Saturday, June 02, 2007

Engagement with the artifact

This is really the crux, inculcating engagement with the artifact itself, its construction, its meaning. When I started my research I was looking at experts in that art, but if the focus becomes engagement itself, how people try to achieve it, what means they use whether verbal, gesture, or actions on the artifact itself, particularly when obstacles are hit, I think that can be looked at as a generic phenomenon, not just one that experts do.

The difference with an "authoring" focus is that the spotlight is on getting the engagement of others. What the engagement consists of and means is different with each context, but the problematic of constructing the artifact, situation, and interactions themselves so as to keep that engagement 'alive', that is consistent. What are the actions a practitioner (a practitioner is anyone trying to create and maintain that engagement) takes.

For narrowing-down purposes I want to focus on actions taken on and with the artifact itself, as well as actions taken in the moments when easy progress is disrupted or things go wrong, but it is a problematic that persists throughout not just sessions but over the life of a project or effort. What can I do to keep this thing worthy of the engagement of the participants, where "this thing" is the artifact in the context of the overall effort. Because if the engagement is not there, the quality and usefulness of the artifact itself suffers (if what the artifact is is defined as a participatory creation of some sort, for context-specific reasons). Practitioner actions taken to create/preserve constructive engagement with the artifact.

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