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

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

B E T W E E N T H E T A G A N D T H E S C R E E Nthrough a process of learning. Thus, any artefact that mediates activityconsists of both the artefact and the scheme in development. In addition toparticular knowledge about using the artefact, this scheme must also be seenas constituting a subject’s personal interpretation of the artefact. As such,instrumentalisation may be seen as a relevant concept for describingdesigners’ development of a personal understanding, appreciation andapproach to specific materials. Instrumentalisation is useful in directingattention toward how schemes for use are always part of the artefacts thatmediate activities.Instrumentalisation may be seen in relation to the strong material orientationinside the design practices. The transformation of materials, a central issue inmost design schools, represents a cornerstone in designers’ repertoires.Different design disciplines specialise in particular technology, enablingthem to work freely and creatively with the particular material at hand.Graphic artists deal with paper and screens, industrial designers with plasticand metals. Frequently, designers cross borders between technologies, butusually proficiency in material transformation is necessary to excel indesigning. This is also true considering computational technologies.However, such technologies are often very complex and hard to grasp. Dueto this, the development of material approaches related to computationaltechnologies may be difficult. I suggest, by making the material qualities ofsuch technologies both visible and comprehensible, we may allow designersto engage in processes of material instrumentalisation that allow them tomore easily develop material repertoires in the same way design practitionersoperate with traditional materials.Thus, subjective reinterpretations of elements in the world so as to transformthem into tools and signs for creative development are a key aspect of designprocesses. Such instrument-making activities are common in designing,where the main activity might be split into several sub-activities related todeveloping new approaches to a particular object. These activities arerelevant for the particular design activity being pursued. However, they arealso important for designers' long-term development of themselves ascreative professionals.Here, my study separates externalised tools and the internal development ofpersonal schemes toward artefacts in the world. As these personal schemesenable the designer to develop unique conceptualisations of the future,activity theory helps us understand designers’ need to develop personal andinterpersonal approaches toward materials so as to build an internal repertoireof opportunities that enables the development of unique design proposals.In design activity, materials offer new possible motives that may directdesigning. A rich and versatile set of motives is needed to propel the designactivity in a new productive direction, and materials may play an importantrole in this process. In the instrumentalisation process, designers may88

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