Materiality for Participation, Workshop at NordiCHI 2012

Call For Papers

14th October 2012, at NordiCHI 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark
Deadline for submissions: 20 August 2012

We would like to discuss the relations between materiality,
appropriation, and participation in a wide range of fields and
applications, extending beyond the workplace. We suggest that ideas of
digital materiality could be a fruitful starting point when discussing
participation beyond the strategic level of work arrangements. This
includes complex mediation and a strengthened analytical focus on
participation in an aesthetic and cultural perspective.

The workshop seeks to attract interested or intrigued people working
theoretically, practically, artistically, analytically, etceteratically
in fields related to design and use of interactive technology, who
would like to explore the intersection between materiality and participation.

Background and workshop theme
Complex mediation structures in new and evolving fields of IT-use,
liquefy the distinction between tool and material. In both use and
development of new forms of software, tools turn into materials, and
objects of interest become instrumental mediators that reshape software
itself. We believe, that by changing perspective from the triadic
subject-instrument-object mediation to complex mediational structures,
an analytical sensitivity for the material qualities of software in use
is opened.

This materiality presents itself on many levels that can be addressed
individually or in combination:

* the physical materiality of software established through tangible
interaction devices,

* the simulated materiality of the graphical user interface,

* a moldable materiality of software with changeable and reconfigurable

* as materialized when software is interpreted and interacted with
through use – 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 have become sensuous forms with
aesthetic meaning that enable appropriation and participation in a
broader sense of cultural and aesthetic engagement beyond the
pre-planned. By broadening the scope of participation to include
cultural and aesthetic perspectives, the concept of participation can
be re-actualized and move beyond the traditional understanding of
participation in IT-development. This was coined in the early trade
union cooperation projects of the seventies and eighties that focused
on co-determination in technological change at the workplace. 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

Still, we seem to miss frameworks for understanding and designing
technical substrates that accommodate fluid appropriation and extend
into the collectively moldable. Thus, in discussing participation
beyond the strategic level of work arrangements we suggest that ideas of
digital materiality – like those sketched above – could be a fruitful
starting point.

Workshop goals
The Workshop will explore the relations between the materiality of
computing technologies and participation in use and design.

The goal of the workshop is to inspire and further discussions and new
perspectives in the intersection between understanding the materiality
of computing technologies and appreciating participation in aesthetic
and cultural perspectives in both use and design.

The day will be organised based on the submitted position papers, in a
format promoting discussion and innovation.

Proceedings comprising accepted papers will be published in the
organisers’ department publication series. We will also seek to sustain
the discussions in more archival format.

Call for Position papers
We invite position papers from people interested in contributing to the
ongoing discussion on materiality in relation to participation in use
and design of interactive technologies.

Position papers can be formated freely formated but should be fitted on
two pages A4 paper. Submission by email, in PDF format, to no later than August 20, 2012.

Possible themes include, but are not restricted to:

* Software creativity.
* Digital materiality.
* Appropriation and reception of software.
* Participatory design.
* Instrumentality.
* Representational forms.
* Code as material.
* Tools vs. materials.
* Infrastructures.
* Concepts of interactivity.
* Cultural computing.
* Open soft-/hardware.
* Symmetric and asymmetric power.
* Co-determination and democracy.

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