I’ve been really fascinated by what’s coming across my social media feeds as educators of all kinds have tackled the idea of “reMEDIAtion” over the last week in the #clmooc group. As my avocation is special education for adults, I was particularly interested in this idea: “Remediation – as we’ll be thinking about it here – is unrelated to another use of the term in education: we are not talking about “remediating kids” as in “remedy”-ing them. Here, the focus is on media, and ways in which moving from one medium to another changes what we are able to communicate and how we are able to do so.” On the other hand, I’ve been travelling, and teaching in some new places, and trying to wrap up some projects, and dealing with a hospitalized family member and a paper I am supposed to be readying for publication so I wasn’t putting too much pressure on myself… but one of the folks was talking about the idea of constraints as compelling…
I’ve been teaching drawing as communication to adults, and it’s always fascinating to see who is scared of what. To watch someone draw perfectly well and beat themselves up with every line. To watch someone who didn’t think they could draw anything, draw something recognizable, and then the next day come back to say their children were so thrilled they insisted she hang it on their fridge door.
Yet, as interesting as it is, it’s a bit hard to relate to, honestly. I’ve always been able to draw pretty much anything, and while I had a few art teachers who didn’t think that was true, or wanted me to want something “more,” the shyness people have about this skill range is difficult for me to fathom. Thinking about this, I realized how invested I was in the idea of control… even when I decided I’d rather fail the drawing course than do what was wanted, I was in control. About the same time, I ran across an old reference in some notes I was looking at, twitter bots – in this case, twitter-bots you send images to and they re-create (re-mediate) your images – either randomly or by sending them commands. This led to me discovering a whole family of twitter-bots that, as it happened, were at war!
As a graphic recorder and facilitator (and illustrator and researcher), my actual job a good part of any month is re-mediation – I listen to the conversations people have about certain subjects, and turn them into drawings. In my research I get a lot of people talking about one subject and then turn that into a drawing as a recording. This was part of my Master’s thesis and is part of what I am continuing to look at in my PhD program.
So, this kind of interaction:
Turns into this kind of documentation, through my drawings and (often) the incorporation of drawings and work by the groups (in this case, “name tags” in which the “my name is…” was replaced with “the gift i bring to community is…”):
There are lots of good things about such projects but in essence what I like is that we focus on the ways people can communicate (visually) as a way of congregating information that they can present to those who are empowered to make changes. In this project we went to six different cities in the end, in which agencies, government and policy makers were as excited to hear what people with disabilities wanted as people with disabilities were to tell them.
I also continue to be fascinated by technology and its effects on our lives and relationships. So I started sending some of the documents and images to the twitter bots.
I combined a picture of me drawing with a drawing and send them to imgblender – which takes two images and overlays them in different ways:
Then, using the twitter-bots JPGglitchbot, imgshredder, lowpolybot and Quilt Bot, I continued to experiment with the photo of me drawing a research project plan for a collaborative group of researchers with intellectual disabilities:
This led to me combining and re-mediating more of the graphic recordings, and in particular one of me and my family, combined with a recording about how people who live with folks with disabilities feel about their “jobs,” lives and the idea of “home”:
Finally, I made myself stop but then, in bed with my iPad and reading one of my favourite comic series, Paul Pope’s Batman Year 100, I could not resist combining the iconic cover of this future-Batman in a dystopian world with a publicity photo of me, and really liking the effect 🙂
and then, the next day, I discovered the twit-bot UShouldFrameIt and decided my new portrait needed framing:
and then, in an act of post-structuralist robotics, that a sarcastic comment from LowPolyBot to UShoudFrameIt as part of the twit-bot-war needed a little framing too….
To see the Imgblender Gif in action, go here.