Slice of Life: Collecting Sketching

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

Last week, for my Slice of Life post, I shared out and mentioned a sketching vacation that I was on for the week. I did sketch, every single day, and now I have gathered up the sketches into a sort of video portfolio via Animoto. (I like the hanging hooks element of this particular video theme). This sketch collection includes a few sketches that I did during the week but didn’t share out, for reasons mostly due to dissatisfaction on my part.

Peace (and love to those in Manchester right now),
Kevin

Interpreting, and Honoring, the Words of Others


Untitled flickr photo by kangster shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license

Thanks (again) to Terry Elliott for sharing a new possibility for close reading and digital interpretation. This time, it’s something called Lumen5, which allows you to use text from blog posts (or freewrite) to create a short video not unlike a digital story. I like the “pick and choose” element.

By close reading posts of others (or close reading yourself, too), you can point to textual elements and then add images and music. The site then kicks out a video.

I tried the process first with my friend, Karen LaBonte, who wrote of her move to Portland and what she is seeing in her new community in a very poignant piece of writing. She also shares how she hopes to make an impact there (of that, I am sure.)

The second was a piece by Maha Bali, as she continues to explore the terrain of “open learning” in a variety of ways. In the post I used, she uses the metaphor of the flower.

In both cases, I hoped to honor my friends with the choosing of words (and hoped the context would not be completely lost through my interpretation) and that the video versions might lead others on a path to their blogs and writing.

Karen writes All Hands on Deck

Maha writes Reflection Allowed

And you should, of course, read Terry who writes Impedagogy

Peace (extended outward),
Kevin

PS — I also could not resist making a version of my Western Massachusetts Mission Statement as a video.

Sketching from the Couch Day Seven (Floor Music)

Floor Music

My son has white headphones for his white iPod, and he leaves it everywhere in the house. As I sat sketching on my last day of a sketch vacation this week, I noticed his headphones and iPod on the floor. It seemed like a perfect ‘still life’ scene. Of sorts.

I’ve had fun this week, with my attempts at art. A few sketches never got shared. But I aim to collect them all together in some form later this week.

Peace (sounding good),

Sketching from the Couch Day Six (Sockets)

Sockets

I am near the end of my sketching vacation, a little detour from writing this week (but who am I kidding … I’ve been writing stuff every day) as I sat in my living room, and drew what I saw (or tried to). Today’s sketch is of the electrical outlet. Something drew me to draw them.

Peace (charging forward),
Kevin

Sketching from the Couch Day Three (Book Shelf)

Sketching from the Couch

I am doing some sketching this week to play with art (and take a vacation from writing), using my living room couch as my pivot point and drawing only what I can see from there. Today’s sketch is a small table/sitting piece that no one can ever sit on because it always stacked with my sons’ books. They are every which way, always about to fall. It’s a beautiful messy structure of stories.

Book Shelf

Peace (stacked),
Kevin

Visual Slice of Life: Outside from the Inside (Sketch Day 2)

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

It’s Day Two of my Sketchbook vacation, using my couch in the living room as the place where I am looking from and/or stationed at, and drawing at. Yesterday, I noticed the scene out of the front yard window, as my son was shooting baskets in the hoop near the street.

Outside From Inside

Peace (swish it),
Kevin

Sketching from the Couch, Day One (Abstract Dog)

Sketching from the Couch

I’ve decided to take a little break this week from words, and focus my brain instead on sketching. (I know. Here I am writing about doing less writing. Can’t help it).

Following the lead of my friend, Sheri, I am trying to view the world from the end of the (digital) crayon. Or paintbrush. Or, stylus. Sheri is part of #Sketch50 (which I think is just ending?). She gave me a bunch of hashtags to consider.

I am doing a week here with art as a sort of mental vacation.

Sketch Couch

I’ve decided to limit my view of the world to the view from a couch in my living room. Only what I see from my seat there is what I will draw. I will be using the Pencil App to do my drawings. I’m not suggesting I am a talented artist, but I want to try to stretch a bit.

Abstract Duke

My first drawing (other than the couch with its bow-tied feet) is of my dog Duke, but I wanted to go a little abstract. He was sitting by my feet, wondering why I was staring at him. He wagged his tail a few times. He’s always a happy dog.

Peace (coloring beyond the lines),
Kevin

If the Web is the City, Are Apps the Gated Suburbs?

I’ve recently read, with interest, a book by Virginia Heffernan entitled Magic and Loss: The Internet As Art, and it seems to mesh quite nicely with some of the exploration that had been done in the Networked Narratives experiment. As the title suggests, Heffernan proposes that we view the Internet itself as a huge canvas of realistic art, and then she dives into elements like design, text, images and more to explore these ideas through a networked lens.

In the chapter on Design, she notes that because the Web is both a commercial space and a collaborative space, it has become a messy sprawl of links, images, advertisements, and more. As a result, the experience of many users is far from ideal.

“The Web is haphazardly planned. Its public spaces are mobbed, and urban decay abounds in broken links, ghost town sites, and abandoned projects. Malware and spam have turned living conditions in many quarters unsafe and unsanitary. Bullies, hucksters and trolls roam the streets. An entrenched population of rowdy, polyglot rabble dominates major sites.” — Magic and Loss, page 45

Heffernan then goes on to develop the metaphorical supposition that this messy reality of the Internet gave rise to the closed and contained experience of Apps, which pulled us away from the Internet and created a sort of Gated Community. She talks about this as the “online equivalent of white flight.”

“The parallels between what happened to Chicago, Detroit, and new York in the twentieth century and what happened to the Internet since the introduction of the (Apple) App Store are striking.” — Magic and Loss, page 45

Is this true? Does the metaphor hold?

I guess I had never really considered the connections but she raises some intriguing points. So, as we talked about the nature of “civic imagination” in Networked Narratives and built our own “Arganee World,” we also considered what we meant by public spaces. A further point of discussion might have been how to “design elements” can play a larger role in the permanence of online spaces, and is connected directly to how much a user invests in the experience.

I guess one of the larger questions remains: What do we give up when we move into any gated community? What do we trade for our security? There is a certain beauty in the chaotic mess of the Internet — the expected discovery or connection — as well as some real ugliness — trolls and negative comments and attacks — and we cede some authority to app developers when we move into the app on our mobile device.

During one summer’s CLMOOC, we explored the idea of the Internet as Public Sphere. I wrote about it here and here and here.

Peace (in all spaces),
Kevin