Visual representations as 'artifacts of knowing'
Ewenstein, B. and Whyte, J. K. (2007) Visual representations as 'artifacts of knowing'. Building Research and Information, 35 (1 (Special). pp. 81-89. ISSN 0961-3218
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/09613210600950377
How does the manipulation of visual representations play a role in the practices of generating, evolving and exchanging knowledge? The role of visual representation in mediating knowledge work is explored in a study of design work of an architectural practice, Edward Cullinan Architects. The intensity of interactions with visual representations in the everyday activities on design projects is immediately striking. Through a discussion of observed design episodes, two ways are articulated in which visual representations act as 'artefacts of knowing'. As communication media they are symbolic representations, rich in meaning, through which ideas are articulated, developed and exchanged. Furthermore, as tangible artefacts they constitute material entities with which to interact and thereby develop knowledge. The communicative and interactive properties of visual representations constitute them as central elements of knowledge work. The paper explores emblematic knowledge practices supported by visual representation and concludes by pinpointing avenues for further research.