Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Successful NWL Seminar

The Nomadic Work/Life Project (jointly run by IDC and the Dept. of Sociology and supported by ISKS - The Institute for the Study of Knowledge in Society at UL) hosted a successful international Seminar this week on the topic of "Mobility and Nomadicity:
Methodological Challenges and Innovations". Mobility is a key feature of globalization, interrelated with emerging technologies, socialities and labour forms. Although a wealth of studies have been addressing this reality, little has been said about the methodological dimension of mobilities research. By bringing together an international group of scholars, the goal of this seminar was to identify some of the main methodological innovations and challenges in the field of mobilities research. The seminar proceedings will be published as a special journal issue. Invited speakers were: Justin Spinney (Uinversity of Surrey), Elaine Moriarty (Trinity College Dublin), Michaela Benson (Keele University), Jo Vergunst (University of Aberdeen) and Misha Myers (University College Falmouth).

IDC seminar series: Brian Coates on Deconstruction

Brian Coates has given a talk within the IDC workshop series on the notion of Deconstruction on the 5th of May. Brian has offered a wide overview of the notion by largely drawing on the work by Derrida, Lacan, Foucault and Kristeva and some of their followers. According to Derrida, Deconstruction is '…is neither a philosophy, nor a doctrine, nor a knowledge, nor a method, nor a discipline, not even a determinate concept, only what happens if it happens –'. A quotation by Barbara Johnson has further framed the notion of deconstruction within the practice of 'teasing out of warring forces of signification within (any given) the text itself'.
"The de-construction of a text does not proceed by random doubt or arbitrary subversion, but by the careful teasing out of warring forces of signification within the text itself. If anything is destroyed in a deconstructive reading, it is not the text, but the claim to unequivocal domination of one mode of signifying over another".

Instances of decostruction and of warring forces have been provided through very interesting text analysis of Derrida’s dialogues with Plato, Rousseau, Husserl and Levi-Strauss; an analysis of the binary systems in Western culture and the need to deconstruct it was also presented; poems by Yeats, Eliot and Pound evidenced the crisis of modernity; Nietszche and Barthes were quoted to point up the way in which deconstruction works. Lacan’s concept of the mirror stage, Kristeva’s chora and Foucault’s panopticon provided examples of deconstruction at work. The group worked together on a practical exercise – to deconstruct a passage from J.M. Synge’s Journey to the Western Isles and a poem by Tom Leonard, ‘Yon Night’.

A debate has followed where IDCers has tried to make connection with their experiences and interests. Mikael Fernstrom showed how the very principles of deconstruction often guide his artistic practice especially when this is driven by hijacking intended design and tinkering with possibilities (he provided the link Cristiano Storni has tried to show the warring forces related with his actual domain of investigation (Health Care) by discussing (and possibly deconstructing) the notion of Compliance. Compliance is in fact a concept developed from the point of view of the doctor and of biomedicine and it has the specific function of showing what people should do and of rendering non-compliant behavior as a form of deviation in need of an explanation and of control. His point was to show that - for instance - when designing for patient empowerment certain notion can be misleading and bring not so much to an emancipation of patient but rather to further and even more subtle forms of dependencies.
Luigina Ciolfi has found interesting connections with Philosophy of science and asked about the relationship between the work of Derrida and the critical studies of science and scientific knowledge (e.g. as in Feyerabend). Further connection where found in the work of semioticians Kristeva.

Attempt to link the notion of deconstruction with the practice of design has been sketched and we are looking forward to follow up on this matter. Just as a hint, Brian told that the notion of deconstruction has found space within certain movements in architecture such as in the work of Gehry.

Slides are available for whom might be interested. The seminar has been also recorded.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Bridging Interaction Clouds" at ECSCW 2009

**********************CALL FOR PAPERS**********************
Workshop "Bridging “Interaction Clouds”: Exploring collaborative interaction across assemblies of mobile and embedded technology"

To be held at ECSCW 2009, Vienna, Austria 7-8 September.

Portable technology, particularly in the shape of mobile phones and personal digital assistants, has become a ubiquitous force in everyday life. Advances in communication technologies have also meant that we are rapidly moving towards the convergence of mobile and stationary systems: this has allowed people to use mobile technology to engage with systems embedded in the environments they inhabit, offering a greater range of interaction possibilities and patterns that we have labeled “Interaction Clouds”. By “Interaction Clouds” we mean the complex patterns of interaction, sharing and exchange that unfold around assemblies of mobile and embedded technologies.
This workshop aims at exploring such issues in greater detail, with a specific focus on the design of a coherent social and collaborative experience for people as the transverse an “assembly” of technologies. The notion of Interaction Clouds also resonates with the emergence of the internet as a resource free of device and location constraints has brought about the concept of “cloud computing”, where technology is emerging that allows people to shift between multiple contexts (mobile/embedded), facilitated by a connection to remote computing resources (clouds). This devolving of traditional interaction paradigms brings with it new challenges to support meaningful user social and collaborative experiences, specifically how such hybrid systems can facilitate salient aspects of user experiences such as collaboration and participation.
Topics of Interest
• Studies of social and collaborative activity around interaction clouds
• Design for the support of collaboration and participation across interaction clouds
• New interaction modalities in interaction clouds that support social interaction
• Theoretical issues of how to define and study interaction clouds (merging mobility-oriented and space-oriented frameworks, new conceptual approaches, development of existing frameworks, etc.)
• Explorations of settings where interaction clouds can be meaningfully deployed: e.g. public spaces (museums, urbans areas), workplaces, domestic spaces, etc.

Dates and Deadlines
Submissions are due: June 20th, 2009
Notification of Authors: 6th July, 2009
Workshop at ECSCW 2009: September 7th - 8th, 2009

Interested participants are invited to submit position papers in PDF format with a word limit of 5000 words. Papers should be formatted according to the ECSCW template see the instructions for authors.
The .pdf files should be sent to:

Workshop outline
The Workshop will run over 1 day. The Workshop call requests the submission of short position papers. However, during the workshop, we will foster debate moving away from traditional presentations, and by facilitating discussions on shared artifacts. We will invite the participants to contribute to the workshop with either posters, or demos/prototypes, or video data documenting an experience, and these materials will be the main subject of the discussion. In the afternoon session, we will lead more focused small-group discussions and brainstorming, and practical design exercises.

Publication & dissemination
Accepted papers will be included in the Workshop Webpage. During the workshop participants will be asked to prepare posters for display during the conference. During the workshop, opportunties for future publications (such as a journal special issue) will be discussed.

Marc McLoughlin, Interaction Design Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland
Luigina Ciolfi, Interaction Design Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland
Mike Fraser, University of Bristol, UK
Eva Hornecker, University of Strathclyde, UK
John Bowers, Interaction Research Studio, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Contact Details
Workshop Webpage:
Please Contact the workshop chairs at: