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Meaning in A Collage: Text Production SOCRMx

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Edited by Steve Bamlett, Saturday, 14 Oct 2017, 09:03

Meaning in Production text in https://learn1.open.ac.uk/mod/oublog/viewpost.php?post=198558, Open that in new window by clicking here.

It was typical that I not notice that the task I chose did want meaning to be covered – although this was covered in the wording of Option 1 rather than the categories given for write-up.: ‘try to do some analysis of the resulting image(s)’.

 So here is a first of a series (if I ever take it further) of iterative thinking about my collage.

 a)     In both the online screens and the photographed offline location there are phenomena which call themselves ‘rooms’ that can be ‘entered’. The latter is a physical room in which a lone worker sits. The former (on the screen-prints) is of 2 online ‘rooms’ – the first is the ‘Main Meeting Sharing Layout’ (as designated by Adobe Connect [AC]) and the second (under design by the worker) is a ‘Break-Out Rooms layout’. This same layout (Fig 2b) will be demonstrated in the Meeting Main room (following the scenario represented in Fig 2a), and then will be used by three or more sub-groups in their individual ‘Break-Out Rooms’. Both online and offline rooms can be said to be entered by the participant (SB). In what sense are the action of ‘entry’ or the space indicated as ‘room’ related to each other in offline and online space?

b)     The physical room is distinguished by ‘space’ apprehended through various perspectives on its interior distances. These involve perspective, dimensionality and orientation. The camera representing the participant looks up, down (although these latter tend not to be represented in the collage). Each perspective as the cameras ‘sees’ it are influenced by the direction of light that illuminates the ‘room’ and makes its contents visible or obscures them in shadow. Those conditions of light are effected by spatial and temporal distance of the light source (a window to a garden, garage and field beyond and a desk light). The variation in perspectives fragments the whole so that our whole impression of the room is ‘mocked up’ as a whole whilst making clear the partiality of the grasp of each part of the scene to the pauses in the movements of the camera ‘eye’.

a.      Thus note how a central slide which looks down upon the computer desk in front of the computer monitor shows the light reflecting from the white page of the participant’s diary. The proximity of diary and monitor are related to the temporal space that the screen shots represent – they are designs for a session that the participant is committing to hard record in the diary. Likewise, the participant plans for future practice sessions in order to come to terms with how to engage with the transition between Main Meeting and Break-out room (which was revealed as still problematic in this session). For the participant, what is being manipulated on the screen online has a ‘close’ relationship’ to the planning of temporal space in the diary. The screen itself in the shot above is relatively dark – the camera eye responding to the greater light source at a nearby window. We see the break-out room represented on the monitor but that ‘room’ is, in this view, subsumed to the perception of the computer monitor as one of the many objects in the room that might articulate themselves and their relationship to the participant.

b.     Objects in the room and their spatial relationships can tell us something about the consciously and unconsciously displayed aspects of the participant’s identity. The house and garden bespeak something about class and status. However other issues are betrayed by the books on show, the formal placing of wall decorations and the informal placing of objects and mementoes, including postcards and photographs.

c.      Time is central to the last point. Dead parents and pets, lost interests (the occluded Whitman) is displaced by the postcard of the Scottish hunk. The meanings of the placements can’t though be determined without some view of the subjectivity, and its changes that caused their spatial placements over time. Moreover, how much of that placement was planned or ‘accidental’ (if accidents exist in psychology) without involvement of elements of subjectivity including cognition and emotion. But temporal changes that aren’t subjective will also have been determining those placements: change of jobs, friends and the growth and development of children – the pictures above the monitor are by ‘children’ long since entered adulthood. This point about time is true of the book selection which tells of what book survived different course – in Classical Literature, philosophy, art (Van Gogh in presence) and so on. The old Soviet peace poster recalls a past holiday in a long ‘gone’ country as do the Byzantine church models and life and educational certificates

d.     Determining the balance of literary mementoes and ‘scientific’ ones and interpreting what kind of boundaries there may or may not be can be posed by the 2 skeleton models and the brain next to centrally but upwardly placed neuroscience texts.

e.      And then it is clear that the room is not well-tended – bearing sciences of decoration from a past that is not the participants but of the house containing the room, the clutter and over-use of floor-space as a temporal storage during a work phase – showing the badly organised remains of different interests which could be those of the participant or his husband.

f.      IN CONCLUSION, an offline room is complexly organised in terms of both competing and collaborating interests of the participant and their immediate networks. It means emotions, thoughts, memory and forgetting, past and present lives and work roles, institutions and so on. Here the computer keyboard and monitor fit into the meaning of an object required by the participants work (very salient at the moment of the picture) and home-life (eBay stores of books now read and no longer having a space anywhere in the house).

c)     The offline rooms are located in what we might call cyberspace – but the role of metaphor here is important. The Internet does not require the idea of architecture or rooms but hierarchical organisations of education (universities do). I notice with some surprise that the idea of room architecture is employed as a self-labelling metaphor in both rooms and to connect them to each other. The break-out room event is represented symbolically in 2(a) by pictures of two rooms – taken from Google and with no knowledge of what they represent. In part they were chosen so that the institutional language of main meeting and break-out rooms can be visualised and absorbed. However, it was also purposeful to show two different rooms – to emphasise that how digital meeting-space is conceptualised is both arbitrary, can be different for different people in the same space, and the conceptual sequelae of that. Those sequelae are that online spaces can be used in ways that offline spaces cannot – to destabilise space by linking to other places / resources / pages. However:

 i.     It is not true that you can control spaces. It depends on your status in the VLE hierarchy (Host, Presenter, and Participant – each with diminishing powers in that sequence). Since both screenshots are in ‘Host’ view controls that would allow this are visible in the in the top icon bar. However, were this scenario seen by a participant, even avatar participant as I discovered, those controls are diminished such that one follows a top-driven agenda. Hosts can gift and take away privileges to anyone below them, whether these gifts are requested are not – even in Break-Out rooms the agenda remains firmly in the hands of the Host and s (he) can visit each room as s (he) wishes. The breakout room reminds participants in them, by the placing of an icon to the left top corner, the main meeting to which  they will return on the Host’s decision (as do timer and fixed – unchangeable instructions)

ii.     It is clear that Bayne’s view that some metaphors for space here maintain functional fixedness in the educational space – they connate not multiply determined space (as in the physical room collaged) but one determined by ‘convention’ and, of course hierarchical power relations in higher education. I appear to be aiming here to a Baynesian reading as referenced in the earlier blog.



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