It only took three years of hearing about Jane McGonigal before we were finally in the same room together at Intel’s Street Talk: An Urban Computing Happening. The conference was most magnificent because it was a gathering of some of my favorite researchers, all talking about what urban life meant, how pervasive technologies were evolving, gaming and other constructions of sociability in a digital world. Fun fun fun.
Yet, meeting Jane was just such a pleasure – it took far too long and too many misses. Everyone out there who was determined that we should meet was right-on. She’s got immense amounts of spunk and she puts together creative public games; she studies performance and bridges the digital/physical divide in a total complementary way to me. Even better: she has a pet word that is awfully similar to my own. Pareidolia is “a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct.” [My favorite word is apophenia: “the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena.”]