Anabel's E-learning and Digital Cultures site part of the MSc in E-learning at the University of Edinburgh Sun, 07 Apr 2013 17:56:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The space in between – is now occupied Sun, 07 Apr 2013 14:59:49 +0000 Anabel Drought I feel my blog has been a learning journey, establishing then questioning my original preconceptions of culture, taking them apart and rebuilding them again.

I have experienced multi-model transliteracies through the blog, visual artefact and ethnography, struggled with the varying notion of order to access information. Seen the real become unreal and then made real again. I have visited and become part of various communities. Then I went on to look at relationships with technology which lead full circle to question the original assumptions of Utopia and Dystopia!

The running theme for me has been the post-human, which I have interpreted as the – The space in between – Now and the future, between people, community members and between human and technology – the place where ideas can bounce back and forth, replicated, imitated, develop and continued – which are of course essentially the blocks of teaching on the course. It has led me to my final destination which is looking at the transference of information in this space and the idea of creative replication.

Although I didn’t know it, this started in week 1′s bog post – Just Awesome! The first appreciation of a congregation of people coming together to create a positive event. This was a great example of Culture with a capital C being used as part of a popular culture activity – the flash mob. What is interesting for me is how social networks are used to bring people together to form a temporary community who are all engaged in similar activity but without the necessary relationship bond of interaction a community usually requires. I reflected on the most apt modes for the literacies to be represented in and experimented with different modes and looked at what was appreciated and found that the key word was APTNESS for the representation. This followed with my own participation in a cultural meme – The Harlem Shake which felt important due to the work on Ethnographies Unfortunately, I couldn’t share my imitation, but this was probably fortuitous as…… The journey has come full circle for me with the realisation that we are already part of a dystopian society, where the real is unreal and Global Capitalism is in fact driving the “Space in between” in the direction it wants us to go!

My journey has been amazing and has given me a greater understanding of what is culture in the past, now and in the future and how is it transferred and replicated. The Harlem Shake meme which was commercially led, is a real time example of one of the earliest readings by Bell (2001) about the counterculture leading technological and thus commercial advances.

It has been great being part of something so public, and I hadn’t quite appreciated what that would be like and the links I would make with others outside of our community. Thanks very much to all who have listened, read, commented and interacted with me over the course of this study.

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“So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?” Tue, 02 Apr 2013 16:11:47 +0000 Anabel Drought The film feels it has come as a timely summary of this course for me (sorry tutors!) It combines the three major themes Utopia / dystopia, community and cyborg!!

Weird Science was probably my first introduction to the cyborg – just re watching it with my kids – think perhaps a bit too young – son 9 saying eurgh rather than wow and more swearing than I remember!

Gary and Wyatt are left in the house for the weekend and after watching Frankenstein decided to make a woman using barbie doll and their computer by connecting to the governments computer “So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?”

Click here to view the embedded video.

Lisa has superhuman powers, yet the boys cannot take full advantage of the opportunity. I think sometimes we don’t take advantage of the full capacity of the technology we have available to us.

The last week of the course included a meeting of minds with the students and tutors on the course. We covered much of the post human – cyborg readings, although I still feel like there is a gap in my knowledge, I think perhaps it is meant to be there, it is not a fully answerable right or wrong topic and much of it is based on the interpretation of the “space between”.

It was great to have a feeling of having come full circle and understanding the links between the different blocks of the course and how my blog reports had fed into this. My blog appears to show an ongoing theme throughout of Internet community and the links between people and technology – post human community!

My essay will be around the subject of internet meme’s and how people have come together through this medium – I need to build on this but will through further reading

It’s been great!!!

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Just who made the Harlem shake viral? Mon, 01 Apr 2013 14:54:25 +0000 Anabel Drought Click here to view the embedded video.

I feel duped but also incredibly naive.
The Harlem shake was the fastest growing meme ever – and is now so over!!! It was a very catchy easy to replicate non offensive fun thing to replicate and many many many have been made including one I myself made with my class.

The reason it became viral was “nothing to do with community and everything to do with commerce” from Maker studio’s who identified it as a likely to ” go viral” and produced their own version and then used social media to spread the word about it.

The marketing companies are ahead of the game again, however being lead by marketing could have been why the idea rose and then died so quickly as it wasn’t naturally forming.

How does this fit with Richard Dawkins meme? Dawkins says “As in the case of genes, fecundity is much more important than longevity” so although it died out quickly the rate of reproduction was the key to the success of this meme.

You didn’t make the Harlem Shake go viral—corporations did – Quartz.

