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Title: Back to the Control Room: Managing Artistic Work
Authors: Reeves, S
Greiffenhagen, C
Perry, M
Keywords: Control rooms;Ethnography;Ethnomethodology;Organisational work;Performance;Video analysis
Issue Date: 6-Sep-2022
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Citation: Reeves, S., Greiffenhagen, C. & Perry, M.(2022) Back to the Control Room: Managing Artistic Work. Comput Supported Coop Work. pp.1-44.
Abstract: Control rooms have long been a key domain of investigation in HCI and CSCW as sites for understanding distributed work and fragmented settings, as well as the role and design of digital technologies in that work. Although research has tended to focus mainly on ‘command and control’ configurations, such as rail transport, ambulance dispatch, air traffic and CCTV rooms, centres of coordination shaped by artistic and performative concerns have much to contribute. Our study examines how a professional team of artists and volunteers stage manage and direct the performance of a mixed reality game from a central control room, with remote runners performing live video streaming from the streets nearby to online players. We focus on the work undertaken by team members to bring this about, exploring three key elements that enable it. First, we detail how team members oriented to the work as an artistic performance produced for an audience, how they produced compelling, varied content for online players, and how the quality of the work was ongoingly assessed. Second, we unpack the organisational hierarchy in the control room’s division of labour, and how this was designed to manage the challenges of restricted informational visibility there. Third, we explore the interactional accomplishment of the performance by looking at the role of radio announcements from the event’s director to orchestrate how the performance developed over time. Announcements were used to resolve trouble and provide instructions for avoiding future performative problems; but more centrally, to give artistic direction to runners in order to shape the performance itself. To close we discuss how this study of a performance impacts CSCW’s understandings of control room work, how the problem of ‘diffuse’ tasks like artistic work is co-ordinated, and how orientations towards quality as an artistic concern is manifest in / as control room practices. We also reflect on hierarchical and horizontal control room arrangements, and the role of video as both collaborative resource and product.
ISSN: 0925-9724
Appears in Collections:Dept of Computer Science Research Papers

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