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Rebecca Solnit: By the Book - The New York Times
"Though I should say that I’m often not a reader of books from one end to the other but a rover, as a result of more than half a lifetime of doing research in books, where you’re there not just for the pleasure (though there is often considerable pleasure) but to find out some particular thing. Also I get interrupted a lot, and misplace books in this house of books, and so one way or another I’m usually reading about a dozen books at a time."
howweread  rebeccasolnit  2018  nonlinear  reading  books  cv  grazing  roving  alinear  linearity 
august 2018 by robertogreco
La Scuola Open Source: Education and Research for cultural, social and technological Innovation
"We’re a community of digital artisans, makers, artists, designers, programmers, pirates, dreamers and innovators. We act together, testing new research, teaching, mentoring, co-living practices and models. We are involved with: research for public and private interest; teaching for learners, freelancers and managers of all ages. We design social and technological innovation.

☛ Non-linear learning paths
☛ Learning by doing
☛ New professions & skills
☛ A sharing space to grow up"

[from: http://lascuolaopensource.xyz/en/manifesto

"La Scuola Open Source is a space dedicated to social and technological innovation, where to perform educational activities, cultural performances and research projects:

☛ A hackerspace, where people with shared interest in the fields of craftsmanship, technology, science, visual arts, poetry, editing, robotics, domotics, biology, electronics and more can gather, socialize and/or cooperate;

☛ A re-use promotion center where obsolete technology is collected with the aim of promoting their smart upcycling;

☛ A FabLab: a small workshop offering customized digital fabrication services, equipped with a kit of fast prototyping tools (3d printing, laser cut, etc.)

♥ This opens up to new opportunities.

↓ We believe in

☆ Non-linearity
Founding principle of Plato’s accademia: “a free individual should not be forced, as a slave, to learn any discipline”, diametrically opposed to the monastic principle (and that of today’s school system), well represented by Benedict’s rule: “Speaking and teaching is a teacher’s job, staying silent and listening is what a disciple should do”.

☆ Co-design
Design as a “catalyst to collectively redefine our relationship with reality”, envisioning things for how they could be, altogether.

☆ Open work
The School’s structure allows us to build - by co-designing it - its teachings offering in an open way, allowing us to evolve each of its aspects with time.

☆ Multiverse
In modern physics, multiverse is a hypothesis postulating many co-existing universe beyond our space-time dimensions.

☆ Antifragility
The world around us is mutating and ever-changing. Upon this constant transformation we are building a model capable to adapt to mutations and making good of any erraticity and change happening. (N.Taleb, Antifragile).

☆ Learning by doing
We believe that teaching should be always combined with a continuous activity of research and exploration. Doing things and learning while doing, situational learning, are absolutely central in our vision and in the project we intend to realize.☆ Do it yourselfWe promote an alternative and aware approach to designing and production processes, stimulating self-production as a form of self-employment.

☆ Opensource
Open source, in its incremental logic, represents the blueprint for a collaborative, adaptive and recursive cultural system. We believe that such approach needs to be used in all fields of knowledge, so to enable possibilities for everyone.

☆ Hacker ethics
Linux’s big innovation was not the Operating System, but the open social dynamic that was set up to make that project happen.

☆ Sharing
We welcome people, ideas and projects to share space, knowledge and values. Through a constant and mutual exchange, both a collective consciousness and a better informative quality can be quickly developed.

☆ Osmosis
La Scuola Open Source intends to facilitate and generate osmotic processes between experiences and skills, aiming to increase everyone’s intrinsic value for the community.

↓ Our value proposition

☛ Access to future, a better one
We therefore need to train ourselves, learn by doing, fail, consult with others, cooperate, work on projects with a tangible impact on the real world.

☛ Customized and non-linear learning paths
We believe that people need to be pushed to ask questions, curiosity being the engine of progress. We therefore want to apply the open source approach to humanities as well, promoting a transversal and peer-to-peer approach to the learning topic.

☛ Spaces for social aggregation to learn in a cooperative context
It is necessary to restore sharing spaces and practices, re-discovering the ability to build relationships and team up to achieve common objectives, leveraging on education and learning as vehicles for a social and economical renewing process. Spaces where to discover and cultivate curiosity, turning it into the engine to each one’s learning path, a self-built path within a virtuous system, providing input and stimula on several channels and levels.

☛ New professional figures
Tomorrow new jobs will rise, while others could disappear. Things change, therefore we need to change things. We have to reform this educational sector in a generative way, keeping in mind the context’s evolution into account and making it mutate within time, continuously adapting."
lcproject  openstudioproject  altgdp  learning  communities  community  design  pirates  nonlinear  learningbydoing  unschooling  deschooling  sharing  space  italy  glvo  italia  bari  non-linear  opensource  linux  osmosis  hacker  hackerethics  antifragility  multiverse  co-design  resuse  hackerspaces  art  technology  alinear  linearity 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Peripetatic Humanities - YouTube
"A lecture about Mark Sample's "Notes Toward a Deformed Humanities," featuring ideas by Lisa Rhody, Matt Kirchenbaum, Steve Ramsay, Barthes, Foucault, Bahktin, Brian Croxall, Dene Grigar, Roger Whitson, Adeline Koh, Natalia Cecire, and Ian Bogost & the Oulipo, a band opening for The Carpenters."
kathiinmanberens  performance  humanities  deformity  marksample  lisarhody  mattkirchenbaum  steveramsay  foucault  briancroxall  denegrigar  rogerwhitson  adelinekoh  ianbogost  oulipo  deformance  humptydumpty  repair  mikhailbakhtin  linearity  alinear  procedure  books  defamiliarization  reading  howweread  machines  machinereading  technology  michelfoucault  rolandbarthes  nataliacecire  disruption  digitalhumanities  socialmedia  mobile  phones  making  computation  computing  hacking  nonlinear 
february 2018 by robertogreco
Nicky Case: Seeing Whole Systems - The Long Now
"Nicky Case is an independent game developer who creates interactive games and simulations including Parable of the Polygons (02014), Coming Out Simulator (02014), We Become What We Behold (02016), To Build A Better Ballot (02016), and LOOPY (02017).



Nicky Case’s presentations are as ingenious, compelling, and graphically rich as the visualizing tools and games Nicky creates for understanding complex dynamic systems.

Case writes: “We need to see the non-linear feedback loops between culture, economics, and technology. Not only that, but we need to see how collective behavior emerges from individual minds and motives. We need new tools, theories, and visualizations to help people talk across disciplines.”

Nicky Case is the creator of Parable of the Polygons (02014), Coming Out Simulator (02014), We Become What We Behold (02016), To Build A Better Ballot (02016), and LOOPY (02017).



How to finesse complexity

HE BEGAN, “Hi, I’m Nicky Case, and I explain complex systems in a visual, tangible, and playful way.” He did exactly that with 207 brilliant slides and clear terminology. What system engineers call “negative feedback,” for example, Case calls “balancing loops.” They maintain a value. Likewise “positive feedback” he calls “reinforcing loops.” They increase a value

Using examples and stories such as the viciousness of the board game Monopoly and the miracle of self-organizing starlings, Case laid out the visual basics of finessing complex systems. A reinforcing loop is like a ball on the top of a hill, ready to accelerate downhill when set in motion. A balancing loop is like a ball in a valley, always returning to the bottom of the valley when perturbed.

Now consider how to deal with a situation where you have an “attractor” (a deep valley) that attracts a system toward failure:

[image]

The situation is precarious for the ball because it is near a hilltop that is a reinforcing loop. If the ball is nudged over the top, it will plummet to the bottom of the balancing-loop valley and be stuck there. It would take enormous effort raise the ball out of such an attractor—which might be financial collapse or civil war. Case’s solution is not to try to move the ball, MOVE THE HILLS—identify the balancing and reinforcing loops in the system and weaken or strengthen them as needed to reconfigure the whole system so that the desired condition becomes the dominant attractor.

Now add two more characteristics of the real world—dense networks and chaos (randomness). They make possible the phenomena of emergence (a whole that is different than the sum of its parts) and evolution. Evolution is made of selection (managed by reinforcing and balancing loops) plus variation (unleashed by dense networks and chaos). You cannot control evolution and should not try--that way lies totalitarianism. Our ever popular over-emphasis on selection can lead to paralyzed systems—top-down autocratic governments and frozen businesses. Case urges attention to variation, harnessing networks and chaos from the bottom up via connecting various people from various fields, experimenting with lots of solutions, and welcoming a certain amount of randomness and play. “Design for evolution,” Case says, “and the system will surprise you with solutions you never thought of.”

To do that, “Make chaos your friend.”

--Stewart Brand"
systems  systemsthinking  nickycase  2017  illustration  visualization  longnow  maps  mapping  stewartbrand  games  gaming  gamedesign  capitalism  socialism  monopoly  economics  technology  culture  precarity  chaos  networks  evolution  socialtrust  voting  design  complexity  abstraction  communication  jargon  unknown  loopiness  alinear  feedbackloops  interconnectedness  dataviz  predictions  interconnected  nonlinear  linearity  interconnectivity 
august 2017 by robertogreco
ISTE | Learning happens in a zigzag – and that’s OK
"Jad Abumrad is quick to say he doesn’t feel comfortable giving educators advice, and yet his career in radio touches on many topics educators are familiar with.

Tinkering. Curiosity. Messy experiences. Failing forward. Transformation.

Abumrad, host and creator of public radio’s “Radiolab,” will be the opening keynote speaker at ISTE 2017.

“I firmly believe that if the act of teaching could be closer to the act of living, that would be a good thing,” Abumrad said.

“Teaching and learning shouldn’t be things that happen in an artificial space," he said. "They should happen in as messy and chaotic a way as the rest of our life happens.”

Sounds like he speaks ISTE.

On tinkering.

Abumrad has said that “Radiolab” was a product of his tinkering with an idea for a show that would include dialogue, sound effects, music and interviews. Educators might call it inductive learning, and the idea of tinkering certainly connects with today’s makerspaces.

But what Abumrad knows for sure is that tinkering can help learners externalize their thinking “by fumbling around to find the other piece of your idea.”

He recalls tinkering around to solve the problem of defining a radio show without using a theme song, but instead by using sound. He spent hours creating 25 versions of layered voices and glitchy edits that would play at the top of “Radiolab.” It became a signature of the show.

“I feel a lot of my own development has been like that. The material somehow teaches you something and you keep tinkering until it feels good,” Abumrad explained.

On curiosity.

It’s an education industry debate. Can curiosity and creativity be taught? Abumrad says, based on his experience, the answer is “yes.”

He says “Radiolab” co-host Robert Krulwich turned him on to the idea that nothing propels you like a really well-asked question. “If you have a good question, you have tension and suspense. It’s like having booster rockets on,” Abumrad said. “I’ve learned that if you surround yourself with people who are relentlessly curious, you begin to get that practice and get that muscle.”

He describes it as having a sense of unease about the information that’s being provided and then pressing to know the question behind the question.

“I didn’t start by being someone who woke up and had a relentless curiosity about the world. I worked with people who do, and I just sort of stole their moves,” Abumrad said. “We need to allow kids to understand what it feels like to have a question and then give them permission to ask it.”

On messy experiences.

As a self-proclaimed late bloomer, Abumrad acknowledges that he didn’t learn in a straight line, but rather stumbled his way through things, wishing along the way that others were familiar with the way he learned.

“Learning happens in a strange zigzag that’s not neat. We try to clean it up and make it a set of facts, but it’s not that way.”

In his experience, if there was room for learning to be messy, it might be more interesting for students.

On failing.

“Radiolab” listeners have become accustomed to the show’s cadence. The interviews are not always clean. Speakers stumble. There are pauses. Flubs are part of the vibe.
Abumrad says those mistakes make the show more authentic and acknowledge the unnatural artifice that exists when people are placed in a studio in front of mics and separated by panes of glass.

Mistakes happen and they don’t have to be edited out. Imagine if that thinking were applied to learners.

“If you start in a prosaic place and think, ‘what’s going on here,’ and you fumble and you ask the dumb questions that get you to the next questions, and you don’t pretend you know more than you know and you flail through the dark until you hit on something ... the spirit of the show is more of a stumble than a podium-style presentation,” Abumrad described.

And he thinks that willingness to make mistakes is beneficial, even scientific.
“Nothing we do is definitive. We do our best and we try to get everything right, but at the end of the day, every sentence that comes out of our mouths is provisional. And that’s how science is.”

On transformation.

The New York Times asked Abumrad why anyone would create a new aesthetic for the retrograde form that is radio. A similar question could be asked of the education system. Why attempt to change the factory model?

Abumrad said his contribution to transforming radio was inadvertent, based in trying to do something others hadn’t and rooted in his experience as a musician.

But he pondered the question, why try and change the way things are taught?

“I actually think the way things are taught is a little like how I feel about any meeting I go to. You can have a plan for a meeting, but every third meeting, you have to throw the plan away. You have to blow it up.

“Teaching is one of those things that inherently has to be blown up every few years. By its essential nature, it should be continually rethought because in some sense, the act of learning should embody the spirit of learning. And the people doing the teaching should be constantly learning how to recalibrate. I feel like the idea of blowing up your preconceived forms should just be something that has to happen – like every quarter.”"
2017  jadabumrad  sfsh  learning  howwelearn  tinkering  failure  transformation  messiness  radiolab  nonlinear  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The Subtle Radicalism of Julio Cortázar's Berkeley Lectures, Collected in 'Literature Class' - The Atlantic
[See also:
"Julio Cortázar's Berkeley Lectures Demonstrate the Writer as Dream Professor" (Tobias Carroll, 2017)
https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/articles/julio-cortazars-berkeley-lectures-demonstrate-the-writer-as-dream-professor/

"Cortázar at Berkeley" (Jessica Sequeira, 2014)
https://soundsandcolours.com/articles/argentina/cortazar-at-berkeley-22708/ ]

"“What good is a writer if he can’t destroy literature?” The question comes from Julio Cortázar’s landmark 1963 novel Hopscotch, the dense, elusive, streetwise masterpiece that doubles as a High Modernist choose-your-own-adventure game. Famously, it includes an introductory “table of instructions”: “This book consists of many books,” Cortázar writes in it, “but two books above all.” The first version is read traditionally, from chapter one straight through; the second version begins at chapter seventy-three, and snakes through a non-linear sequence. Both reading modes follow the world-weary antihero Horacio Oliveira, Cortázar’s proxy protagonist, who is disenchanted with the tepid certainties of bourgeois life, and whose metaphysical explorations form the scaffolding of a billowing, richly comic existential caper. Of his magnum opus, Cortázar said, laconically, “I’ve remained on the side of the questions.” But it was the novel’s formal daring—its branching paths—that hinted at what was to be the Argentine author’s most persistent and most personal inquiry: Why should there be only one reality?

