To advance within the talk, always click the big purple sphere. Fitts: "A larger target is easier to acquire." Use your browser button to go back...
This talk will be revised based on the audience's reactions to its delivery. (And I intend to add more HCI references; the current version has only five years' worth.) If you would like to be notified when it is "finished", send me email.  Abstract

Slides, in order:
This Talk Is A Web Site
A Quick Experiment
Using HCI Techniques... Make Digital Art "More Ergodic"
Three Ideas from HCI
Part I: Learning from Stage Magicians
A Classic Of Conjuring
Quotations from Nelms...
How Software Often Gets It Wrong
A Magician's Advice for Digital Artists: Mask the Mechanisms
Magicians Prepare Obsessively
Typical Preparations
Another theatre-oriented guru, Brenda Laurel
Part II: Nass' and Reeves' Media Equation Studies
Typical Findings (paraphrased)
An Early Media Equation Experiment
It Worked With TVs, Too
My Favorite Media Equation Findings
The Media Equation for Digital Artists
Part III: Research from ACM-SIGCHI
What People Actually Do
Magic Rooms
Information Foraging (and some visualization)
Other Experimental Systems
Just Plain Fun/Eclectic
Empowering Users
Collaboration & Chaos
Special Mention
In Closing

Title: Using HCI Techniques To Make Digital Art "More Ergodic"
Abstract: As my colleagues create ergodic art, which makes its users work to follow paths (Aarseth 1997), I would like to suggest additional techniques for their toolboxes, from the field of human-computer interaction (HCI / CHI). Digital artists can use HCI techniques to affect users' path-following within their creations in ways that make users'  experiences more or less strenuous. (Can we say that art that requires more exertion to experience is "more ergodic"? Whether or not you like my title, I will continue...)

In my commercial work, I use HCI techniques to help users swim pleasurably through digital information, but in support of other artists' goals, these same techniques might provoke a variety of audience reactions, responses, and behaviors. Each technique also implies its opposite, or can be recalibrated or reversed.
1: Management of User Illusions
Bruce Tognazzini has demonstrated what software designers need to learn from the painstaking efforts of stage magicians to separate the users' illusions from mechanisms that create them. By applying magicians' techniques we can provide our users with profound emotional, intellectual, or spiritual experiences, rather than allowing them to think, "Wow, those polygons are appearing really fast." I will also refer to Henning Nelms' _Magic and Showmanship_, Brenda Laurel's _Computers as Theatre_, and recent online articles by game designers.
2: Management of Users' Tendency To Find Personality Everywhere
Clifford Nass and Byron Reeves have demonstrated through many studies that users engaged in a task will (socially) treat their computer or TV as if it were a human. Reeves' and Nass' _The Media Equation_ introduces their provocative findings, which serve (to take just one example) as both the inspiration for the Windows talking paper clip and the explanation for its failures. Digital artists can use these techniques to add "character" to interfaces with very minimal technology. Scott McCloud's _Understanding Comics_ provides related insights and examples.
3: Management of Users' Interaction Strategies, Preferences, and Capabilities
Among the HCI articles available through the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)'s online Digital Library, some peer-reviewed articles report on human behavior in digital environments, suggesting (to me) ways digital artists might take advantage of common wayfinding and information foraging strategies, preferences for types of interaction, and capabilities in the areas of vision and memory. I will draw conclusions from several of the most interesting papers, and provide a full list of the recent articles that I think have the most utility for digital artists.
I envision presenting a short cross-disciplinary talk with web slides, and sharing a URL with the slides plus detailed references. If you need more panels, I could arrange one with creators of ergodic literature discussing this and other related practical topics. I could also retarget this talk somewhat to fit within another existing panel. Thank you in advance for your consideration. (463)