Handout: King, Among transcontextual feminisms we grow boundary objects – talk website: http://femcontext.blogspot.

com/ for “An Ecology of Ideas,” joint conference of the American Society for Cybernetics and the Bateson Idea Group, Asilomar, California, 11 July 2012 Katie King, Professor of the Women's Studies department & program, University of Maryland, College Park / Email: katking@umd.edu Home Page: http://katiekin.weebly.com/ ; follow on twitter @katkingumd
Empathy – the pattern that connects you to a living creature Context – a pattern through time Metapattern – that is, the pattern that connects, the pattern of patterns Story – a knot of connectedness we call relevance (Bateson 1979: 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 17) How we know anything, Bateson famously said, means that in “the pronoun we, I of course included the starfish and the redwood forest, the segmenting egg, and the Senate of the United States.” (Bateson 1979: 4)

• “People often cannot see what they take for granted until they encounter someone who does not take it for granted.” (Bowker and Star 1999: 305) HOW WE FIND OURSELVES NOW -- RECURSIVE SEMI-CONSCIOUSNESS IN ACTION: Being inside and moved around literally by the very material and conceptual structures you are analyzing and writing about is a kind of self-consciousness only partially available for explicit discussion. And so we find ourselves in the midst of an emerging posthumanities, where humans are only some of the agencies self-organizing in altering systems of things, people and worldly processes. Writing obliquely now is often a necessity for describing research into these alterations – because moving among knowledges technically detailed also necessitates telescoping out to engage infrastructures in their layered accretions. Such doubled, transdisciplinary consciousness is not an obstinate refusal to be specific or propose something in particular. Instead, out of these enlivened sensitivities, saying what counts as, say, using writing technologies has to be oblique – that is to say, has to diverge perpendicularly, across the normative. Such analysis works performatively, as both a demonstration of the very sensations of cognition and a simulation of and for, in this case, writing technologies. My new book, Networked Reenactments (King 2011) works to demonstrate transdisciplinary movements since the nineties across a range of writing technologies, as knowledge workings themselves become embedded within culture industries and transnational educational restructuring projects. DEMONSTRATIONS & PERIPHERAL PARTICIPATION: I both talk ABOUT and AM MYSELF a transmedia storyteller. Recursions: How to be an agent among the complex worldly processes humans are not the controllers of, but bits within; studies of emergence and self-organization. These are some of the EMBEDDED REALITIES across transmedia storytelling: "Academic practices of all kinds are now also enlisted as kinds of transmedia storytelling. I call these Queer Transdisciplinarities, but not in a move to enlist them in identity politics, although sometimes they very explicitly and quite properly are, inside my own feminist fields of interest and attention. Rather, my point in naming them thus is to watch them ‘queer the pitch’: they require us to attend to, to learn to be affected by, the political economies of knowledge worlds, to how interlinked now are the economies of entertainment, knowledge laborings, globally restructured academies, governmentalities, and the infrastructures of communication." (King 2011, “Queering the Pitch.”) STARLIGHT RUNNER ENTERTAINMENT: TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING: “What is transmedia? Deep media, persistent narrative, immersive storytelling, transmedia: right now, we are experiencing a moment of radical technological change, with seismic shifts in the way that entertainment is conceived, produced and distributed. …According to Henry Jenkins, author of …Convergence Culture: Transmedia storytelling is storytelling by a number of decentralized authors who share and create content for distribution across multiple forms of media. Transmedia immerses an audience in a story’s universe through a number of dispersed entry points, providing a comprehensive and coordinated experience of a complex story.” (Gomez 2009; Jenkins 2006) Entertainment, knowledge work & instrumentation, global academies mutually restructure, intertwining and constituting ecologies. ENTANGLED Leigh Star refers to Gregory Bateson when she reflects on the origins of the concept of a boundary object: “As I delved deeper into the relations between developers and users, it became clear that a kind of communicative tangle was occurring. I used the work of Gregory Bateson, who had studied these sorts of communicative mishaps under the heading of ‘double binds.’ As with Bateson’s work on schizophrenics, and what he called ‘the transcontextual syndrome,’ the messages that were coming at level one from the systems developers were not being heard on that level by the users and vice versa. What was obvious to one was a mystery to another. What was trivial to one was a barrier to another. Yet, clarifying this was never easy. The users liked the interface when they were sat in front of it. Yet, they did not know how to make a reliable working infrastructure out of it. They would ask the … team, who

