Delicate Hybrid Gift
journal contributionposted on 11.04.2019, 08:00 by RTD Conference, Hyosun Kwon, Holger Schnädelbach, Boriana Koleva, Steve Benford
A myriad of digital files such as digital photos, music tracks, and illustration images are exchanged through digital devices. Some are intentionally given as a gift for a gesture of good relationship, but they often get dismissed from the receiver’s attention due to many drawbacks of digital materials including intangibility. Gifts are realized in various forms such as artefacts, food, and hospitality, which embody multiple layers of functions and meanings that frame our social interactions. In this regard, it is questionable whether the digital gifts are able to express the sense of “gift-ness” from the outset. If doubtful, can we reform the method of the gift exchange to be distinct from mere file exchange? Building on the basis of literature in the gift exchange, this paper delivers design insights in a series of interactive prototypes to depict implications of our prior study. Prototypes are purposely designed to highlight the ephemerality of the unwrapping experience to employ in digital gifting. We demonstrate the Research Through Design practice that comprises of framing the problem space, prototyping the artefacts, and probing with potential users. Moreover, we discuss how tangibly wrapped digital gifts are appropriate in retaining the wider social recognition about the gift and gifting.