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

I think that a particular institution or government system could
potentially be a boundary object depending on how the concept is applied.
Star describes three criteria: 1) interpretive flexibility 2) material/
organizational structure and 3) scale/ granularity in which the concept is

She argues that boundary objects are typically most useful at the
organizational level - so I would say that one would have to justify the
utility of applying the concept to a particular institution, as opposed to,
say, an object within an institution.

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 2:46 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Phew!
> So would it be correct to describe the government institutions and
> political system are "boundary objects"?
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> On 20/07/2015 9:42 PM, Rolf Steier wrote:
>> Hi Andy -
>> Good catch! I believe that is a typo and should read "despite a LACK of
>> consensus". Thank you for pointing that out.
>> I also wanted to follow up on a suggestion that Greg made in the other
>> thread suggesting we look at David McNeill's work. I had only been familiar
>> with his earlier work on gesture, but after doing a bit of reading over the
>> weekend, I found his concept of  'unexpected metaphors' potentially useful
>> in dealing with some of my questions.(
>> http://mcneilllab.uchicago.edu/pdfs/unexpected_metaphors.pdf )
>> Here is a relevant quote describing unexpected metaphors as a form of
>> gesture:
>>     /The logic is that unexpected metaphors arise from the
>>     need to create images when the culture does not have
>>     them readily at hand. These images join linguistic
>>     content as growth points and differentiate what
>>     Vygotsky (1987) called psychological predicates, or
>>     points of contrast in the immediate ongoing context of
>>     speaking. Unexpected metaphors, precisely because they
>>     are outside the conventions of language and culture,
>>     can capture abstractions in novel ways and provide the
>>     fluidity of thought and language that is the essence
>>     of ongoing discourse./
>> On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 1:00 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>     Rolf, what did you mean by "the achievement of
>>     cooperation despite consensus"?
>>     p. 131,
>>     Andy
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>>     *Andy Blunden*
>>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>     On 17/07/2015 8:45 AM, Rolf Steier wrote:
>>         Are we allowed to ask questions about our paper as
>>         well? I hope so!
>>         For a little context -in our paper, we identified
>>         particular kinds of
>>         episodes in which participants from different
>>         disciplines seek coherence
>>         and continuity of shared representations through
>>         bodily action. These
>>         actions include gesture, movement and physical
>>         performance linking the
>>         present material artifacts to objects of design.
>>         Most of these episodes
>>         seem to involve some form of improvisation,
>>         resourcefulness or creativity,
>>         and I'm not fully sure how to characterize these
>>         aspects of the
>>         interactions. In most cases, the participants seem
>>         to be searching for the
>>         best words or material representation to convey a
>>         particular intention -
>>         when this becomes problematic or limiting - they
>>         almost fall back on what
>>         is available - these improvised bodily
>>         performances - as a way of
>>         maintaining continuity, and of inviting
>>         co-participants into a shared and
>>         imagined space. These bodily actions don't seem to
>>         begin the proposals, but
>>         are in a sense *discovered* by the participants.
>>         I think there is something really fascinating
>>         about this kind of creativity
>>         and resourcefulness in interaction that could be
>>         explored more deeply - and
>>         that I'm having trouble articulating. Maybe some
>>         of you have some thoughts
>>         on this? Alfredo - I know we've talked about this
>>         a bit before so maybe you
>>         can add a little clarity to my question.
>>         On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 9:37 PM, HENRY SHONERD
>>         <hshonerd@gmail.com <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>>
>>         wrote:
>>             Alfredo,
>>             Thank you very much for the sketch of your
>>             roots. I taught English in
>>             Puigcerda and Barcelona for 5 years back in
>>             the early 70s, just before
>>             Franco died. (He died the day I boarded the
>>             plane back to the U.S.) Place
>>             and language are interesting, especially where
>>             language varieties meet.
>>             Boundaries. I know mostly from my familiarity
>>             with the music of Catalunya
>>             and Mallorca that the speech communities in
>>             each of those places treasure
>>             their unique languages (Catalan and
>>             Mallorquin), yet see a commonality
>>             vis-a-vis their separateness from Castilian
>>             Spanish, the national language
>>             of Spain from 1492 on. I see a parallel
>>             between your work on boundary
>>             objects, where individual persons collaborate
>>             to create spaces, AND
>>             boundary objects “negotiated” by groups of
>>             people who live in real spaces.
