week 11 – summary


This week has seen me crawling around the internet similar to these animated ants.

I felt a need for further readings on Deleuze – spurned by the Gough and Edwards paper, but also remembering Sian Bayne’s paper entitled ‘Smoothness and Striation in Digital Learning Spaces’ (in E-Learning, Volume 1, Number 2, 2004) which influenced my IDEL10 essay.

In parallel,  I have been considering Derrida (deconstruction), multimodality and social media.

For the assignment I am planning to look at the extent music bands and their fans use social media and the effect this has on the creation of glocal communities and narratives. [early draft, to be refined]

I accessed a number of e-Journals listed on the  hub in order to get an idea of recent literature (especially fanbase, Deleuze and social media). To keep track of all the references I re-familiarised myself with Zotero.

Some discipline will be required to maintain the focus of my assignment manageable. Next week I will be looking at the various platforms for the web essay, as well as the additional criteria.


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Liquid modernity

Theories of a `liquid modernity’ (Bauman, 2000) usefully redirect research away from static structures of the modern world to see how social entities comprise people, machines, and information/images in systems of movement. There is a shift from modernity seen as heavy and solid to one that is light and liquid and in whichspeed of movement of people, money, images, and information is paramount (Bauman, 2000).

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Busy going through websites and e-journals grabbing some ideas and references.

I am using Zotero, or at least have an attempt at using Zotero, and wonder if anyone has any similar experiences or recommendations?

This is something I have been putting off, but I can see it would be well worth it and practical management tips would be most useful.

To me, this is my personal illustration of my extended cyborg-like memory mode. Without this technology I could simply not function as a student!


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Deleuze & Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus by John David Ebert

I thought it would be interesting to bring in some audio clips, as part of my gatherings.

John David Edbert also has a YouTube channel with uploads

A challenge in terms of scholarly referencing in case I wanted to refer to these as part of my essay.
Perhaps in an academic context, applying this Deleuzian inspired practice of referring to not necessarily academic reviewed online resources other than academic papers is not quite as acceptable?

Interestingly this dilemma links to Derrida, and the continuous reinterpretation of meaning, linked to time and space.

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Deleuze conference


Jeremy Knox, PhD on this module has produced some interesting research. I found this link for a conference he was at. Seems to have a wealth of information for anyone interested in Deleuze. Jeremy’s blog for this course also gives some further insights for the Edwards paper… Useful indeed.

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Deleuze: societies of control

This is an interesting albeit controversial digital artifact that seems to generate discussion in YouTube. It can be read on a meta level, illustrating Deleuze’s writings

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Today I decided to recap and look around, gathering some ideas and examples of the task that lies ahead. With this course being delivered online and previous years also being available a rich spectrum of thoughts are spread across these networks of EDEDC communities. Voices from the past speak to me, allowing me to put into perspective questions and remarks that were made over space and in time.A useful reminder of that what we study can also be put into practice.

In an instant I can capture voices that speak up and reflect on issues that I am dealing with, grateful for the explanations that are being presented

herehere and here.

I am reading these reflections (tumblogs) as a feed into my own thoughts, pushing forward my understanding, a state of my own ‘becoming’.  My conscious ‘self’, and the thoughts of others, separated by time and space have temporarily integrated and fused, to (hopefully) enlighten my understanding. A posthuman condition we seem to continuously engage with in an online environment.  The re-reading of Edwards is now bringing further clarity. Perhaps the initial phase in learning is to absorb the representational stage and then to deconstruct (in my case the despair that followed),   allowing for a condition that allows for a focus on ontology (following readings of Edwards,although he does warn it is not that simple)…. the ‘ post-human ethico-epistem-ontology’ (Barad, 2007)  wherein there is an entanglement of  things; ‘things as question, as provocation, incitement, or enigma’ (Grosz, 2009)

p. 125).

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week 10 – summary

At the beginning of the week I felt I experienced a Moses and the Red Sea moment when reading Gough’s paper in which rhizomatic drift seemed to offer a theoretical platform for the journey ahead. The paper is inspirational: its meta approach, its creative drive, its conceptual depth.

