The affective presence group is a loosely connected group of researchers who are all interested in creating affective interactive systems or devices that trigger social and emotional engagement and reflection. Members of the group are Phoebe Sengers at Cornell, Kirsten Boehner at Cornell, Michael Mateas from Georgia Tech., Bill Gaver at Goldsmiths in London, Geri Gay at Cornell, and Katherine Isbister at RPI.

An important issue to us in the group is to focus on the meaning that people themselves construct in interaction with the world, artefacts and practices. To quote on of our early papers: "Rather than experience as something to be poured into passive users, we argue that users actively and individually construct meaningful human experiences around technology. They do so through a complex process of interpretation, in which users make sense of the system in the full context of their everyday experience." (Sengers et al. 2004). Affective interaction as interpretation is discussed in a very interesting paper by Boehner et al. (2005) - see below.

In my part of this work, I have (together with Petra Sundström and Anna Ståhl) been exploring the idea of an affective loop where users step by step interpret, become influenced, imitate and become involved with the system, both physically and cognitively.

The work in the affective presence group is driven by the ideas and thoughts of the researchers mentioned above, but also by Paul Dourish and his collegues. In particular, we are inspired by embodied interaction in the sense discussed by Dourish in his book "Where the Action is: Foundations of Embodied Interaction", 2002.

Phoebe Sengers, Kirsten Boehner, Geri Gay, Joseph "Jofish Kaye", Michael Mateas, Bill Gaver, and Kristina Höök (2004) Experience as Interpretation, In CHI 2004 Workshop on Cross-Dressing and Boundary Crossing: Exploring Experience Methods Across the Disciplines. Vienna, Austria, April 2004.

Kirsten Boehner, Rogerio DePaula, Paul Dourish, and Phoebe Sengers. Affect: From Information to Interaction. In Critical Computing 2005.

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