That suspicion of grand narratives—both in literature and in life—informs much of Literature Class, a newly published collection of eight lectures the writer delivered at the University of California, Berkeley in 1980. The consequent lectures—originally delivered in Spanish and translated adeptly by Katherine Silver—are erudite, intimate, charmingly fragmented, and anecdotal, covering a range of topics, from “Eroticism and Literature” to “The Realistic Short Story.” The unifying through line is Cortázar’s abiding insistence on the elasticity of literary art, the better to capture what he saw as a fleeting, contentious, and ever-fluid reality. At one point, Cortázar tells his students, “I had lived with a complete feeling of familiarity with the fantastic because it seemed as acceptable to me, as possible and as real, as the fact of eating soup at eight o’clock in the evening.” The fantastic, then, was a means of leavening the flatness of the widely accepted, or the merely prosaic. The sentiment becomes something of a refrain. For Cortázar, like his creation Horacio, the joyless—and, in cases, politically expedient—narrowing of lived possibility was forever conspiring with a larger falseness, one he called “the prefabricated, pre-established world.”

While Cortázar doesn’t explicitly explain what he meant by this, his work suggests a deep distrust of the very everydayness of life, a suspicion that it constitutes a paralysis masquerading as a soothing routine. “It occurred to me like a sort of mental belch,” Horacio says in one of Hopscotch’s lengthy internal monologues, “that this whole A B C of my life was a painful bit of stupidity, because it was based solely on…the choice of what could be called nonconduct rather than conduct.” Elsewhere, in the short story The Instruction Manual, Cortázar writes with similar misgiving, “How it hurts to refuse a spoon, to say no to a door, to deny everything that habit has licked to a suitable smoothness.” The lectures take up arms against that smoothness with a disarming candor: “Why do people accept that things are the way they are when they could be some other way?” he asks his students in a lecture called “The Ludic in Literature.” It seems a simple, even banal, question, yet it animated his work to an extraordinary degree.

By the time of his Berkeley sojourn, Cortázar was no stranger to undermining these kinds of assumptions. Indeed, for the offshoot of literary modernism referred to as the Latin American Boom—in which Cortázar played a definitive role in its 1960s heyday—a radical reevaluation of reality came with the territory. The Boom, which included the fertile works of Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, and José Lezama Lima, among others, helped to shatter the barriers between the mundane and the fantastic. Cortázar himself brought a kind of cosmopolitan cubism to the novel in which time, place, language, even the literal text itself, became sites of contention, participation, and play. The read-as-you-like instructions of Hopscotch, then (“The reader may ignore what follows with a clean conscience”) should not be taken as mere gamesmanship or avant-garde posturing; rather, they actively pushed up against a literary realism that no longer suited the fragmented textures of contemporary Latin American life.

Widespread political turbulence was an inescapable feature of that experience, even as a concomitant concern with what it meant to be a politically engaged Latin American artist took shape beside it. A new wave of fiercely complex, narratively adventurous novels like Augusto Roa Bastos’s I, the Supreme, a barely concealed censure of the Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner, and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Time of the Hero, copies of which the Peruvian military burned, showcased the potency of literature as a means of speaking to dictatorial power. “I think it is now clear that the inevitable dialect that always exists between reality and literature has evolved deeply in many of our countries through the force of circumstance,” Cortázar tells his students in “A Writer’s Paths,” the most nakedly autobiographical of the Berkeley lectures. Literature Class is punctuated by such candid remarks, and suggests that the sparkle and audacity of Cortázar’s work, to say nothing of the Boom as a whole, are in many ways inextricable from that tumultuous mid-century political moment. Cortázar’s mid-career epiphany that literature should be “born out of the process of the populace, the peoples that the author belongs to” arguably came out of this experience; it represented a radical awakening to a frankly political, though never crudely didactic, art. “I had to switch my emphasis to the condition of being Latin American,” Cortázar says in the same lecture, “and take on everything that came with that responsibility and that duty.”

No small part of that duty was Cortázar’s project of reality-testing. Just as in his novels and short stories, that word—“reality”—appears dozens of times throughout Literature Class. Over the course of the lectures, the word accretes a kind of moral gravity until one begins to understand it as Cortázar himself appeared to: a battlefield over which opposing forces grappled for control. This was no mere abstraction. During the brutal regimes of Perón, Batista, Somoza, and others, officially sanctioned reality lost any claim to the real; rather, it served as a kind of malignant fiction in which the State was the unquestioned narrator. (The Trump administration’s insistence on “alternative facts” is only the latest iteration of this tactic.) Cortázar’s experience of this encroachment would be sporadic—he had lived in Paris since 1951—but profound. The so-called “Dirty War” saw thousands of his countrymen killed or “disappeared” in the 1970s as anti-communist death squads ruthlessly eliminated supposed dissidents. “It is in this realm,” Cortázar says to his students in the lecture “Latin American Literature Today,” “so stained with blood, torture, prisons, and depraved demagoguery, where our literature is fighting its battles.”

Cortázar’s quest for reality, then, became indistinguishable from his critique of it. In a 1976 edition of the international literary quarterly Books Abroad, he wrote, “Nothing seems more revolutionary to me than enriching the notion of reality by all means possible.” No matter what form that enrichment took in his fiction (the branching paths of Hopscotch, the visionary naïveté of Cronopios and Famas, the genre instability of Blow-Up: And Other Stories), its objective, as he suggests in “The Realistic Short Story,” was to produce “reality as it is, without betraying it, without deforming it, allowing the reader to see beneath the causes, into the deeper workings, the reasons that lead men to be as they are or as they are not.” Always something of a moving target in his work, reality, finally, wasn’t meant to be found, much less achieved. It was an endless pursuit, morally malleable, generous, radically free. “When you reach the limits of expression,” he says in another lecture, “just beyond begins a territory where everything is possible and everything is uncertain.” In Cortázar’s terms, we’ve reached Eden: the ultimate state of grace.

The classroom, of course, was another story entirely. Cortázar might have seen it as a place where official narratives, that “pre-established world,” could be nurtured and legitimized for students—an irony he was doubtless abundantly aware of as he lectured. Indeed, almost immediately one can feel him chafing beneath the authority conferred by the lectern. “I want you to know that I’m cobbling together these classes very shortly before you get here,” he says on his first day. “I’m not systematic, I’m not a critic or a theorist.” Later, in the lecture “Writing Hopscotch,” he reveals the ultimate source of his apprehension: “How can [the writer] denounce something with the tools that are used by the enemy, that is … a language already used by the masters and their disciples?” Whatever the ostensible topic of a given lecture, these evasions continue to surface like an anxious tic. Taken together, they comprise the enormously enjoyable subtext of Literature Class: the ambivalence of a great writer who seeks to interrogate the efficacy of a weapon he has no choice but to use.

… [more]
juliocortázar  radicalism  authority  2017  ucberkeley  reality  1960s  literacy  theboom  elboom  life  meaning  everyday  literature  1963  rayuela  linearity  nonlinear  1980  katherinesilver  elasticity  magicrealism  fantasy  gabrielgarcíamárquez  carlosfuentes  josélezamalima  cubism  language  latinamerica  mariovargasllosa  alfredostoessner  augustoroabastos  argentina  alternativefacts  grace  non-linear  alinear 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Austin Kleon — Neil Postman & Charles Weingartner, Teaching as a...
"The game is called “Let’s Pretend,” and if its name were chiseled into the front of every school building in America, we would at least have an honest announcement of what takes place there. The game is based on a series of pretenses which include: Let’s pretend that you are not what you are and that this sort of work makes a difference to your lives; let’s pretend that what bores you is important, and that the more you are bored, the more important it is; let’s pretend that there are certain things everyone must know, and that both the questions and answers about them have been fixed for all time; let’s pretend that your intellectual competence can be judged on the basis of how well you can play Let’s Pretend."



