Archive for September, 2008

operative knowledge/interaction notes

Friday, September 5th, 2008

here are some notes from our last (and first!) interactive scripting class:

We train to the medium and the medium trains to us.

Knowledge has a biological function, and arises out of action

Knowledge is basically “operative”–it is about change and transformation.

“Operative” knowledge is knowing about and learning from “what happens when I (or it, or they, etc.) do….”

Knowledge consists of cognitive structures.

Development proceeds by the assimilation of the environment to these structures, and the accommodation of these structures to the environment.

Movement to higher levels of development (knowledge) depends on “reflecting abstraction,” which means coming to know properties of one’s own actions, and coming to know the ways in which they are coordinated with other’s actions, and how one’s actions influence, and are influenced by, another’s actions and cognitive structures.

Interaction is a relationship of mutual influence.

Interaction can increase operative knowledge when it raises awareness of the degree to which one has influence over something while at the same time understanding how that something is influencing one’s self.

Our sense of identity, down to our recollections, beliefs, ‘private’ feelings, etc., may be evoked responses – aspects of a persistent, collective interaction with our environment, highly dependent on the moment, environment, and interactions occurring at a given moment. We may not, in other words, carry our memories, and specific personality traits as static objects into an environment. They may be, instead, patterns of responses evoked via interaction within a given moment, and within a specific environment.

Different affects and qualities of experience (including, it seems, memory, and other ‘private’ mental events) are evoked by interaction with specific combinations of environmental elements.

Interactive artists and designers benefit from careful study of the qualities of interaction that are evoked within given environments, and must think broadly about which combinations of elements, including human participants, gizmos, nature, etc., seem to evoke which qualities and understandings.

Development, and the resulting qualities of that development, proceeds by the assimilation of the environment to this knowledge and its related structures, and the accommodation of these structures by to environment.

We adapt to the medium and the medium adapts to us.

Internal/external paradigms are useful but one must bear in mind that interaction goes both ways, so that, ultimately, consciousness exists at a midway point between the internal and external.

The Cinema Effect: Realisms

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

i just returned from the Hirshhorn with a group of students. if you can, please see this exhibit, it runs only through sunday. there is a gallery talk with one of the curators friday at 12:30.

it ties into several ideas i’ve been working on lately that i will describe in detail a bit later.

in the meantime, if you have time, please do visit the show, and let me know what you think.

more info

Veep Heil!

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

in her speech last night sarah palin mentioned that:
hockey moms are pitbulls with lipstick.
she, apparently, is a hockey mom.
“dick cheney is the pitbull of the republican party.”
sarah palin is dick cheney with lipstick.
that’s the way she sounded to me.

the crowd responded passionately to her, in particular near the end when she said something about dealing with the terrorists and how her opponents were concerned with reading them their rights.

in class yesterday we talked about interaction, and how interaction is a relationship of mutual influence. we also talked about operative knowledge, which we defined as awareness to the degrees to which, within an interaction, you are influencing something AND how it is influencing you.

with the republicans leaning heavily on the pathos, heroism, and indignation they associate with McCain’s imprisonment and torture, i thought it strikingly short-sighted to suggest that not playing by rules designed to at least minimally acknowledge a prisoner’s humanity by making him aware of his rights while being held captive is somehow ok if we do it.

in general i found palin’s well written and well performed speech to successfully reach and stimulate my inner caveman.

it occurred to me that much of the rhetoric of the Right seems designed to resonate with that violent, uneducated, short-sighted, frightened cave dweller persona that lives in many of us, and then match that stupid thing with a candidate who seems to preach those very values as a code to live and govern by.

i accept my inner caveman. i prefer to have my leaders speak to, and inspire my thoughtful, empathic, productive identity.

also, at some point during her speech i actually thought i heard some people in the crowd chanting “four more years!”, maybe they were – would be a good protest chant at their appearances.

sartorial coincident

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

on my way into work this afternoon i boarded the train wearing a blue, striped, button-down shirt and green, cotton pants. the car i entered was crowded so i walked into another and took a seat. as i looked around i noticed that there were three people sitting in front of me with almost the same shirt that i was wearing. funny coincidence. i looked around a bit more and noticed that the car was almost full of people not only wearing a similar shirt to mine but the same type and color of pants, too!

as we entered each station some of them would get up to leave, and meet the eyes of their fellow workers and nod their heads as they left – several people met my eye only to give me a puzzled look when they realized that they didn’t recognize my face.

when i got up to leave i took another look and ended up making eye contact and nodding at a bunch of different people who seemed as puzzled as i was about this trivial but unusual event.

i’m writing this just before i start teaching and the students are filing in so that’s it for now.