End of lifestream Summary

Introduction:

This has been a fascinating journey through three blocks of the course. For my lifestream: http://digitalculture-ed.net/eneasm/eneas-lifestream/ I have mainly used Delicious, Youtube and Twitter. I also occasionally used Deviant Art early in the course and also Flickr and Tumblr at various stages. I also experimented with creating some original videos of my experiences in Second Life and pushed these through my lifestream.

 

block 1: popular cybercultures

This block allowed me to explore the whole concept of cyberculture. The readings were the main focus in the early stages of the lifestream. Understanding the ideas behind a different type of literacy was useful in the creation of my visual artefacts. My first artefact was an attempt show how the progress in the physical spaces of the classroom has been in many ways non existent. I was thinking of a Stephen Heppel lecture in which he said that the 20th century education system was spent trying to perfect 19th century practices. In my Youtube video I tried to conclude that the exciting emergence of technology, as of yet, has had no real impact as there seems to be a fear or reluctance built out of mistrust to just ‘unleash it’. My second artefact, a picture, was an attempt to represent a post civilisation idea that we do not recognize that which will liberate us. Both artefacts were an attempt to foreground the same idea, but obviously in different ways. My lifestream in this block was mainly an attempt to bring together different ideas and resources based around cyberculture.

 

block 2: virtual communities:

It was in this second block that I began to be more selective about my lifestream as I tried to gather information based on the rise of virtual communities. The reading I found most influential in this block was Christine Hine’s ‘The Virtual Objects of Ethnography’ (2000). The majority of my lifestream for this block was built around this influential text. It was from this text that I was able to plan my mini Ethnography. I based my mini ethnography on the virtual community of Dublin in Second Life. Another text I found influential for this was Tom Boellstorff’s ethnography, ‘Coming of Age in Second Life’ 2009.

 

block 3: critical perspectives:

This was the block which bought all the strands of thought together. Through the readings Of Haraway, Hayles and Bayne I began to realize that in fact my digital identity was scattered across the internet and in many different expressions. This made me see the lifestream as a digital hub, a place where all my searching could be bought together. I was fascinated by Haraways’s Cyborg manifesto which cleverly negates many binaries of humanism including the formation of identity in terms of gender.

 

Conclusion:

This course been a journey of discovery and through the lifestream I have been able to create a digital imprint of my thought processes as the journey progressed. For my digital essay I am building an ‘imaginarium’ in Second Life, a museum of digital artefacts and scattered expressions of how I have perceived the course. The main focus of this digital essay will be an exploration of the notion of ‘cyborg’ as defined by Haraway and  Hayles’ ideas of Posthumanism.

 

References:

Bayne, S. (forthcoming, March 2010). Academetron, automaton, phantom: uncanny digital pedagogies. London Review of Education. [revised version uploaded 10 November 09]

Boellstorff, Tom (2008) Coming of Age in Second Life, Princeton University Press

Haraway, D. (2000). A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late 20th Century. in D Bell and A Kennedy, The Cybercultures Reader. Routledge.

Hayles, N.K. (1999). Toward embodied virtuality, chapter 1 of How we became posthuman: virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature and informatics. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. pp1-25

Hine, C (2000) The virtual objects of ethnography, chapter 3 of Virtual ethnography. London: Sage. pp41-66

End of week 11

I have been feeding my lifestream with posthumanist, cyborg and Second Life references this week as I begi to think about my digital presentation…The readings in this block have been difficult but ultimately worthwhile.

End of Week 10

I have been getting ready for my assignment this week. I am still drawing together fragments of post humanism and the notion of the cyborg in my lifestream. For my digital essay I am going to create a build in Second Life. This will mainly be informed by the notions of Haraway’s cyborg and Hayles post humanism.

End of Week 9

It has been an intense but very creative couple of weeks. The readings have been really thought provoking. I have begun to be more selective in what I choose to feed through my lifestream. I am still looking at posthumanism. Enjoyed reading Katherine Hayles, On becoming Posthuman and finding references to support the reading. There is a lot of information on the web on post and trans humanism and it was a bit of a task trying to find course relevant information. I was intrigued by Hayle’s notion of disembodiment of knowledge and ‘distributed cognition’. I see now that this lifestream may be a ’reembodiment’ of these scattered fragments

End of Week 8

It has been a very exciting couple of weeks. The ethnographies that colleagues produced were both wonderful and varied. It has been fascinating to track the inception of these works through lifestreams, blog postings and tweets. This is really an exciting new way to work. This week I started to feed through both resources on cyborgs and post humanism, two very interesting theories. Like most other people I found the Haraway reading difficult to analyse. However, I feel that what she as trying to do was foreground the cultural and sexual connotations which surround discussion around most issues to do with both men and women by creating a non gendered ‘cyborg’, almost a new life form which cannot really be classified in terms of gender. I think that this addresses the binaries which surround gender. I also started gathering references to Psthumanism. One quote from Max More, (1994) defined Posthumanism for me in succinct terms:

“. Humanity is a temporary stage along the evolutionary pathway. We are not the zenith of nature’s development. It is time for us to consciously take charge of ourselves and to accelerate our transhuman progress.”  http://www.maxmore.com/becoming.htm

End of Week 7

This week has been a post ethnography project week zfter the intensity of producing the micro ethnographic study.This block has been very enjoyable and thought provoking. I spent this week still finding ethnographic resources to feed into my lifestream. I finally built my micro-ethnography around the virtual Dublin community in Second Life. I have really enjoyed reading other students’ ethnographies and like me, I feel that their finished work is in parts a reflection of the resources they have gathered in their lifestreams. I am interested in the idea of carrying out ethnographic studies in virtual worlds as it is such a new field of study, well, a virtual field.

