Archive for January, 2010

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Interactive television seminar: developing new interactive experiences for television audiences

January 27, 2010

Today we had a guest researcher’s seminar in HTK. I have taken some notes from his ideas.

Teijo Pellinen
doctoral student of Lapland Uni

Artistic search as new source of innovation. In Finland there are Sibelius academy and Fine Art academy where you can do artistic research related to domains such as opera etc. In Aalto University and Univ. of Lapland there are artistic research methods applied to art and design research.

Interactive narratives you can find in videogames.

To understand interactivity the narrativity in interactive television must be cut down to mental representation dimension, so narrative is emerging in the spectator’s mind through the interaction with the film.

Social media is a lot about storytelling. Traditional telephone conversation has changed from professional interaction to domestic enjoinment in time. In core it is a lot about telling stories, skipping technological functionalities. Same we see in modern social media services such as Twitter, Blogspot, Myspace etc.

Always when you watch narrative you are willing to see the narrative, the will to hear is the will to be seen. When we experience the story we also tell the story.

Not so many interactive, sustainable television programs exist (quiz games, chatting programs), it is quite new phenomena in TV.
Regular interactive TV programs have been around a decade. Lottery TV program is interactive if you participate with your ticket.

Big question is: What kind of experiences can be transmitted in TV to audience interaction?

Examples:

Almost non-existing narrative
Akvaario program in Finland.
Sheep TV
Mind Saver (interactivity of taming a wild animal)
The age of Garbage (work in progress) (birds are recycling garbage in TV screen, if you call the program contacts you and the birds can come to your telephone and you can interactively control the game in your phone). television + game + story (it might be a Facebook application)

Control interactivity is established with phonecalls

A story between stories: algorithmic and audience control of video segments in an experimental interactive television programme
Chris Hales; Teijo Pellinen; Markus Castrén

Digital Creativity
2006, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 234–242

TV and art are polarised, antagonistic. You cannot say i do art in TV.
If i want to develop interactive TV programs, a good way is to make an artistic research. Methodology should grow from research.

Three models are applied in interactive art research of Teijo:

a) Kari Kuuti 1996 activity theory model

We think how individual is related with the community?
How individual is related with the target?
The reflection – how the target is related with the community creates the communal aspect of the interactive TV program?

b) Eija Timonen’s Practical based research model

According to this model we can create knowledge in artistic research, theoretical work is growing and shaping the practical research. The research question is still changing all the time, but eventually it will be fixed.

c) The relation of art and research (the relation of design and research)

Research about art
Research for art
Research through art

Results of Teijo’s studies

Sheep TV: people were willing to interact with the program and were long time interested in interaction. Question why are people willing to interact? Is it a game, a social game, is it just looping nature video that is attractive? Quite often 2 people started interaction (dialogie) with eac other (2 telefone numbers) to control the lamb.

The Mind Saver included database to record interaction.
The popularity of the program was surprising, a lot of software components crashed by the amount of interactivity.
Many callers called several times.
What to do with the data? The data indicate that people are really willing to interact.
In the Mind Saver there were more than 100 000 telephone calls, website got 2 000 entries. I assume that the website didnt get enough entertainment value as a component in interactive television.

Big question:

What kind of experiences can we transmit through audience interaction?

Is repetition key to new way of narrative?

This point i loved the most, because it is really related with the ontospacial view of writing digital narratives i have tried to explore. Practically, in ontospacial view we see repetition emerge in spacial terms, people come back and interact with the certain spaces meaningful or them in ontospace.

Repetitive action can be basis for new routine

Interactivity brings intimacy

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Ecology of Embodied Narratives in the Age of Locative Media

January 14, 2010

In Cognitive Philology, Vol 2 (2009)

Ecology of Embodied Narratives in the Age of Locative Media and Social Networks: a Design Experiment

Kai Pata, Anatole Pierre Fuksas

Abstract

A Design-based research tested a Hybrid Ecosystem emerging from collaborative storytelling supported by geo-locative technologies and Social Networking Services. We assumed that such Hybrid Ecosystem emerges when people experience a given environment through their own sensory-motor system while processing related locative media. We found that individual and collaborative activity in a hybrid ecosystem could be described on the basis of the swarming concept from biology.
Indeed, topics and themes seem to emerge, to be narrated and spread on the basis of unplanned, not concerted, polygenetic activity. Interaction basically leads to the emergence of behavioral patterns which immediately develop into mutated forms. As soon as a topic or a theme spread among the community, individual participants start differentiating their unique point of view on it, eventually comparing it with the one of some peers, so as to team up on the basis of affinity.
Literal references emerging from storytelling in hybrid ecosystems outscore metaphorical by far. Rather, comparison is definitely very active as a processing strategy whereas proper metaphors and generalizations emerge on a very limited basis. It looks like individual participants evaluate the collaborative streaming of narrative references as a series of individual, standalone events which are meaningful in themselves, not because the combination of them make it possible to grasp a general meaning.
A more careful assessment of data is very likely needed, but we can already conclude that narratives which emerge in hybrid ecosystems supported by locative technologies and Social Networking Services define the borders of participatory and collaborative story formats which reshape human presence in the environment while redefining the very concept of storytelling.