>>             I am thinking, among other things, of
>>             indigeneity, a big topic here in New
>>             Mexico, with so many Native Americans.
>>             Assymetries of power. Bullying.
>>             Testing and curriculum become instruments of
>>             war by other means. I hope my
>>             tone does not distract from, nor diminish, the
>>             optimism created by this
>>             thread. Yet I think that optimism is so
>>             precious because of the ground (the
>>             world) of the dialog.
>>             Henry
>>                 On Jul 16, 2015, at 12:13 PM, Alfredo
>>                 Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
>>                 <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>>
>>             wrote:
>>                 Well, you could say that I am partly
>>                 Catalan. I grew up in the province
>>             of Valencia, where Catalan language is
>>             official language together with
>>             Castilian Spanish. Although Valencia (the
>>             county) and Catalonia are
>>             different regional counties, Catalan is spoken
>>             in Catalonia, Valencia, and
>>             the Balear Islands. Some call the three
>>             together as the Catalan Countries.
>>             I don't like borders, but I respect and enjoy
>>             cultural diversity.
>>                 Standardized testing, and the whole
>>                 assumptions behind it, are an issue
>>             also in Spain and in Catalonia; but education
>>             has been so battered during
>>             the last years of right-wing government that I
>>             the debate have been more
>>             about means and access than about contents and
>>             aims. Which in some sense
>>             may be good because it moves the debates away
>>             from performance. But I have
>>             been living outside of Spain for eight years
>>             now, so I am not the best to
>>             update you on this either.
>>                 Best wishes,
>>                 Alfredo
>>                 ________________________________________
>>                 From:
>>                 xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                 <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>> on
>>             behalf of
>>             HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com
>>             <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>>
>>                 Sent: 16 July 2015 19:54
>>                 To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>                 Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of
>>                 Boundary Objects
>>                 Alfredo,
>>                 Yes, you have answered my question very
>>                 nicely! I especially appreciate
>>             that you were willing to wrestle with my
>>             question, despite your lack of
>>             familiarity with the issues here in the U.S.
>>             Am I wrong, or are you
>>             Catalan? In which case your experience in
>>             Catalunya would take you to a
>>             different place in critiquing schooling there,
>>             though not necessarily
>>             unconnected to yours and Rolf’s work on
>>             boundary objects. I just met for
>>             the second day in a row with a friend who is
>>             the liaison between our public
>>             school district and a children’s science
>>             museum called Explora. I feel like
>>             I’m swimming in this thread, talk about a
>>             mixed metaphor!
>>                 Henry
>>                     On Jul 16, 2015, at 12:18 AM, Alfredo
>>                     Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
>>                     <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>>
>>             wrote:
>>                     I am sorry, Henry, but I am not very
>>                     familiar with high-stakes
>>             standardized testing (as different to
>>             standardized testing in general) or
>>             with common core (which I quickly read is an
>>             issue in US). But I would say
>>             that, if (school) curricula were to be
>>             consistent with the view of
>>             education as the practice of creating
>>             conditions for certain attitudes and
>>             dispositions to emerge--which is what I was
>>             suggesting in the paragraph you
>>             copy--curricula would not be so much about
>>             standardized contents, but about
>>             human sensitivities and relations. So, I would
>>             say, no, standardized
>>             testing is not in principle in line with what
>>             I was trying to say.
>>                     I was trying to make a distinction
>>                     between trying to design someone's
>>             particular experience, and trying to design
>>             conditions for the development
>>             of attitudes and orientations. The first is
>>             likely impossible. The second
>>             seems to make more sense.
>>                     One may of course wonder whether those
>>                     attitudes and orientations can
>>             be considered general, and then form part of
>>             standardize measures instead
>>             of the traditional "contents and skills". But
>>             measuring assumes some
>>             quantitative increment in a particular aspect
>>             as the result of learning.
>>             Growth and development, however, are about
>>             qualitative change. So, as soon
>>             as you start measuring you would be missing
>>             growth and development. So,
>>             again, no. I would not say that high-stakes
>>             standardized testing is in line
>>             with what I was trying to say.
