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[Xmca-l] Re: Reflective Discourse on XMCA

Alfredo, henry,
I appreciate your responses to my going with a metaphor that I felt more than realized explicitly. I will share a strong image that I awoke from a dream that expressed by play on boundary objects. The image of a pencil drawing lines and marking boundaries followed by the other end of the pencil [the eraser] erasing the lines the graphite was marking. I will say it was a deeply moving image and I hesitate to say more.

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Sent: Friday, October 16, 2015 12:59 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Reflective Discourse on XMCA

I also had read your post, but didn’t realize how generative your gravity metaphor was! I was more focused on what you said about play mimesis and affordances. After reading Alfredo’s response to your post, I got the following from Wikipedia’s “gravity”:

"Gravity is most accurately described by the general theory of relativity <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_theory_of_relativity> (proposed by Albert Einstein <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein> in 1915) which describes gravity, not as a force, but as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacetime> caused by the uneven distribution of mass/energy; and resulting in time dilation <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation>, where time lapses more slowly in strong gravitation.”

then further on: 

“...gravity has a negligible influence on the behavior of sub-atomic particles, and plays no role in determining the internal properties of everyday matter (but see quantum gravity <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_gravity>). On the other hand, gravity is the dominant force at the macroscopic scale <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroscopic_scale>”.

Out on a limb, it seems to me that psychology and sociology parallel the micro/macro distinction in physics. And note the problems of reconciling relativity theory of Einstein with probabalistic quantum theory. In other words, physics seems to have had the same problems as social science in reconciling the micro and macro.  


