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The Public Availability of Actions and Artefacts

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This paper introduces and describes someconcepts basic to a phenomenologicalunderstanding of human perception that isderived from the phenomenology ofMerleau-Ponty. His account of the livedexperience of the embodied subject, as thebasis of both our experience in our world andour agency in our actions within it, isconsistent with the focus on designing CSCWtechnology for flexible use that underlies somuch of the recent work on awareness. My aim isto approach a complex and difficult body ofwork from the perspective of technology designin order to extract from it some relevantinsights and theoretical principles that may,in turn, extend our understanding of what thepublic availability of actions and artefactsmeans in virtual space and how it might besupported. For Merleau-Ponty perception isactive, embodied and always generative ofmeaning. This paper prioritises the relationsbetween awareness, perception and the publicavailability of actions and artefacts becausethe challenge for designers of awarenessresources for shared virtual spaces is that ifpeople are to be aware of anything, then it hasto be explicitly made available to theirperceptions within those virtual spaces.


Robertson, Toni (2002): The Public Availability of Actions and Artefacts. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 11. DOI: 10.1023/A:1021214827446. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 299-316