Summary tumblog: Distance No Object

These past three months have seen a lively mashup, with the WordPress micro-blog one of the main (but not exclusive) platforms for curating reflection, discussion, annotation and building on theoretical perspectives.

Posts can be classed around the intimate interaction of authored and appropriated digital texts, images and sounds, illustrating my experience and understanding of digital culture.

One of my diagrams on my blog [i], based on Gillian Rose’s chapter on analysing visual culture[ii], can be used as a framework for this evaluation, stretching my tumblog from an ‘authored’ text (narrative) to a ‘visual and audio’ assemblage (composition).


There have been many online interactions[iii] and particular highlights for me were the Pinterest board [iv] on the MOOC and the ethnographic study [v] on Rothko and YouTube. Both illustrated the interaction of technical affordances with community building, via the creation of narratives, appropriating digital images and evaluating online presence in the landscape of social media. I also enjoyed Thinglink [vi] and Vuvox [vii] which displayed my first attempts at visualising a rhizome in an online environment.


Thinking about the ‘material qualities of an image or visual object and their strategies’ (Rose, 2007, p 13) my postings of text and images are in response to the literature whereby a number of personally selected themes emerged: sound, metaphors, mobility, community, space, flatness, aesthetics, alloy, authorship, metaphor, geography, boundary, speed, network, aggregation, assemblage, visuality, dialogue, topology, rhizome. In particular the YouTube ethnography gave me the idea of mapped activity, borrowing ideas from geography and chemistry.

Sterne’s article renewed my interest in a previous course I did on the use of sound in cinematography and will be considered in the next assignment.


The most challenging readings covered aspects of posthumanities and how we see ourselves situated within online spaces, extended into our physical realms. For me, the utopian/dystopian understandings were consolidated in Shield’s article updating Harraway’s position on cyborgs. Another milestone reading occurred with Gough’s paper and Deleuze & Guattari’s chapter on rhizomatic behaviour.

What’s next?

One objective for taking this final module was to prepare for the MSc dissertation, with the need to distil a focus (hence the themes) regarding online aesthetic spaces. Gough’s paper crystallised the methodology embedded in the rhizomatic flow between aesthetic experience derived from the temporal observation of digitised artworks and how we experience the topology of these constructed pervasive spaces. This notion of spatiality, speed and mobility and how these are (metaphorically) alloyed are illustrated by my ‘lovesick’ story[viii].  This experiment emerged spontaneously out of an everyday aesthetic observation – graffiti on an Edinburgh wall – subsequently aligned with the philosophical readings.  Other literature, in particular the Edwards paper, seems to have an elliptic argument requiring my further unravelling.

Overall a return to the concept of ‘deconstructed visuality’ in the widest context (i.e. through text/sound/image) will be the basis for surveying online landscapes, a major task ahead.

One of the most important outcomes of the blog and associated readings is that it allowed me to cement my understanding of the concept of the rhizome, with readings in the past (especially on the smooth/striated) put into a wider perspective and this will play a major role in my future theoretical underpinning.


[ii] Rose, Gillian (2007) Researching visual materials: towards a critical visual methodology, chapter 1 of Visual methodologies: an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials. London: Sage. pp.1-27.

[iii] I note interactions via WordPress, Twitter, YouTube, Coursera, Pinterest, a Google blog, Flickr, Synchtube, Skype, Vuvox, Soundcloud, Thinglink, as well as further explorations of Timetoast, Glogster, Prezi and Issuu.







Referenced literature

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F.  (1987)  A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi.  Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Edwards, R. (2010). The end of lifelong learning: A post-human condition? Studies in the Education of Adults, vol 42, no 1, 5-17.

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

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.

Rose, G. (2007) Researching visual materials: towards a critical visual methodology, chapter 1 of Visual methodologies: an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials. London: Sage. pp.1-27.

Shields, R. (2006). Flânerie for CyborgsTheory Culture Society, 23/7-8.

Sterne, J (2006) The historiography of cyberculture, chapter 1 of Critical cyberculture studies. New York University Press. pp.17-28.


Updated Mast head Image source for the tumblog

 The image is a digital artwork by the artist Ian Reddie, entitled ‘Craigleith and the Bass’ (2006).

The grasses, dominating the front of the work are an illustration of rhizomatic growth, a becoming, which affects our impression of the rest of the artwork.


words: 529, excluding footnotes and references




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One Response to “Summary tumblog: Distance No Object”

  1. our distance education April 8, 2013 at 3:36 am #

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