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.
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.
I was sitting on my couch, looking around. All this week, I am using my living room couch as my anchor for doing some sketching as a little respite from blogging. I glanced around and saw a piece of music manuscript on the floor. I like drawing musical notes, and added the pun of C A Note to the title (and the notes themselves are a C and an A).
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I enjoy (and support via Patreon) Nerdwriter, who creates all sorts of interesting videos on a range of topics. His latest video release is one about Fidget Spinners, which our school has just banned as toys because we had kids throwing them on buses, spinning them into people’s faces, and selling them for profit in the hallways.
As usual, Nerdwriter incorporates parody with history for entertaining results.
You know … the arc of a fad.
Although he uses parody here, Nerdwriter makes an interesting aside: the emergence of devices with no buttons or tangible way to interact might pave the way for more tactile toys and devices, as people want their fingers and hands to be doing something. Or maybe not. Maybe we just have short attention spans and need something to divert our attention from full focus.
I had written about the spinners a few weeks back for Slice of Life, and since then, the spinners are all over the news with varying points of view on whether they are good or bad for students (despite the claims of the Fidget Defense League, I have yet to see any of my ADD/ ADHD students benefit from the use of a fidget spinner for focus and sustained attention. It mostly has been the reverse.)
I hope it’s no surprise that I like to give my sixth graders opportunities to make comics, and to use art as well as words in their writing and analysis. We’ve done visual notetaking and added art to many writing pieces, and used a basic comic model for a variety of writing activities.
What I like is it allows me to see what grabbed their attention in a piece of poetry, and provides entry into analysis, and hopefully understanding, for those students who struggle with traditional writing but could use an artistic anchor into a text.