Then, during the course of  the week, my mind turned towards angels and cyborgs, a very strange mix. Further readings confirmed that the idea of cyborg has now firmly moved on from the holywood style concept.

The skype session, combined with the planning ahead of the assignment brought me to a crossing and a stumble of various issues – YouTube, Love Sick, Cyborgs –  which so far I have not been able to settle due to lack of time (work and home pressures).

There followed confusion (and some despair) when reading Edwards’ outline of post-human inspired lifelong learning. Badminton offered further blurrings. A potential link with Heidegger and Dewey may bring relief in these theoretical landscapes.

My plans for next week is to re-read the earlier core reading papers (and accompanying blog)  to bring some clarity and an overview of the threads that have been running through the past 10 weeks.

A playful experiment with electric ants and my cat gave a first glimpse of how animals and computers interact, a further proof curiosity is not just a characteristic of one species.


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[warning= this post is like a dance.... it twists and turns, until some some sort of understanding is achieved within these online confines...]

The end of lifelong learning: A post-human condition? RICHARD EDWARDS

”This article explores the significance of theories of the post-human for lifelong learning. Drawing upon the works of Karen Barad and Bruno Latour, it suggests that education has focused on the learning subject as a result of an a priori assumption of a separation of matter from meaning, the object from the subject. By contrast, a post-human intervention points to the constant material entanglement of the human and non-human in the enactment of the world, and thus the problematic status of subjects and objects as separate from one another.’

I am trying to follow this binary argument.The above seems to equate as follows:

  1. traditionally education =
  • matter / meaning
  • separate object / subject
  1. post-human intervention =
  • constant material entanglement of human and non-human
  • mix object-subject

Where are the matter, meaning, human and non-human positioned here…

Where does ‘representation’ come into this? if along Lyotard’s suggestion there is a collapse of representationalism,  this collapse suggests ‘shifting’ meanings, but surely not ‘without’ meaning.

and Edwards continues, ‘post-humanism refers to an enactment that deconstructs the separation of subjects and objects and, with that, the focus on the human subject as either a representative of an essentialised human nature or in a state of constant becoming. However, it is also the case that this deconstruction requires a subject.’

he then suggests (p 7)  the focus is on ontology (being) rather than representation (epistemology) – would this mean the focus is on the learner, rather than what is learnt?

and it is the learner’s position that is being post-humanised?

Confused. This article is getting my brain in a twist….

More so as the article itself seems to shift in emphasis. On the one hand there is the discussion of a binary tradition (ontology/epistemology) but then considers disrupting the meaning itself of this.

His key position is to move on  to consider meaning via ‘gatherings’, where meaning is not separate from matter, in a Heidegger sense (‘Gegenstand’)

‘… and specifically a gathering to deliberate on a matter under discussion, a contested matter. Here things are a mixing, an entanglement. They gather the human and non-human in their enactments. They are material and they matter.’

and, following on,

In the post-human, rather than the subject representing the object through sense data of, for instance, observation, we enter into the spatio-temporal practices of gathering and experimentation. Knowing is not separate from doing but emerges from the very matter-ings in which we engage. This relies on apparatuses, which ‘are not mere observing instruments but boundary-drawing practices – specific material (re)configurings of the world – which come to matter’ (Barad, 2007, p. 140, emphasis in original). To gather is also to draw boundaries, to include and exclude.

now that makes sense….I see this very much in line with my Love Sick story. (And following Gough’s article, as Edwards also points out )

And for Edwards the position is relating  to ‘matters of concern’:

I am suggesting that a post-human condition could position learning as a gathering of the human and non-human in responsible experimentation to establish matters of concern. However, it could also be that rather than gathering differently, we might have to do away with the notion of lifelong learning altogether. Here a post-human condition could position responsible experimentation as a gathering of the human and non-human to establish matters of concern. This provides a different educational purpose to much of that which is familiar. The difference lies in that it is not the human subjectwho learns through experimenting rather than representing, but the thing [Gegenstand?] that is gathered which is an enactment of human and non-human elements. There is a decentring of the knowing/learning human subject within educational practices.

