Zoom obscura: Counterfunctional design for video-conferencing

Chris Elsden, David Chatting, Michael Duggan, Andrew Carl Dwyer, Pip Thornton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

This paper reports on Zoom Obscura - an artist-based design research project, responding to the ubiquity of video-conferencing as a technical and cultural phenomenon throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. As enterprise software, such as Zoom, rapidly came to mediate even the most personal and intimate interactions, we supported and collaborated with seven independent artists to explore technical and creative interventions in video-conferencing. Our call for participation sought critical interventions that would help users counter, and regain agency in regard to the various ways in which personal data is captured, transmitted and processed in video-conferencing tools. In this design study, we analyse post-hoc how each of the seven projects employed aspects of counterfunctional design to achieve these aims. Each project reveals different avenues and strategies for counterfunctionality in video-conferencing software, as well as opportunities to design critically towards interactions and experiences that challenge existing norms and expectations around these platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2022 - Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsSimone Barbosa, Cliff Lampe, Caroline Appert, David A. Shamma, Steven Drucker, Julie Williamson, Koji Yatani
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781450391573
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2022
Event2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20225 May 2022

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Conference2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • counterfunctional design
  • Covid-19
  • design research
  • surveillance
  • video conferencing
  • Zoom


Dive into the research topics of 'Zoom obscura: Counterfunctional design for video-conferencing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this