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[Xmca-l] Re: Kukiya--kiya incident and question



Dear Mike and Alfredo,

Thank you for your questions and for the very interesting connections
you've drawn to examples of activity in your respective work places.

*Comparisons between kukiya-kiya and Making (Maker movement)?*
Prototyping is at the center of both. In both, the actor, has an idea of a
desirable outcome but has to figure out a way to achieve it. The main
difference for me is in the *how*. Making (Maker movement) may come with a
prescribed set of tools (arduinos, breadboards, sensors, soldering irons,
etc) - there is a kit that comes with the activity, around which all
activity is orchestrated. In kukiya-kiya, there is no guarantee of
resources. Of course you might have Making that emerges from found tools
and resources (whatever is in the garage or classroom or studio), and in
this regard, the more deformalized variant of Making seems closer to
kukiya-kiya to me. I think the rougher the start materials, the less the
materials suggest that some outcomes are more "appropriate" than others,
the more likely it is for kukiya-kiya to emerge.

I do think the concept is broad enough to point to a whole host of
activities. And the language supports this. In Zimbabwe, kukiya-kiya, is
interchangeable with other verbs kubata-bata, kujingiridza, kubhaizira etc.

*Work-arounds and an emerging glossary*
The word kukiya-kiya literally means "to lock and then unlock" - to
describe how you might jangle an ill-fitting key in a lock to figure out
how to unlock a jammed door. It can also be translated to "making do" and
it is a metaphor for trying one way, then when that fails, trying other
unprescribed ways to make something happen. I chose to use "work-around" as
the translation of kukiya-kiya because there are verbs that have emerged in
Shona to signify the kind of thinking. I am finding that many similar
metaphors can be found in other languages. I've started constructing a
glossary... here are some examples: [Please send in entries that you think
fit]


*Term* *Language* *Country*
Tahmanut Hebrew Israel
kukiya-kiya Shona Zimbabwe
kubata-bata Shona Zimbabwe
kujingiridza Shona Zimbabwe
kubhaizira Shona Zimbabwe
jugaad Hindi India
jeitinho Portuguese Brazil
bricolage French
hack English
side hustle English
street smart English
street wise English
viveza criolla Spanish Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela
malandragem Portuguese Brazil
lei de Gérson Portuguese Brazil
malicia indígena Spanish Colombia
Bodge English
Chindōgu Japanese
Gung-ho ? China
Redneck Technology English US
Kludge (also kluge) English UK
Système D French
Trick 17 English Germany
Trick 77 English Switzerland
Trick 3  English Finland
kikka kolmonen Finnish Finland
se démerder French
débrouillardise French
se débrouiller French

On Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 4:18 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
wrote:

> Zaza, Mike, all,
>
> Mike comments raises in my a question that I already had while reading the
> article, and which has to do with the analogies that have been here drawn
> between kukiya-kiya in Zimbabwe, and the Maker movement that is becoming
> commonplace in many Western countries, a "movement" the cultivation and
> research around which there are increasing amounts of public money being
> injected into (my department in Oslo, for example, has just now become
> involved in a large European project about maker spaces). I was wondering
> how much we are gaining by positively comparing both movements, and what we
> may be loosing (that is, how these two different movements may actually be
> very different historical movements). And so I was thinking that perhaps
> the distinctions may become when the phenomena are approached as historical
> materialist phenomena. Because one may easily see that, despite the
> similarities being discussed in terms of "work around," kukiya-kiya and the
> maker movement in the West are truly different things, albeit perhaps
> outcomes of the same economical system. Thus, Zaza's discussion on
> disinheritance, which makes all the sense in the context of "the role
> international development schemes and humanitarian aid efforts play in
> destabilising African economies" (p. 172). Obviously, the same discussion
> does not seem to fit the Maker movement, the origin of which may indeed
> relate to an over-production and devaluation of otherwise expensive and
> resource-demanding technologies, as well as of an emergent network of
> literate actors using new media to spread practices and ideas, to disagree
> with established orders, etc... These two movements seem extremely
> different to me.
>
> But, of course, at the level of imagination, at the level of opening new
> ways of perceiving and conceiving reality, both practices seem to have lots
> in common. I think it is to this level that many of the questions I find
> emerging in Mike's as well as in our previous discussion posts. I wonder
> what the author and other xmca'ers think about this
> differences/similarities.
>
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> on behalf of mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
> Sent: 10 October 2016 01:56
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l]  Kukiya--kiya incident and question
>
> Zaza et al -
>
> As good luck would have it, this discussion has started just as a junior
> colleague is starting to start to write up a project in which he was
> seeking to implement a prototype activity
> using complex modern digital equipment. The project involved UCSD
> undergrads and kids in a far off neighborhood making a complex Xmas display
> using arduinos and gingerbread, among other things. On any session, half
> the undergrads were learning at UCSD and half were with the kids and the
> "expert" on arduinos and making odd displays (fancy electronic hats to wear
> to the open day at our local race track). We wanted both to create a
> prototype distribute educational/communication system and to contrast
> learning in situ with learning via the video/audio feed.
>
> Everything that could go wrong went wrong, but in the end, all of the kids
> and students were enthusiastic about the experience and the darned display
> sort of worked. The focus of my work with the class this was a part of was
> to tell them that the class was a gold mine of experience and information
> on how to engage in creating work arounds. But we never theorized the idea
> ( somehow is seems that creating activities does not count in the maker
> movement as much as creating gizmos). It seems we were too busy creating
> work arounds to stop and theorize about the mess we had gotten ourselves
> into. Now your paper has provided a strong rationale for prototyping,
> design, that emphasizes ideas I associate with the chat tradition. And of
> course it is an indigenous category for the people among whom you worked.
>
> As a result of the discussion, I looked up "work around' on google scholar.
> The emphasis there is on modern societies where, relatively speaking, there
> are lots of resources. But as you point out, the special interest in your
> case does not imply that the concept only applies there, but "even in the
> make movement in the US."  In a way, that tom hanks film about the guy
> stranded on Mars seems a relevant case.
>
> I also think your emphasis at the beginning and in your examples in the
> following is important:
>
> The prototype not only choreographs what the team members are doing, but
> also makes
> different future uses imaginable. The prototype amplifies tensions in the
> team and puts on display how an emergent tool, the bottle-feeding device,
> comes to be loaded with “previous patterns of reasoning” [and cognitive
> residue-mc](Pea, 1953, p. 53).
>
> This was certainly true in the local case as well.
>
> In moving ahead to develop our own ideas, it would be helpful to get more
> clarity about your Figures 2 & 3, the radiating sequences of bids,
> themes,contexts, and scaffolds. The print is so small that I cannot
> decipher the diagrams. I would really like to get clearer on how you
> categorized the talk in the session starting with Esther, but am having
> trouble connecting text and diagram. Maybe its only my aging eyesight, but
> this may be a problem for others as well. Could you perhaps post a note
> about the two diagrams and how you move from transcript to diagram?
>
> mike
>
> PS-- I encountered an unusual kukiya-kiya on Friday. I asked an
> administrator about an account I wanted to get updated on. In order to get
> that information, she had to log onto one of (obviously many) web pages in
> the university. As soon as she figured out where to get the information,
> she turned to a roledex on her desk next to her keyboard. "It has all the
> passwords" she said, adding, "I know you aren't supposed to write them
> down, but....."
> This seems like a kukiya-kiya work-around arising from encryption concerns
> that overload the system and force the use of a backup that is considered
> risky and incorrect. But it works and no one is telling.
>