Between the Tag and the Screen - Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i ...

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Between the Tag and the Screen - Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i ...

6 B C H A P T E R 4 : C O N N E C T I N G S R - R F I D A N D D E S I G N4.2 TOWARD CONCEPTUAL MATERIALSIn the previous section I presented an analysis of SR-RFID technology fromthe perspective of designing. In article 2 I did so by applying a designmaterial perspective on technology (Nordby, 2010). Such an approachcomprised the development of a clear definition of a computationaltechnology rooted in designers’ possible needs. The new definition is furtherpresented through descriptions of properties relevant for design. Havingdefined the near-field material we now explore what this material may add toour general understanding of materials in design.The near-field material is not material in the traditional sense as it is notrooted in physical matter. It also does not follow the material approachesseen inside works addressing computational technology as materials. It doesnot consist of computing alone, nor can it readily be characterised as acomposite of matter and computing. This raises questions of whether nearfieldmaterial may be considered a material, and if so, what kind of material.In previous sections we saw that near-field material is constructed with thepurpose of supporting designers’ conceptualisation of forms. Importantly, theforms realised in the finished artefact or design are not dependent on thenear-field material. Instead, the forms are realised through other materials.Near-field material holds no interest for those seeking to realise an artefactdescribed by a design. However, it is useful in developing the design itself.Near-field material then defies the traditional relation between the productionof artefacts and materials, yet, it has the ability to be shaped in design.The term conceptual material is proposed to account for this phenomenon.Conceptual material was briefly introduced in the discussion in article 2:‘Such a material is constructed as a reasonable tool that enables designers toshape the effect of technologies, rather than the technologies themselves’(Nordby, 2010). This makes conceptual material a material-orientedconceptual framework that captures key characteristics of computationaltechnologies that is relevant for designers’ activity of designing artefacts.However, it is not only the physical boundaries of the material that arecaptured. Rather, it is a set of properties designers engage with in shapingphysical or temporal forms.The near-field material may be considered as a conceptual material derivedfrom SR-RFID technology and design activity combined. This result is onlydrawn from the analysis of SR-RFID used in processes of research by design.However, it is of interest to consider whether the conceptual material may beuseful for analysing other computational technologies. It is also of interest tofind in what way such analysis could be carried out.75

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