Yeah I’ll be there… No link as such, but it’s for a workshop entitled Participatory Materialities. I’ll be talking about undecidability actually in software.
It’s nice to think that I’ll be spending the Queen’s Jubilee, talking about issues which are fundamentally against the Queen’s Jubliee. Heres the blurb.
“The continual development of a networked pervasive computing culture raises important questions about mediation, materiality and participation that integrate aesthetic, design- and HCI concerns. It becomes evident, that questions around how we perceive software interfaces and how they in turn structure our participation is not just a question of functionality but also of perception, understanding, creativity and the potential for participation. The compatibility and incompatibility of interfaces is not just an important functional question but also a cultural and political discussion and these dimensions are furthermore interrelated. This workshop will aim at developing a cross-disciplinary language for addressing such issues in contemporary computing culture.
Complex mediation structures in new and evolving fields of IT-use, liquefy the distinction between tool and material. Tools turn into materials, and objects of interest become instrumental mediators in the process of developing innovative use of software and in reshaping software itself. By changing perspective from triadic subject-instrument-object mediation to complex meditational structures, an analytical sensitivity for the evolving material qualities of software in use is opened.
This materiality may be addressed at many levels: as the tangible materiality of software established through physical interaction devices and through simulated materiality of the graphical user interface, or as a mouldable materiality of software with changeable and reconfigurable functionality, or as materialized when somebody uses the software, when it is interpreted and interacted with – from the low level of code and algorithms, over the interface, its metaphors and interaction, to the domain specific products resulting from use. The processes and products of software become sensuous form with aesthetic meaning. Metaphor may be the historic master trope of the direct manipulation interface, while other tropes, such as metonymy, may better accommodate appropriation and participation in the broader sense of cultural and aesthetic engagement beyond the pre-planned.
The concept of participation in IT-development was coined in the early trade union cooperation projects of the seventies and eighties, when focus was on co-determination in technological change at the workplace. By broadening the scope to include cultural and aesthetic perspectives, the concept of participation can be re-actualized.
While, historically the focus of design methods and intervention was on co-determination, theoretical and empirical work pointed out that use qualities are constituted in use, and that un-anticipated use occur in most situations of IT use. Subsequently, that led to work on tailoring and end-user programming, and to a theoretical interest for appropriation. Still we seem to miss frameworks for understanding and designing technical substrates accommodating fluid appropriation, extending into the collectively mouldable. Thus, in enabling participation beyond the strategic level of work arrangements, and beyond the level of DIY concepts like the Dynabook, we suggest that ideas of digital materiality, based on complex mediation and alternative tropes, could be a fruitful starting point.
Materiality and participation could be addressed in a wide range of fields and applications, extending beyond the workplace, including electronic music composition, live coding, remix, mash-up, locative media, urban computing and networks where it is difficult or politically charged to define the participants, the goals and the limits of the systems.
On this background, we would like to discuss the relations between materiality, appropriation, and participation.
Keywords for contributions includes: software creativity, materiality, appropriation, participation, instrumentality, representation, code, artefacts, tools, infrastructures, software reception, interactivity, cultural computing, open soft/hardware”