Performative Experience Design: Theories and Practices for Intermedial Autobiographical Storytelling

Jocelyn Spence

Completed February 2015

Social networking sites and computer games prove that technology works wonders in reaching millions of people around the globe. But can technology help us connect with each other in person, in real time, telling our own stories using our own personal photos?

This project analyses current practice in autobiographical performance in light of relevant performance theory to inform the design of digital media sharing technology that empowers people to create their own performances. The result is a two-phase process that prompts people to surprise themselves with new discoveries about their own life experiences, create connections, take risks, and gain insights about each other. Groups of strangers find it easy to get to know each other, while groups of friends find themselves sharing intimate stories that they ordinarily would never do.

These experiments with intermedial autobiographical performance - the performance of autobiographical material prompted by personal digital media - contribute to the emerging field of Performative Experience Design (PED). PED uses a novel methodology that draws equally from performance studies and human-computer interaction to create performative experiences that are enabled by - but not dominated by - digital media technology. PED is a powerful vision for design and performance: in design-oriented research, it focuses attention on fostering meaningful interpersonal interactions, while in performance studies it treats media technology as an integrated part of the everyday lives of performers and audience members alike.

Supervisors: Professor David Frohlich and Dr Stuart Andrews