understanding of the 4 dimensions of YUPTA resulting in the identification of a number of specific factors per dimension.[3]

Together with Satinder Gill (Cambridge University) Caroline Nevejan edited a special issue of the Springer publication AI & Society, Journal for Knowledge, Culture and Communication, in which 11 scientists and academics elaborated on the notion of Witnessed Presence.[4] The special issue is published in February 2012, both in the journal and on

This body of knowledge is extended by the artistic research project Witnessing You in which thirteen artists contribute autonomous work and their reflections. This research took place between 2009 and 2012.

First pilots using the site as a collaborative research and design tool took place in 2011. As of 2012 the Being-Here collaborative research platform has been adopted by the European Institute of Technology (EIT) as a test bed within the ICT Labs research programme Mediating Presence. The Mediating Presence project is jointly directed by Caroline Nevejan and Charlie Gullstrom (KTH-Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm).

Note 1: Nevejan Caroline. 2007. Presence and the Design of Trust. PhD diss., University of Amsterdam. These interviews are filmed by Leen de Baat and can also be accessed at www.systemsdesign.tbm.
Note 2: Results are analysed together with Frances Brazier and described in the article ‘Granularity in Reciprocity’, special issue Witnessed Presence, AI & Society, Journal for Knowledge, Culture and Communication. C. Nevejan & S. Gill (editors). Volume 27:1, Springer (UK), 2012
Note 3: Special issue Witnessed Presence, AI & Society, Journal for Knowledge, Culture and Communica- tion. C. Nevejan & S. Gill (editors). Volume 27:1, Springer (UK), 2012.
Note 4: Foucault, Michel. 2004. Parrèsia, Vrijmoedig spreken en waarheid. Trans. Ineke van der Burg. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Parresia, Original text Discourse and truth: The problematization of parresia, transcript of 6 lectures by Foucault at Berkeley, University of California in 1983.