paper

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Obstacles in implementing SECI model in organizations

January 14, 2010

The SECI model in extended organizations

Socialisation of tacit knowledge happens when individuals are prompted to accumulate knowledge through physical proximity and interaction with colleagues from different organisations in the apprenticeship manner. Individuals usually talk and share information during work processes without pre-defined shared goals, but they follow their own personal agendas. The main aims of socialisation phase are participating in social networks across various borders, talking about, sharing, shaping and taking ownership of institutional norms and visions. In this mode the organisational objectives, norms and standards should be accessible for individuals from different organizations and shareable between them in electronic format to understand the work situations and task contexts. In organizations with different cultures various official restrictions and individual preferences of sharing knowledge might hinder this cross-border networking. The biggest problem might be the missing culture of building and using personal networks and participating in cross-border communities.

Externalisation of tacit knowledge into explicit should happen when individuals are prompted to create and articulate tacit concepts through abductive thinking, the use of metaphors for concept creation, the use of models, diagrams or prototypes. For example, they could write down their plans and reflect about the activities, but they need to consider the organisational norms and expectations as guidelines in their reflections. This would make the documented individual tacit knowledge explicit, searchable for other people and usable as knowledge objects. Two simultaneous aims are important in the externalisation process: a) workers at industry and university staff need to individually reflect why, how and what they do in their professional practice, and simultaneously harmonise that knowledge with organisational visions, norms, and expected competences (e.g. accepted professional competence scales, accepted theories, etc.); b) They must be provided with the access to documents from different organisational repositories that convey information about such visions, norms and organisational expectations, and in the documentation process some commonly created ontology and mutually meaningful workflow scheme should be used to write down their experience. In the extended organisations, it would mean that individuals should plan their professional competence development (in internalization phase) considering simultaneously norms and objectives from two organisations, using ontologies that are usable across organisational borders etc. This would also mean the cross-border access to the organisational normative documents and knowledge objects created by individuals. However, it is problematic how to motivate people planning their professional development in work situations, harmonising their plans with different organisations’ expectations, externalising their tacit knowledge regularly, and sharing it publicly or semi-publicly with colleagues and supreme members of organisations.

Combination activities of explicit knowledge are primarily group-based and can be supported by organising collaborative group discussions in extended organisation, presentations and meetings, where individuals with different perspectives can ground and negotiate upon the externalised concepts and knowledge objects. The aim of the combination phase is to keep the organisational knowledge, rules and objectives updated with the real work processes and develop new norms and visions for organizations. In the combination phase of extended organisations simultaneously the individual-organisation and organisation-organisation exchange should take place. This would increase the cross-border translation possibilities and enhance the uptake of knowledge into new situations. In this mode individuals may look for collaborators and form various communities or groups that have shared goals. They should discuss about externalised knowledge objects, modify them and finalise as new knowledge object, which could in the future guide organisation’s shared practice. The problems here stand in the formation of cross-unit and cross-organisation communities, forming novel community practices in which the shared identity is formed across organisational borders.

Internalisation phase is mainly an individual planning and learning process. Two aspects are important in internalisation: a) It contains planning and externally reflecting what competencies and goals thay want to achieve, and simultaneously harmonising their plans with organisational visions, norms and expected competencies (e.g nationally accepted professional competence scales, accepted learning theories, etc.); b) planning the professional development suggest learning from other professionals’ experiences and combining it with academic knowledge it with academic knowledge. In the internalisation phase the resources created in the externalisation phase could be accessed and used for planning personal learning flows. The plans created in this phase will be realised in professional practice, discussed in the socialisation phase and the achievements would be reflected in the externalisation phase. Such interpretation of internalisation phase differs from the original SECI model, described by Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995). However, the personal planning as part of self-directed learning (Knowles, 1975) would be more effective if such plans were recorded and constantly used as scaffolds during the professional practice. The challenge in this phase is related with the application of such learning pattern schemas and search ontologies that are acknowledged in both organisations and would enable to find and learn from from others’ professional competence with least obtrusive way. The privacy of documented personal professional knowledge, of the failures and successes in the learning process, must be adobe, while enabling the reuse of the professional knowledge.

