Ecscw '99 by Susanne Bødker, Morten Kyng, K. Schmidt

By Susanne Bødker, Morten Kyng, K. Schmidt

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Some desks are sparse and tidy, perhaps with a single printed plan. Others are a seeming jumble of disparate materials - plans, sketches, notes, photographs, documents, books, samples, etc. On a large display table there is a more ‘staged’ setting of material on show - inspirational objects, art and design books and magazines open at particular pages, drawings of a recent project. On another table is a large physical model of a current project - a cinema complex - and lying next to it an endoscope with which internal views can be obtained.

In a setting such as this, what kind of machine can there be for determining which materials are relevant and how they should be arranged? None, we propose. The members of the community of practice engaged in the work are the authority that decides how materials should be arranged. The purpose of the presence and arrangement of materials is to support context, awareness and action, but these are situated and relative. The same thing can be the work object for one activity, background material or context for another activity, and would be an irrelevant distraction for a third - all in ways which change on a moment-to-moment basis.

There are several interconnected largish rooms, each with two or three desks, each of these with a workstation. Some desks are sparse and tidy, perhaps with a single printed plan. Others are a seeming jumble of disparate materials - plans, sketches, notes, photographs, documents, books, samples, etc. On a large display table there is a more ‘staged’ setting of material on show - inspirational objects, art and design books and magazines open at particular pages, drawings of a recent project. On another table is a large physical model of a current project - a cinema complex - and lying next to it an endoscope with which internal views can be obtained.

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