"Almost any sensible parent knows this, as does any effective top sergeant. It is not what you say to people that counts; it is what you have them do…. What students do in the classroom is what they learn (as Dewey would say), and what they learn to do is the classroom’s message (as McLuhan would say). Now, what is it that students do in the classroom? Well, mostly, they sit and listen to the teacher. Mostly, they are required to believe in authorities, or at least pretend to such belief when they take tests. Mostly, they are required to remember. They are almost never required to make observations, formulate definitions, or perform any intellectual operations that go beyond repeating what someone else says is true."



"A syllabus not only prescribes what story lines you must learn…. It also prescribes the order in which your skills must be learned."



"The good teacher “regards learning as a process, not a terminal event… he assumes that one is always in the process of acquiring skills, assimilating new information, formulating or refining generalizations.”"

[See also Matt Thomas's Neil Postman posts (linked within):
https://submittedforyourperusal.com/tag/neil-postman/ ]
austinkleon  neilpostman  charleswingartner  teaching  education  teachingasasubversiveactivity  2016  1969  crapdetection  hemingway  criticalthinking  howweteach  pedagogy  learning  howwelearn  unschooling  deschooling  alanwatts  linear  linearity  nonlinear  textbooks  tests  testing  non-linear  alinear 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Our Fairy Tales Ourselves: Storytelling From East to West | Literary Hub
"Mall Santas not withstanding, there is of course only one Santa in the west. But my son, raised on a diet of both Japanese and western children’s books, didn’t seem bothered by the discrepancy. It was simply a story. Another kind of story, set in Japan, where one thing was always turning into hundreds of things and where every animal, not to mention every food item in a refrigerator, could always talk and stories did not necessarily proceed in a standard linear fashion. Not for the first time it dawned on me: we imprint on what a story ought to be extremely early in life. Whether we know it or not, our childhood reading—fairy tales in particular—tell us what successful story structure is and is not, and what ought to feel satisfying.

I had a conversation about this with a film director in Japan one time, and he said to me that after his son was born, he had tried to read Curious George in translation. “And I thought,” said the director, “that we would never have a monkey behave like that in a Japanese children’s book. And then I realized—so this is how Americans are growing up. With Curious George.”

* * * *

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we learn our stories. In my twenties, I received a personalized rejection letter from an agent for a manuscript that will hopefully never see the light of day. The letter contained phrases like “becoming a writer takes a long time,” and “perhaps consider going to school.” She also suggested that I read The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler."



"A portion of my childhood was spent in Japan; my mother took me there every summer. While I was allotted two hours of TV a week in the United States (my parents religiously followed movie ratings, which means I still haven’t seen The Jerk), I was allowed to view as much television in Japan as I wanted, under the guise that it would help me with my language skills. And so I watched and watched. Occasionally I would see something on TV that deeply captured my imagination and love, but which sent me into such a fit of tears that my mother would literally spend hours trying to console me over the injustice of a purely tragic ending while she cursed her culture for being irresponsibly sad. For in Japan, stories could be devastatingly, irredeemably wretched. Ghosts could triumph over the living. People also had sex on TV and there were breasts! The stories—life—felt at once more fraught, but more colorful, as if the very act of being alive was more daring on Japanese television than at home. But it wasn’t a fake fraught. Innocent people suffered as a result of living in a perilous if vibrant world.

Over the past two decades, it has been interesting to watch Hong Kong action films and Japanese cartoons, or manga and anime, make their way across the ocean to find a vast audience in the west. So, too, have some novelists in translation become popular, chief among them Haruki Murakami. I think that part of what readers and audiences are responding to is a “fresh” way of experiencing a story.

Take, for example, the animated film Spirited Away, in which the young heroine, Chihiro, is suddenly separated from her parents, and finds herself in another realm, populated by gods and invisible beings, who congregate at a bathhouse. To return to her parents, Chihiro will need to work at this bathhouse, though the way home is far more circuitous than it was, say, for Dorothy trying to return to Kansas. Dorothy gets rid of two out of four witches (the evil witches are ugly, and the good ones beautiful). She also must see the Wizard.

The rules are less clear for Chihiro. While working at the bathhouse, Chihiro encounters the proprietress Yubaba, who with her large nose, oversized head and copious wrinkles seems, at first glance, to epitomize the evil ugly witch made incarnate. But as the movie progresses, it becomes less and less clear if Yubaba is in fact purely evil. When her twin sister, Zeniba shows up, the same features that made Yubaba so intimidating, appear almost grandmotherly; elderly people can, in fact, slip out of one role and into another just as Yubaba and Zeniba do. There is a kind of nimbleness, for lack of a better term, at play in many of these stories from Japan (hence the limitless forms that Santa can take in Nontan’s world) that we in the west are just beginning to experience.

About a decade ago, I stumbled across another book—a good complement to The Writer’s Journey. The Japanese Psyche: Major Motifs in the Fairy Tales of Japan, by Hayao Kawai, examines Japanese fairy tales, and how so many of their ideas and themes feel at once familiar, but strange to western audiences. Kawai is often referred to as the first Japanese psychologist who trained as a Jungian analyst. But when Kawai returned to Japan from Switzerland, he realized that some of the “rules” of interpreting mythology and dreams didn’t exactly conform to Japanese culture. What was more, stories didn’t adhere to expected western concepts of structure.

Kawai addressed the idea that reality is in fact slippery, in the Yubaba-Zeniba way. He writes: “Reality consists of countless layers. Only in daily life does it appear as a unity with a single layer, which will never threaten us. However, deep layers can break through to the surface before our eyes. Fairy tales have much to tell us in this regard.” What lies behind this layer of reality? If you have any familiarity with Murakami’s work, then you know he often explores the reality behind reality; it is perhaps not a coincidence that Kawai is said to have been a great friend to Murakami. Western writers have started to adopt the Murakami/Kawai style of storytelling. Someone like David Mitchell, who lived in Japan, puts a similar twisting and turning through time and reality to use in his book Cloud Atlas.

Kawai also introduces the concept of “the aesthetic solution.” In western fairy tales, Kawai notes, stories often resolve with a conquest, or with a wedding. Examples are numerous: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, etc. But in Japanese fairy tales, Kawai says, there is rarely this kind of union. Frequently, stories resolve with “an aesthetic solution.” And by aesthetic, Kawai specifically means images from nature. As an example, he opens his book with a discussion of the fairy tale, “The Bush Warbler.”

A woodcutter is out in the woods, when he comes across a mansion he has never seen before. He encounters a beautiful woman, who invites him into her house and asks him to look after the property while she is out—if he promises not to look in any of the interior rooms. As soon as the woman leaves, the woodcutter breaks his promise. He wanders around and finds three beautiful women sweeping. They see him, and glide away “like birds.” Alone again, the woodcutter begins to steal intricate, gilded objects. At one point, he picks up a nest with three eggs. He drops the nest and the eggs break. The beautiful woman returns to the house and chastises the woodcutter for “killing her three daughters.” She transforms into a warbler, and flies away. When the woodcutter comes to, he finds himself completely alone in the woods, with none of the pilfered objects in his possession and with only a memory of beauty.

