Re: [xmca] Activity Systems and Time

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Mon Oct 17 2005 - 13:35:47 PDT

And time is not an abstraction? I fail to follow your line of thinking,
Carol. Must be the rain
induced euphoria here.

On 10/17/05, Carol Macdonald <> wrote:
> Mike –I 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 that's what I understood you, Mike, to mean as an
> abstraction. I think at Seville people were thinking that it's just to
> easy to draw up a simple system, as if that's 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?
> Carol
> -----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.
> mike
> 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. Time—which 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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