Re: [-empyre-] Writing and Pattern Flows, Forward from Kenneth Newby (2)

From: Kenneth Newby <>
Date: October 9, 2005 11:54:21 PM PDT
To: soft_skinned_space <>
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Writing and Pattern Flows

Well I suppose we experience them as cultures in the sense that there are competing views as to what constitutes knowledge, meaning, valid methodologies, and valid research in the construction of these. We encounter issues where we seem to speak different languages and a considerable effort is required in translation.

Raymond Williams put it this way:

"A culture has two aspects: the known meanings and directions, which its members are trained to; the new observations and meanings, which are offered and tested. These are the ordinary processes of human societies and human minds, and we see through them the nature of a culture: that it is always both traditional and creative; that it is both the most ordinary common meanings and the finest individual meanings. We use the word culture in these two senses: to mean a whole way of life--the common meanings; to mean the arts and learning--the special processes of discovery and creative effort."

Universities train people, both students and faculty in ways of thinking and making meaning which are offered and tested through a variety of research methods. The disciplines form discrete cultures in the sense that they encapsulate a kind of tradition of "known" meanings and directions. The differences form points of contact between different cultures of research, establishing what is known and how it is validated. There's also the issue of how those cultures are encoded. The kinds of tools and environments we choose to use, develop and dwell in. Michael Hamman http:// is another interesting critic of the way engineering culture focusses on efficiency and ease of use quite in contrast to the needs of the artist where constraints and break-downs often provide a response flashes of creative insight (or perhaps more often consideration of a change of medium ;-).


On 9-Oct-05, at 5:20 PM, Roman Danylak wrote:

On cultural clashes

As a performing artist, completing a practice based PhD in HCI, I constantly
find that the diversity of audiences I write/speak to means that someone out
there will find what I do as incomplete.

Convergence, that all encompassing action of digital technology on
information seems to go against the grain of the categories established in
so many disciplines as we try to solve new problems with the old language.
We can only ask "What is it that you see/hear and how does that compare to
my experience?"

Even in description of the three disciplines of art, design and IT as
'cultures' this surely makes an anthropologist somewhere sit up and take
notice... but I think I catch your drift.


Roman Danylak Doctoral Candidate Creativity and Cognition Studios Faculty of Information Technology University of Technology PO Box 123 BROADWAY NSW 2007 SYDNEY AUSTRALIA

Tel 61 2 9514 4628
Fax 61 2 9514 4761


On 10/10/05 8:51 AM, "Christina McPhee" <> wrote:

Ken, can you offer a couple of specific references in Polyani? maybe
a book title or better yet an online paper?


On Oct 9, 2005, at 9:30 AM, Kenneth Newby wrote:

Hi Jim,

Polyani's field in this case is philosiphy/science and the goal is
a critique of pure rationality (logical positivism) and a
recuperation of meaning through myth, art and a spiritual impulse.
Not that he wants to break with rationality, but rather integrate
it with these other modes of knowing and making meaning.  I've
found myself increasingly interested in this topic myself as I
struggle with the clash of cultures in an interdisciplinary school
(art, design, IT) at our university where ideas like these are
contested (not that that's necessarily a bad thing).


On 9-Oct-05, at 3:36 AM, Jim Andrews wrote:

What is the goal of Polyani's writing? Is it work in
AI? Semantics? Something else?

Kenneth Newby — Computational Poetics
School for Interactive Arts & Technology
Simon Fraser University       778.858.0359

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