End of Week 6

I have really enjoyed this week, hunting down resources for my micro-ethnography and feeding through my lifestream. I have found a few articles and reviews based around the work of Christine Hine and these have been a big help to me. I have been finding information for my lifestream which defines what ethnography is and its key concepts and terms and how  a micro ethnography differs. I also fed information into my lifestream on virtual ethography and how this is gaining status as a new form of ethnograpic study. I have mainly used Delicious and I have decided to do my micro-ethnography on the Dublin community within Second Life. Second Life is becoming a popular place for ethnographic studies; Tom Boellstorff’s ethnography, Coming of Age in Second Life is a comprehensive study of this environment in which he immersed himself as a resident called, Tom Bukowski for three years. I downloaded chapter one, free, from his website and found this very useful http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8647.html. As an active resident of Second Life for about a year now I am beginning to become intrigued by the questions about identity that it raises and indeed the whole idea of what ‘virtual’ really means. In my ethnography I have experimented with creating video with voiceover for part of my ethnography. This week in my llifestream I shall be focusing on Second Life and ethnography and ways to present ethnography from within an online environment such as this.

End of Week 5

 

My lifestream this week has been predominantly concerned with finding and filtering information on ethnography. I like Michael Wesch’s website based at Kansas University, http://mediatedcultures.net/ which look at different aspects of digital ethnography. I particularly like his Digital Ethnography of YouTube project. I have also started to use Tumblr more often in my lifestream. I find that has a vastly improved interface.

I have just purchased some land in Second Life and have started building what I am going to call an Imaginarium. This will be a museum of the digital artefacts and ethnographic fragments that I am gathering. I am also beginning to think of my final assignment and how I can use second Life. I have created a short video and uploaded to youtube to chart my progress with this project. I have also created a video of this review using Xtra Normal, http://www.xtranormal.com which I cam across reading one of Nicola’s posts on the discussion boards. It is mainly a text to speech engine with 3-D graphics and avatars.

 

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The following video is created using Camtasia and it shows me on my new land begining to experiment by building an imaginarium.

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End of Week 4

It’s been a really hectic but extremely enjoyable and intellectually stimulating week on the course. I am glad that the commenting period has been extended; the sheer breadth and quality of the digital artefacts is taking time to consume. I enjoyed creating my own two artefacts; ‘The opening scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, a disembodied Marshall McLuhan and a broken television’ was an attempt at a bleak dystopian future where the apes find and re-destroy the digital artefacts that they find with Mcluhan’s head being a pun on his idea that ‘Art is anything you can get away with’ and his idea that it is not the message that is sent but the sender, so a bit of playfulness there.

The second artefact was just a testament to the lack of progress in how we create physical spaces within schools. I think Henry’s comment summed it up well: ‘There is hardly any other walk of life which has seen fewer changes’. Over the last 18 months I have visited over 80 schools and have found it very disheartening to see the lack of technology at the heart of the young people’s learning spaces. My views on this were nicely backed up by the study http://www.education.ed.ac.uk/dice/nmolp/pdfs/stage2webquests.pdf which Jen pointed me towards, and yes, I do believe that it is wound up in issues of power and trust. The two images of London at the end were there to show that outside the cocoon of classrooms much had changed. I was going to extend it by somehow representing the notion that if a surgeon from 1874 was transported forward in time to a modern operating theatre that she would be totally lost and confused by all the technology. I was going to juxtapose this with  the same thing happening to a teacher. The teacher would know exactly where he was.

 The artefact which affected me most was Tony’s visual artefact, ‘Attachments’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/27361344@N08/3996239228. I found this deeply moving on a personal level as I have been trying for a few years now to digitise my entire mother and father’s thousands of pictures spanning about 100 years. However my mother has absolutely refused for this to happen as she sees these as a deeply personal record of our family history which can only be made sense of by sitting down with her as she explains the story behind each picture. To quote Tony: ‘This image exemplifies one of the ways the digital brings the private, closed or forgotten into a more public domain’. Reading Tony’s analysis has brought me a lot closer to understanding and respecting my mother’s reluctance at digitising the family history.

Visual Artefacts: Two Expressions of Evolution

 

The first artefact is a combination of three pictures; the opening scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, a disembodied Marshall McLuhan and a broken television.

2001mclu2

 

The second artefact is a more simplistic, obvious and linear expression of evolution.

 

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