Better later than never I just read the Editor's note in the July issue Re: linkage, a mechanical word for a human issue. There is only one correct word, it's collaborate: “to work, one with another.” The only reasons it's not an effective word are, either wordsmiths like to have new words to play with — hence the monster convergence — or the word collaboration has lost its meaning because there is precious little of it. Only when credit due becomes meaningless and the sum is more important than the parts will we achieve the kind of personal and artistic success we hope for, and when “the play's the thing” it won't matter what we call it, it will be something we all want — something we are proud to contribute to. Now here's a really radical idea, let's eliminate the design categories for awards, lighting sets, etc. Let it be best design to be collected by everyone, including sound and wigs and see if that might have a salutary effect.
— Wendall Harrington, projection designer
I just read your “From the Editor” spot in the July ED. I think the word we're looking for here is already in popular usage: integration. It may have had some of the sexiness rubbed off of it because the systems integration and IT guys have been using it for years, but it certainly does the job of denoting the strengthening “linkage” between the disciplines and technologies in entertainment design.
A suitably relevant definition:
“A process in which discrete but interconnected components are combined or coordinated to compose a larger, more complex system.”
The word “discrete” in this definition is important — in this system united parts retain their integrity even as they join closer to other parts. Just because things draw closer together does not mean they become the same.
Interestingly, I like some of the definitions from other worlds:
Psychology: “The ongoing process of bringing together all dissociated aspects of self, whether they are thoughts, feelings, behavior, or are organized as personality states or fragments.” (In extremis, the term describes the treatment of multiple personality disorder wherein the diverse personalities are reunited with the original self. Pretty apt, I'd say.)
Biology: “The process by which the different parts of an organism are made a functional and structural whole.”
Computer science: “The act of taking data from one software application (output) and, without human intervention, using it as input into a separate application.” (For me, this one describes the negative connotations of what occurs in our field sometimes-raw material output from one discipline and force-fed to another.)
Or just technology in general: “The process of making separate software and hardware systems and devices communicate with each other.”
— Jake Pinholster, projection designer/professor of media design, Arizona State University