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[Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects

Thank you for your thoughts Larry,

I wanted to pick up on your suggestion of the table metaphor because I
think that’s really interesting. I believe you are proposing the shared
meal as analogous to the kind of orientation work (or perhaps Leigh Star
might consider this translation or pre-translation work?) that precedes the
task at hand (in the case of our study, the task is design). Excerpt 3 from
our study might be relevant here, when in turn 6, the curator turns to the
researcher, leans in, and points in order to create a shared visual field.
The curator and the researcher can now orient towards the existing gallery
in order to imagine future, possible changes in the gallery. The curator is
in a sense extending an invitation to sit down at the same table to be able
to share his vision for the gallery.

This shared meal might of course also be considered designed. Ingold (
*Making*) actually uses this same table metaphor to demonstrate the
facilitation of activity as an aspect of design - *“Everyday design catches
the narrative and pins it down, establishing a kind of choreography for the
ensuing permanence that allows it to proceed from the moment you sit down
to eat. In such a straightforward task as laying the table - in enrolling
into your relation bowl and spoon, milk jug and cereal box - you are
designing breakfast.”*

There is an improvisational quality to the bodily/performative orientation
work that is maybe not captured by the shared expectations of sitting down
to a meal. But at the same time, we can also consider the workspace of the
multidisciplinary design team as designed in the same way that the meal is
designed in order to support the objective of the meeting. That is, the,
design team must first engage in a place-making activity for their
collaborative setting in order to attend to the design of the exhibition
space. The designers set the table with a white board, sketches and design
ideas, perhaps some coffee... etc., before turning to the task of imagining
the future exhibition.

Lubomir, you asked - *“who are the placemakers -- the architects or the
USERS of designed/created/socially produced spaces?” *I think this is
difficult to answer because both architect and user play a role in the
place-making process. The architects embed possible meanings (if place and
meaning are analogous than perhaps these might be considered ‘place
potentials’) that only emerge through the activity of the users. I’m only
thinking through this now, so feel free to elaborate or to disagree!


On Tue, Jul 14, 2015 at 11:28 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>