This kind of ending, says Kawai, is not uncommon in Japan. In a western fairy tale, the woodcutter might have become a prince, and ultimately married the beautiful and mysterious woman. But not so in Japan. Instead, the story is resolved by “the aesthetic solution,” in which the hero is left to contemplate his own existence against the backdrop of a beautiful image. Or maybe I am being too western here. Maybe his existence doesn’t matter. Maybe all we are left with is the beautiful image.

Kawai notes: “In Japan, especially in ancient times, aesthetic value and ethical value were inseparable. Beauty is probably the most important element in understanding Japanese culture. In fairy tales too, beauty places a great role in the construction of the stories.” In fact: “the Japanese fairy tale tells us that the world is beautiful, and that beauty is complete only if we accept the existence of death.” There are reams and reams that can be written about this single observation, but I’ll just say here that it’s a critical piece of understanding so many of the great Japanese novels, like Junichiro Tanizaki’s masterpiece, The Makioka Sisters, and Yukio Mishima’s tetralogy. It’s also something to keep in mind when you read, as you should, what I think is possibly the bravest and most important work being done right now in introducing Japanese literature to western readers: I’m talking here about Monkey Business, the literary magazine edited by Roland Kelts, and produced in partnership with A Public Space. Even if you read just these stories, you’ll get a sense of how our modern world is at once familiar, but might look and feel slightly different to people with a completely different cultural base than our own.

It’s been a while since I read The Writer’s Journey, but I doubt very much it contains “observing a beautiful image but being left with nothing” as “the Reward” for the hero’s quest. And yet, perhaps it is indeed precisely the kind of knowledge a true seeker needs to learn, and accept as she ages. Perhaps it is the bravest lesson of all.

* * * *

Some say that Hollywood stories are becoming too international, and are obliterating other concepts of what a story can and should be. If our stories reflect who we are as people, this would be a shame, because I think other insights—that beauty is an ethical value—are as interesting and valuable as all the metaphoric meanings that come with slaying a dragon. (And incidentally, if you run a low-res writing program, I have a whole syllabus I could teach at your university based on the themes in this essay).

In the forward to the third edition of The Writer’s Journey, even Vogler acknowledges that… [more]
stoytelling  us  japan  thewest  writing  fairytales  mariemutsukimockett  stories  spiritedaway  harukimurakami  hayaomiyazaki  studioghibli  film  movies  georgeluvas  josephcampbell  curiousgeorge  linear  nonlinear  culture  catsanta  yukiomishima  wwnorton  davidmitchell  christophervogler  animals  2016  linearity  beautyrolandkelts  apublicspace  junichirotanizaki  aesthetics  non-linear  alinear 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Pool of Thought - The New York Times
"THERE is no drug — recreational or prescription — capable of inducing the tranquil euphoria brought on by swimming. I do all my best thinking in the pool, whether I’m trying to figure out how to treat a patient’s complicated ailment or write a paper. Why that is is mysterious, but I have a theory.

Assuming you have some basic stroke proficiency, your attention is freed from the outside world. You just have to dimly sense the approaching wall before you flip turn and go on your way. Cut off from sound, you are mostly aware of your breathing. You have to traverse boredom before you can get to a state of mental flow. Now your mind is free to revel in nonlinear, associative thought. Nothing has to make sense. You suddenly become aware that time has passed. You are not sure what elapsed in that strange discontinuity, but the solution to a problem that escaped you on land is perfectly obvious emerging from the water — a rapturous experience.

I could flood you with facts about the physiology of swimming in an attempt to convince you of its cognitive benefits. Some point to endorphins — but the idea that exertion causes endorphin levels to rise in the brain seems to be a myth. Perhaps swimming improves brain function by increasing blood flow? Sure, that’s true. It also raises the level of BDNF, a protein that promotes neurogenesis, especially in the hippocampus, which supports memory. But so does nearly every form of exercise that speeds up your heart rate.

And yet, immersion in water up to the level of the heart has been shown to increase blood flow to one of the brain’s major arteries by 14 percent over that which you’d expect on land. So perhaps there is something special about swimming that is distinct from exercise on land.

Some of my psychoanalytically oriented colleagues have joked that swimming promotes an emotional regression — back to “swimming” in utero. I love the notion, but considering that the brain regions central to encoding long-term memory don’t develop sufficiently until around age 1, it’s unlikely.

My love of swimming is as emotional as it is intellectual. My father, who was a great swimmer, taught me to swim when I was very young. We swam together in every conceivable body of water for years, so swimming is inextricably bound to my relationship with my father, who was an engineer and a deeply curious person.

Though we never discussed it, I suspect that he, too, swam not just for health, but to think. He would return from a long swim and disappear into his office, emerging hours later excited about an insight into a new technology or instrument.

A few years back, my husband and I celebrated on our honeymoon by swimming from Europe to Asia across the Dardanelles — the Hellespont of Greek myth. It was about a two-and-a-half-mile swim in some of the most beautiful cool azure water, so I had plenty of time to think.

Halfway across, I looked up and could see the coast of Canakkale, Turkey, in the distance, and realized I had 40 minutes or so more to finish. I found myself thinking of my father, as I often do in the water, and pictured his powerful, graceful stroke. Next thing I knew, I had reached land."

[via: http://www.deliberate.rest/?p=966 ]
swimming  richardfriedman  2016  immersion  euphoria  psychology  nonlinear  discontinuity  beathing  senses  thinking  flow  howwethink  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The Future of Browser History — Free Code Camp
"Problem

I can search for the term in Google, but I’m not going to get a single result that answers my question. Rather, I’m going to get a lot of results, and all of those results will have bits and pieces of information that are relevant to me.

Then I’m going to go exploring through the internet, collecting lots of tabs along the way. Some of those tabs will be duds, so I close them.

Some of those tabs will be relevant and will have twenty more links, so I open them all, and in this way I keep crawling.

Tabs, tabs, tabs

Then after a while I have a cloud of pages in my head that I visited and the answer is more or less complete.

But if I try to revisit this later, it’s impossible. I can remember what I found, but it wasn’t a linear progression, therefore my browser history is useless.

Despite living in a data-driven society, as more and more databases are brought online, the complex and varied information available to be discovered is dependent on how well we can search.

In formal ways, we have transitioned from the Classic Retrieval Model, to what is called, Berrypicking Search.

The query is satisfied not by a single final retrieved set, but by a series of selections of individual references and bits of information at each stage of the ever-modifying search.

In other words, we do not usually search for something that leads to a single result that answers our question, rather we search for terms and then explore the internet, connecting bits and pieces of the answer as we read through the web of tabs that our search starts for us.

Our search needs, and in turn our browser history, are not being met with single query anymore. We move through a variety of sources with every new piece of information giving us new ideas and directions to follow. Without us ever knowing it, our search queries are constantly fluctuating.

Unfortunately, our current solution to finding a not-bookmarked webpage, is to retrace own steps through different links.

It demands that users have enough information to decipher the desired page from all others by recognizing headers, obscure URLs or timestamps.

Our browser’s history should reflect our behavior on the internet and help us understand the process behind it. It is crucial to actually understand and question the way we use the internet, and without the suitable tools, it is not possible.

Solution

I find answers in maps. …"
web  online  internet  search  browsers  browser  recall  history  tabs  cv  howwelean  howweread  linearity  maps  mapping  timelines  2016  patrykdaś  linear  nonlinear  non-linear  alinear 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Designing a space for self-directed learners — The experimental year — Medium
"Imagining the space
Without being too prescriptive yet about how it will converge or evolve, these are some abstract ideas:

Unstructured and non-linear
Most traditional learning journeys are structured in a very specific, deliberate manner, often designed to progress in terms of complexity. Self-directed learners may want to learn according to what provokes our curiosity instead, and that may mean starting from the middle and proceeding to pick out material in order of interest instead of what is being defined by a typical structure.

