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Nathan Balasubramanian's Response to Assignment 11

Read Deck, Andy C. (1999) “In Search of Meaningful Events: Curatorial Algorithms and Malleable Aesthetics.” In D. Bearman & J. Trant (Eds.), Museums and the Web 1999, Archives & Museum Informatics, Pittsburgh, PA, available at:

Briefly discuss the following issues (articulate the answers in your own words) :

1.1 What did you find interesting about the article?

Deck’s idea of moving beyond consumption and inspiring participation to orchestrate lasting contributions using Internet Art was interesting.

1.2. What did you find not interesting about the article?

Nothing really.

2. What does the author mean by curatorial algorithms?

Software or tool designers’ subtle feedback through design that engage some users but constraint others is referred to as “curatorial algorithms.”

3. What does the author mean by malleable aesthetics? ?

The author uses malleable aesthetics to refer to the substantial contributions and endless new avenues afforded to users beyond the mundane.

4. What do you consider the main message of the article?

The main message of the article is software and tool designers need to think of creative ways to facilitate, not constraint, active and meaningful contributions by users.

5. Please comment on the following claim: “As an artist using the Internet, the question of how to involve people in meaningful events is paramount. Inspiring participation in something useful or fun, or enlightening is okay. But better still is orchestrating contributions to something good that lasts longer the event itself. . .”

5.1. agree / disagree?

I agree, and the argument need not be confined to Internet Art but extends to all learning scenarios.

5.2. which are the personal consequences which you draw from this statement?

As an educator, I see this as a meaningful goal during classroom instruction.

5.3. are the educational programs you are involved addressing this claim?

No, but I plan on designing instruction that facilitate such worthy goals.

6. Please comment on the following claim: “Due to the manipulative capacity of interactive systems, designs should be open to revision and debate… The term “malleable aesthetics” as I mean it refers to the ability to accumulate not only statements, or data, but also the structural changes brought by users of the system. Incompatible with forced enclosure, the purest forms of this category of production are licensed to assure that programming code remains in the public domain.”

6.1. agree / disagree?

Read with Deck’s earlier observation that multi-user object-oriented (MOO) users, in my mind more the designers of MOOs, become the “policy architects and chief content providers,” I would agree with this claim.

6.2. which are the personal consequences which you draw from this statement?

The ownership for learning falls on the user more than the facilitator.

6.3. are the educational programs you are involved addressing this claim?


7. Do you feel that the “Design, Learning, and Collaboration” course addresses these two claims?

I think it does, and the SWIKI offers learners several affordances to address these two claims.

Nathan Balasubramanian

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