Monthly Archives: February 2005

A conversation with T

T: "what keeps coming back to me, is your job, and the way that
analyzed/dissected small movements, reactions, and expressions of
people to understand how they respond with each other and with in their
environment. In some ways your reminded me of a surgeon, cutting
through the psyche with words. I guess that is what lead me to think
that in someways your are involved in the forensics of the every day."

E: I like that, the forensics of the everyday. this again reminds me
of the femninist films I studied a long time ago, I must dig those up.

T: I am currently working on a series of videos, called studies in
translocation. These videos are shot all over the world, and uses the
footage as metaphors for emotional spaces. Each piece investigates the
parameters of time and space and their physical and emotional effect on
people. Through editing and effects and sound, I am often creating an
atmosphere that is sort of an intensified, illusory version of reality.
This is a series of developmental work that is never really 'finished',
each time, more like a visual journal, I go back and re-interpret each
piece. I guess this process is visualising my thoughts on life – that
what I understand about it one day is not necessarily the same the next
day. There are constant shifts and nothing is reliable. Each
re-interpretation is documented. I was wondering if I could bring you
in on these interpretations/regurgitation.

E: Sounds very intriguing and we should try it…..

T: I thought i could email a quicktime of it to you, and you could
respond (quickly) in words (either text or audio), and these words
would then influence the next re-incarnation of the work.

E. Sounds good.

T: Respond intuitively if you can.

E: hmmm intuition, an elusive thing

T: there does not have to be any narrative. this is not about
creating master peices, but more about revealing accidents, mistakes –
regurgitating – spewing forth, etc. I
will further dissect it. I thought this could be a good start to see
what results. I guess I have visions of it resulting into some live
action, that i could shoot here. Anyway, let me know what you think.

E: I think YES

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Thoughts for T: Work and inspiration

I would say the origins of my work are in ergonomics or human factors – evaluating, observing and designing with a sensitivity to human characteristics and capabilities. While early ergonomics was rooted in consideration of biometrics and physiology, it soon moved to consider motivation (The Hawthorne Effect) and other less “tangible” things.

When working in the field, I draw on methods from anthropology, from psychology and from sociology to think about this idea of humans and their relations to each other and to the artifacts they use, consume, adopt, embed into their lived lives. I am inspired by anthropologists but have never had the luxury of spending mcuh time immersed in any situation. I love the work in cultural studies of the adoption and assimilation of technologies – and work in how tetchnologies when adopted do not necessarily function in the ways their designers intended.

When working in design, I use methods from Human Computer Interaction (testing and evaluation that draws much from experimental psychology: cognitive walkthroughs, logged data analysis that again draws much from psychology, survey analysis tthat draws much from sociology and from social psychology), information design (lookiing at layouts mostly), experience design (trying everything from egenrating personas and scenarios to role playing and ideas drawn from performance).

I have always been a methodological and perhaps a philosophical dilletante, perhaps it is time to work out what I really think. Perhaps that will give me the research focus I have always desired. Or perhaps it will trap me into one way of thinking.

Response to T on Forensics

A general conversation that suggested an interest in field work, what I call directed nosiness – T thought this was a kind of forensics. So I went to look up forensics to see what I could see, and found this which I sent to T:

fo·ren·sics
n. (used with a sing. verb)

1. The art or study of formal debate; argumentation.
2. The use of science and technology to investigate and establish facts in criminal or civil courts of law.

The first definition was a real surprise, I see my work as argumentation in its textual and summary form but not the study of that form itself.

I was more intrigued by the second definition, as I figured forensics to be closely associated with dead bodies, laboratories and murder cases. Which of course is a specific interpretation of the second definition. But there is a broader way to think about it obviously, as T pointed out in her initial enquiry.

So I do an archaeology of people’s things, a kind of activity forensics, looking at how people navigate, locomote through their daily lives, how they get things done that they want done and what they use along the way. The touch to forensics is that I use scientific methods (broadly speaking, social science methods in particular, and there is debate about hwo sceintific that actually is, but lets not go down that rat hole) to establish hoe people conduct their lives> I use technologies and study technologies in use. The technologies I use are pen/pencil and paper, camera, video camera and audio recorders. The so called capture technologies. I study any form of technology and enjoy debates about what constitutes a technology in any case. Again there are definitions and ideas in here that are of inetrest but not on track for this stream of consciousness.

My work is also not connected to the criminal or civil courts of law, not tied to the law at all. But it could be. The techniques are easily applicable to demosntrating how something may or may not fulfill its intended function whcih could of course lead to data to be used in a court case.