MAS.961 | Spring 2008 | Graduate

Special Topics: Designing Sociable Media


This page presents a compiled list of all the readings assigned for the class.


Introduction: the design of mediated interaction

Course overview; big questions in this field; fundamental design concepts

Hollan, Jim, and Scott Stornetta. “Beyond Being There.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 1992.

Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. “The Grounding of Structural Metaphors,” “Causation: Partly Emergent and Partly Metaphorical,” and “The Coherent Structuring of Experience.” Chapters 13-15 in Metaphors We Live By. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1980, pp. 61-86. ISBN: 9780226468013.

Arnheim, Rudolf. “The Intelligence of Visual Perception [i],” and “The Intelligence of Visual Perception [ii].” Chapters 2 and 3 in Visual Thinking. Berkely, CA: University of California Press, 2004, pp. 13-53. ISBN: 9780520242265. [Preview in Google Books.]

Norman, Donald. “The Psychology of Everday Actions.” In The Design of Everyday Things. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2002. ISBN: 9780465067107.


Legibility and abstraction

How to design environments that go beyond copying the everyday physical world, yet remain intuitively comprehensible

Donath, Judith, and Fernanda B. Viégas. “The Chat Circles Series: Explorations in Designing Abstract Graphical Communication Interfaces.” Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, and Techniques. ACM, 2002.

Buy at MIT Press Dondis, Donis A. “Composition: The Syntactical Guidelines for Visual Literacy,” and “The Basic Elements of Visual Communication.” Chapters 2 and 3 in A Primer of Visual Literacy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1974. ISBN: 9780262540292. [Preview in Google Books]


Design review: interaction space; depicting conversation

Maps of conversations can show many things: who participated? What was their role? How did the topic evolve? And these maps can themselves be landscapes, the context for future discussions

Bonvillain, Nancy. “Communicative Interactions.” Chapter 5 in Language, Culture and Communication. 5th ed. East Rutherford, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2007. ISBN: 9780135135686.

Small, David. “Navigating Large Bodies of Text.” IBM Systems Journal 35, nos. 3-4 (1996).

Donath, Judith. “Words as Landscape.” Draft of paper prepared for Beyond Threaded Conversation, CHI Workshop, Portland, OR, April 3, 2005. (PDF - 1.1MB)


Visualizing time and history

The 4th dimension: clocks, calendars and other ways of marking time

Robinson, John P., and Geoffrey Godbey. “Measuring How People Spend Time.” Chapter 4 in Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time. 2nd ed. University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780271019703. [Preview in Google Books]

Aveni, Anthony. “The Basic Rhythms,” “The Western Calendar,” and “Building on the Basic Rhythms.” Chapters 1, 3, and 10 in Empires of Time: Calendars, Clocks, and Culture. Revised ed. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2002. ISBN: 9780870816727. [Preview in Google Books]

Yannick has compiled an extensive collection of personal timeline projects, including:

- Personal Pies (not a time based one, but still relevant)  
- Feltrons Annual Report  
- Ellie Harrison (several projects here, including “one hour of my life”, “tea blog”, “daily quantification records”)  
- Tracking transience (self surveillance as self-protection)


Design review: personal history; varieties of portraiture

Portraits depict appearance, but they have also be made of movements, musical compositions, shopping lists, etc. Introduction to the range and art of portraiture

Brilliant, Richard. “Fashioning the Self.” Chapter 2 in Portraiture. Reaktion Books, 1991. ISBN: 9780948462191. [Preview in Google Books]

West, Shearer. “What is a Portrait?” and “The Functions of Portraiture.” Chapters 1 and 2 in Portraiture. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN: 9780192842589.


Genetic, biological  
- From Paradise Now exhibit catalog, works by Gary Schneider, Kevin Clarke, Nancy Burson, Larry Miller, Steve Miller. [Web site archived by Internet Archive on December 27, 2007]  
- Kevin Clarke’s portraits (e.g. Friedrich von Schiller, John Cage, from the Blood of Poets)  
- Sir John Sulston: A Genomic Portrait by Marc Quinn [Web page archived by Internet Archive on January 16, 2008]  
- Gary Schneider

- Felix Gonzalex-Torres [Web page archived by Internet Archive on January 28, 2007]

Alternative media  
- Jim Campbell, Portrait of My Mother, Portrait of My Father  
- Philip Glass portrait of Chuck Close  
   a) Recording (MP3)  
   b) McGrath, Charles. “A Portraitist Whose Canvas Is a Piano.” The New York Times, April 22, 2005.  
   c) Comita, Jenny. “Portrait of the Artist: Chuck Close and his Work are the Subject of a New Ballet.” W Magazine, November 2007.

Time series  
- Diego Goldberg family portraits: The Arrow of Time  
- Nicholas Nixon: The Brown Sisters

Material collections  
- The Grocery List Collection


Data portraits / depicting people

What are the salient features about a person that makes them recognizable, as an individual or as a social type.

7 Design review: data portrait

Milgram, Stanley. “The Experience of Living in Cities.” Science, New Series 167, no. 3924 (March 13, 1970): 1461-1468.

Donath, Judith. “Technological Interventions in Everyday Interaction.” Essay written for the catalog of the Act/React show at the Milwaukee Art Museum. 2008. (PDF)

Ling, Richard. “The Social Juxtaposition of Mobile Telephone Conversations and Public Spaces.” Paper for conference on the Social Consequences of Mobile Telephones, Chunchon, Korea, July 2002.


Augmented realities: visible projections and invisible annotations

Lozano-Hemmer; Naimark; Oursler; politics of public space augmentation


Final project proposals

Discussion of proposals

Marx, Gary. “Murky Conceptual Waters: The Public and the Private.” Ethics and Information Technology 3, no. 3 (2001): 157-169.

Elmer, Greg. “A Diagram of Panoptic Surveillance.” New Media & Society 5, no. 2 (2003): 231-247. DOI: 10.1177/1461444803005002005.

This article provides a bridge between concepts of surveillance as a primarily visual activity and as a data analysis process.

Foucault, Michel. “Panopticism.” Chapter 3 in Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated from the French by Alan Sheridan. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1995. ISBN: 9780679752554.

This is the classic work on “panoptic surveillance”.

Mann, Steve, Jason Nolan, and Barry Wellman. “Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments.” Surveillance & Society 1, no. 3 (2003): 331-355. (PDF)

Schor, Juliet. “The Virus Unleashed: Ads Infiltrate Everyday Life,” and “Dissecting the Child Consumer: The New Intrusive Research.” Chapters 4 and 6 in Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 2004. ISBN: 9780684870557. [Preview in Google Books]


Mann, Steve. “Existential Technology: Wearable Computing Is Not the Real Issue!Leonardo 36, no. 1 (2003): 19-25.

Carl, Walter J. “What’s All The Buzz About?: Everyday Communication and the Relational Basis of Word-of-Mouth and Buzz Marketing Practices.” Management Communication Quarterly 19, no. 4 (2006): 601-634. DOI: 10.1177/0893318905284763.



Surveillance and transparency

11 Final presentations  

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2008
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets with Solutions
Projects with Examples