Obstacles in temporarily extended professional communities to use SECI model

There is one interesting aspect, the model is usable both for “organizations” and “communities”, however in the latter case, the border of the community is not so clearly defined. Interesting ideas are for example in Lotman’s Culture and explosion.

INTRAPERSONAL BARRIERS

Professionally aimless: No wish and ability to plan appropriate paths of competence development and no habit of self-direction of professional development
.

Inexpressive: Not documenting professional development in self-reflective manner
(e.g. not documenting the success and failure of lesson plans, use of learning objects)

Consumerism: Habit of being provided with learning objects and teaching methodologies and not actively searching for knowledge and developing themselves learning objects and learning paths

PERSON-CULTURE BARRIERS

Digitally walled: No habit of organizing automatic access to digital learning objects in community-sharable manner.

Private ownership: Missing habit of sharing knowledge with different colleagues in the fear of professional competition

Self-autonomy: Missing habit of sharing knowledge with different colleagues because of willingness to be autonomous as a teacher and pride into the uniqueness of personal competences.

Non-systematized knowledge: No habit of annotating knowledge for personal and community purposes.

Unawareness of the community: No habit of social retrieval and community browsing for professional purposes.

Not belonging: Not perceiving their role in the organization(s) (school, teachers’ community, learning sciences community) and in changing the organizational knowledge

Not aligning: Not considering official norms (competence standards), organizational ideals and expectations in planning personal professional development

INTERPERSONAL BARRIERS

Individualism: Not knowing how to find, and not wanting to find people with certain competences to socialize knowledge and work together 
in a professional community

Professional individualism: No habit of collaborating for shared goals with networking partners, with partners from different communities (such as supervison in teacher training context).

Overconfident: No habit of valuing others’ professional experiences, learning from others, trusting of others’ experiences in personal competence development.

Unconfident: Not valuing own personal professional experiences as the learning resources for others.

Feeling insecure: Fear to demonstrate one’s lack of competences to the colleagues and supreme people in organization.

Non-cooperative: no awareness of colleagues professional development, willingness to scaffold their advancements (such as commenting, sharing ideas and resources).

Group-related aspects in collaboration:
….. to be added

CROSS-CULTURAL BARRIERS


Closure: Missing networking culture and habit of building personal networks to socialize knowledge and work together across organizational borders
(teachers’ community such as teaching domain communities and community of learning sciences such as didactical centers, teacher-training units).

Narrow identity: Difficulty in perceiving simultaneously alignment to two communities, and no sense of the shared community identity across organizational borders (for example pre-service students do not feel as part of teachers’ community, teachers do not feel as part of learning sciences community of the university specialists).


Constrained alignment: Not considering contributing simultaneously to two communities (teachers’ community such as teaching domain communities and community of learning sciences such as didactical centers, teacher-training units).


The technological solutions to overcome barriers of SECI implementations in extended organization
s

INTRAPERSONAL SOLUTIONS

Firstly, SECI knowledge management model is based on the idea of increasing individuals’ intrinsic motivation to actively learn in work context by enabling them in self-directed way to carry out their own personal learning goals within the organizational environment. Externalizing individual knowledge as digital KOs is personally meaningful because it enables to utilize and reuse own previous work experiences in new situations, and enables to monitor personal development. The motivation to create and share KOs would be increased if the amount of energy contributed on making, annotating, seeking and reusing KOs was reduced using technological support systems and services. Content/Knowledge provision services would enable to store and search for KOs. The Ontology framework would provide base for annotating KOs with metadata. In the organizational viewpoint, if published work experiences of colleagues could be accessed and searched while planning personal learning, the learner could be scaffolded indirectly by their experiences, and might be more efficient in personal learning. The motivation might rise if each individual recognized how he is contributing to the common good and gaining from the organizational knowledge. For example, the technologically supported guidance mechanisms for social retrieval such as community browsing and semantic navigation might enhance motivation. However, it is important that the services that provide content would enable individuals themselves to decide the access rights to their KOs. Tools that support planning and reflecting about work experiences, such as Learning Path creator, and User monitoring service would help to keep track of personal learning process and receive individualized suggestions. For example, user would need to sort personal or community KOs according to task relevance, personally suitable networking/collaboration partners. The users should be able to create narratives by combining various types of KOs (eg. assignments with the evidences of available human and used/developed KOs, evaluations and certificates).