> On Oct 16, 2015, at 12:28 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no> wrote:
> Larry, I just read your notes and wanted to thank you. There are so many interesting things that I would not know how to begin addressing them (though I hope I'll get the chance soon). But I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed the way you move us through a sort of inter-stelar travel in your text. I really like the way you treat different traditions of thinking as gravitational fields, where notions such as "objects" make sense only as part of a larger arrangement of concepts and ideas/discourses. The travel you describe certainly touches into some of what we (or at least I) experience when we move across literatures to try to achieve coherent and pragmatically productive ways of approaching the study of human practices. And it also helped me to better see and appreciate (at least fragments of) what others had contributed in prior discussions in the thread. So, thanks for that!
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
> Sent: 14 October 2015 18:55
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Reflective Discourse on XMCA
> I have been deeply engaged with the topic of boundary objects and notions
> of orientation.
> Here attached is a response.
> It is rather long and this is why it is sent as an attachment.
> I want to thank everyone for our shared voices.
> On Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 9:04 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
> wrote:
>> Huw, thanks a lot! Your experiences is very valuable for what I am looking
>> at now, really. I'll definitively keep you posted on what I get up to.
>> Alfredo
>> ________________________________________
>> From: xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Huw
>> Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
>> Sent: 14 October 2015 17:50
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Reflective Discourse on XMCA
>> Alfredo,
>> Regarding "how the situated work taking place during a shift of
>> (computational) paradigm would differ", generalising from my experience I
>> usually see a breakdown in communication and an approach is taken in which
>> the program is inched forward, perhaps akin to tacking to a coastline.
>> What was a reasonable strategy for a quick solution transforms over time
>> into an abuse of the language, such as 20 files consisting of nested if
>> statements that are several hundred lines long used to parse text files.
>> Depending upon the experience, common trigger scenarios might be:
>> Object oriented programming.
>> Inversion of control (using frameworks)
>> Multithreaded programming.
>> Functional programming
>> But even when the language constructs are well known there can be
>> disagreements concerning other basic representational and orientational
>> constructs, such as what an event is, whether an input is interior or
>> exterior to an encapsulation, whether value objects or identity objects are
>> used, and whether the problem domain is actually articulated in the
>> software.
>> Regarding gesture, I would say that gestures index orientation mediated by
>> conscious goals.  So I would agree that gesture, rather than mere wording,
>> helps to orient.  But I would tend to disagree that gesture is
>> 'foundational'.  For me, orientation is king.  It would be interesting to
>> see if you make something else of it.
>> Best,
>> Huw
>> On 14 October 2015 at 15:44, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
>> wrote:
>>> Huw,
>>> thanks for the reflection, it brings a very interesting distinction. The
>>> software developers case that I mentioned is more on the contained sense
>> of
>>> "unknown", as you mentioned, not involving a shift of computing paradigm.
>>> Yet I could observe lots of work performed by the developers for them to
>> be
>>> able to do intelligible enough reference to the feature thereby being
>>> designed. This work, which I glossed as "naming", included not just
>>> (technical, specialized) names already familiar to them, but also
>> drawings,
>>> gesturing, and performance. So, the words were not enough, and there was
>>> some form of imagination going on. So the distinction you introduced
>> makes
>>> me wonder how the situated work taking place during a shift of
>>> (computational) paradigm would differ with respect to the one that I am
>>> observing, that is, involving only a "minor" innovation.
>>> Henry's connection with the moving from verb to noun that we reported
>> with
>>> respect to boundary objects is interesting here because it brings
>> attention
>>> to objects (materials) and their relation to our sensitivities (bodies).
>> I
>>> am thinking if this connection might be of help to understand the
>>> differences between the work that minor innovations involve and the work
>> of
>>> producing major paradigm shifts. Perhaps, more than a shift in the kind
>> of
>>> situated social interactions that we observe, we should (again) attend to
>>> Latour's discussion on inter-objectivity, and see how the
>>> material-historical arrangements in the setting set the conditions for
>>> those shifts to occur. At the level of interaction, I can imagine (!)
>> that
>>> both going through a minor innovation and going through a major shift
>>> involve some movement from not being aware of a possibility to orienting
>>> towards that very possibility. Studying differences there would be
>>> interesting. But I guess that the key lies in the prior historical
>>> conditions for the innovation/shift to emerge. Imagination may, in this
>>> account, be a form of perceiving things that, to be so perceived, need to
>>> lend themselves to those perceptions and apprehensions. If imagination
>>> takes place first as performative work, and not as mental operation
>> alone,
>>> it needs to rely upon the possibilities of manipulation that the
>> materials
>>> offer. And those possibilities, of course, include possibilities of
>> naming,
>>> of using words.
>>> Alfredo
>>> ________________________________________
>>> From: xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of
>>> HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com>
>>> Sent: 14 October 2015 01:38
>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Reflective Discourse on XMCA
>>> Do I recall (and understand) correctly Alfredo’s and Rod’s article (on
>>> boundary objects and building museum spaces) that gesture preceded
>> naming?
>>> I mean that the boundary object started as collaborative/coordinated
>>> movement. It was a perfomance before it was a thing that could be named.
>> A
>>> verb before it was a noun. And does this have anything to do with Huw’s
>>> conjecture about a continuum of kinds of projects, at one end those that
>>> replicate (with minimal creativity) and, at the other,  those that “get
>>> outside the box”? Academic discourse tends to be very nouny, Latinate,
>>> loaded with bound morphemes. Such discourse serves important purposes
>> when
>>> operating on the generalization and abstraction side of things, amongst
>> the
>>> experts. But boundary objects (as observed by Alfredo and Rod) assume the
>>> project members are strangers to one another’s way of generalizing and
>>> abstracting. Could gesture then be “rising to the concrete” in discourse
>>> generally? That would provide nice praxis.
>>> Respectfully,
>>> Henry
>>>> On Oct 13, 2015, at 4:45 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Alfredo,
>>>> I suspect the quality of the unknown thing here would need
>> qualification.
>>>> Experienced practitioners in software are often dealing with
>>> to-be-designed
>>>> artefacts, although these mostly fall into a more minor category of
>>> things
>>>> conforming to well-known conceptions or abstractions, hence they are
>>>> usually only unknown in a rather contained sense (a bit like roughly
>>>> knowing what kind of model you need to build out of lego).
>>>> Contrary to this, computing problems entailing a new computational
>>> paradigm
>>>> would certainly throw such programmers into a genuine unknown (the
>>> dawning
>>>> realisation that one is working with a different kind of kit).  Also,
>>> with
>>>> respect to requirements, the real unknowns are usually the soft
>>>> requirements on agreeing what the problem is in the first place, which
>>> will
>>>> be largely governed by the social situation of said programmers, i.e.
>>> being
>>>> paid to get something built.
>>>> Naming is very important in software in order to try to communicate
>>>> functional intent, hence practitioners would no doubt be comfortable
>>>> establishing agreement about naming before moving on.  Nonetheless you
>>> may
>>>> well be identifying some form of design mediation at play too.
>>>> Best,
>>>> Huw
>>>> On 13 October 2015 at 23:08, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
>>> wrote:
>>>>> Henry, all,
>>>>> I am at this moment going through a video database on design work in a
>>>>> software development company, and, observing a discussion between two
>>>>> developers who talk about features of the software that are not yet
>>>>> developed, but which could be, ??the insight came upon me that, to
>>> possibly
>>>>> create anything together (and there is no other way to do it since one
>>>>> alone has not the tools/competence to do it), they had to name it. So,
>>> the
>>>>> developers were talking about something that does not yet exist but
>>> which
>>>>> nonetheless needs to be referred to in order for them to even begin
>>> working
>>>>> on it. And naming something that does not yet exits does not happen
>>>>> immediately, because they do not have a name for it. Naming it takes
>>> time
>>>>> and space, that is, work. So, I think the notion of "displacement"
>> that
>>> you
>>>>> mention, if it captures this work that talking does to the imagining,
>>> very
>>>>> relevant to what I am witnessing in my data. And, given the salience
>> of
>>>>> "place making" in the thread, the term "disPLACEment" may be timely
>>> here.
>>>>> Alfredo
>>>>> ________________________________
>>>>> From: HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com>
>>>>> Sent: 13 October 2015 23:34
>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>> Cc: Alfredo Jornet Gil; Rolf Steier; Geoffrey C. Bowker
>>>>> Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Reflective Discourse on XMCA
>>>>> Mike,
>>>>> In your original post on Oct 10, you  suggested that we might "...come
>>> up
>>>>> with a deeper understanding of the interlocking issues involved". As
>> you
>>>>> say, each chatter will have their own response to that. Mine is that I
>>> can
>>>>> relate the three issues to displacement, which is arguably the most
>>>>> important property of language as a semiotic system. It is the ability
>>> of
>>>>> with language to refer to and construe aspects of the world removed in
>>> time
>>>>> and place (from the here and now) and to the "make believe"
>>> ("irrealis").
>>>>> I was reminded of this on re-reading an article by Bruno Latour on
>>>>> Interobjectivity that Greg Thompson posted back on Aug 18. Most
>> people,
>>> if
>>>>> asked, think of language primarily as something for communication.
>>> Animals
>>>>> communicate, but, as far as we know, do not displace. (Though It might
>>> be
>>>>> argued that animals do a better job of communicating than people.!) I
>>> would
>>>>> like to emphasize the importance of the temporal domain, as well as
>> the
>>>>> spatial, with displacement.
>>>>> Henry