The concept of the ‘interaction ritual’ figured strongly in Julian Bleecker’s (2009) essay on design fiction. But since then, in discussions of design fiction and speculative design this attention to ritual, and embodied experience in general, has largely taken a back seat to accounts of design fiction that focus on discursive objects as diegetic props. While such props can provoke their beholders to imagine novel interaction rituals, designers often treat these psychological “effects” of imagination as epiphenomena of the designed object rather than as structured experiences which themselves might be available to speculative manipulation.
But rituals and other structured categories of practice are just as available to speculation for the designer as they are to the filmmaker and author. As scholars from ritual studies will tell us, humans have a long history of designing rituals (Bell 1992 ; Grimes 1995, Tambiah 1981, Hobsbawm 1992). Indeed, some of the most significant cultural transformations in human history have involved the invention, or creative reimagining, of rituals, situations, and routines.
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