Charging as a Focal Practice: Reflections on Digital ‘Focal Things and Practices’ in the Wilderness

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This position paper reflects on Borgmann’s notion of ‘focal things’ and its applicability in the discourse about interaction with technologies in nature. Using the example of a combined cooking burner and thermoelectric 5W smartphone charger (a BioLite cook stove), this position paper gives an example of how a mundance “device” turns focal once it is connected to a contextual infrastructure (the ‘wild’), and reflects on the applicability of the notion of focality. The guiding question is how the notion of ‘focal things and practices’ drawn from Borgmann might help us think about the (strained) relationship between digital technologies and the wilderness.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventThe 2nd workshop on NatureCHI: Unobtrusive User Experiences with Technology in Nature - Aula of Sciences/Aula Der Wissenschaften, Wien, Austria
Duration: 4 Sept 20174 Sept 2017
Conference number: 2


WorkshopThe 2nd workshop on NatureCHI
LocationAula of Sciences/Aula Der Wissenschaften
Internet address


  • Nature
  • Wilderness
  • Experience
  • Philosophy
  • Design

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