Chapter 4 : Not Sharing Sushi: Exploring Social Presence at the Telematic Dinner Party

By Rob Comber and Pollie Barden

We increasingly use technology to connect with other people and a growing diversity of our interactions are mediated through and with technology. As evidenced by this book, one such area is our sharing of food experiences. Looking to overcome the growing distances (physical and temporal) within which relationships are built and maintained, individuals and groups are turning to computer-mediated communication (CMC) to share food with those they love. This trend of sharing mediated food experiences, and the recent move away from a deficit model of food practices in HCI (Grimes and Harper, 2008), raises a number of important questions for the study of studies of the interactions among people, food and technology such as: how do we virtually share something which is as innately physical and sensorial as food?; how do we share the social nature of a meal, when we cannot share the physical food on which it is based?; how do we mediate the performance of celebration around shared food?; and how do we express our selves and our connections to others through shared food when we cannot share physical food or spaces with those others?

With these questions we explore what has become a significant interest in HCI research on ubiquitous, tangible and embodied interaction: the mundane orientations, interactions and configurations of individuals, artefacts and practices in shared space (Dourish, 2001). We extend this research by exploring the situated and timely unfolding of physical and social phenomena at the Telematic Dinner Party (TDP), a technology system for mediating remote guests in a shared dinner party experience.

Book: Eat, Cook, Grow: Mixing Human-Computer Interactions with Human-Food Interactions
Edited by Jaz Hee-jeong Choi Marcus Foth and Greg Hearn

About the Book:

In the first section, “Eat,” contributors discuss technology-aided approaches to sustainable dining, including digital communication between farmers and urban consumers. The “telematic” dinner party was a unique user-experience in which guests are present electronically. The chapters in “Cook” describe, among other things, “smart” chopping boards that encourage mindful eating and a website that supports urban wild fruit foraging. Finally, “Grow” connects human-computer interaction with achieving a secure, safe, and ethical food supply, offering additionalchapters on the use of interactive technologies in urban agriculture, efforts to trace the provenance of food with a “Fair Tracing” tool, and other likeprojects.

Telematic Dinner Party Papers:

GoodGym Papers

CHI 2013 Workshop Papers: