Two presentations: boundaries and sketching

I had the honor and pleasure of being invited to give two very different presentations recently.

Yesterday, I was on a panel at the Headlands Center for the Arts on the economic side of creative work. This is something that's long interested me, but something I rarely get to discuss in private, much less in public with such panelists as Donald Fortescue, Bruce Tomb and Andrea Zittel. My presentation (400K PDF) was only a small piece of the two-hour discussion, but I figured I'd share it anyway. In it, I introduce the idea of boundary objects as a way to talk about products and projects that fall between the primarily commercial work of design and the primarily expressive work of art (though as the discussion showed, the distinction is very fuzzy). In the presentation, I mention the work of Noam Toran and although I have ranted about critical design before, I think his work is great, even though I still don't think it's really design. Also, if you were there: what I meant when I said that the high end art market (which is a market, unlike the music industry) was corrupt was that its workings (as someone on the outside) are highly opaque and that I believe it is highly susceptible to price manipulation and insider trading; if it was a regulated market, I believe that there would be a lot of playfield-leveling regulation that would be done to keep dealers, collectors and museums from leveraging their respective power in the financial and reputation markets unfairly toward people outside of the existing social network.

The second presentation (650K PDF) I gave was on sketching for frogdesign San Francisco back in mid-July. It outlines much of the work that ThingM has been doing this year and how it fits into our overall philosophy of sketching as an agile user experience design methodology.

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It seems to be back up now. There's not much at the other end of that link, anyway. It's a definition that reads "Artifacts, Documents and perhaps even vocabulary that can help people from different communities build a shared understanding. Boundary objects will be interpreted differently by the different communities, and it is an acknowledgment and discussion of these differences that enables a shared understanding to be formed."

If you search for "boundary object" in Google, you can get a pretty good idea of the breadth of the use of the term. It's used by everyone from knowledge management folks who are studying things like forms to people who are in the far edges of critical social theory who use it to discuss any kind of conceptual overlap. If you really want to get geeky with the abstract social science, I recommend looking up Actor-network theory.

I couldn't link to the bit on boundary objects at Colorado - would have liked to have read it. Just thought you should know!




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This page contains a single entry by Mike Kuniavsky published on August 6, 2007 9:56 AM.

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