would reply in terms alien to them. I began to see this as a problem of infrastructure – and its relative nature.” (Star 2010: 610) TRANSCONTEXTUAL TANGLES & BOUNDARY OBJECTS Such reflective analysis of “the transcontextual syndrome” led feminist theorist Susan Leigh Star to this concept “boundary objects,” which, in a last essay before her sudden death in 2011, she defined as “organic infrastructures” that address “‘information and work requirements’ as perceived locally and by groups that wish to cooperate.” (Star 2010:602; Star & Griesemer 1989, Star & Ruhleder 1996, Bowker & Star 1999) WORLD COUNTER-PARTS, A SENSORY MEDIUM AND A SENSITIVE WORLD New media infrastructures, boundary objects, and processes of learning also work across redistributed agencies, ones not located simply in the consciousness of individual humans in seeming control, but rather ones emergent across materialities of social media old and new, together with beings and economies and knowledge workers and neurobiological systems, affecting and being affected. "Thus body parts are progressively acquired at the same time that 'world counter-parts' are being registered in a new way. Acquiring a body is thus a progressive enterprise that produces at once a sensory medium and a sensitive world." (Latour 2004: 207) TRANSCONTEXTUAL PRACTICES: Transdisciplinary work befriends and experiences a range of academic and other genres of writing, entailment and analysis, befriends and experiences their consequent and diverging values, sometimes in tacit collaboration, but here in perpendicular examination. Transcontextual feminisms as I have come to understand them, have to scope and scale among ecologies of knowledge. They work to remain curious: about both the passionate affiliations that intensive knowledge work done among close and precise disciplinary grains of detail require and produce, and also the necessarily recursive and speculative wanderings among knowledge worlds to produce extensive pattern-makings that transdisciplinary work makes possible. GRAIN OF DETAIL & MEMBERSHIP IN EXTENSIVE EXPLORATIONS OF INTENSIVE MEANING • membership • peripheral participation • intensive knowledge management • extensive knowledge inspections • distributed author agencies • distributed, niche, emergent “audiences” or uses • scoping out: assemblage and infrastructure • scaling in: closely negotiated disciplinary interests • And attention to any particular grain of detail provokes response and affect. And that matters. In the midst of such cognitive overload, it helps to experiment with strategies for working with overload, rather than denying it. Boundary objects are sometimes just such strategies: practices, objects, concepts, genres, tacit collaborations at levels of recognition and even misrecognition. THE RIGOR OF PERIPHERAL PARTICIPATION The “rigor” of transcontextual feminist methods comes into play when we welcome peripheral participations (robust across sites) as well as work for an exquisite sensitivity to each horizon of possible resources and infrastructures, local exigencies, and differential memberships (plastic and local). Transcontextual feminisms as I have come to understand them, work to remain curious, even about and in the midst the affects of affiliation and disidentification, scoping extensively and scaling intensively among Ecologies of Knowledge. (In memory of Susan Leigh Star and her work; see Star, ed. 1995) INTENSIVE PRACTICES, knowledges, definitions, boundary work: closely negotiated among relatively bounded communities of practice; such as disciplines-in-the-making, local alliances, threatened units, long-lived organizations; emphasis on rigor and membership EXTENSIVE PRACTICES, knowledges, definitions, boundary work: speculative connections, practical coalitions, trial and error learning; such as transdisciplinary projects, transmedia storytelling, alternative practices-in-the-making; emphasis on peripheral participation and the edges of standardized practices • EXTENSIVE investigations perpendicularly analyze relative and relational shifts across authoritative and alternative knowledges • EXTENSIVE displays can work without displacing INTENSIVE work of specific communities of practice TRANSDISCIPLINIZING KNOWLEDGE WORLDS “The epistemological challenge that transdisciplinarity presents…is profound. Forms of multi-, pluri-, and interdisciplinarity do not call into question disciplinary thinking. Transdisciplinarity does, through the principle of articulation between different forms of knowledge. Of necessity, transdisciplinary work is based on disciplinary practice. It also… makes use of multi- and interdisciplinarity. It is distinct, however, even as it is complementary…. [I]t requires that disciplinary thinking evolves to match the complexity of the issues facing science today. The realization that reality is multidimensional has implications for unity of knowledge as well. The older notion of synthesis, which perpetuated the principle that an object has only one reality whose unity must be reconstituted, is no longer possible. Transdisciplinarity requires deconstruction, which accepts that an object can pertain to different levels of reality, with attendant contradictions, paradoxes, and conflicts…. [I]ts capacity to take into account the flow of information circulating between various branches of knowledge, permitting the emergence of unity amidst diversity and diversity through the unity. A systematic and holistic approach is still possible…but in a mode of coherence rather than unity…. Transdisciplinarity was once one of many terms. It has become a major imperative across all sectors or society and knowledge domains, making it more than a fad or fashion. It has become an essential mode of thought and action.” (Thompson Klein 2004: 524) All references here can be found online at: http://femcontext.blogspot.com/p/bibliography.html

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