Further thoughts on Bayne and a place of ghosts

Well I have finished the reading now and wanted to comment on some other elements not covered in my last post. I wanted to talk about ghosts.

So who are the ghosts?

The answer is – we create the ghosts and we are the ghosts!

“The ghost… is a figure who is both without body and out of their own natural time, and hence unsettled on two counts” (Bayne on Hook 2005)

As Bayne points out, when joining a site like Facebook:

“ we are invariably invited – almost as a first step – to ‘upload an image’, to duplicate ourselves visually”

That duplication creates the ghost.

We also become disconnected from those avatars in the sense that they continue to exist even when we are not connected. Think of ‘Numa Numa man’ and the ‘StarWars kid’ – their online personas have been taken, mutated (mutilated?) and sent on around the world without their permission or even compliance.

“we scatter our ‘bodies’ across the web where they gain a kind of independence as nodes for commentary, connection and appropriation by others  into new networks and new configurations.”

But are these avatars truly shadows, or are they simply representations of distilled personality with the dull (and irrelevant) bits removed? If you where to scoop up all of my virtual ‘ghosts’ and squish them back together, would you get a true representation of me as a rounded human being? Or would there still be ‘bits’ missing that leaves me looking 2D and a little transparent?

Using the lifestream to assess strangeness

The purpose seems to be to demonstrate the spectral nature of our studies by showing just how disjointed our work is. However, surely bringing all of these sources together creates the familiarity that Bayne seems to seek to avoid? It may demonstrate the “learning process as volatile, disorientating and invigorating” (Bayne pg 8), but surely putting everything together gives us as learners a framework to ‘hang our learning hats on’. It allows us to build a single virtual identity out of our multiple ‘faces’ in Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr etc. The act of drawing them together knits it all together in a nice safe comforting blanket.


S Bayne Academetron, automaton, phantom: uncanny digital pedagogies

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2 Responses to “Further thoughts on Bayne and a place of ghosts”

  1. sian says:

    Good point Sarah. I suppose this is the inevitable consequence of doing these things within a formal, accredited learning context – the chaos is always going to be reigned in, to an extent, at the point of assessment. But maybe this is OK – something I’m learning from this course is that this kind of teaching is all about the balance between the strange and the familiar, the ghostly and the embodied, the untried and the run-of-the-mill, the chaos and the order.

    I’m really looking forward to your assignment!

  2. Sarah Payne says:

    Hi Sian

    I agree with you completely – there needs to be a balance, otherwise the unsettling sensation becomes too great and therefore the quality of the learning experience become compromised. The senses become overwhelmed and the content (and therefore any significant meaning) becomes lost.

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