Merging realities

In communication trajectories we incorporate on- and offline interaction into one experience over time. Buying an airplane ticket, checking in online and boarding the plane physically offers an integral experience with a particular carrier. The easyJet experience, for example, is different from the Jet Airways experience. In personal relationships on- and offline moments create a specific communication trajectory that characterizes the experience of that particular relationship.

In 2005 Floridi proposes that local and remote spaces of observation and different levels of analysis define presence, given the complex dynamics between presence and absence (Floridi 2005).
Gamberini and Spagnoli extend the notion of tele-presence into a day-to-day experience of different simultaneous information and communication flows (Spagnoli & Gamberini 2004).
Since 2010, (tele-) presence in ‘traditional’ virtual reality is studied in the context of cyber therapy. Focusing primarily on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy a deliberate bridge between the virtual and the real is created to synthesize in human experience events that are healing (Wiederhold 2006, Riva 2008).
In augmented reality the ‘being-here’ and the ‘being-there’ are presented in one interface. Virtual data are spatially overlaid on top of physical reality, providing the flexibility of virtual reality grounded in physical reality (Azuma 1997). Mediated reality refers to the ability to add to, subtract information from, or otherwise manipulate our perception of reality through the use of a wearable computer or hand-held device (Mann and Barfield 2003). Current technology providing stereoscopic vision in shared augmented space, coupled to data repositories, merge these two realities. Recent results (Poelman et al 2012) show the need to explicitly design mediated and witnessed presence for awareness and trust.
Some recent research on the affects of social networks can be described in terms of presence research into merging realities. For example Danah Boyd studies how social networks affect teenagers’ day-to-day life, actually revealing how what she calls ‘network publics’ affect the performance of presence of these teens (Boyd 2014).
In the design of participatory systems the concept of merging realities is embraced as a starting point of design. Focusing on the performance of presence in network contexts, in which on- and offline communication merge in our individual experience, new spaces for design unfold (Nevejan & Brazier 2010).

CN , Frances Brazier