Dawkins, Richard (2006-03-16). The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition–with a new Introduction by the Author (p. 194). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

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Week 10 summary – man machine Mon, 01 Apr 2013 10:13:12 +0000 Anabel Drought The final week of the course – boo hoo!

This week my blog has been focusing on the idea of the cyborg and whether the addition of superhuman parts makes them less human. Is this physical addition stripping the human of what Muris (2003) refers to as physical embodiment – the spirit, conciousness and identity? I don’t think that this is so as in essence it is the addition of a physical peice, but perhaps the person who has the addition to their body may experience feelings of alienation because of their difference to others? This may then effect their own feelings of embodiment with the part of the body that has been replaced? Pickering (2005) discusses academics carving up the sciences into human and non human and suggests the addition of non human to human creates non human. Pickering wants to focus on the interface between the human and non human – where they overlap. This suggests that the body part is not actually human if it is a prosthetic, however it is being controlled by the same spirit and conciencse that the other parts are being controlled by – so why is this so. What can be judged as human ability and what as non human and where is the line drawn? In the case of the Olympics size of the prosthetic affected what was classed as non human ability. “In a post-race interview Pistorius said it was “an unfair race” because Oliveira was wearing elongated running blades which added about four inches to his height and, more pertinently, his stride length.An IPC spokesman says the blades of all the athletes were measured prior to the Games and all were deemed to be within the rules” (a)

Is the fact that the body part is controlled by humans mind what makes it a human body part? The artist Stelarc experimented with the idea of the body as obsolete and allowed others to electrically control his muscular movement. If he were to compete in the Olympics but his body and muscles were controlled by others would he be allowed to participate in the “normal” olympics or the paraolympics and would it be considered as an equal competition?

I am not sure where this all fits in but my mind is going crazy with ideas and with the most conceptually difficult of readings

I have also been focusing more on the idea of the meme, which links in well with this discussion on what is and isn’t human. I have looked at he idea that the meme has an identity and this identity can be parasitic or enhancing. But how is the meme supported? Do we have an actual part in our brains which supports the replicator. And if so how human is the meme?

Muri, A. (2003). Of Shit and the Soul: Tropes of Cybernetic Disembodiment in Contemporary Culture. Body & Society, 9/3
Pickering, A. (2005). Asian eels and global warming: a posthumanist perspective on society and the environment. Ethics and the Environment, 10(2), 29-43

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Parasites Mon, 01 Apr 2013 09:25:59 +0000 Anabel Drought

There are many references to the idea of the meme as a parasite, starting with the originator Richard Dawkins: “When you plant a fertile meme in my mind you literally parasitize my brain, turning it into a vehicle for the meme’s propagation in just the way that a virus may parasitize the genetic mechanism of a host cell.”

When we try to conceive of the idea of the space between – not the human, not the object but the space between the two, it is easy to consider this as a relationship one feeding of another but as Dennett defined it is not necesarily one leaching off another “although some of them are bound to be pernicious—parasites, not mutualists— others are profound enhancers of the native competences of the hosts they infect.”

So memes can be parasitic or enhancing, which seems to indicate that the meme has an identity or a role, rather than just an item acted upon.

The space appears to have a control

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Is Viral Marketing a Myth? Mon, 25 Mar 2013 19:04:51 +0000 Anabel Drought The instant rate of life and thus the response of advertisers is becoming more and more important with the use of social media in advertising.

During the powercut at the Superbowl many advertisers took the opportunity to use twitter to seize the the moment and promote their product in association with the powercut – Tide tweeted, “We can’t get your #blackout, but we can get your stains out” and get free advertising in the most expensive advertising space / moment in the world – The Superbowl!

How Advertisers Made The Super Bowl Power Outage Work For Them – Forbes.

Marketing companies have been using this idea for years – free advertising off the back of a good idea that is talked about and spread from person to person through different media

This article looks at how ideas spread and the impact of “go viral” for marketing companies – it suggests that the spread of an idea isn’t like a virus – person to person, it is more like an infection like “polio” one person infecting many. But they do suggest a rate of 20 % growth “10 adoptees of a conventional marketing effort, another two people will adopt something organically.”

This article suggests that the spread of an idea isn’t like a virus – person to person, it is more like an infection like “polio” one person infecting many. But they do suggest a rate of 20 % growth “10 adoptees of a conventional marketing effort, another two people will adopt something organically.”

Is Viral Marketing a Myth? | MIT Sloan Management Review.

“What drives popular things online?”

Click here to view the embedded video.

