Jenny has asked the following of me and this blog:
is this a performance that you’re doing here for us? And is it practice as research? If so, could it be useful for us if you answered some of your own questions in relation to your practice of posting on this blog?
Before I begin, yes, I think it is performative. My decision to make the space public has many functions, but the performative component of this is strong. I wouldn’t have thought it is practice-as-research but I’m happy to think of it in this way.
What have you been doing (as practice)?
It’s irregular but for the most part I have been collecting ideas that I think might stimulate others to expand their own work, thinking and practices. I have then been posting these to this blog. At the same time, this collecting – and how you have been responding (or not) – informs my own understanding of the possibilities, limitations and structures of both practice-as-research and pedagogy.
Who else has done similar kinds of practices?
I’m going to delimit this to the ‘practice of blogging’ (and not so much the pedagogical and practice-as-research angles). Two people come to mind.
- Lucas Ihlein: http://lucasihlein.net/ – who works with blogging as art (his doctorate is on the subject)
- Michel de Montaigne https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_de_Montaigne – 16th C writer who people have written about as having an attitude of blogging in how he writes of the self.
What texts seem influential or relevant to this practice?
I would start with Lucas and Michel above. But, it would also depend on which ‘line of flight’ I take. I would tend towards Foucault as I like how he thinks through the nature of friendship in relation to power. And yes, part of my understanding of this ‘practice’ of blogging in a learning and teaching environment is to attempt to destabilise my position as the knower. My worry in responding to these questions (questions I initially asked of you guys) is that I am asserting my ‘understanding’ of practice-as-research. Ugh.
What outcome are you working towards? How will you do it.
I am not [working towards outcomes] but if I were I’d try a couple of tests. The first would be to print out these posts on large format paper and tape them to the floor of the Mi.131. They would become a kind of paper carpet that people would walk (and dance) all over. The second would be to project the posts onto the entire space of Mi.131 and then have the letters slowly degrade over time.
Why is it important? (How might it matter? So what?)
It’s important because blogging is the most striking change in how ideas are communicated, and indeed who has the power to ‘broadcast’. It’s important because blogging affords alternative kinds of voices (no, my voice is not that alternative). It’s important because I understand my role as a teacher to somehow find a way to get out of the way of the curiosity, commitment and generosity of the students I am working for.
What plans have you made for documenting or producing ‘additional materials’ for the project?
The project is documenting itself as it is developed. However, I’d look to find other ways of playing with the texts. This would involve selecting aspects (key components?) and making them physical objects (life beyond the screen). This denaturing of the materials would allow me to mess with them, to understand them in different ways. I’d probably try and build some kind of flickbook out of the texts (at least to start with). At the front of my mind is how this practice (and its outcomes) might be remembered and communicated beyond its own form, and whether indeed this is necessary and/or appropriate.