Accepted paper:

Augmented reality in the affect-emotion gap: technological interventions in sensation and memory in Japan


Daniel White (University of Cambridge)

Paper short abstract:

In the emerging field of human-computer integration, understanding affect depends on the technological modes through which experts investigate it. Drawing on fieldwork in affective computing labs in Japan, this paper explores the sociality of digital experiments with sensation and memory.

Paper long abstract:

Emotionally intelligent robots, affect-sensitive wearable devices, and other technological modes of experimenting with affect demonstrate that what we know theoretically of how feeling ontologically works in the world requires working technologically through "practices of feeling with the world" (De Antoni and Dumouchel 2017). The distinction highlights an epistemological gap between what we feel and what we know about what we feel that places our cognition of feeling (emotion) in a dynamic and mediated relationship with our physiological experience of it (affect). This affect-emotion gap proves not only fundamental to recent theorizations of affect in the social sciences but also productive of technological interventions into affect in scientific laboratories. Exploring technological aspects of the affect-emotion gap, this paper draws on fieldwork among experts working on affective computing and human augmentation in Japan, where technologies of human-computer integration are applied to amplify cognitive and physical capacities, and even the existential sense of one's body, health, and wellbeing. The paper focuses especially on the mutual construction of technological modes of investigating feeling and the social production of knowledge about feelings in Japan, aiming to demonstrate the potential for technological methods to contribute to an evolving anthropology of affect.

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Skills of feeling with the world: affective imagination, embodied memories and materiality in the emergence of sociality