INDIVIDUAL-CULTURE SOLUTIONS

Secondly, the organizational knowledge base, ideals, norms and objectives should serve as the mould for individual KO creation. The organizational policy tool should indicate organizational expectations and objectives depending of in which role is individual in an extended organization. One option to consider is instead of direct assignments, to give people freedom to choose from the organizationally expected assignments those that are personally relevant (e.g. assignment tickets). In organizations, people may be motivated to reuse more the KOs that they trust such as the KO’s suggested by organization with the Organizational Policy tool (certain learning paths, norms, official objectives, strategies, practices etc.). On the other hand, people may be motivated to reuse the KOs suggested by (recognized) organization members such as experts (e.g. documents validated and acknowledged as appropriate and useful by the community members). Using the personalized search based on User monitoring service data KOs might be automatically pulled or searched from the repositories. The possibility of annotating KOs with the organizationally accepted metadata using ontology frameworks such as Competence ontology, Activity ontology or Domain ontology enables to bring dual access points of searching these KOs across organizations independent of using organization-specific ontologies and mapping similar ontologies in temporarily connected extended organizations. The simultaneous possibility of user-determined annotation with tags enables the evolution of community-favored tagclouds, that could be in certain moments integrated to the official community ontologies. The last aspect might increase the feeling of reciprocity between individual and organization.

INTERPERSONAL SOLUTIONS

Thirdly, the individual networking with various organization members in an extended organization, and goal directed group collaboration with them for both organizations’ purpose serves as the intrinsic motivational trigger in IntelLEO knowledge management model. Gaining from the learning partners in both organizations’ parts, and being involved in contributing to the organizations’ knowledge change is considered intrinsically motivating. These activities could be aided with the User monitoring and collaboration traceability service in one hand, that keeps track of learner’s preferences, and the Human resource discovery service on the other hand that gives suggestions about available learning partners to network individually or to combine knowledge based on various criteria. For example, in brainstorming situations where creativity arises from translation across various domain borders the Human resource discovery service can provide access to people with different expertise necessary for mutual fertilization and synergy. In learning situations it might connect novices with those who can provide expert knowledge, allowing the emergence of scaffolding situations where the more experienced colleague can suggest certain objectives and activities to arrive the best solutions. In task situations the likeminded people in two organizations could be connected, that might increase effective teamwork. In order to constrain the search options and depending of the administratively planned role of individuals in organizations depending on their competences, an Organizational policy tool may suggest access to certain people within organizations. Trusting colleagues as experts may be higher if each networking relation or collaboration event was validated afterwards. The personal recognition in organization and visibility as an expert in certain area might provide intrinsic motivation, creating positive reputation, however the negative rating may also disencourage people to actively socialize and collaborate with other people in organizations. One important aspect in organizations may be the temporal nature of is experts’ availability to networking and collaboration events. The Human resource discovery should enable to indicate the periods of availability in relation to certain roles (e.g. as expert in scaffolding situations, as brainstorming partner). It is important to consider that enjoyment to help others in organization is dependent of time-constraints and task-relevance.

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Ontobrands as prototypical stories attract stigmergic narrative mediation and swarming

January 12, 2010

As part of one paper An ontospacial representation of writing narratives in hybrid ecosystem I try to explain narrative behaviors in hybrid ecosystem using the ontospacial method.

I suggest that if as part of our interaction with the world the new social software environments would be combined with the actual locations where we live, it would allow new forms of storytelling and new type of hybrid stories to appear.

In this environment new storytelling conceptualization may be applied based on dynamic ontospace representation. It enables to view stories as emergent prototypes or ontobrands in ontospace and allows stigmergic co-construction and action upon individual stories.

I assume that using ontospacial representation of hybrid ecosystem, the individuals may be provided with the means of enacting with this hybrid ecosystem more efficient ways, such as being involved into emergent co-construction and action.

Hybrid ecosystem components

Social media environments together with geographical locations can be conceptualized as a “hybrid ecosystem”, provided that participants of social media have ecological dependence of the particular set of mediators that they use as their niche for taking action. Artifacts (eg. digital narratives, images, real-world objects), software (eg. social software tools), language (eg. user-created ontologies such as tags), other actors, and geographical locations all serve as mediators of action.

“Narrative mediation” is a concept that suggests that we enact with the world through telling stories in which we seek to establish coherence for ourselves and produce lives, careers, relationships and communities (Winslade & Monk, 2000).

Individual and community places and -stories may be made visible on the representations of the hybrid ecosystem, for example using ontospace methods.

This metadata approach enables participants to dynamically define descriptive feature dimensions (ontodimensions) that altogether constitute a dynamic ontological space (ontospace) (Kaipainen et al., 2008).

A perspective is a personal priorization of shared dimensions of an ecosystem. People actualize certain meaningful parts of the hybrid ecosystem by narrative mediation of places.

