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Token Switching

Move the mouse.

One common and peculiar type of token-shift is inward, where an action or manipulation is interrupted by an otherwise un-expected turn of events — or a misbehaving relationship in the chain of causality — forcing our attention to it. An older study of mine, token switching demonstrates this. In it a grid of cursors are variously ‘activated’ and ‘deactivated’ dependent on the (invisible) system cursor’s location. An active cursor is tightly mapped to input, and a deactivated one moves to its original place in the grid. The objective result is that as the user moves a mouse different cursors will respond in the manner expected; the subjective and experiential result is generally one of unsettlement. It seems noteworthy that the experience of controlling the system is distinct or — at least more acute — than the experience of passively observing it.