Sketching and gardening

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  • Cultivating your own garden: Sketching, self-fashioning, and sharingElizabeth Goodman UC Berkeley School of Information

  • About meA bit about me

  • Definition of sketchingSketching: a brief reminderThe key tool to support design cognition remains the traditional sketch. It seems to support and facilitate the uncertain, ambiguous and exploratory nature of conceptual design activity. Nigel Cross, Designerly Ways of Knowing

  • GardeningSeeing like a gardenerHalf the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897

  • Self-fashioningSelf-fashioning

  • TimeWorking with the seasonsBy the time one is eighty, it is said, there is no longer a tug of war in the garden. All is at last in balance and all is serene. The gardener is usually dead, of course. Henry Mitchell, The Essential Earthman, 1981

  • Sharing and gardensSharing and ownership

  • So what can or should we apply to sketching in hardware?Onwards!There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments. Janet Kilburn Philips


    Looking at gardening as a way to both inspire design practice and as a site for designThe two are logically connected. Gardening is one of those deeply human activities, like cooking, that seems to be both universal and particular, everyday and extraordinary all at once. It allows us to discuss a tremendously exciting set of ideas - how we envision public and private spaces, leisure and labor, creativity and pragmatism. Gardening, thus, is a good example of creativity at work, and as such an interesting way to think about popular - little d - design.Its also, because its so widespread and so popular in groups that we dont usually think of as being technology-centered, a challenging and compelling site to design FOR.Gardening is like and unlike how we usually imagine hardware sketching. What can we learn from it? What cant we learn from it?

    Usual eclectic backround - training in graphic design, worked in kids media for a while, worked in costume design, did some screen interaction design, then did more social research on the landscape of ubiquitous computing -- how we design it, how it fits into peoples livesA very research-oriented design -- both in terms of research for design (user research) and design as a part of research into the social life of information and interactionNow UC Berkeley School of Information and BIDNot Lizbeth Goodman - original sketch for, which became twttr, which became twitterDesign sketches assist problem structuring through solutio attempts (58)Exploratory, opportunistic, reflective (58)

    AMBIGUOUS, UNCERTAIN, EXPLORATORY - kind of looks a little like gardening in some waysDescribe study: in the initial stages, doing interviews with people Doesnt look like sketching in many waysJames Scott - Seeing Like a StateHow gardeners learn to look, what they look for, how they seeIts a lot of bending over. A lot. Community gardeners are often resource-poor; there may be only two water spigots per garden, and they may not be able to store many things at the garden. They often share resources (like hoses) and built only temporary structures (since they dont own the land).

    Narratives: people tell stories about themselves, they like to talk about how their gardens - and their choices - changed over time. Deciding what kind of garden you have: productive, process-oriented, ornamental, restful - and they look different. Lots of different definitions of a good garden -- community gardeners need to tolerate aesthetic choicesthey may not like.Entering partnerships: this woman works with her mother - she likes to nuture small things, and her mother likes to plan large aesthetic effectsUnlike our impressions of sketching, gardens are slow - you have to wait -- oh, wait - its like waiting for boards to be manufactured?Cyclical: the seasons repeat, and gardeners perform the same sort of actions again and again, with different objects and different resultsProvisional: gardens dont end -- they are always in progress, but always usable Gardens require a slower and more patient approach than the always communicating rhetoric of technology development. Gardeners have to work with the seasons (aside from greenhouses); they cant fight the climate. That teaches an acceptancOf loss of control.

    This guy is waiting for his chayote vines - for the second year in a row. Hes giving them a chance, but planning what hell put in when theyre gone.The private plot: your plot is yours, but under some circumstances it can be taken away by a cooordinator or mayor of the spaceThe duty to the collective: weed your plot! Privacy and propriety - something to be said for making shared interaction part of your assumptions. Gifting: flowers - making beauty to get prestige (mixed motives)Teaching/advice - how do you help people, peer to peer (not a lot of official gardening teachers), multiple entry pointsArduino: community of projects (as leah said), The borrowed view

    This guy gets a lot of prestige for his dahlias, which he loves to give away. Part of growing the flowers is clearly so that they can be turned into gifts. He is using an entire garden worth for his nieces wedding. A fruitful metaphor and analogy - lots to think about!Aesthetics counts in how you are perceived (Leah)Ideas evolve slowly - how do you archive them? How do you value slow processes? (Bjoern)Multiple motivations and success points for participantsAcceptance of lack of control - situation of sketch within existing contexts/tensions - you do not control your success, you are experimenting under changing conditionsProperty and propriety - to what extent do we own our sketches, and to what extent do they belong to othersThinking carefully about community - there are always tensions in what we share, what we give, what we takeThinking also about how we teach the orientation to sketching - Im not a big sketcherShowing processSomething bigger: prototyping isnt a world of its own; there ARE analogiesAs Dale suggested, as Leah suggestedA fruitful world for teaching, as Bjoern thoughtThe garden isnt a sketch, in the traditional sense -- the garden is itself, but its always responding to changing plansBut then, neither are a lot of what we call sketches -- we never actually make them -- they are put away when were done because they are really one-offsOne way to think about development is the perpetual beta of Web 2.0. I actually dont like this, because I think it undermines what a beta actually is. I think gardens offer some good ways to think about what we do with sketches and prototypes as both finished products and tools for thinking