[as my brain hurts again, I need to take a rest and will revisit later...This is my third attempt at making some sense of this...]

(I also think the Edwards paper can be linked to Dewey but this needs further investigation)

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Post-humanism and lifelong learning


Post-humanism refers to an enactment that deconstructs the  separation of subjects and objects and, with that, the focus on the human subject  as either a representative of an essentialised human nature or in a state of constant  becoming.

A post-human intervention points to the constant material entanglement of the human and non-human in the enactment of the world, and thus the
problematic status of subjects and objects as separate from one another

Richard Edwards, The end of lifelong learning: A post-human condition? Studies in the Education of Adults Vol. 42, No. 1, Spring 2010


image above – Whilst checking out various references, I decided to check ‘ontology’. Interestingly the definition was not the only info that was presented. A rich data stream confronted me: video, audio, more advertising, facts, related and what seems unrelated items are brought to the from, all vying for attention on my laptop screen.

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Of angels, cyborgs and the web

Raphael                    Himmel uber Berlin        Angel of the North    Fighting angel in computer game

Whilst reading the article by Rob Shields, Flanerie for Cyborgs, a sentence caught my eye:

How are categories of identity – such as the feminine – distributed in changing ways across  not only reproductive bodies but objects and virtualities from angels to voice-based digital intefaces? (p218).

Angel… a disembodied entity which crosses the virtual and the real?

I suddenly became (totally) pre-occupied by angels…. I wondered if in my earlier post the suggestion of the representation of ‘angels as early cyborgs’ is perhaps not too extreme after all…

I checked wikipedia and here is explained that the theological study of angels is known as “angelology”. Angels are often depicted as benevolent celestial beings who act as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth, or as guardian spirits or a guiding influence.

In western art, angels have been depicted  since Byzantium times, all the way through medieval art, renaissance… indeed in recent times (Angel of the North, Himmel uber Berlin and an image from a game – reference unfortunately lost – all images above) and http://www.angelstoday.net/

In a posthuman representational context: angel, neither male nor female (but arch angels are most definitely male)  neither organic, nor abstract, distinctly bearing a relation with the physical, but mostly detached… My thoughts wandered….

Angel, a  flaneur, seeking the truth of the soul, the immateriality acting as an intermediary.

Following on from Shields, I now see

  • Angels, an early virtual ‘emanation’
  • Hayles’ 1st order cybernetics, 1960s onwards
  • Hayles’ Autopoeisis
  • The appearance of cyborgs (in Haraway’s ‘infomatics of domination’)
  • Followed, as Shields suggests, the world ‘into information’ (for example survey and data, tracking, the genomics’ four-letter language of DNA sequences)
  • The surveillance via data-mining – putting two and two together across databases of personal, health and purchase information.
  • And the recombination of traits at the genetic level to enhance certain qualities.
  • Shields extends Haraway’s focus on cyborgs borne out of militaria-embraced visuality, juxtaposing the ‘ lived geography of women in circuits of culture and capital (p 211) situated in a narrow location, to the extent that cyborgs are ‘manifest in the nano, genomic and molecular’. Cyborgs are both a writerly device and a molecular- or smaller-scale biotechnical idiom (p 217) … ‘they (cyborgs) are nothing but signals, electromagnetic waves, a section… Newly emerged sites where cyborgs appear, include the ‘televisual media and arguable the web as a public sphere.’ (p216)
  • Hayles’ virtuality
The web as a cyborg, I do find this agreeable with my intuition around 21st century digital culture.


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Religion and cyborgs

‘We might instead acknowledge or explore the use of the cyborg not as actual disengagement of self from body, but as a metaphoric construct arising from centuries-old textual traditions of the body as a material residence for that mysterious immaterial entity variously called soul, mind or consciousness.’

‘Ironically, in our popular and academic literature the cyborg figure of the ‘post-God era’ functions to make implicit or explicit claims for Christian precepts of spiritual transcendence.’

