An are.na block is a boundary object
Boundary objects are objects which are both plastic enough to adapt to local needs and constraints of the several parties employing them, yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites. They are weakly structured in common use, and become strongly structured in individual-site use. They may be abstract or concrete. They have different meanings in different social worlds but their structure is common enough to more than one world to make them recognizable, a means of translation. The creation and management of boundary objects is key in developing and maintaining coherence across intersecting social worlds.
The app, an Object, allows the user (Agent) to navigate a specific Environment. What some might consider a problem space. The Environment is both map and territory.
The narratives (sometimes abstracted into interfaces) that the creators use to guide the Agent through the Environment are almost always in monotone. A new theory of design would benefit from the creation of new narratives, ones that can be blended, spliced, overlaid and explored from multiple perspectives.
Designing a multi-faceted narrative to navigate these Environments would reveal and thus confirm the underlying systematic foundation inherent to this (and all) technology.
It would acknowledge the rhizomatic pathways that hijack imposed attempts at linear path-making (and path-taking).
And it would encourage an orientation towards the design of flexible boundary spaces, filled with Emptiness (per Kenya Hara) within which we can encourage the emergence of Agent defined paths, that deemphasize the pre-defined and pre-designed paths formed the creators.
“How to deconstruct opera and architecture so as to 'think' their concepts and simultaneously to observe them from an external and detached point of view? How to devise a configuration of concepts which is systematic and irreducible, that each concept intervenes at some decisive moment of the work? How to question the unity of a building without re–course either to a composition of articulated and formalised elements or to a random accumulation of isolated programmatic fragments? To play on limits without being enclosed within limits? To relate to other operas while referring only to one's own? Juxtaposition We have therefore abandoned traditional rules of composition and harmony, replacing them with an organisation based on breaking apart the traditional components of theatre and opera house and developing a new 'tonality' or 'sound'.
No more artful articulations between auditorium, stage, foyer, grand staircase; in–stead, a new pleasure through the parallel juxtaposition of indeterminate cultural meanings, as opposed to fixed historicist practices. Functional constraints are not translated into a composition of symbolic units, but are extrapolated into a score of programmatic strips, analogous to the lines of a musical score, each containing the main activities and related spaces.”