Spying on loved ones

The project began with an autobiographical design probe that investigated how my partner and I communicate through shared domestic objects when one is at home and the other is not, giving rise to the concept of “leaky objects” to describe unintentional interpersonal communication through the leaking of implicit information by shared objects in an intimate relationship.

The project surfaced tensions within performances of care. In a followup critique of this project and another by Ylva Fernaeus, we investigated caring for loved ones as spatial and not “in-line” with normative expectations. This resulted four troubling orientations of care: willful detours, selfish shortcuts, naughty invasions, and unhappy departures. We propose a “wickedness” in caring for loved ones that problematizes in-home technologies as attractively naughty and potentially violent.

We also performed a talkshow on this work to further critique ourselves and account for our situated positions in caring for our loved ones.

The conceptual initiation of the critique was shared between Fernaeus and myself. My contributions included the conceptual connections to tensions in care, methodological drawing upon queer theory, and creation of the collages.

This work is a part of the Implicit Interaction project at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in the Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design.

Publications & Creative Outputs

Karey Helms, Ylva Fernaeus. 2021. Troubling Care: Four Orientations for Wickedness in Design. ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2021), Virtual Event. (Best Paper Honorable Mention Award)
PDF, DOI, Video (10 min), Video (30 sec)

Karey Helms. 2017. Leaky Objects: Implicit Information, Unintentional Communication. ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2017), Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
PDF, DOI, Poster

Karey Helms, Barry Brown, Magnus Sahlgren, and Airi Lampinen. 2018. Design Methods to Investigate User Experiences of Artificial Intelligence. AAAI 2018 Spring Symposium Technical Report (The Design of the User Experience for Artificial Intelligence), Stanford, California, USA.