in Research Critique 4 – Uncomfortable Interactions

Uncomfortable interaction

Uncomfortable interactions are those that cause a degree of discomfort and possible suffering to the user. In a world that is dominated by entertainment, a lot of us have a desire for stimulation or reaction toward it. These experiences demonstrate a complicated relationship between pleasure and suffering that may stimulate powerful emotions. Such discomfort may naturally tend to the participant’s focus on their own feelings, evoking both the intensity and memorability of their experience. Such uncomfortable interactions may sometimes help establish an appropriate tone for engaging with dark themes, demanding a deep personal commitment, reducing the risk of trivialization, and in turn, promoting respect, understanding, and care. Another way in which discomfort may lead to enlightenment is through interpretation from the participants. For example, delaying interactions could actually introduce a decent level of discomfort and displeasure in the form of frustration and eagerness and wanting to know what is next.  Deliberate use of ambiguity causes participants to raise expectations and causes the relationship to the experience to be subject to interpretation.

The usual forms of these uncomfortable interactions are usually through artistic performance, cultural practice or social experiments.

The four primary forms of discomfort are referred to as visceral, cultural, control and intimate.

Visceral discomfort defines as those aspects that most directly relate to physical sensation, from the unpleasant feel of materials, like leather or tight clothing, to demanding stressful or strenuous movements, to causing pain. Cultural discomfort is to seek out discomfort by creating interactions that invoke dark cultural associations or by evoking dark memories (abuse, war etc.).

Discomfort through control involves distorting this typical balance of control.  Humans have the nature of control of the interface, hence they would prefer to control the interface rather than the interface controls them. To experience the discomfort, participants are suggested to give up their control. Discomfort through intimate is the intimate interactions with the participants with a wide variety of the different types of interfaces, usually with a view to enabling emotional connections and provide ease to stress, sexual frustrations, anxiety and provide enhanced well-being.