Accepted Paper:

Making digital futures: everyday designers and mediated homes  
Sarah Pink (Monash University)

Paper short abstract:

I explore how ordinary people, as everyday designers, improvise media(ted) futures. Drawing on research into energy and digital media in UK homes, I suggest how a design-ethnography approach understands the environment, temporality and experience of media through a future orientation.

Paper long abstract:

The notion of the smart home is an enduring concept in discourses about the future. Yet, academic research has critically deconstructed this concept to instead ask the question of how people actually live in their homes and how the future is imagined.

In this paper I develop an approach to media futures and homes that places at the centre of the analysis the improvisory creativity of ordinary people as they go about making and imagining their homes. I engage with the question of media futures through an ethnographic examination of how people, as everyday designers, improvise and discuss their own digital domestic futures. Here, seeing the future as part of the everyday in which we are always standing at the edge of the future in the present continuous I argue that ordinary people are ongoingly involved in negotiating, making and imagining their own media(ted) futures through improvisory uses of digital media in their homes. I examine how this happens in relation to the material, sensory, digital and infrastructural elements of everyday environments. I suggest how through this approach we might better understand how to co-design for media futures in the home.

In doing so I reflect on insights from ethnographic research into energy demand and digital media use in homes in the UK undertaken collaboratively with a team of ethnographers and design researchers at Loughborough University, UK.

Panel P065
Media futures: media anthropology of, for and through the notion of 'future' (Media Anthropology Network)