The need for the body
In developed countries and the upper echelons of developing ones, digital networks are becoming central, self-evident tools and practices that are inscribed in all kinds of relationships, decision making, action, and creation. But today’s digital interaction relies above all on one sense – sight – and one vector – language. Such limits do injustice to the richness of human experience and exchange between human beings. It is literally a handicap to our grasping technology in a different way, and making it a means to obtain a more rewarding kind of human development.
Interfaces are not adapted to our needs
Today’s keyboard-screen-mouse interfaces have served and continue to serve us well, but they are inadequate for a great many of today and tomorrow’s uses and users:
- Nomadic use of technology, and “ubiquitous computing” are based on the proximity of the body, its position in space, on movement, on the relationship between those present and those absent… things which current interfaces almost wholly ignore.
- Despite becoming much more frequent, long-distance communication is still incapable of replicating the richness of physical interaction.
- The diversity of users requires a plurality of interfaces. Visual and linguistic interfaces comes from western cultures founded on the separation of the body and the mind, but do not correspond to other cultures, other methods of exchange — they do not answer the needs of the earth’s handicapped population, for example.
- Digital native generations live, as Chantal Ackermann has told us, in a kind of interstitial, fluid presence between physical and virtual movements and identities, which creates a need for anchorage. But such anchors cannot be physically fixed: this diversity of experience, movement, and relationships will be expressed via the body.