Design and curate our own learning experience
Related to the point above, we want to be able to decide how we want to learn, what is important to learn, how much we want to learn.

Tap into the collective wisdom
We want to learn widely and deeply, and that involves trying to access as much information as possible, from the widest variety of sources as possible. Somebody unexpected may suggest obscure that may never make it into a mainstream course but it may be a collective deep-learning experience for a few like-minded people.

Anyone can learn as a peer
The most ideal scenario will be a five year old learning astro-physics with a seventy-eight year old, with an astro-physicist providing feedback as they go along. Is that absurd? But why not?

Include the best learning sources: people and places
Apart from theory, people and places are the greatest sources of information. Imagine learning art history and being able to communicate with art historians, or get suggestions from the learning network where to visit in order to have an experiential learning experience.

Display connections and context
The fascinating thing about learning is that each learning node is connected possibly infinitely to others. An example:
…history-art-philosophy-politics-economics-sociology-psychology-neurology…

So, how can we visualize this network of relationships?

Allow for divergence or depth anytime
At any given point in the learning experience, we can diverge into a related subject or go deeper into the existing subject, with visible signposts to what is possible next.

Magical sorting
Any extensive network comes with a great amount of noise. Being able to find what we need with any given context from the widest sources possible is a huge challenge. I have not thought this through yet, but I imagine this to be a weightage compromising of relevancy, peer ratings (users of the same network), social-network relationships (people we know) coupled with other less obvious engagement metrics."

[later: https://medium.com/the-experimental-year/designing-a-self-directed-learning-network-work-in-progress-v0-1-ad6ba3b883b0#.x9prh7tp5

"Some basics I wanted to design around:

1. Mobile first. Anybody in the world can participate and learn on the go, especially emerging markets — people with low cost mobile phones but not the more expensive desktops.

2. It is a network of learning paths, each path is represented by a stack of cards. Each card would represent a node and they can be rearranged in any manner. Anybody can create or fork one.

3. The cards will be links to external content — there is great content out there, just not easily discoverable or strung together in a cohesive manner, or people may have specific learning preferences (disliking videos, for example).

4. The network is designed for the diversity of learning. It will be weighted according to the learner’s preferences — social trust or metrics, but the goal is not to reach consensus (like wikipedia). There should not be one top quality path on Philosophy for example, but a diversity of them, and ideally a way to visualize or track their divergences. There should not be one way to learn most things.



New constraints were set

1. It has to be a web app.

2. Tap only, no gestures.

3. To not rely on the browser tab bar for backwards navigation.

4. No complicated animations to load any interactions or screens.

5. Render information as quickly as possible, with the lowest bandwidth/processing costs as possible. (no zooms, I guess :~\)

6. Try to keep it simple stupid.

With these, I was free from thinking about the interaction patterns, and it brought me clarity on the areas I should focus on."]
winnielim  education  self-directedlearning  self-directed  linear  non-linear  learning  diversity  networks  webapps  web  online  internet  p2p  unstructured  unschooling  deschooling  peertopeer  lcproject  openstudioproject  linearity  nonlinear  alinear 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Viriconium FAQ | the m john harrison blog
"(1) Read as one book, not as three novels followed by a collection of afterthoughts.

(2) Freely intersperse the short stories between the novels.

(3) The novels can be read in any order, but order of publication makes a kind of sense if you are bound by expectations of linear time & causality.

(4) Start with “Viriconium Knights” if you need a readily-assimilable f/sf rationale for what’s going on in the rest of the book.

(5) Other rationales are available.

(6) Random dipping is just as effective an archeology. All beginnings are endings. Every reiteration is the (not an) original iteration.

(7) It is a metafictional critique of “epic” fantasy.

(8) It is a deconstruction of “epic” fantasy.

(9) It is a conscious disruption & abjection of the American ideological overmyth “Hero with a Thousand Faces”.

(10) It hates story. It hates the idea of character as fixed & causal. It hates relatability. It hates reader-identification. It hates the idea that because the real is disordered, fiction’s duty is to provide order; it hates the anodyne mouth-feel & simultaneous shrill desperation of ordering fictions. It hates immersive texts because immersion defuses political & social dissatisfaction.

(11) Read “A Young Man’s Journey to Viriconium” last. Or see (14).

(12) Titles, epigraphs & chapter headings are often significant parts of the text, so if you’re reading something framed as The Floating Gods, you aren’t reading Viriconium.

(13) Every available edition is problematical in terms of content, organisation & packaging.

(14) There is a new, as yet unpublished story."
mjohnharrison  linearity  storytelling  linear  nonlinear  novels  stories  via:robinsloan  2016  organization  time  sequence  viriconium  non-linear  alinear 
march 2016 by robertogreco
Not-yetness | the red pincushion
"I have done several talks lately about the idea of not-yetness. It’s an idea that Jen Ross (University of Edinburgh) and I first wrote about in our chapter, Complexity, mess, and not-yetness: Teaching online with emerging technologies, to be published in the forthcoming second edition of Emerging Technologies in Distance Education. In the first edition of the book, our esteemed editor, George Veletsianos, wrote about defining emerging technologies. He wrote that emerging technologies can be both old and new technologies and they are constantly-evolving organisms that experience hype cycles. George also noted that emerging technologies satisfy two “not yet” conditions: they are not fully understood, and not fully researched.

These not-yet conditions hit home for Jen and me. Writing from a complexity theory lens, we thought of not-yetness as being related to emergence. Noel Gough (2012) defines emergence as a key attribute of most human environments and systems, and what occurs when “a system of richly connected interacting agents produces a new pattern of organization that feeds back into the system.”

In our context, emergence is allowing new ideas, new methodologies, new findings, new ways of learning, new ways of doing, and new synergies to emerge and to have those things continue to feed back into more emergence. Emergence is a good thing. For us, not-yetness is the space that allows for emergence. Not-yetness is not satisfying every condition, not fully understanding something, not check-listing everything, not tidying everything, not trying to solve every problem…but creating space for emergence to take us to new and unpredictable places, to help us better understand the problems we are trying to solve (to use Mike Caulfield’s wisdom).

This is becoming increasingly important in education, where the rhetoric surrounding educational technology pushes simplification, ease, efficiency, and measurable-everything. This rhetoric goes hand-in-hand with the accountability movements (many call it “evidence-based practice”) at play in educational contexts. Randy Bass wrote that “these pressures for accountability are making us simultaneously more thoughtful and more limited in what we count as learning.” We hear a lot about “best practices” and “what works,” which Jen and others (Sian Bayne, Hamish Macleod, and Clara O’Shea) have argued is a “totalising notion.” There are lots of ways of understanding what our students experience, lots of ways to do things “right,” lots of definitions of right.

Davis and Sumara (2008) argue that “an education that is understood in complexity terms cannot be conceived in terms of preparation for the future. Rather, it must be construed in terms of participation in the creation of possible futures” (p. 43). And yet the push for simplicity and accountability defines a pretty narrow set of possible outcomes for students. Gardner Campbell cautions us to be careful with learning outcomes statements: “Yet these {learning outcomes} are still behaviors, specified with a set of what I can only describe as jawohl! statements, all rewarding the bon eleves and marching toward compliance and away from more elusive and disruptive concepts like curiosity or wonder.” Simplification and an over-pursuit of accountability run counter to our view that education is complex, messy, creative, unpredictable, multi-faceted, social, and part of larger systems.