(Of Shit and the Soul: Allison Muri, 2003)

It made me think we have 2 strands, which seem intertwined:

From a western perspective, the unification and separate entities of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit, reminds us of an assembling/re-assembling of embodiment, a detachment of human flesh but also God made flesh, and humans  made in ‘God’s image’. The incarnation, entering heaven, promising a detachment (from the body) a raising of the soul.

Cyborg have a very human likeness. Built in ‘human image’. Holywood portrays them as indestructible (Terminator) or have them switching off after a period of time (Blade Runner) as a safety mechanism. In another film, AI (Steven Spielberg) the ‘boy birth’…. All movies skirting around utopian, dystopian worlds, heaven and hell.

Lucifer, a cyborg-like figure representing death, the Arch Angel Gabriel the saviour?

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Chocolate (… and rhizome)

Gough, N. (2004). RhizomANTically becoming-cyborg: performing posthuman pedagogiesEducational Philosophy and Theory, vol 36, no 3, 253-265

I just read this paper (twice now) and it has the same effect on me as dark chocolate: I can only eat it in small quantities, it taste very pure, like an indulging substance and it will probably keep me awake tonight….







I had already lifted a quote by Noel Gouch, in last week’s reading of Pederson’s article. It struck me this quote would make a good definition that I personally would associate with art.




However, I realise now that something is missing from the Penderson article. The full quote, from Gouch’s original papers, should be:

‘Now, the idea of rhizomANTically becoming-cyborg signifies my desire to imagine teaching and learning as material-semiotic assemblages of sociotechnical relations embedded in and performed by shifting connections and interactions among a variety of organic, ‘natural’ and textual materials’

In the paper, Gouch connects Deleuze & Guattari, Haraway and Bruno Latour as a ‘rhizomANTic’ theory for learning and teaching.

The paper reflects my attempt at developing the ‘Love Sick’ story.


(what is also weirdly connected here is the ‘ant bashing game’ my cat was fascinated with, ANT referring here to the Actor Network theory of Bruno Latour (and others) )


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6 theoretical resources for mobility research – Sheller and Urry

the authors identify 6 bodies of theories that can be enrolled within mobilities research:
  1. humans have a ‘will to connection’, with the pulse of the city
  2. hybrid geographies of humans and nonhumans that enable people to move and to hold shape, bringing things close (incl surveillance)
  3. material stuff makes up places, requiring assemblage (assembling/re-assembling)
  4. recentring of corporeal body, a vehicle through which we sense place and movement
  5. topology of social networks (here it shows this paper was written in 2005)
  6. the analysis of complex system  (the example of foot and mouth is given, but the horse meat scandal is another one today)
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week 9 – summary

This week has seen a move away from blog activity to readings: Haraway, Hayles, Pickering, Pedersen and Sheller & Urry, looking at cyborgs, posthuman activity and mobility.

I reflected offline what posthuman activity means to me and made an attempt at continuing with the lovesick story which I see as an online narrative, directed by the temporal and digital spaciality, but linked to an offline mood and momentary status.

My story has now reached a point where it enters another platform (Vuvox) with a forced linearity in Twitter and this blog, looping the sequence. It is a story that is ‘becoming’, a performance (meaning unfixed).

The readings and further investigations on Haraway (in her 2003 lecture) brought an ethical perspective.  An experiment with my own cat, saw it interacting with an immaterial world. This playful activity is in contrast with the technological invasion of species and natural resources brought on by the cognisphere.

Finally, in my attempt at narrowing down a focus for my dissertation on aesthetic spaces I see a mobility paradigm as a useful start for considering online aesthetic spaces. The notion of boundaries which Haraway and Hayles discussed will need to be further investigated.


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aesthetics and the new mobilities paradigm – Sheller and Urry

Is it possible to move away from a ‘sedentarist’ aesthetics (based on fixed artworks, such as on walls in galleries, or projected, displayed, staged in theaters  cinemas, musea)  to a mobility (liquid? nomadic? fluid? )  aesthetics, which reflects situated space, place and in networks? An aesthetics beyond boundaries and disciplines with meanings and narratives assembled and reassembled? The exchange of material and immaterial cultures.