>>                     I hope I have answered your question,
>>                     Alfredo
>>                     ________________________________________
>>                     From:
>>                     xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=
>> iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                     <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>> on
>>             behalf of
>>             HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com
>>             <mailto:hshonerd@gmail.com>>
>>                     Sent: 16 July 2015 07:48
>>                     To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>                     Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of
>>                     Boundary Objects
>>                     Alfredo, you say:
>>                     "However, we cannot aim at determining
>>                     any particular
>>             situation/experience. The same may be said
>>             about EDUCATION. We cannot
>>             intend to communicate the curriculum and make
>>             it the content of the
>>             students' experience in the way we intend. But
>>             we can try to create the
>>             conditions for certain attitudes and
>>             dispositions to emerge."
>>                     Would you say that high-stakes
>>                     standardized testing is in line with
>>             your construal of curriculum design? How about
>>             common core?
>>                     Henry
>>                         On Jul 15, 2015, at 5:29 PM,
>>                         Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>                         <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
>>                         <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>>
>>             wrote:
>>                         Thanks a lot for the
>>                         clarifications. I see now why it
>>                         may be said that
>>             designers can aim at designing for constrains
>>             but not for affordances. I
>>             see that this way of talking is part of a
>>             designers' way to get things
>>             done, and that it may indeed be an effective
>>             way to design for
>>             place-making, as in the example that Michael
>>             gives of MOMA. Indeed, much of
>>             what we report in our study is about designers
>>             talking about how spatial
>>             features might afford some experiences in the
>>             museum while constraining
>>             others.
>>                         I must admit, however, that I
>>                         still consider the distinction
>>             problematic from an analytical perspective
>>             whenever our object of study is
>>             experience, situated action, or design as
>>             situated practice. A more correct
>>             way to talk is that affordances and constrains
>>             are the positive and
>>             negative sides/interpretations of a single
>>             unitary category. As an actual
>>             and concrete phenomenon, walking into a musuem
>>             implies both affordances and
>>             constrains at the same time, whether intended
>>             or not. Which makes me wonder
>>             whether other terminology, such as Ingold's
>>             notion of "correspondence,"
>>             might be more appropriated when we talk about
>>             how materials and actions
>>             become entangled into particular trajectories.
>>                         In any case, and as Rolf
>>                         emphasizes, what the designers in
>>                         our study
>>             indeed do is to IMAGINE ways of being in the
>>             museum. Imagination versus
>>             prediction may be an interesting topic
>>             emerging here for further inquiry
>>             into design work.
>>                         Another important (and related)
>>                         issue that I think is emerging here
>>             has to do with the level of generality at
>>             which design intentions can be
>>             expected to work (just as Bateson argued with
>>             regard to prediction). At the
>>             level of generic social processes, and given a
>>             particular
>>             cultural-historical background, we as
>>             designers may try to make some
>>             generic situations more likely to occur than
>>             others (facilitating that more
>>             or less people end up together in a given
>>             place). However, we cannot aim at
>>             determining any particular
>>             situation/experience. The same may be said about
>>             EDUCATION. We cannot intend to communicate the
>>             curriculum and make it the
>>             content of the students' experience in the way
>>             we intend. But we can try to
>>             create the conditions for certain attitudes
>>             and dispositions to emerge.
>>                         Alfredo
>>                         ________________________________________
>>                         From:
>>                         xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=
>> iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>> on
>>             behalf of
>>             Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu
>>             <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>>
>>                         Sent: 15 July 2015 23:30
>>                         To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>                         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>                         Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>                         Hi Alfredo,
>>                         I think Rolf may have addressed
>>                         the question of the differences
>>             between affordances and constraints in his
>>             post. The way he described the
>>             designers as possibly setting up the corner
>>             with Pollock at MOMA.  It was a
>>             long time ago so I'm not sure if this is the
>>             way it was or the way I
>>             remember it, but let's just believe this is
>>             the way it was.  The painting,
>>             I think there were three were set up in a
>>             corner off a main corridor.  The
>>             lighting was dark, which if you have ever been
>>             to MOMA is different, in
>>             many other parts of the museum there is a good
>>             deal of natural light (there
>>             was this great fountain, I wonder if it is
>>             still there).  The paintings
>>             were on tripods rather than hung on the walls
>>             and they were surrounded on
>>             three sides by walls.  All of these I think
>>             would be considered restraints
>>             - pushing me in to the works rather than
>>             stepping back away.  It was
>>             impossible for more than two or three people
>>             to view the paintings at one
>>             time and movement was limited, so there were
>>             fewer chances for social
>>             interactions (you were not going to pick up
>>             anybody looking at Jackson
>>             Pollock).  The atmosphere was brooding, making
>>             it more likely that viewers
>>             would move towards internal reflection.  All
>>             of these were constraints that
>>             canalized perspectives and feelings viewing
>>             the paintings.  You really had
>>             only two choices, you moved in to the
>>             paintings or you moved on, which I
>>             had done every previous time coming upon them.
