Thursday, June 18, 2015

Modalities, Me, Kevin, Anna and More

Our conversation is enlarging in scale and ideas.

First, I asked Kevin an innocent question about which modality was his favorite one for expression of thoughts. He responded with a blog post, embedding within his post my initial question. Some time before this dialogue with Kevin, I got to know Anna Smith, scholar-educator, who writes about literacies and writing, and more! I myself had been creating my Seeing Your Thoughts course from the ground up, looking for resources to make it a worthwhile learning experience. I sought out Nick Sousanis' Unflattening book which extended the learning themes I wanted to expose my students to -- he who I had come across while studying in Syracuse University which hosted Imagining America, of which he was a PAGE fellow. Anna alerted my tweet about his book to Nick via Twitter. Then, Nick and I had an email exchange after a brief tweet conversation. He generously shared his web resources with me, for consideration in my course. Then, I responded to Kevin's blog post and he replied with a mention of Anna and their work in NWP. In short, my conversation with Kevin isn't just a conversation with Kevin anymore. In his words,

We’re zigzagging here in an interesting way … You are invited to join the conversation, or just peep in … We’re having a public conversation in a very connected way.

This is all very fascinating, and getting somewhat complicated, but I'm enjoying the learning that these connections are bringing. Our conversation has crossed platforms, from Twitter to blogs, been extended to emails, and drawing in more voices ...

 As we discussed modalities and making our thinking visible, I feel we are living out our discussions. Here's to extending more of some of those thoughts.

Kevin, I use different modes and media to articulate my thoughts. My work requires that I use digital tools and social media regularly. So much so that I turn to non-digital forms of expression to satisfy my urge to craft something that doesn't come too "easily" for me. I don't mean to sound like a brag or nag. I'm no Michelangelo. The craftsmanship and artistry that earlier artists used to hone through years of practice -- to produce an oil painting, for example -- is simply different from say, the way we take an image and edit it into an oil painting via Photoshop. Sure, that takes skill too, but electronic art and non-digital art appeal to me in different ways. Let me get back to my point: I switch from medium to medium, platform to platform. And non-digital modes are appealing to me more and more, maybe because I just want to disconnect. I feel that I have more control over a brush, a pen or a pastel chalk.

I take photos with my cellphone mostly, nothing fancy there. Photography to me, like pastel drawing or ink drawing, is about the eye, and how I use it to send thoughts to my brain -- I make quick decisions about how to frame a moment in time. I sense intuitively that there is something that I need to capture to retain that moment in time. It's hard to explain. It's like painting and how I mix colors to achieve the right values and tones. Like styling myself -- yes, my body is my canvas. I put apparel on to achieve a certain style or look. I think we need to trust our intuition a bit more, at least I do.

You talk about hearing voices, I don't even know how to describe mine. It's a hunch, a mood, an emotion that triggers my urge to be creative.

So I switch from working with PicMonkey to create digital notes, to painting with pastels or drawing with ink, or taking a few photos sometimes. I like writing a lot though; I love words and languages; I cannot tolerate poor writing by so-called best-selling authors, but writing seems rather incomplete by itself. My life is so saturated with texts these days, I wonder if I'm not turning to non-text just to disconnect. Maybe mixed modalities is my preferred mode. My thoughts are dissonant as my understanding evolves.

The term "transmedia" storytelling is used these days to describe what we are discussing here. More and more, this is what we are doing. Surely, that is how our ideas are getting clearer and more richly expressed through such transmediated literacies.

What do you think, Kevin? Anna? Others?

1 comment:

Dogtrax said...

Got me thinking, or zigzagging again ... will respond ...