We argue that not-yetness helps us to make space for critical discussions and experiments with emerging technologies in a way that recognizes the beautiful complexity of teaching and learning. As Jen said in our ET4Online plenary talk, which focused on messiness and not-yetness in digital learning, “We can use it to tell new stories about what teachers, students, developers, designers and researchers are doing in our digital practices, and why it is hard, and why it matters. We can take better account of issues of power, responsibility, sustainability, reach and contact in digital education. We can be more open about the work of education.”
To that end, Jen and I write in our forthcoming chapter, “We need practices that acknowledge and work with complexity to help us stay open to what may be genuinely surprising about what happens when online learning and teaching meets emerging technologies. In this sense, our focus as educators should be on emergent situations, where complexity gives rise to ‘new properties and behaviours… that are not contained in the essence of the constituent elements, or able to be predicted from a knowledge of initial conditions’ (Mason 2008, p.2).”

So what does all of this mean for educators? Here are some ideas. Embracing not-yetness means making space for learning opportunities that:

• promote creativity, play, exploration, awe

• allow for more, not fewer, connections, more personalization (true personalization, not necessarily what has been offered to us by adaptive learning companies)

• transcend bounds of time, space, location, course, and curriculum

• encourage students to exceed our expectations, beyond our wildest outcomes, pushes back on “data science of learning” focus

• do not hand over essential university functions and important complexities over to private industry

In my talks, I shared examples of projects that I think embody or embrace not-yetness. I’ll share those examples in my follow-on post.

As I was looking at these projects, trying to better understand them, I started thinking about Legos. I love Legos. I was talking to my friend Mike Caulfield, who is at Washington State University-Vancouver about this idea and he said, “do you remember when Legos used to just be free-range Legos? Now, they are these sets that have instructions and tell you how to build exactly what they want you to build. They were trying to eliminate the problem of kids not knowing how to build Legos, but instead they also eliminated the opportunities for creative expression.”

This really hit home for me, because I was really into Legos as a kid and my son is really into Legos. I decided to run a little experiment—mostly for my own curiosity. I decided to see what would happen if I gave him the same Lego set twice and had him build it once with the instructions and once without. First, this is what happened when Vaughn had the Lego instructions (fyi–the videos have no audio):

[video]

I thought that, when I gave him the set without the instructions, he would try to copy what he had done when he had the instructions. But instead, after suspiciously confirming that he could build whatever he wanted, here is what happened…

[video]

Note that throughout the time he was building without the instructions, he was also playing. Note that he is making sounds (though there is no audio, you can clearly see he’s making the requisite “boom” and “fffffsssshhhhh” sounds a six year old makes), talking more, smiling. He’s exploring. He’s enjoying himself.

Building Legos without instructions may have seemed harder or daunting at first, but instead it opened up space for his creativity. Not-yetness—not specifying outcomes, not predicting what he would or should do, not outlining each step—opened up space for play and for the three really cool ships he built.

I know that my highly scientific experiment may not work for everyone, but what you see in these videos is one reason why we argue for not-yetness. Because of the play, the fun, the opportunity in complexity and not-yetness. The ill-defined, the un-prescribed, the messy can lead to the unexpected, the joyful. Noel Gough (2012) writes, “complexity invites us to understand that many of the processes and activities that shape the worlds we inhabit are open, recursive, organic, nonlinear and emergent. It also invites us to be skeptical of mechanistic and reductionist explanations, which assume that these processes and activities are linear, deterministic and/or predictable and, therefore, that they can be controlled (at least in principle).”

Open, recursive, organic, nonlinear…these things say to me that we can have learning that is unpredictable, fun, emergent, organic, freeing, co-developed, co-experienced, complex, deep, meaningful.

So as I looked for projects that embodied not-yetness, I kept these concepts, and my son’s Lego adventure, in mind. In my next blog post, I’ll share those examples. Stay tuned!"

[Follow-up post: http://redpincushion.us/blog/professional-development/mess-not-yetness-at-et4online/ ]
amycollier  via:steelemaley  messiness  unschooling  learning  emergent  emergence  emergentcurriculum  2015  lego  not-yetness  gardnercampbell  edtech  noelgough  pedagogy  instructions  directinstruction  mikecaulfield  brentdavis  dennissumara  complexity  curriculum  tcsnmy  howwelearn  howweteach  online  web  georgeveletsianos  emergenttechnologies  technology  simplification  efficiency  quantification  measurement  cv  hamishmacleod  clarao'shea  sianbayne  randybass  open  openness  jenross  criticalpedagogy  recursion  spiraling  rhizomaticlearning  nonlinear  deschooling  meaningmaking  understanding  depth  unpredictability  unfinished  behavior  power  responsibility  sustainability  reach  contact  lcproject  openstudioproject  teaching  education  schools  cocreation  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
december 2015 by robertogreco
On dogs and design ethnography | Design Culture Lab
"My colleague Sarah Baker and I are heading up the School of Design‘s new postgraduate Design Ethnography research stream, and we gave a brief presentation this week to new students.

When I was searching for less obvious examples of this kind of work, I came across a lovely project by Malavika Reddy and Taylor Lowe. The Story of The Story of Tongdaeng: A Tale of Unspeakability and Thai Politics is all about Khun Tongdaeng, the royal canine companion of King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand. But, of course, this dog is much more than just a dog:
“Enter Khun Tongdaeng. Her mobilization through a variety of media is ripe with the unsayable. The Tongdaeng images and paraphernalia that flooded Bangkok in the early part of the decade “spoke” to, but also around the anxieties of the monarchy in a way that no amount of paternal speechifying could ever do. At the same time, the manifestation of Tongdaeng in a variety of objects makes connections between His Majesty and significant political economic developments of the day, including copyright regimes, branding, and the ongoing project to make Thais more ‘modern.’ Tongdaeng became a device that was seen to impart the King’s luster to these bureaucratic and business endeavors, ostensibly legitimating them. What follows then is a look at the politics of Thailand in the early 2000s, and the unspeakability at its heart, via the King’s favorite dog.”

Choosing a non-traditional social subject like a dog offers, I think, a unique and rich opportunity for both cultural and design research. This particular dog, as manifested through a published biography, commemorative statues and t-shirts, and the King’s annual greeting cards, exemplifies the material, visual and discursive elements found in all human-nonhuman assemblages–and presents a fascinating subject of, and for, design ethnography.

I highly recommend checking out the project for yourself, but what I wanted to highlight to the students, and draw attention to again now, is the use of visuals to re/present research.

For example, I love this updated version of a traditional ethnographic kinship chart: [image]

And this collage does a good job of showing what a story of A Story can look like: [image]

I particularly like the balance of written academic analysis and visual materials, and the design’s pop culture aesthetics are consistent with the cultural research, so I think it all comes together quite nicely. As Reddy and Lowe note: “Despite being spoken for by an excess of words and actors, there persists around Tongdaeng a critical silence,” and I think their project offers interesting visual possibilities for both engaging with, and responding to, this silence."
annegalloway  design  designethnography  2014  ethnography  animals  dogs  academia  non-linear  collage  bricolage  malakivareddy  taylorlowe  sarahbaker  nonlinear  alinear  linearity 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The Electronic Labyrinth Home Page
"The Electronic Labyrinth is a study of the implications of hypertext for creative writers looking to move beyond traditional notions of linearity.

