Real-world Avatar Game: Representing the digital self in the offline world

HOST is a mobile game that empowers people to become avatars or players of real persons. Host allows you to connect with people from all over the world and let you possess others' figure and mind.

"How does self-representation affect one's social behavior and social dynamics?" This project explored the value of self-representation in social interaction, and discussed this from the perspective of the social, technological, and service contexts. It incorporated research into avatars (digital representations of the self) in virtual reality chat rooms. The series of experiments served to guide the research process, and sought to use design process as a research method.

Screens of HOST app

This project sought to design an environment for investigating social behavior, which involved the creation of a real-world avatar system. This resulted in an open-ended experimental tool for examining the relationship between self-representation and social behavior. The basic concept of this system was created by applying the rule of an avatar system of a social 3D platform to the real world. It aimed to be a tool that would allow people to possess the figure of someone else.

I conducted two experiments and a workshop by the application of digital ethology in the real-world and vice versa. The insights discovered, together with the outcomes of each experiment, led me to move on to the final experiment. In keeping with a holistic perspective, the evolution of a series of experiments demonstrates the increased scale of the participants.

Workshop:The body I live_The representation of the self in Digital space @Junior Research Conference 2017, Toni-Areal Zürich, Nov 2017

Evolution of experiment_Human Avatar experiment using real-time communication

A Tool for the Investigation: Host Host is a social game that allows users to connect with people anywhere, and lets them possess the representation or even awareness of other people. The platform allows users to be matched with others who are real-world avatars and to control their actions. Players are able to experience the dissociation involved in self-representation and awareness by giving the avatars instructions for specific tasks (such as possessing another person's body), while the avatars experience this by following the commands of their players (owning the other person's awareness). This platform aims to be a tool for detaching the representation of the self from an individual. Moreover, it reveals the changes in social behavior that occur when people are presented as someone else. This tool is an answer to the question: "How does social behavior change when self-representation is switched to other people?"

Avatar or player? Role selection screen of HOST App

MA Interaction design project

Researcher, iOS/Web Designer&front-end developer, Workshop holder

Joël Ghawiller