RE: [xmca] Activity Systems and Time

From: Carol Macdonald (
Date: Mon Oct 17 2005 - 09:57:36 PDT

Mike ĖI would disagree. As enchanting as those moving Activity Systems were
(bb, they really are, I loved them, and stared at them for several minutes
quite mesmerized), they were still content-empty in relation to any
particular system, and thatís what I understood you, Mike, to mean as an
abstraction. I think at Seville people were thinking that itís just to easy
to draw up a simple system, as if thatís an explanation. The explanation
comes discursively. I am thinking particularly of the Sevillepresentation
of graffiti in East Berlin, which started off as a simple description,
listing the elements and then went into sense, meaning and power.
So, how does moving and changing size mimic time?

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Cole []
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 5:20 PM
To:; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Activity Systems and Time

I believe that modern graphics program afford representation both of
variability and time and the two
combined, Carol. I beieve that is what bb has been playing with.
On 10/15/05, Carol Macdonald <
<> > wrote:

Mike pointed out that the Activity System is an abstraction: I see it as an
external tool, and as it is currently drawn, it only represents two
dimensions. Timeówhich can't be represented, is the fourth dimension and
as such, we could only represent it by having a continuously moving system,
but this is best done discursively as the relationships are continuously
changing. As Mike (1996:141) said:
The various components of an activity system do not exist in isolation from
one another; rather, they are constantly being constructed, renewed, and
transformed as outcome and cause of human life.
It is our job to describe the construction, renewal and transformation and
changed relationships: the schema per se cannot do that for us.
Carol Macdonald
Wits School of Education

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