Our project evaluates hypertext and its potential for use by literary artists in three ways:

1. By placing the development of hypertext in the context of the literary tradition of non-linear approaches to narrative. This context provides a means of re-evaluating the concept of the book in the age of electronic text. Specific points of investigation include Cortázar's Hopscotch, Nabokov's Pale Fire, Pavic's Dictionary of the Khazars, and Sterne's Tristram Shandy.

2. By investigating literary works created specifically for computerized hypertext. These include Joyce's Afternoon, A Story, McDaid's Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse, and Wilmott's Everglade.

3. By evaluating the hardware platforms and software environments available to writers. Criteria include ease of use, availability, methods of distribution and publication, and the tools available to the writer and reader. Our emphasis is placed on the assumptions each environment makes of the writing and reading processes, the metaphors reinforced by the environment, and the freedom allowed the writer to explore new forms. We have focused on IBM-compatible and Apple hardware platforms, and reviewed such software as Eastgate System's Storyspace, Claris' HyperCard, IBM's Linkway, and Ntergaid's Hyperwriter."
via:litherland  1993  christopherkeep  timmclaughlin  robinparmar  storyspace  linkway  hyperwriter  hypercard  jamesjoyce  hypertext  bookfuturism  ebooks  books  publishing  nonlinear  narrative  rayuela  juliocortázar  vladimirnabokov  electroniclabyrinth  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Rossella Biscotti
"Everything is somehow related to everything else, yet the whole is terrifyingly unstable, photograph, 2008."

"I walked on the still existing wall that closes the perimeter of the former Nazi concentration camp of Bolzano. The wall has been re-used as fences for apartment complexes built on the soul of the former concentration camp and around it. In this intervention, the sense of vertigo due to my strong acrophobia is equated to a certain aspect of remembrance. Both dimensions share non-linear visualization and a displacement of space and time."
2008  photography  instability  rossellabiscotti  bolzano  history  non-linear  visualization  space  time  acrophobia  vertigo  art  nonlinear  alinear  linearity 
december 2013 by robertogreco
On Quitting – The New Inquiry
"A symptom: long periods of “silence” on my blog. Long absences marked by infrequent, cryptic declarations. It is not that I don’t want to write. But reading Freud has taught me that symptoms speak. And I have a career ahead of me."



"I begin to wonder about the relationship between geo-history, the saturation of space with affect, and psychic health."



"I’m wrestling with my own disorganization. My own “persistent undoing” given the occasion of the social. I am “undone” when I leave the house, walk down the street, encounter an absenting normality. I have learned not to trust myself. Perhaps it’s all the chemicals that are working and not working in my head."



"I am leaving the United States, resigning from my job, and moving back to Kenya. As I have been trying to narrate this move to those who have known about it—over the past year—I have wondered about the partiality of the stories I was telling. They were not untrue; they were simply not what I really wanted to say, not what I permitted myself to say. In the most benign version, I have said that I cannot build a life here. Some might reasonably say that I could build a career here, as I have been doing, and build a life elsewhere, perhaps negotiate some kind of contract that would permit me to live here for one semester and work in Kenya for the rest of the year. Even assuming some institution was this generous with a junior faculty member, I am not sure that one can so easily separate moments of living from moments of working for extended stretches of time. I’m not sure that’s a sustainable model."



"I’m not sure this is “the life” I want to imagine. I worry about any life that can so readily be “imagined.” Where is the space for fantasy, for play, for the unexpected, for the surprising?"



"At a required end-of-year meeting with my then department chair, I confessed that I was exhausted. I was tired of the banal and uncomprehending racism of white students who spoke of blacks as “they” and “them” and complained about “their broken English” and “bad dialect”; I was tired of a system that served black students badly, promising an education that it failed to deliver, condemning them to repeat classes, to drop out, to believe they were stupid; I was tired of colleagues who marveled when I produced an intelligible sentence; I was tired of attending conference panels where blackness was dismissed as “simple,” “reactive,” “irrelevant,” “done”; I was tired of being invited to be “post-black” as the token African, so not “tainted” by the afterlife of slavery; I was tired of performing a psychic labor that left me too exhausted to do anything except go home, crawl into bed, try to recover, and prepare for the next series of assaults.

Blyden, of course, got it wrong. Fanon got it right.

Leaving the U.S. will not remove me from toxicity and exhaustion. At best, it will allow limited detoxification, perhaps provide me with some energy. Perhaps it will provide a space within which scabbing can begin, and, eventually, scars that will remain tender for way too long."
academia  keguromacharia  2013  essays  writing  mentalhealth  precarity  lucidity  lifeofthemind  education  quitting  deracination  webdubois  toxicity  exhaustion  bipolardisorder  linearity  non-linear  non-linearity  blogging  multiplicity  discipline  labor  humanities  stem  race  guilt  shame  gender  ethnicity  idabwells  edwardwilmotblyden  racism  highered  highereducation  psychology  frantzfanon  linear  nonlinear  alinear 
may 2013 by robertogreco
halloween-in-january: FRIEZE | NON-LINEAR READING
"With all its formal acrobatics, I Read Where I Am nevertheless enables one to easily scan, leaf or browse—in a word, to watch it. This experience is akin to reading websites & online forums: we process content instead of getting immersed in it; we receive an impression instead of absorbing it. Whether this makes the volume a dubious design construct, or one par excellence, is another question. Either way, it is a sign of the times. For artist Koert van Mensvoort…reading like this – by comparing and linking ambient visual stimuli – creates something of new significance. Before the media existed, Van Mensvoort writes in his essay ‘Reading Surroundings’, ‘we read the landscape, the skies, the tracks in the sand of the prey we were hunting […] In other words, we read our surroundings, in which symbols coincide with events & things.’ According to him, this new kind of reading has a future on the Internet where context, again, is content."

[See: http://frieze.com/issue/article/books2027/ ]
ingoniermann  borisgroys  non-linear  non-linearreading  information  ireadwhereiam  minkekampman  geertlovink  miekegerritzen  koertvanmensvoort  books  scanning  howweread  reading  2012  jennasutela  nonlinear  alinear  linearity 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Idle Words - Cowpox, Smallpox
"We are facing an economic crisis that is within our capacity to solve, and an ecological crisis that we lack the political means to prevent. It's only by failing at the former that we might have a chance at surviving the latter."
change  crisis  2009  recession  climate  economics  forecasting  nonlinear  maciejceglowski  optimism  environment  sustainability  finance  globalwarming  environmentalism  climatechange  democracy  behavior  money  government  politics  maciejcegłowski  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Seed: Paola Antonelli + Benoit Mandelbrot: The curator and the mathematician discuss fractals, architecture, and the death of Euclid.
"Euclid...masterpieces of human mind...not meant to be used as textbook by millions ...meant for very small community of mathematicians...to force beginners into mathematics in this particular style was decision taken by teachers & forced upon society"
architecture  art  chaos  benoitmandelbrot  paolaantonelli  complexity  geometry  fractals  math  science  design  generalists  nonlinear  nature  euclid  teaching  learning  education  gamechanging  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
march 2008 by robertogreco
ZuiPrezi - nonlinear presentation editor
"nonlinear presentation editor, with a very intuitive interface support for many platforms and online sharing. With the help of ZuiPrezi you can create dynamic and visually structured zooming presentations using texts, videos, drawings, and present it as
collaboration  flash  interaction  interface  presentations  tools  online  nonlinear  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Tale of Tales -- 8 --
"“8” is a poetic entertainment title that offers peaceful and playful non-linear interaction with a continuously evolving immersive environment and a mysterious and charming autonomous character."
games  videogames  taleoftales  nonlinear  immersive  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
june 2007 by robertogreco

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