>>                         The painting itself though became
>>                         an affordances, an object at the
>>             nexus of my journey through the museum, where
>>             I was in my life, and my
>>             abilities to perceive the painitings.  This
>>             was something that could not be
>>             designed I think because nobody could think
>>             that moment was going to
>>             happen.   So then what is a perceived
>>             affordance. Way back when there was
>>             also a Manet room.  It was a round room with
>>             different variations of his
>>             water lilies in a circle.  Almost the exact
>>             opposite in constraints it was
>>             large, airy, a lot of natural light.  If you
>>             were looking to brood you went
>>             somewhere else.  In the middle of the room was
>>             a wooden structure (not an
>>             obvious bench), but you realized as random
>>             colors dissolved into water
>>             lilies that you wanted to sit down.  You
>>             naturally moved to the center of
>>             the room and sat (wondering if a guard would
>>             come and tell you it was
>>             actually an important piece of art and you
>>             should get off).  The designer
>>             anticipates a desire to soak in the room, to
>>             almost get dizzy in the
>>             lights, and included in the design the piece
>>             of wood that will have the
>>             perceived affordance for sitting, changing
>>             your concept of time and space.
>>                         Michael
>>                         -----Original Message-----
>>                         From:
>>                         xmca-l-bounces+glassman.13=
>> osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                         <mailto:osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>                         [mailto:
>>             xmca-l-bounces+glassman.13=osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:osu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On Behalf
>>             Of Alfredo
>>             Jornet Gil
>>                         Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 3:01 PM
>>                         To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>                         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>                         Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>                         Thanks Michael,
>>                         I think we are saying the same
>>                         things, indeed, or at least more or
>>             less. I am quite certain that Bateson referred
>>             to energy, and that he used
>>             the mentioned examples (or similar ones) to
>>             show how the energy that moves
>>             the pig is not a direct transfer of energy
>>             from the kick, whereas in the
>>             case of the billiard balls, the movement of
>>             one ball is caused by the
>>             energy that the kicking ball brings. I might
>>             be wrong in the context within
>>             which Bateson was discussing the example, and
>>             I see that your account is in
>>             that regard is more accurate. But the point is
>>             the same: you can not intend
>>             the outcomes of a system by addressing only
>>             its parts as if they were
>>             connected directly, in a linear causal
>>             fashion; as if the whole was the sum
>>             of its parts. I do see a link with Vygotsky's
>>             rejection of S-R and his
>>             inclusion of a third element that transforms
>>             the whole system.
>>                         But I totally agree with your
>>                         comments on design intentions as they
>>             relate to ecology, and I, as I know also Rolf
>>             does, also like very much the
>>             notion of ecology to address these issues.
>>                         If I read you correctly, and
>>                         citing Don Norman (whose work I
>>                         ignore),
>>             you suggest the possibility that the relations
>>             between design intentions
>>             and actual experience could be thought of in
>>             terms of different levels?
>>             That one thing is to design for what is
>>             general, but that we cannot design
>>             for the particular. Is that right? If so, I
>>             think that Bateson had a
>>             similar argument on prediction, does not him?
>>             That we can predict on
>>             general levels (e.g. population), but not at
>>             the level of the particular
>>             (e.g., individual). I haven't gone that way,
>>             but seems a promising road to
>>             consider this jumps between levels of
>>             generality or scales.
>>                         Finally, I am not sure if I get
>>                         what you mean when you say that we can
>>             design for constrains but not for affordances.
>>             I still see that the one
>>             presupposes the other; you can separate them
>>             in talk, but, to me, in actual
>>             experience, a constrain is an affordance and
>>             vice-versa. I don't see how
>>             the road has any inherent constrain that could
>>             not be an affordance at the
>>             same time. Of course, if you take the
>>             normative stance that roads are for
>>             cars driving through them, you may be right.