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“The mind is the effect, not the cause.” Sun, 24 Mar 2013 10:27:52 +0000 Anabel Drought
Is it coincidence, serendipity or because this course is so up to date, it seems every bit of media, social or otherwise is feeding in to our knowledge base

Daniel Dennett: 'I don't like theory of mind' – interview | Science |

It is interesting that the idea of Darwinian evolution of ideas was mentioned in 2012 by Jonnie Hughes ” divine sparks of inspiration, the accidental by-products of our weird ape brains” which he suggests then evolve separate from the humans and so one is looking for the space between the human beings the ideas bouncing off 7 million brains. Post Humanism

Meme theory: Do we come up with ideas or do they, in fact, control us? – Features – Gadgets & Tech – The Independent.

Susan Blackmore said “Everything changed in human evolution when imitation first appeared because imitation let loose a new replicator, the meme. Since that time, two replicators have been driving human evolution, not one. This is why humans have such big brains, and why they alone produce and understand grammatical language, sing, dance, wear clothes and have complex cumulative cultures. Unlike other brains, human brains had to solve the problem of choosing which memes to imitate. In other words they have been designed for selective imitation.”

Meme-Gene Coevolution.

How these selection processes and spaces in which ideas are bouncing, work in a digital environment is even more interesting due to the global factor adding different cultural perspectives or perhaps flattening culture across space?

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Cyborg – Artificial Limbs-Organs Sun, 24 Mar 2013 10:10:30 +0000 Anabel Drought
Cyborg – Artificial Limbs-Organs

Superpowers: Real-World Powers | Main Page | Obsidian Portal.

This is a game about a hero who began as a normal human but has had parts of his body replaced by artificial devices.

The player determines what parts are artificial, using the randomly generated Abilities and Powers as a guide. For example, Strength of Rm or better suggests the limbs and skeleton are artificial. Hyper-Running or Hyperspeed could come from a leg-replacement. Vision Powers seem to require at least 1 man-made eye. Although this is a very random game idea and I am not sure how long I could play this game for!!
I did read an article recently about whether when people have limbs or body parts replaced due to injury, illness or accident, should they be given super human abilities? One of the doctors suggested that if they were given these kind of abilities it would change what it is to be human – but is this actually true? (must check reading to define this) It depends on what we value as essentially human attributes and I don’t see the ability to jump higher as non human.

Scientists build the One Million Dollar man – Telegraph.

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Week 9 Summary cyborg / posthuman Thu, 21 Mar 2013 20:59:51 +0000 Anabel Drought

This week I have been blogging about technology and meme’s, I have been reading and tweeting about Posthuman and moving onto cyborgs. I am not sure if there is a difference between the two – more of a concept -post humanism / cyborgs appear to be all about the blurring of boundaries between humans and materials

Haraways – confusion over boundaries, why do we have to end at the skin
Hayles – post human is the removal of self will
Edwards – entangling of the human subject with the object world
ANgus – connections between humans and materials – situated knowledge, cyborg ontologies, border pedagogy
Muri – human body is vanishing – interfaced with machine, robbed of spirit, consciousness or identity.

The questions that arise are about human essence – whether it actually represents the human , whether it is vital as a representation, if it is removed or preserved in the melange of human and machine, whether it is a separate unit

and about Interactions

I don’t know what else to say really!

Now to work out what transhumanism is? – (?) when the body is no longer useful or has deteriorated through age illness of accident and has prosthetics to preserve it or enhance it but the human essence prevails, in comparison to posthumanism which blends human essence with technology through its interactions.

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Something imitated Wed, 20 Mar 2013 22:41:49 +0000 Anabel Drought Dawkins Meme is an idea that is imitated and replicated person to person. The brain to brain propagation mean ideas can be shared Globally in seconds with the introduction of the internet

The current “unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation.” as Dennett (1991) referred to them that are doing the rounds on the Internet are:

1. Recut movie trailers

Brokeback to the future

100. Recut Movie Trailers — The 100 Greatest Internet Memes of All Time | Complex.

2. planking

actually lost people jobs

Doctors and nurses suspended for playing Facebook 'Lying Down Game' | Metro News.

3. Blend it
people blending household objects and filming it

Click here to view the embedded video.

4. Box opening

Click here to view the embedded video.

5. LOL cats

The list goes on but today I read about the idea of crisis meme – like the joke that go around after a disaster or horrific incident, making light of the situation. There have been many,

I want to work on the idea of the individual wanting to be part of the masses, wanting to be part of a group. Looking at where the individual ends and the group begins. About how the individual is happy do something as part of a group or because other are doing it but wouldn’t normally do it And how / or if technology has exacerbate this.

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