Friday, November 24, 2006

Things that go bump and the things that bump back

cj had told me about Pandora some time ago, but today I tripped over it. While it invites me in to think I'm shaping a personalised radio station, I am aware its also shaping me. I bumped it, and its bumped back...I told it what I like, it comes back with that and more. Its now adding to my repertoire of music i like and expectations of my capacity to shape my world. In a matter of mins my taste has expanded to encompass artists i had previously never heard of. And my expectations too have been bumped - i want this in my car! I want more choice like this in my life. As much as we think we shape our world as actors, the things we interact with, push back. Actor network theory provides me with a framework for exploring the recipricosity in shaping and in being shaped. And the actors involved are not all human; my taste in music (as well as my expectations of freedoms) are being shaped by non-human actors. I see myself rapidly becoming less tolerant of less adaptive media.
I have mulled over my ethics applications for two months, Bumping around the ideas- until they bumped back. Talking my studies through, and through and through. I have now clarified and minimised potential risks, its been a bit like tumbling it around till some of the rough bits are worn away. Now if only i could make sense of the forms... being a student in one institution and studying in another, crossing international boundaries in addition, plus being both student and staff... the real world is messy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

the missing work that makes things look magical

I have been *waiting* on some divine intervention that will produce the ethics application, i suspect its called work. I have chased white rabbits down a blog hole, but am forced to concede a doctorate doesnt materialise without being attended to. In following the white rabbit I was reacquainted with Susan Leigh Star (such a great name for someone who uncovers magic) and am reminded to be discerning and unwrap the hidden work.
I have been enjoying the clouds that sparkle in tenuous connection one to another; a quality of magic that's enticing, and consuming and i fear distracting. Some glamours of magic nestled in cyberspace- I loved reading Beth Kanters link capturing the ephemeral ... applications of links to buddhist digital prayer wheels, not to mention discovering my supposed true religious path... and email conversations with the toothfairy citing the softer side of social media at a.fine blog
But there is no trajectory that keeps a thesis on track when I am off chasing rainbows or scatterings of clouds or ephemeral beings, gods and or goddesses.
Back to 'real'; For my ethics application what is the possible good, as well as permutations of harm, in a research study of how people conceive of and act on change when using txt and e-counselling.
Some strategic use of will might be useful here (calling on some distant psychosynthesis training). If I name my intent here, maybe i can invoke it into being... daily blogging on a theme, ethics application * watch this space*

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

On becoming more and less real

To misquote 2 of my fav sources: Carl Rogers (On becoming a person) and Margery Williams (The velveteen rabbit). velveteen rabbit mp3

I was wrong in the way I worded my last post- its not that there is nothing in spaces between nodes or actors- but that there is no grand theory.
Latour says "it will be clear that it is not the solidity of the resulting construct that's in question, but rather the many heterogeneous ingredients, the long process, the many trades, the subtle coordination necessary to achieve such a result. The result itself is as solid as it gets."

ideant prompted my deeper consideration for what occurs in between nodes, between the actors- a relational space sometimes subtle sometimes overt, but there is always tension- pull, shove; grooves worn.
What's occurred and occurring is always the outcome of an aggregation of actors, its permanence always subject to flux. And things could always be different.
(Putting this crudely I can combine eggs, milk, and a cook, and the result might be scrambled eggs, custard, eggnog or a cook crying over spilt milk with egg on the face...)
'Subtle coordinations' produce different outcomes.

My research question involves capturing such subtleties: how do people think about and conceive of change; and what do they do in enacting such changes?

To ‘know’ such subtlety, Latour in Aramis advises researchers ‘follow the actors’. On rereading his essay on constructivism, I am mulling over just how one might ‘listen to the slime’! In his introductotion Latour cites Hackings, citing John Tyler Bonner:
'The experience also taught me a great lesson. I had not carefully designed an experiment that would prove diffusion; I had managed it by accident. That and all the other observations I had made told me that the slime molds were in charge, not I. They would let me know their secrets on their own terms, not mine. " John Tyler Bonner, Lives of a biologist : Adventures in a century of extraordinary science, Harvard, 2002, p. 78

Inside on the slime, did you notice the weird little hieroglyphs that occur on pasting from a word doc into a blog? I left a couple as evidence of the pushing, pulling, shoving...such subtleties would plague me if i was not choosing to be amused by attending to their presence. Do i start worrying when i start talking back to the slime?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What a tangled web we weave

I have just managed to make RSS links work (thanks cj and peter) and the world is suddenly connecting with me in new ways;I'm tripping over threads of people in unexpected places.
I came across this today from ideant
"The tyranny imposed by social network theories is that a node acknowledges only other nodes.... If we are going to go with the network metaphor, we need a praxis and an ethics, for engaging with the world beyond our interests, which means accounting for the space between nodes, becoming invested in the non-nodal."
Is there value to be had in looking between the nodes, between the actors? Callon and Latour (1981) seemed discouraging of this- ant is 'far from being a theory of the social or even worse an explanation of what makes society exert pressure on actors...'
If the tyranny of network thinking is an overly developed concern on nodes - nodal centric- how do we/I go about recognizing what i/we dont expect to see? Like Donna Haraway (1994) "I do not know how to leap out of my natural-cultural history to make it all come right."
I am reminded of a Charlie Brown cartoon of Snoopy lamenting that when he wanted to end his existance in the puppy farm, leaping over the fence still left him in the world.
I am still part of the tangle.