>>             But if we think of roads as
>>             asphalt on the ground, as yet more ground only
>>             of a different shape,
>>             texture, and color, how is that a constrain
>>             but not an affordance? Or an
>>             affordance but not a constrain? Of course,
>>             culture constrains once you are
>>             within the road and you are driving. But then,
>>             the constrain is not in the
>>             road, as you seem to suggest, but in the
>>             journey; in the journeyman that
>>             carries some cultural way of orienting and
>>             affectively relating to its
>>             environment so that particular constrains are
>>             taken for granted despite the
>>             possibility of being otherwise. But I might
>>             not have thought it well/long
>>             enough and of course I might be wrong. I would
>>             like to understand your
>>             position here better.
>>                         Thanks!
>>                         Alfredo
>>                         ________________________________________
>>                         From:
>>                         xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=
>> iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>> on
>>             behalf of
>>             Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu
>>             <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>>
>>                         Sent: 15 July 2015 20:32
>>                         To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>                         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>                         Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>                         Hi Alfredo,
>>                         I have been reading Bateson
>>                         through a cybernetics lens lately
>>                         (Bateson
>>             along with Lewin and his wife Margaret Mead
>>             were part of the original Sears
>>             conferences)  and I'm not sure that's right or
>>             I am victim to the "when you
>>             have a hammer, everything looks like a nail"
>>             but....
>>                         I think Bateson was arguing with
>>                         those looking to apply the more
>>             physical/mathematical origins of cybernetics
>>             to human or really (pace the
>>             pig story) and system that moves beyond simple
>>             physical feedback loops.  I
>>             think his larger point is that everything has
>>             a response within the larger
>>             feedback system that exists but we cannot go -
>>             what Bateson refers to as
>>             MIND.  Attempts to create and control feedback
>>             loops, to try and design a
>>             system for specific types of feedback is a
>>             dangerous proposition.
>>                         This I think is the reason that
>>                         affordances really can't be designed
>>             into an ecology, only a recognition of the
>>             context in which actions are
>>             taking place (and I say this having no idea
>>             what Gibson's relationship to
>>             cybernetics was).  Taking Larry's example of
>>             the girl it is perhaps also
>>             likely that the girl could have taken the
>>             fixing of hair as a criticism, an
>>             attack, and it might have destroyed her
>>             confidence.  Both make sense in
>>             terms of feedback loops, but only ad hoc.  So
>>             if a designer does in some
>>             way design that experience into the action,
>>             even without meaning they are
>>             taking a large chance, because they do not
>>             know the trajectory it will
>>             take.  We simply need objects that are part of
>>             our journey, part of the
>>             larger context but not designed for purpose,
>>             for feedback.  There is no
>>             assumption about trajectory.
>>                         I think Don Norman sort of muddied
>>                         the waters on this, but in an
>>             interesting way.  That we can assume people
>>             are going to want to do certain
>>             things in a very general environment - when             you
>> enter a dark room you want
>>             light, so it is possible to design objects
>>             that meet that need that we are
>>             more likely to find in the moment that we need
>>             them.  But I think that is
>>             very different from the idea of specifically
>>             guiding feedback loops that
>>             even take generalized experience in a certain
>>             direction.  I am thinking
>>             about Dewey, and he makes a similar argument
>>             to Bateson with his concept of
>>             transactions.  Although he does seem to think
>>             that it is possible to create
>>             a larger field of action so we can see at
>>             least local interrelationships.
>>             But his idea of experience is also very much
>>             one of discovery based on
>>             needs at the immediate moment - social
>>             relations act as a vehicle for these
>>             discoveriesn(Dewey of course was writing
>>             before Gibson and for most of his
>>             life before cybernetics.  I also wonder what
>>             he thought of cybernetics).
>>                         I think I disagree with you,
>>                         constraints are not about the
>>                         journey but
>>             about the road.  If you build a road on the
>>             side of the river you are
>>             constrained because no matter what, you cannot
>>             turn right.  Your direction
>>             has already been partially determined by the
>>             designer of the road.  But the
>>             mistake we make is in thinking that also
>>             controls the trajectory of the
>>             individual's journey.  The effect of designers
>>             on trajectories of action is
>>             important, but limited.
>>                         The primary place that designers
>>                         have influence on affordances it
>>             seems to me is by being able to create a
>>             unique context for an individual's
>>             and a group's that limit possible trajectories
>>             on an individual's journey.