> Thanks a lot, Lubomir!
> On to your question, I am tempted to stretch a bit across frameworks and
> answer that, the difference between the process of performing an activity
> in space and developing a sense of place would be akin to the difference
> between an operation and an action as per Activity theory.
> Again, we must be careful on the distinction between space as a sort of
> objective geometrical coordinate, or space as not becoming a part of "an"
> experience (in Dewey's sense). In the first sense, the sentence "performing
> an activity in space" makes only sense when talking about geometrical
> practices, for example; one may think that in some engineering practices,
> it is possible to orient to space as space, as a coordinate. BUT still, the
> experience of being doing such practice, if it has import to further
> development in the person, it must be refracted through the person's
> experience; there must be involvement, and therefore placemaking. In the
> second case, we might think of us performing some activity within taking
> much of it, without noticing we are doing. It is in this sense that I do
> the bridge with operations versus actions.
> I would not have many problems in associating place with meaning and
> placemaking with meaning-making, although I personally would be careful if
> doing so, emphasizing the situational and distributed nature of the process
> that placemaking attempts to capture.
> Hope this helps
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From: Lubomir Savov Popov <lspopov@bgsu.edu>
> Sent: 14 July 2015 23:06
> To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; Rolf Steier; eXtended Mind, Culture,    Activity
> Cc: mike cole; lchc-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
> Thank you Alfredo,
> By the way, I should have started my mail with an appreciation for your
> article and Mike's choice to bring it to our attention.
> Now it is almost clear how you use the word and conceptualize the
> phenomenon. I would respectfully ask you for a few more things: what is the
> difference between the process of performing an activity in space and
> developing a sense of place. I personally interpret place in terms of
> appropriation of space in the process of human activity and the subsequent
> meaning making which has existential importance for the individual. The
> phenomenon of place is on par with the phenomenon of meaning and
> placemaking is a process on par with meaning making. How do you position
> yourself regarding such conceptualization?
> On a similar note, who are the placemakers -- the architects or the USERS
> of designed/created/socially produced spaces?
> By the way, I might be stretching too much the part on place and
> distracting from other aspects of your wonderful article.
> Best wishes,
> Lubomir
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alfredo Jornet Gil [mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no]
> Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 4:31 PM
> To: Lubomir Savov Popov; Rolf Steier; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Cc: mike cole; lchc-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
> Dear Lubomir,
> thanks for your questions. I agree that the notion of place has been
> around in different forms during at least the last 20 years or so, from
> geography with Tuan, technology with Dourish, to the so-called place-based
> education. I must also admit that we did not work with a carefully
> operationalized definition when using the term in the paper, but I can of
> course share my view on the issue and how I understand it.
> For me, as in most of the cases mentioned above, place is a way of
> emphasizing the experiential in what comes to be socially or humanly
> relevant. Most simply, and this most of you probably know, is about the
> difference between a rationalistic, geometrical conception of space versus
> a more phenomenological one. I read Streek (2010) citing Cresswell about
> place: "Place is about stopping and resting and becoming involved". This is
> precisely what we aimed to emphasize in our paper, that whatever practices
> were involved in getting things done together in an interdisciplinary
> group, they involved a process of becoming involved, experientially,
> emotionally, bodily, with the materials and currents going on in a given
> situation.
> I also read Ingold (2011) warning against the difference between space and
> place in terms of space being a reality substance and place being
> constituted by subsequent level of abstractions. In my view, experience is
> not about abstraction, but about involvement. And place is about space as
> it is refracted in intelligible experience; not about an abstraction over
> an objective field, but more related to a perezhivanie in Vygotsky's sense.
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From: Lubomir Savov Popov <lspopov@bgsu.edu>
> Sent: 14 July 2015 21:55
> To: Rolf Steier; eXtended Mind, Culture,        Activity; Alfredo Jornet
> Gil
> Cc: mike cole; lchc-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
> Dear Rolf and Alfredo,
> What is your definition for place? How is place different from space? I
> ask because people use the words place and peacemaking in dozens of
> different ways; it is just mindboggling.
> Thanks,
> Lubomir
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces+lspopov=bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces+lspopov=bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Rolf Steier
> Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 2:44 PM
> To: Alfredo Jornet Gil
> Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity; mike cole; lchc-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
> Hello All,
> I also want to thank everyone for participating in this discussion, and
> I'm looking forward to developing some of the ideas from our text. I think
> that Alfredo did a nice job of introducing the context of our study, so I
> don't have much to add. The two aspects that Mike brings up are also very
> much of interest to me, and I think quite closely related. I think we treat
> 'distributed imagination' in this instance as a form of place-making for a
> space that doesn't exist yet (the museum exhibition). At the same time, the
> place where this design work is occurring is also undergoing a
> transformation from space to place as the participants construct
> representations and begin to collaborate. Alfredo and I were playing with
> an illustration of these trajectories as merging, though we weren't able to
> bring it together - so maybe this discussion can allow us to flesh out
> these thoughts.
> I'm looking forward to the discussion!
> Rolf
> On Tue, Jul 14, 2015 at 7:38 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
> wrote:
> >  Hi Mike and all,
> >
> >
> >  thanks for recommending our article for discussion, and thanks to
> > anyone who wishes to participate. We really appreciate it! I can try
> > to say a bit about the article.
> >
> > Rolf and I did our PhD as part of two different projects that had a
> > science museum and an art museum as settings for the design of
> > technology-enhanced learning environments. Early on in the PhD, we
> > begun talking about notions of space as central in our respective
> > projects. During the last year, we shared office and had much more
> > time to discuss. We had always wanted to write something together and
> > the MCA special issue on Leigh Star seemed the perfect occasion.
> >
> > The design meetings involved many participants from different
> > backgrounds, from education to architecture and software engineering,
> > and sometimes it was difficult for the teams to advance towards
> > definite solutions. I remember watching the videos from the first
> > months of design work, hoping to find something for writing a first
> > paper. I found different interesting issues to pursue, but one episode
> > clearly stood out from the rest. It was a design meeting, after many
> > meetings with lots of disagreements and dead ends, in which a
> > discussion that concerned a wall in the museum space unexpectedly
> > appeared to trigger lots of good ideas in the design team. It stroke
> > me that something as banal and simple as a wall had been important in
> > making it possible for the participants to achieve shared perspectives
> > on the task and go on. I remembered then to have read something about
> > boundary objects, and it was then that the figure of Leigh Star begun to
> be relevant.
> >
> > In this paper, the aim was to consider boundary "objects"  from the
> > perspective of the participants' "bodies," which stood out in our
> > analyses as particularly relevant for the achievement of co-operation
> > despite lack of substantive agreement. Rather than shared substantive
> > understandings, what seemed to allow the participants to proceed was
> > being able to orient towards and perform specific situations that were
> > lived-in (experienced, gone through). We recur to the notions of
> > place-making and place-imagining to emphasize this per-formative
> > aspect that has to do with inhabiting a place and finding one's ways
> around it.
> >
> > We wrote the paper as we were finishing our respective
> > theses/defenses, and we wanted to do something that should feel fun
> > and free. We felt that Star's work was broad and were encouraged to
> > connect different ideas from different scholars. The schedule was
> > tight, and, although I think we managed to put together some ideas, we
> > may have taken many risks in bridging across the different frameworks.
> > I hope that those risks taken may now open space for
> > questions/comments to emerge in the discussion, and I look forward to
> learn a lot from them.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Alfredo
> >
> >
> >  ------------------------------
> > *From:* lchcmike@gmail.com <lchcmike@gmail.com> on behalf of mike cole
> > < mcole@ucsd.edu>
> > *Sent:* 14 July 2015 19:17
> > *To:* eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > *Cc:* Rolf Steier; Alfredo Jornet Gil; lchc-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > *Subject:* The Emergence of Boundary Objects
> >
> >   If my information is correct, both Alfredo and Rolf have some time
> > in the upcoming period to discuss their article on the emergence of
> > boundary objects.
> >
> >  So, to start the discussion.
> >
> >  I am finding this article enormously generative of ways to think
> > about some perennial issues that have recently been on my mind. The
> > entire discussion leading up to the formulation of transforming spaces
> > into places (and recreating spaces in the process) locks in directly
> > with our current work on the 5th Dimension, which i have been writing
> > about for some time as a tertiary artifact and an idioculture, but
> > which most certainly fits the concept of a boundary object.
> >
> >  Secondly, I have become really interested in "practices of imagination"
> > and that is just how Alfredo and Rolf characterize their two
> > installations and the professional teams that cooperate to create them.
> > And they make a new linkage by referring to distributed imagination,
> > which is most certainly going to require imagination to fill in the
> > ineluctable gaps, and provide us with some insight insight into the
> processes involved.
> >
> >  Those are my issues for starters. What strikes others?
> >
> >  mike
> >
> >  PS--
> > For those of you who missed this topic, the article is attached.
> >
> >
> >
> >  --
> >
> > Both environment and species change in the course of time, and thus
> > ecological niches are not stable and given forever (Polotova & Storch,
> > Ecological Niche, 2008)
> >
> >
> >