Ryden (1993) includes four essential qualities that contribute in making sense of a place: personal memory, community history, physical landscape appearance, and emotional attachment.
The augmented concept of place not only refers to a geo-position, but to the holistic conglomeration of events, objects, emotions and actions of an individual in the place, and includes both virtual and natural, e.g. geographical elements. For example, as part of writing individual narratives individuals may define places by associating artifacts such as impressions, historical content, images etc. with geographical locations.

Individual entities (e.g. places) occupy ontospace, and each of them can be identified by its position in the ontospace.

The ontospatial formalism allows the identification of niches as community-specific and community-determined subspaces of an ontospace, an optimally meaningful regions for the communities. The ontocoordinate system allows us to define a niche as the n-dimensional hypervolume delimited by the range of each ontodimension that is optimal for meaning and action sharing.

The dynamic hybrid ecosystem shapes its participants and itself, and allows the evolution of the community ‘habitat’ for community actions and meanings. Visualizations of more favored community places in the community niche would serve as maps for individual community members in narrative mediation.

We can separate the following aspects of interacting with the hybrid ecosystem:
a) Defining ontodimensions and taking personal perspectives while narrating the hybrid story evokes meaningful places in ontospace and contributes to the formation of the community niche;
b) Social surveillance as a participatory monitoring, empowering and subjectivity building practice in hybrid ecosystem allows dynamic awareness of the state of the ontospace;
c) Social navigation in ontospace, as a behavior of considering narrative actions and incorporating the story contents of some other individuals into their own narratives, orientates each narrator’s enactment with the ontospace;
d) Social information retrieval such as semantic navigation by community browsing, actualizing some ontospace dimensions and using the found contents to guide their own perspectives allows individuals to focus their meaning building and action into the community niche;
e) Stimergy and swarming refers to an uncoordinated interaction of autonomous agents with the dynamic ontospace (b-d), and leaving feedback to this system (a) which at macro-level causes the emergence of global coherent behaviors such as collaborative agglomeration of stories. Stigmergic narrative action may initiate swarming phenomena in ontospace.

A person’s path in an in hybrid ecosystem from one place to another may be described as a “trajectory” in an ontospace. When writing hybrid narratives, each person moves along personal trajectory in the ontospace, creating particular personal places. This trajectory is not predetermined with the story plot but emerges during enaction with the ecosystem. The trajectory as a storyline is determined by and combined from a limited set of dimensions that the person highlights, and a small number of hybrid places where the person stays during activities. Thus, the trajectory usually fluctuates between the limited amounts of closely situated positions in the hybrid space.

Niches in the community are dynamically changing. They serve as “attractor basins” for the community members in ontospace. An attractor concept signifies a point, or region – set of points – in ontospace. The attractor governs the motion through the space – any individual trajectory passing close to that point/region will be sucked in it if it reaches to the basin of attraction (an area of attractor influence) (Beer, 1995). Attractors may constitute individual or community-cultural preferences.

Beer (1995) describes that the boundaries between different attractor basins can be reshaped in case if certain space dimensions are changed, which will happen when people take perspectives during narrative mediation.

The new view to storytelling focuses on the places in ontospace that serve as attractors for community’s stigmergic action.

Churchland (1989) depicts connectionist networks as essentially embodying knowledge structures organized around prototype-style representations. The prototype in his framework is a point or small volume in an abstract state space of possible activation vectors. In dynamical terms, the prototype position is called an attractor (ibid). Such attractors in the multidimensional semantic space may represent the meanings of words such as tags. As another approach, Nello Barile (2009) has used the term ontobrand to describe the process by which personal places would arise in narrated mediation process in hybrid ecosystem. He assumes that if the traditional branding was just a tool in the hands of companies to build their own image and positioning in the collective mind, the self-branding approach demonstrates how the marketing thought is a state of mind that produces an existential positioning.

I suggest that ontobrands are story prototypes, which emerge if a person continuously takes closely related perspectives in an ontospace. They serve as attractors for the storyteller himself and for the other storytellers, constraining and guiding their enactment in this ecosystem.

For the dataset i used one participant’s weekly blog postings (http://uits.wordpress.com). The Ontospace Explorer (OSE) tool (http://kerg.tlu.ee/demos/multi-perspective-exploration) was used for visualizing the ideas.

I extracted the tags from blog posts and additionally categorized posts by three perceived story dimensions (story prototypes) that the narrator suggested. Each story dimension associated with certain tags, thus, the stories could be positioned into the tagspace as attractor basins. This personal tagspace did not represent the whole hybrid ecosystem, since the dimensions mapped with geotags and content coordinates in software were not considered.

