Title

Formatics

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to elaborate upon certain key aspects of a conceptual framework which we believe helps unpack the sociotechnical and sociomaterial nature of human organisation through the idea of the enactment of significance. In this paper we focus upon unpacking a particular, and surprisingly neglected, aspect of this process of accomplishing significance: that of forma – the ‘substance’ of a sign. Even though we are surrounded by formative technologies (especially digital computing technologies) in the modern world, we lack a clear understanding of the variety of forma, and the place of forma within various systems that accomplish significance. Therefore, within this paper we consider a number of common principles evident amongst a series of diverse and ‘strange’ examples of forma. In examining these cases we suggest a number of tentative aspects of what we might call a theory of formatics: an area which considers both the fundamental nature of forma and the place of such forma within the larger universe of communicative and performative accomplishment. We conclude with an examination of the place of formatics within a wider informatics directed at better performatics.

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Formatics

The aim of this paper is to elaborate upon certain key aspects of a conceptual framework which we believe helps unpack the sociotechnical and sociomaterial nature of human organisation through the idea of the enactment of significance. In this paper we focus upon unpacking a particular, and surprisingly neglected, aspect of this process of accomplishing significance: that of forma – the ‘substance’ of a sign. Even though we are surrounded by formative technologies (especially digital computing technologies) in the modern world, we lack a clear understanding of the variety of forma, and the place of forma within various systems that accomplish significance. Therefore, within this paper we consider a number of common principles evident amongst a series of diverse and ‘strange’ examples of forma. In examining these cases we suggest a number of tentative aspects of what we might call a theory of formatics: an area which considers both the fundamental nature of forma and the place of such forma within the larger universe of communicative and performative accomplishment. We conclude with an examination of the place of formatics within a wider informatics directed at better performatics.