In this paper, there are some suggestions that link to the above

(p. 7) the new mobilities paradigm posits that activities occur while on the move, that being on the move can involve sets of `occasioned’ activities (Lyons and Urry, 2005).

and thus moving applies to both networked and physical moves:

(p. 8) Not only does a mobilities perspective lead us to discard our usual notions of spatiality and scale, but it also undermines existing linear assumptions about temporality and timing, which often assume that actors are able to do only one thing at a time, and that events follow each other in a linear order [see Callon et al (2004) on how the apparently absent can yet in effect be present].

(p. 8) The new mobility paradigm argues against this ontology of distinct `places’ and `people’. Rather, there is a complex relationality of places and persons connected through performances. (…) Places are indeed dynamic  - `places of movement’ (…)   Places are about relationships, about the placing of peoples, materials, images, and the systems of difference that they perform

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Do cats play with electric ants?

YouTube Preview Image

Last night my daughter and I decided to test out a computer game on a willing subject: our cat. It made me think that perhaps we will not enter the next stage (beyond posthuman) until somehow animals join in our digitally interconnected world. Can cats really play with electric ants? Why would my cat play with these ants anyway? there is no food (for the cat)  involved, but it does resemble analogue offerings…

On the other hand, human exploitation of animals is aided by technology. What sort of philosophical and ethical implications are there? The materiality of our biological needs (taking the flesh i.e. meat) is still primary. The loss of body (information) is in support of material sustenance, of both meat and non-meat eaters.

And then I read the Hayles article  ’From ‘Cyborgs to Cognisphere’ ‘ in which she is reflecting on Haraway’s recent work

‘Understanding that humans and animals have co-evolved together is entirely consistent with the contemporary but nevertheless potent phenomenon of humans and machines co-evolving together. Indeed, given the technologies of genetic engineering, implants and bio-silicon hybrids created from a variety of life forms ranging from cockroaches to lampreys, it is clear that humans, animals and intelligent machines are more tightly bound together than ever in their cultural, social, biological and technological evolutions.


Haraway’s insistence that the world is ‘relationality all the way down’ applies as much to technology as to companion species. In the contemporary period, computation emerges as a crucial aspect of the entwined dynamical hierarchies that structure and energize relational dynamics. As inhabitants of globally interconnected networks, we are joined in a dynamic co-evolutionary spiral with intelligent machines as well as with the other biological species with whom we share the planet.

[will need to give this further thought...]

Haraway more recently looked at the dogworld, this lecture offering further insights below and reviewed here.


YouTube Preview Image

by the way: it took my cat many attempts at grasping what was going on: he was not keen to act, but purring all the time… !

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love sick – dis/connect

I was unable to add a sound to the vuvox artifact, will need to investigate, but the one above is a found one I greatly enjoyed and thought fitted neatly.

Click on sound above and then click/visit vuvox below, get my drift….?











‘Making visible that interdependence—in general, rather than in this single instance—is, I think, the primary pay-off of the posthumanist shift in the unit of analysis.’

‘…the reciprocal production of subjects and objects, the coupled becoming of the human and the nonhuman.’

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (1987) -a heterogeneous assemblage  with a certain kind of inner unity… zones of intersection and interference

from the Pickering readings


There seems a vast potential in connecting, disconnecting a heterogenous assemblage of multi-modality, that creates meaning, temporal meaning which is pushing forward a narrative.

Here I let the image seek connection, the underlying intuitive story, the internet tools of things, opens up:

tracking through spaces of performativity and agency, always becoming (Deleuze)

‘the smallest unit of analysis is the relation’ (Haraway, quoted by Hayles), in ‘Unfinished Work: From Cyborg to Cognisphere’

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Material-semiotic assemblages of sociotechnical relations embedded and performed by shifting connections and interactions among a variety of organic, technical, natural and textual materials
Gough (2004), on posthuman pedagogy

This is such an ingenious definition. The ‘material-semiotic assemblages’ seems the most durable element in getting this off the ground.

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