Figure presents the trajectory of the story mapped in the ontospace from one attractor area to another. It appeared that certain perspectives served constantly as attractors as the storyteller moved on in the daily activities. While the narrator herself perceived the three story-dimensions as attractor basins and constantly took perspectives in ontospace that were in their proximity, for the other actors in hybrid ecosystem mainly the social surveillance behavior allowed them to be attracted by stories.

It became evident that individual storytellers would act largely as autonomous agents, aligning their narratives according to story prototypes that they perceive.

Swarming actions took place around perceived stories as attractor areas in ontospace. Many storytellers were autonomously contributing to the emerging shared stories.
For example:
a) dedicated contents that were suggested for other stories;
b) composing mutated versions of the story content; and
c) joint agglomeration for the same story prototype.

Churchland, P.M. (1989). A Neurocomputational Perspective. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Barile, N. (2009). From post-human consumer to the ontobranding dimension: mobile phones and other ubiquitous devices as a new way in which reality can promote itself Presented at Mobile Communication and Social Policy Conference conference October 9-11, 2009 
Center for Mobile Communication Studies, Rutgers University 
New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.

Winslade, J. & Monk, G. (2000). Narrative Mediation: A New Approach to Conflict Resolution. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Ryden, K.C. (1993). Mapping the invisible landscape: folklore, writing, and the sense of place (p. 94). Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press.

Kaipainen, M., Normak, P., Niglas, K., Kippar, J., Laanpere, M. (2008). Soft ontologies, spatial representations and multiperspective explorability. Expert Systems, 25(5), 474-483.

Beer, R. (1995). A Dynamical Systems Perspective on Agent-Environment Interactions. Artificial Intelligence, 72, 173-215.

I have also some ideas about the ecological competition of ontobrands in ontospace.

Another thought to be elaborated is the translation of ontobrands from one community niche to another during stigmergic narrative mediation.

—————

There is an interesting duality explained by A.Parsons about narrative environments. I believe that what he refers to the environmental end of the narrative supports my story conceptualization in ontospacial terms.

rhizomes,19 summer 2009
Narrative environments: how do they matter?
Allan Parsons

Narrative environment is both a narrative and an environment at once.
Following Ricoeur (1984), it might be said that narrative orients us in time; while environment orients us in space.

Ricoeur, P. (1984). Time and narrative. Vol. 1. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

We orient ourselves within those worlds and actively navigate those worlds temporally (through narrative) and spatially (through environment) and spatio-temporally through narrative environments.

The conjunction of the two terms ‘narrative’ and ‘environment’ suggests a number of alternative understandings, depending on whether the former term qualifies the latter or vice versa:

- The environment of the narrative (narrative as environment);
In this incision, narrative is ‘that which tells’ and environment is ‘that which
surrounds’.

- The narrative of the environment, “environmental discourse” (environment as narrative).
A narrative environment, then, could be defined as a situated narrative, or a site-specific narrative, like a piece of installation art, framed by the elements which establish place-hood or place-ness.

Narratives are both the telling (plot or emplotment, the sequence of events as
told, narrative discourse) and the tale itself (story or narrative structure, with beginning, middle and end).

Environments both surround (actively environ, enclose and condition) and are the surroundings (environmental structures, categories and entities).

‘Narrative’ and ‘environment’ could be seen as two ends of a single spectrum.

At the narrative end, the world is enveloped by culture, order established through material cultural artefacts.
At the environment end, the world remains beyond cultural order in its presumed innocent, natural and/or wild state, order as the state or states of nature.

Narrative environments impel, pervade and mediate our understandings of our everyday, experiential worlds.

A narrative environment, as an encyclopaedia entry, is a node of knowledge, but in the world, not in the pages of a book. It is part of a network of narrative environments. The sense that it makes is localised, contextualised, but also networked, globalised. Together, as encyclopaedia, as labyrinth, narrative environments encircle the world, but they form an inconceivable totality. It is in this sense that narrative environments enact order into the world, and orient us to the world, while the world as a whole remains an inconceivable totality.

Story, place, interaction and self are ways of making sense and order.

Spacial dimension of narrative is expressed by De Certeau (1984): Certeau, Michel de. 1984. The practice of everyday life. Berkeley, London: University of California Press.

In The practice of everyday life (1984), De Certeau dedicates a chapter to the working of spatial stories.
Spatial stories are everywhere according to De Certeau. Not only do we need them to make sense of everyday life; stories are the central organizing principle for all human activity and are especially important when trying to come to grips with spatial change: ‘[E]very day, they traverse and organize places. (…) They are spatial trajectories’ (De Certeau 1984, 115).

To understand how such spatial stories take shape, he makes the aforementioned distinction between space and place and map and tour.

