“Boundary objects are those objects that both inhabit several communities of practice and satisfy the informational requirements of each of them. Boundary objects are thus 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. These objects may be abstract or concrete... Such objects 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 a key process in developing and maintaining coherence across intersecting communities.”
Bowker, Geoffrey & Star, Susan Leigh, 1999. Sorting things out: classification and its consequences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Practitioners that are using industrial technologies to unconventional ends define a community of interest made up of artists, architects and designers. Each of these distinct communities of practice has a certain amount of shared understanding, common points of reference and an ongoing domain-based discourse. However, in defining this as a community of interest we have brought these distinct communities of practice into relation with one another around particular issues of common concern.
The distinct communities of practice may ascribe different meanings and importance to exemplary projects as boundary objects but these represent an opportunity to bring the discourses together - a means of coordination and alignment and as a means of translation that allow the community of interest to have a common working arrangement and to communicate their different concerns simultaneously. This brings about the transdisciplinary potential of dealing with the same issues and concerns across axiomatic boundaries. New sets of creative, cultural and economic conditions have stimulated intriguing levels of inquiry by creative practitioners to work across two or more of these domains and to seek out and use technologies that facilitate a particular blurring between these disciplines. This convergence has been enabled and accelerated by the development and proliferation of computer visualisation and manufacturing processes. Insights gained from these technologically driven, experiments from the domains of art, design and architecture are largely transferable across disciplines of art & design practices - discoveries in one area are likely to ‘feed’ applications and implications within another.