How do people experience the temporality of everyday life changes? Towards the exploration of existential time in HCI
The idea of time as an existential concern has found scarce attention in the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community. Still, time in our life is mostly experienced in connection with important existential matters. Life changes are emblematic examples of aspects of our existence that are fundamentally temporal. In this article, I explore how people experience the temporalities of “change”, by asking 16 participants to report on life changes they consider relevant and their temporal aspects. I found that temporal features like velocity, direction, and synchronization deeply impact the process of change, by affecting the participants’ opportunities to make sense of and act upon their own transformations. The study findings point to a conception of existential time that contributes to both HCI research on time and life changing events, by highlighting the relativity of temporal slowness and speediness, the malleability of time, and the fundamental openness of our time experiences.