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Re: [xmca] Interface as tool and sign

Although Vygotsky definitely did talk about "tool and sign" as though there was a dichtomy here, this was in the days before personal computers and so on. I see these as archetypes, not categories as such. Consider the following series of cultural means of opening a door: crow-bar, handle, key, swipe card, PIN code, password, smile to the doorkeeper.

See http://home.mira.net/~andy/works/vygotskys-critique.htm


Jon Olav H. Eikenes wrote:

I am currently doing research on (human-computer) interfaces and try
to analyze them as mediating artifacts. By drawing on social semiotics
I see the interface as a ‘sign’ – a multimodal text that employs
semiotic resources for making meaning. However, I also see the
interface as a tool or instrument for people in carrying out actions
(such as producing music or writing documents) – by drawing on
Vygotsky and Leont’ev. Jay Lemke mentioned to me that there already
have been discussions in XMCA about the differences and similarities
of tools and signs. I have consulted the archives and found many
interesting references. However, I wonder if anyone know any
literature that addresses how something may function both as sign and
as tool at the same time.

Jon Olav
Jon Olav Eikenes
PhD student
Oslo School of Architecture and Design
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Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden An Interdisciplinary Theory of Activity: http://www.brill.nl/scss

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