>>             But we should never mistake those constraints
>>             for affordances.  I think
>>             Bateson might argue it is hubris to do so.
>>             Perhaps this is what you are
>>             saying Alfredo.
>>                         Michael
>>                         -----Original Message-----
>>                         From:
>>                         xmca-l-bounces+mglassman=
>> ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                         <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+mglassman
>>             <mailto:xmca-l-bounces%2Bmglassman>=
>> ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On
>>             Behalf Of Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>                         Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
>>                         12:38 PM
>>                         To: Rolf Steier; eXtended Mind,
>>                         Culture, Activity
>>                         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>                         Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>                         I'd like to follow up on Michael's
>>                         post by asking a question: Are not
>>             affordances presupposed by constraints and are
>>             not constraints presupposed
>>             by affordances? If so, I would wonder whether
>>             it makes sense to ask whether
>>             museums should be designed for affordances and
>>             constraints.
>>                         What I think is clear from the
>>                         anecdote that you bring about the
>>             Jackson Pollock corner is that whatever
>>             EXPERIENCE emerges from being
>>             somewhere (i.e. being someone at some time in
>>             some place) cannot be
>>             INTENDED. And I think this applies both to
>>             designers and users, to those
>>             who set things up for you to experience and to
>>             you, who could not foresee
>>             what your experience was going to turn you
>>             into before you go through it.
>>                         I think that the big issue that
>>                         you bring on the table (to continue
>>             with Larry's metaphor) has to do with a
>>             difference between physical
>>             relations and social relations, and the idea
>>             of MEDIATION. Gregory Bateson
>>             noticed that the relations that are the
>>             subject matter in physics are not
>>             the same as those that are the subject matter
>>             in communication. He noticed
>>             that physical relations (relations that are
>>             the object of study of physics)
>>             transfer energy in direct manners: a billiard
>>             ball hits another ball and we
>>             can anticipate the exact speed and direction
>>             that the second ball will take
>>             based on the energy that is in the system ball
>>             + ball + someone hitting. In
>>             living beings, the things are different.
>>             Bateson explained, if we kick a
>>             pig's ass (I think he used this somehow
>>             bizarre example) the reaction of
>>             the pig is not accounted for by the energy
>>             that is contained in the kick,
>>             at least not in a direct manner. The energy
>>             that moves the pig is from a
>>             different source. Before Bateson, it was
>>             Vygotsky and his notion of
>>             mediation who would most clearly state that
>>             social relations are not
>>             direct, but mediated.
>>                         So, how can design go about this?
>>                         If we, along with Dewey and
>>             Vygotsky, consider experience to be a unity of
>>             person and environment, and
>>             we assume as well that this is a social (not
>>             just individual) category, and
>>             that how a situation is experienced is also
>>             refracted through the social
>>             relations within which we engage, the most
>>             designers can do is to foster
>>             social relations go on, giving afordances to
>>             prcesses of signification,
>>             without intending to embed meanings. It is
>>             about affordances/constraints,
>>             but not about how to interpret something, but
>>             about going about
>>             interpreting. I think.
>>                         Best wishes,
>>                         Alfredo
>>                         ________________________________________
>>                         From:
>>                         xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=
>> iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                         <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>> on
>>             behalf of
>>             Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu
>>             <mailto:glassman.13@osu.edu>>
>>                         Sent: 15 July 2015 18:04
>>                         To: Rolf Steier; eXtended Mind,
>>                         Culture,     Activity
>>                         Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>                         Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>                         So after reading the article and
>>                         the e-mail discussion I'm beginning
>>             to think there is a really big issue here that
>>             I am trying to grapple with,
>>             especially in terms of boundary objects (which
>>             I admittedly do not
>>             understand very well).  And it relates to the
>>             metaphor of the table (both
>>             as discussed by Larry and Ingold as
>>             interpreted by Rolf).  It is this, in
>>             the museum should the place be set up as
>>             affordances, perceived
>>             affordances, or constraints?  It seems the
>>             museum in the study has
>>             potential affordances for the users.  The
>>             cultural historical moment
>>             (unable to think of any other word) of the
>>             museum sets the context, meaning
>>             those walking through the museum are going to
>>             be restricted by the
>>             historical and cultural boundaries leading up
>>             to the art work, along with
>>             the expectations and needs of the individuals
>>             moving through the museum,
>>             but they will come across objects/artifacts
>>             that they think meets the needs
>>             of their particular journeys. The posing
>>             becomes both an internalization
>>             and externalization of the thinking (or are
>>             they one continuum at this
>>             point?) in which they both make sense of the
>>             object in terms of their own
>>             meaning and needs and also try and communicate
>>             what they found, leaving a
>>             potential trails for others.
