We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Zoom Obscura: Counterfunctional Design for Video-Conferencing

Elsden, C. and Chatting, C. and Duggan, M. and Dwyer, A. and Thornton, P. (2022) 'Zoom Obscura: Counterfunctional Design for Video-Conferencing.', CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI '22 .


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 posthoc 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 videoconferencing software, as well as opportunities to design critically towards interactions and experiences that challenge existing norms and expectations around these platforms.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© {Owner/Author | ACM} 2022. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in CHI '22,
Date accepted:18 November 2021
Date deposited:13 January 2022
Date of first online publication:2022
Date first made open access:13 January 2022

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar