Kyle Steinfeld

Paradigms in Computing

Direct, Deferred, and Dissolved Authorship and the Architecture of the Crowd

Kyle Steinfeld & Levon Fox

In a chapter of the edited volume Paradigms in Computing, I present a framework for understanding a shift discernible in contemporary design culture. Here, I describe a shift from a nostalgic notion of direct authorship, understood as a compositional relationship between a designer and the product of his work, to a multiplicity of deferred authorships, wherein the stakeholders in the production of a design are mediated by systems of collaboration.

This framework holds ramifications for a number of emerging categories of design methods, including "procedural design", "parametric design", and "BIM-enabled collaboration", each of which represent an established trajectory in digital design research. While these are often understood separately, I argue that they may be understood generally, as they all rely on a computational design system that mediates the relationship between multiple actors and negotiates the diffusion of authorship among them.