In Search of the DomoNovus: Speculative Designs for the Computationally-Enhanced Domestic Environment
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The home is a physical place that provides isolation, comfort, access to essential needs on a daily basis, and it has a strong impact on a person’s life. Computational and media technologies (digital and electronic objects, devices, protocols, virtual spaces, telematics, interaction, social media, and cyberspace) become an important and vital part of the home ecology, although they have the ability to transform the domestic experience and the understanding of what a personal space is. For this reason, this work investigates the domestication of computational media technology; how objects, systems, and devices become part of the personal and intimate space of the inhabitants. To better understand the taming process, the home is studied and analysed from a range of perspectives (philosophy, sociology, architecture, art, and technology), and a methodological process is proposed for critically exploring the topic with the development of artworks, designs, and computational systems. The methodology of this research, which consists of five points (Context, Media Layers, Invisible Matter, Diffusion, and Symbiosis), suggests a procedure that is fundamental to the development and critical integration of the computationally enhanced home. Accordingly, the home is observed as an ecological system that contains numerous properties (organic, inorganic, hybrid, virtual, augmented), and is viewed on a range of scales (micro, meso and macro). To identify the “choreographies” that are formed between these properties and scales, case studies have been developed to suggest, provoke, and speculate concepts, ideas, and alternative realities of the home. Part of the speculation proposes the concept of DomoNovus (the “New Home”), where technological ubiquity supports the inhabitants’ awareness, perception, and imagination. DomoNovus intends to challenge our understanding of the domestic environment, and demonstrates a range of possibilities, threats, and limitations in relation to the future of home. This thesis, thus, presents methods, experiments, and speculations that intend to inform and inspire, as well as define creative and imaginative dimensions of the computationally-enhanced home, suggesting directions for the further understanding of the domestic life.