The most important difference between place (‘lieu’) and space (‘espace’) is that the first term is about stability and an ordered configuration of elements, whilst the latter rather implies mobility and has a ‘polyvalent’ character. Place refers to the ‘proper’ order, to the way spatial positions are related in an objective account, whilst space is about how we deal with spatiality as ‘a practiced place’. To explain the difference, De Certeau gives the example of walking the streets of a city. The geometrical configuration of the streets he equates with place, while the act of traversing these streets changes them into space. Thus, place is set and univocal, while the notion of space has as many meanings as there are walkers (De Certeau 1984, 117).

De Certeau speaks of both terms as constantly influencing each other. He identifies place as having the purpose to create static and lifeless objects. Space, on the other hand, presupposes a subjective purpose. It implies movement and change. In stories, these two determinations should be understood as in constant fluctuation in which a lifeless, objective, abstract place can become an animated and changeable, concrete space. Conversely, space can also be consolidated into place (De Certeau 1984, 117-21).

De Certeau introduces the difference between the map and the tour as a means to distinguish the different modes of the interplay of space and place in one of the most basic travel stories, namely spatial descriptions. From a study of how residents experience their apartments, he learned that the majority of people describe their dwellings in terms of moving about, and that only a small minority uses terms of seeing to explain how their apartments look. De Certeau links the latter to the notion of the map. A map can be described as a static representation of the world we live in. It objectifies spatial relations. The moving mode he relates to the notion of the tour. Touring is a dynamic principle that is subjective, since the point of view of the traveler is central. According to De Certeau these two conceptions of spatiality are both incongruous dimensions of contemporary culture.

Just like place and space, maps and tours necessitate one another and come into being through a reciprocal movement. Even more so as a map always presupposes a tour; one first needs to go somewhere to give an objective spatial account of it (De Certeau 1984, 117-21).

Two other objects important to De Certeau’s definition of spatial story are the frontier and the bridge.

De Certeau argues that stories perform an important function in everyday life by setting limitations. By describing space, they arrange and order cultural domains. As such they not only set limits but also alter boundaries: ‘one can see that the primary function is to authorize the establishment, displacement or
transcendence of limits’ (De Certeau 1984, 123). To describe this paradoxical quality of boundaries, he distinguishes two narrative figures in every story that have the power to fix boundaries and to revise them, namely the frontier and the bridge, respectively.
In explaining the figure of the frontier, De Certeau takes his reader on an etymological tour to prove that stories are ways of creating borders. If more scattered now than before, the ‘primary role of stories’ has always been to function as a playground for actions after their formation as a delineated domain. Such actions can nevertheless also transgress the limits that are first set by the story (e. g. feudal conflicts in which set borders are contested). As such, boundaries are the prerequisite for any social practice. In this process the figure of the frontier and the bridge entertain a paradoxical relationship (De Certeau 1984, 118).

The frontier has a mediating or ‘bridging’ quality because it is the point of contact between the two entities it separates. In itself it does not belong to either entity (De Certeau 1984, 126-28). Frontiers are in that sense twilight zones.

Because the player is able to draw and transcend boundaries and can be interactively involved in creating a spatial story, the emphasis lies on the passing of borders. Players become enactors instead of tellers of spatial stories, trying to develop a story by pushing spatial limits.

Burkitt, I. (2005). Situating auto/biography: biography and narrativity in the times and places of everyday life.
Auto/Biography, 13, pp.93-110.

Not all narrative environments operate as ecological niches, or ‘lived places’.
narrative environments are ‘thin environments’ in some sense, in that they lack existential significance.

In place as ecological niche, the organism/person relies on the environment for survival in practice and on the continuing viability of the organism-environment relationship. In some narrative environments, the organism/person may be more or less well informed or entertained, but their survival does not depend, in any ongoing sense, on a continuing viable relationship between organism/person and narrative environment.

If narrative environments were to work as ecological niches, there would have to be a plurality and a diversity, of different levels and different types, not just a multiplicity of, and within, the same, and such a diversity, given the unpredictability of the entire field of interaction, would be difficult to design or plan, or to know in advance.

Place and self are intrinsically inter-related.
Narrative environments are places themselves. They do not simply depend on the existence of other places.

A lived place is open-ended, an inconceivable globality, constantly being revised in terms of its localised, but networked, narratives and goals.

Narrative environments are not just sets of representations (signs), however polysemous or paradoxical, but also sets of performatives (acts); they are signs-acts.

Narrative environmental space is a space of practice: spatialisation taking place and making place.