The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin' on like a bird that flew,
Tangled up in blue.

Bob Dylan (1974)

Monday, November 13, 2006

digital artistry or digital delusion

I had been reading a classical piece on the purpose of education, to teach carpentry not hammering.

In 1997 Todd Oppenheimer was saying
Last fall, after school administrators in Mansfield, Massachusetts, had eliminated proposed art, music, and physical-education positions in favor of buying computers, Michael Bellino, an electrical engineer at Boston University's Center for Space Physics, appeared before the Massachusetts Board of Education to protest. "The purpose of the schools [is] to 'Teach carpentry, not hammer,'" he testified. "We need to teach the whys and ways of the world. Tools come and tools go. Teaching our children tools limits their knowledge to these tools and hence limits their futures."
Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; July 1997; The Computer Delusion; Volume 280, No. 1; pages 45-62.

Then arti sent this misguided example of a kiwi ingenuity. Is this what happens when we teach hammering rather than thinking? While i am wanting to include digital narrative in my own thesis, i hope such a fate does not befall me as I note that this is an animation produced for a master's thesis by Dony Permedi...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

txting issues of heart and soul (<3 & soul)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

ailsa haxell (2007)
? do I <3 u
let me no. the ways
i <3 u 3d !

NZQA will neither confirm nor deny; but appear to have acquiesced.
TXT is acceptable (but not desirable) for students to use in NZ exams.
NZ Herald

a muse thing,
a muse space
amusing pace
maybe less is more
editing back to the blank page...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

performance in an actor network thesis

"... realizing that the meanings we bring to the surface from the depths of life's oceans have already lost the natural quiver of their disturbed existence. (van Manen, 1990, p. 54)

I was reading the blog of another NZ educator today-

  • artichoke
  • - and arti has prompted me to rethink the digital and visual imagery.
    In my colloquium document I had argued that there is an advantage to be had in undertaking doctoral studies: there is no market force constraining the area of study or the form of submission. The process of my learning allows for a gift of research to participants who could not afford to have their fledgling projects studied. In respect for the gift of their time and their trust, the research process needs to honour the participants in a format that they can connect with and/or use. Reading a book (thesis) just might not do this. I am therefore arguing that data be presented in forms outside of the traditional written format. This argument is described by Weber and Mitchell (2004):
    "...arts-based research can be more accessible than most forms of academic discourse, citing Williams and Bendelow (1998), they argue …artistic forms of representations provide a refreshing and necessary challenge to prevailing modes of academic discourse. The use of widely-shared cultural codes and popular images make some visual expressions far more accessible than the usual academic language. To the degree that the mandate of the academy is to provoke discussion and thinking, and to communicate research to a broader audience (even within the academy) the use of the visual arts becomes significant. (¶ 11)
    While artistic representation can be more engaging, the important word here is can. As much as it might, it mightn't. There is risk. The mandate to provoke discussion and thinking and to communicate research to a broader audience requires a regard for what is being communicated and consideration as to whether text is the most appropriate means. The conventions of academia usually reflect a commitment to written text, but this as a tradition is subject to change. An exegesis within the performing arts allows for performance to be accompanied by text, "Since a performance cannot always present this information without ambiguity, it is appropriate that a written component is included." (Deakin University, 2006). But what if we were to consider text as but one performance? Logic would suggest a performance, whether written, visual or audio, always presents a level of ambiguity. If ambiguity is reduced through having (non text) performance enhanced by the use of text, then perhaps the converse is also valid, there is a potential for enhancing text by the use of (non text) performances.

    Or is the inclusion of visual imagery, a fashion statement, a titivation? A seduction?
    Dr Scott Lukas suggests that the digital facilitates human separation: a fascination with capturing of moments in a fragmented world. Drawing on Baudrillard, Lukas describes his photographs emphasize the lack felt on traveling beyond that moment. , conveying the state of the world in our absence. ... armed with a battery of artificial memories ... the digital facilitates human separation.

    In this separation does the image add or take away? Does it make for fuller, thicker ways of knowing or detract, distract,distort. Does it do this any less than other media.
    Does it add to that which quivers?