Strange Correspondences and Grand Harmonies

Like D’Arcy Norman in his post “Bags of Gold”, I have been pondering over Gardner’s figures of speech.  Over the 48 minutes the video lasts, I was constantly reminded of how “American” the pitch and rhetoric  sounded to me  and wondered how given cultural  icons/inferences influence this particular edtech sub-culture discourse and  practice and how they strengthen/weaken it.

In order to have a better picture of the whole ,  I have noted down the words by subtitling the video at Universal Subtitles (corrections welcome) and jotted the main points, which now I transfer to the wiki I opened  for ds106 in case someone is interested in/has time to  deconstruct it.

Instead of responding “on the fly“, I decided to “switch off” the blasting radio :-),  engage in other things that were “programmed” to be done and , in the  meantime, observe the reactions of others. Under the pressure to produce and consume, it is difficult to find slow time to sit back, watch and reflect.

David Gallagher and Professor Noise well-illustrate how all this personal buzz and the constant flow of recursive, self-congratulatory messages tend to provoke cognitive overload.  In addition to this,  they hardly bring to attention those who have a different perspective or do not post very often.  Exposure by quantity of posts and the use of marketing techniques seems to be one of  the attributes of Web 2.0,  a piece of business jargon to hype up services over products. Some posts that have caught my attention:

Jabiz Raisdana remixes some of Justin Hall’s angst and breakdown from  this  hysterical video to illustrate “the dialectical relationship and tension between hope and desperation” that  accompanies our exertions in art, at work and on the web itself…

Megan Eichenberg’s  New Digital Storytelling Project, which records her grandfather’s stories and perspective on life being stretched or reshaped by Alzheimer’s Disease,  is a great example of how digital storytelling moves away from narcissism.

Leigh Blackall’s post on Lucrative Teaching and illustration on Flickr has definitely hit a nerve, which is positive as it makes people  justify their positions by looking deeper at the variables involved and discuss issues which are often not taken into account when you focus on technology alone without considering a wider social and cultural context. One cannot deny social media does encourage a cult of personality and profiteer marketing. Not saying this is the case of the people involved, but as Chris Lottmentions, the incident provided a teachable moment in critical thinking and is a useful reminder of what may happen when an “outsider” challenges the group’s mores.

So, almost two weeks late on the assignments, I decided to merge the second and third in this collage, borrowing ideas from O’Reilly’s definition of Web 2.0, what other participants have written, cutting up sentences from Gardner’s presentation : No Digital Facelifts,  matching them to snippets of songs, finding pictures to illustrate them and finally reducing this to a 3.0 minute video snippet which I have posted to my server and YouTube.

I have used Peter Shank’s Flickr CC to find photographs under a CC License, Audacity for the song and presentation clips, Open Office presentation slides with text converted into jpg to be thrown into iMovie and songs (mostly snippets of proprietary ones..argh..hope it’s fair use as it’s for educational purposes) as musical backdrop. Videos were converted into music  and/or  mp4 with Miro Converter. Also used Inkscape to remix Hokusai ‘s Koshu Kajikazawa net art.

Gardner Campbell – No Digital Facelifts presentation
Songs (chronological order)

Star Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix (Woodstock Festival)
Moduless – The SlapHappy Bee III IP – 8bitpeoples
Music of the Spheres – Icarus at the Edge of Times – Philip Glass
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland
Running on Faith – Eric Clapton

Photos (two or three were on my computer for ages and cannot find the attribution link)

alephnaught –
Stratoz –
Cognitive Theory:
Sam Judson –
Norman Mackarus –
Paparucha –
Wolfgang Staudt –
L*u*z*A –

11 thoughts on “Strange Correspondences and Grand Harmonies”

  1. First off, thank you for the shout out to my remix. I am quiet proud of the piece and it is nice to see that it has been noticed, which brings me to your point about:

    "The flow of recursive, self-congratulatory messages tend to provoke cognitive overload. In addition to this, they hardly bring to attention those who have a different perspective or do not post very often. Exposure by quantity of posts and the use of marketing techniques seems to be one of the attributes of Web 2.0, a piece of business jargon to hype up services over products."

    I often feel guilty for being a bit of an egomaniac and saturating my network with my own work. I can understand how over marketing and neediness can be off-putting, but at the same time I have noticed that the more I spread my work, the bigger audience I get.

    Just curious how you came across my blog? I guess I should have more faith that good work will be noticed and make it's way through a network, but it can be disheartening to know you poured your soul into something, only to watch it become more cognitive overload or worse noise.

    Just curious how you or others balance sharing work and being heard with saturation and neediness? Great post and I loved your video.

    • Jabiz,

      Thanks for the positive comment on the post and video – as you say – it is nice to have people respond to it but differently from you, I do not have this need to be heard you refer to. I am no evangelizer nor am I here to market myself, a company or a product. Blogging for me is part of my presence online, a place which allows me to interact with others, where I can archive and share my reflections or what comes to my mind at certain moments when I am trying to make meaning of the environment/people that surround me. It is a place to record an event, a reflection or narrate an experience, lest I forget. You are always welcome to stop by, have a cup of virtual coffee and chat 🙂

      I came across your blog while reading the different posts from Jim's ds106 course (which I am also participating in as an online outsider – I am Brazilian and live in São Paulo).

      What called my attention was your linking to that Justin Hall's video clip Dark Night documenting his breakdown. I was aware of his online diaries but had not watched the video, the essence of which you captured so well in the remix. Justin is like "a digital facelift" of Jay Gatsby, who "believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning– So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby) .

      • Just Hall as the Digital face-lift of Jay Gatsby= brilliant. I love the analogy. You make a great point about simply having a space and documenting your experiences, I like to think I am doing that as well, but I still need the connection, validation call it what you will. I try to create art to connect to people , push their buttons and have them respond. To do that in a vacuum feels wrong.

        I hope that someday, I can feel confident enough to create it, let it sit and wait for the audience to come to it, but for now I guess I am a marketer of the self. Sounds cheap and tawdry I know….

        • Hey, who am I to judge? You like noise, I like quiet. We're not better, cleverer or more virtuous for choosing one or the other. We all come from different perspectives and backgrounds, have different needs and desires at different times that help us keep (or disrupt) our balance. What is important is to reach a modus vivendi and learn from each other's positions.

  2. I'm running on faith, too, Barbara and it is post and mashups like this that buoy my spirit, thanks for coming at all this from a powerful perspective of reflection, something I have had little time for, but need to slow down and try my hand at. I'm a fan of the long view as long as I am working towards it now, and know that what we make is a just a beginning, and all of us define it to some great degree, I hope to disappear more and more.

    • Hi Jim,
      This has been until now, in spite of the noise (but I'm old) a great learning opportunity from all points of view. I hope I have the will and energy to focus, reflect and document my perspective better.

  3. Just now seeing this, Barbara, and thanks very much for your thoughtful, ironic, yet also heartfelt reflections here. There are many things to celebrate. Many things to promote. Many things to be cautious about. All things to be mindful of. Yet I continue to dream about those strange correspondences and grand harmonies. I see them and hear them. One of them brought me here, as Tom Woodward linked to this post, which I hadn’t seen, in a comment on a new blog, “Byzantine Vectors,” that’s now connected to a cMOOC I’m leading called “Living The Dreams: Digital Investigation and Unfettered Minds.” These are not only private associative trails. For me, they’re all pointing to the larger work of creating meaning.

    I hope you’ll keep blogging. I hope you’ll look at and connect if you are so moved. I value your voice and spirit. Thank you.


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