The ‘economies of experience’ are organised around embodied selves, the production, enaction and alteration of subjectivity (subjecthood and subjection).
Narrative environment needs to be extended semiotically and bodily (from linguistic to non-linguistic, embodied forms of inter-action) as well as contextually (from linguistic-discursive environment to the designed, architected, shaped material-cultural environment).

Stories are the means by which one understands one’s place in the world: habitat or niche (ecological place); interpersonal roles (familial and communal place); societal roles (political and economic place); and place); interpersonal roles (familial and communal place); societal roles (political and economic place); and sense of embodied self (individuated place and imaginary place).

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From “ecological theory of concepts”

January 8, 2010

I was reading: Gabora, L., Rosch, E., & Aerts, D. (2008). Toward an ecological theory of concepts. Ecological Psychology, 20 (1), 84-116.

Here is what i find interesting and related with my own ecological thinking.

Traditionally concepts have been viewed as internal structures that represent a class of entities in the world. However, increasingly they are thought to have no fixed representational structure, their structure being dynamically influenced by the contexts in which they arise (Riegler, Peschl & von Stein, 1999).

A concept is defined not just in terms of exemplary states and their features or properties, but also by the relational structures of these properties, and their susceptibility to change under different contexts.

We view concepts not as fixed representations or identifiers, but rather as bridges between mind and world that participate in the generation of meaning.

The approach implies a view of mind in which the union of perception and environment drives conceptualization, forging a web of conceptual relations or ‘ecology of mind’.

Rosch’s theory of graded structure categorization (1973): An extensive program of research has demonstrated that the same form of graded structure applies to categories of the most diverse kinds: perceptual categories such as colours and forms; semantic categories such as FURNITURE, biological categories such as a WOMAN, social categories such as OCCUPATION, political categories such as DEMOCRACY, formal categories that have classical definitions such as ODD NUMBER, and ad hoc goal derived categories such as THINGS TO TAKE OUT OF THE HOUSE IN A FIRE.

Categories form around and/or are mentally represented by salient, information rich, often imageable stimuli that become “prototypes” for the category.

Gärdenfors (2000a, b) has introduced a provocative geometrical approach to concepts. He considers not just binary features or properties, but dimensions (e.g. color, pitch, temperature, weight). He defines domain as a set of integrable dimensions that are separate from all other dimensions. The property ‘red’ is a convex domain in a region defined by the integrable dimensions hue, saturation, and brightness.

State Context Property (SCOP) formalism
Using the SCOP formalism, a description of a concept consists of the five elements:
• A set S = {p, q, …} of states the concept can assume.
• A set M = {e, f, …} of relevant contexts.
• A set L = {a, b, …} of relevant properties or features. (Note that contexts can be concepts, as can features.)
• A function v that describes the applicability or weight of a certain feature given a specific state and context. For example, v(p, e, a) is the weight of feature a for the concept in state p under context e.
A function m that describes the transition probability from one state to another under the influence of a particular context. For example, m(f, q, e, p) is the probability that state p under influence of context e changes to the state q, giving rise to the new context f.

In the SCOP approach to concepts we have introduced the notion ‘state of a concept’. For any concept there exists an infinite number of possible states it can be in. An important notion introduced in the SCOP approach is the ground state of a concept. This is the ‘undisturbed’ state of a concept; the state it is in when it is not being evoked or thought about, not participating in the structuring of a conscious experience.

We say that a context e evokes a change of state in the concept, from a state p to a state q. Borrowing terminology from quantum mechanics we refer to this change of state as collapse. A change of state of a concept that occurs during collapse may in turn change the context.

When a concept interacts with a specific context, it is immediately projected out of the ground state to another state. This means that the ground state is a theoretical construct, such as for example the state of a physical system in empty space. Indeed, one never experiences a concept in its ground state, since always there is
some context present. It is similar to the fact that a physical system is never in empty space. The properties that are actual in the ground state are the characteristic properties of the concept. The influence of context on the state of a concept can be such that even characteristic properties of a concept disappear if the concept is transformed into a new state under the influence of a context.

Each concept (or constellation of concepts) can be considered a context (however unlikely) of another, and highly probable states of one concept can become included as improbable states of another.

Rosch, E. (1973). Natural Categories, Cognitive Psychology, 4, 328-350.
Gärdenfors, P. (2000a). Concept combination: A geometric model. In Blackburn, Braisby, & Shimojima (Eds.) Logic, Language and Computation: Volume 3 (pp. 129-146), CSLI Publications.
Gärdenfors, P. (2000b). Conceptual Spaces: The Geometry of Thought. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
Riegler, A. Peschl, M. & von Stein, A. (1999). Understanding representation in the cognitive sciences. Dordrecht Holland: Kluwer Academic.

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