Portals to the world: technological extensions to the boundaries of the home
Ewart, I. and Luck, R. (2012) Portals to the world: technological extensions to the boundaries of the home. Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture, 3 (1-2). pp. 7-22. ISSN 2041-9112 (special issue 'Special effects: technology and the interior experience')
To link to this item DOI: 10.2752/204191212x13232577462457
This article examines the ways that technological objects inside the home are viewed and productively used by a group of older people to extend their access to environments beyond the home. Beginning with a discussion of types of domestic object, we highlight appliances and gadgets, and focus our attentions on the latter. The changes in life brought on by ageing, in particular a reduction in mobility, provide the context for our study, in which access to the outside world becomes increasingly difficult. Recognising their changing circumstances led our participants to actively and selectively engage with these objects, mitigating the shrinking of their accessible environment by using them as a gateway to the many virtual worlds now available. We coin the term ‘portal objects’ to describe the potential that this type of technological object provides, and suggest that the investigation of interiors can be enriched by recognising and including the worlds outside that become integral to occupation inside.