Yet again, the infamous three, Institution, Standardization, & Conventionalization, came beckoning. Yet again, they asked, “How might we be characterized?”
Yet again, a notion entered and offered to present itself. The origins of this notion are the process of mechanical drawing…nowadays, CAD drawing. First an idea is developed and decreed fit to take physical form. The idea, even when a fairly in depth conversation is had or a thorough set of drawings produced, is still very much conceptual, and requires birthing unto its physical existence by means of a skilled artisan or tradesman. To do so requires much work, beyond the actual physical act of making. To do so requires that very precise measurements for hundreds and thousands of pieces are maintained. To do so requires that, when necessary, aspects of procuring material, cutting, forming, shaping, fabricating, finishing, and installing are orchestrated so as to produce the finest product with the least expenditure of energy and material. This requires re-envisioning the conceptual idea so as to make it accomplishable by the means available. To a large extent, this means that where possible, the project is broken down into an agglomeration of familiar shapes, members, and processes. Often times when the product is finished these are not all readily apparent merely by an untrained eye’s examination. In a sense, the process has come full circle and the final product is again appreciable as the concept deigned to be. In the process however, a group of individuals, the fabricators, were able to gain a livelihood because they possessed the ability to transfer a concept through an operational matrix that produces a physical embodiment of the concept when the process is complete.
This process, if considered for a time, bears a likeness to the process of gastrointestinal digestion. There is, at the outset, that which has value in it, but which is not readily accessible. The means to access the value is by breaking down the whole into pieces which can be systematically dealt with. The broken down elements are then finally reconstituted in a useful way.
So, too, with institution, standardization, and conventionalization. Institutions metabolize work and culture and things. Standards are digested chunks more suitable to transport and use by the system. Conventionalization is to reduce the variability in the processing and to make it repeatable and predictable so that we can trust that the standardized chunks that come out are similar enough that they can be processed and used in a standard way.