>>                         An example that has stayed with me
>>                         for years. Living in New York I
>>             used to go to the Museum of Modern Art on a
>>             semi-regular basis (in large
>>             part to try and meet women, always
>>             unsuccessful). I would often visit the
>>             Jackson Pollock corner.  I would look and it
>>             would always be meaningful to
>>             me and I would move one quickly.  Once, soon
>>             after graduating college and
>>             unemployed and about as frustrated as I'd ever
>>             been I viewed the same
>>             paintings.  At that moment Pollock made sense
>>             to me, a deep emotional punch
>>             - the paintings became objects that could
>>             bridge my rage, sadness and fear
>>             to the next moment in my life.  There is no
>>             way a designer could have
>>             planned this affordance.  It was based on the
>>             movement not just through the
>>             museum but my life.  I think back to what my
>>             gestures, or even posing might
>>             have been at that moment.  A slumping in to
>>             myself, an internalization
>>             perhaps of a socially sanctioned symbol of
>>             rage. But perhaps a posture
>>             also that said stay away.  The place I created
>>             in that moment was one that
>>             included me and whatever demons Jackson
>>             Pollock fought with.
>>                         Or should museums should be
>>                         designed for what Don Norman
>>                         refers to as
>>             perceived affordances?  The table that is set
>>             up can be one of perceived
>>             affordances.  What I grab for the spoon
>>             because its shape makes sense in my
>>             need/desire to eat cereal.  The focus goes
>>             from cultural history setting a
>>             general context - Jackson Pollock is a
>>             sanctioned way to bridge emotions,
>>             to actually setting the trajectory of the
>>             act.  I sit at a table, I want to
>>             eat cereal, I must follow sanctioned rule
>>             systems, I know what I need at
>>             that moment and look for objects that fit my
>>             needs.  Is the room in the
>>             article about perceived affordances.  Should
>>             the museum be designed for
>>             perceived affordances.  A person coming upon
>>             an object may be thinking this
>>             because of what it means in our society to be
>>             walking through a museum.
>>             The object offers an opportunity to make
>>             communicative gestures, such as
>>             recreating the posture of The Thinker the
>>             authors refer to.  I have seen
>>             many shows, movies where this happens, from
>>             movies from the 1940s to the
>>             Rugrats.  This is the cultural cue of what we
>>             do with art objects in a
>>             museum, we gesture to both understand and
>>             communicate.
>>                         Or should museums be designed as
>>                         constraints. In the Metropolitan
>>             Museum of Art (sorry for the New York centric
>>             places but that's where I
>>             spent most of my museum life) the rooms are
>>             set up very, very carefully, so
>>             that in many ways the objects (at least are
>>             meant to I think) to constrain
>>             your thinking, so that you are responding to a
>>             certain period or school of
>>             art, understanding how it all fits together.             The
>> table metaphor fits here
>>             as well I think.  Does the table constrain our
>>             actions, limiting to certain
>>             types of behavior (use only certain types of
>>             forks for certain types of
>>             food).
>>                         Okay, too much I know.
>>                         Michael
>>                         -----Original Message-----
>>                         From:
>>                         xmca-l-bounces+mglassman=
>> ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                         <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+mglassman
>>             <mailto:xmca-l-bounces%2Bmglassman>=
>> ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On
>>             Behalf Of Rolf Steier
>>                         Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 6:58 AM
>>                         To: Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>                         Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture,
>>                         Activity; mike cole;
>>             lchc-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:lchc-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>                         Subject: [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!
>>                         Rolf
>>                         On Tue, Jul 14, 2015 at 11:28 PM,
>>                         Alfredo Jornet Gil <
>>             a.j.gil@iped.uio.no <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>>
>>                         wrote:
>>                             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
>>                             <mailto: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
>>                             <mailto: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
>>                             <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
>>                             <mailto:lchc-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>                             Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: The