Congratulations Dr. Williams!
Mobilizing Practice: Engaging Space, Technology and Design from a Thai Metropolis
Abstract: The project of ubiquitous computing aims to embed computation into everyday spaces. As a practice that is heavily concerned with space and place, its stance towards mobility is sometimes conflicted — treating mobility by turns as a disruption or as an opportunity — and almost always conceiving of it as free and empowered. Conducted in industrial and academic research settings in places like Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, London, or Atlanta, ubicomp research tends to deal with the settings and mobilities that its usually upper-middle-class researchers actually encounter: the commute to work, the nuclear family’s stand-alone home, a walk through a city center.
Based on a year of ethnographic field-work focusing on spatial and mobile practice in and around Bangkok, Thailand, I propose some alternative visions of mobility and production of space: the anchored mobilities of transnational retirees, the artistry of stability work in an always-mobile slum, the embodied and symbolic experiences of quotidian journeys through Bangkok. These practices, while enabled and mediated by information technologies, call into question some of the assumptions we make about place and mobility, and provoke us rethink what technological interactions we might design and how we can design them.
Committee: Paul Dourish (chair), Don Patterson, Ken Anderson (Intel), Beatriz da Costa
Congrats Dr. Williams!