The Narrative .... Slide 3 Blogs … Article / Installation in Public Space Writing across public and We can look at social media as affordances that expand and Private spaces transform existing modes of speech and writing (or „parole‟ andIntroduction „langue‟ in semiotic terms). The question is, how do we progress from conversations (having a chat over a cup of coffee), to curating, combining and displaying texts and ideasSlide 1 in public space – either as a physical installation, or as aThis is a presentation based on some conversations between „published‟ article or book? And there really doesnt seem toRoy Williams and Simone Gumtau, for the Art, Design and be any reason why the one („articles‟) should be regarded asMedia seminar on “Your research profile – What is the use of having any different status from the other („installations‟) - asblogs?” in January 2013 at the University of Portsmouth – (and „published research‟ – as long as an equivalence can be foundIt borrows several nuggets from the conversations at that for „peer reviewing‟.seminar, too).Slide 2 Presence / Networks / Voice Slide 4 Conversations Blogger Traces Inscriptions … Impressions Article / Installation in Public SpaceThis includes some examples of how blogs and other social So, what‟s new? Much is just the same – we still havemedia are used, and of ways we can think about them. My conversations, these leave traces in memory, they makeown approach can be summed up in two points: start simple, impressions, and some of them end up as ‘inscriptions‟ inand focus on function, not technology. Most social software public spaces.has many different affordances, and many of these overlap.
The part that is new is that social media offer powerful versioned, combined with other texts / ideas etc.affordances for creating presence, developing your „voice‟ Some Examplesand, most importantly, for creating your own, new networks Here are some examples of uses of social media, most of whichwithin which to do this. Previously you had to join existing can be achieved through blogs. But as we said above, itsnetworks, within established patronage systems, which important to focus on the function, not the technology,required obeisance, and deference. because a crucial characteristic of social media is that they are flexible -they have „open affordances‟. Forum/Blog Comments Blogs Public Tweets Wiki/blogs Collaborative Email Wikis Objects / Texts Abstract Interactive Spaces Presentations Drafts 1-28Slide 5 Research Wiki Exploring / Articulating / Curating / Constructing / Knowledge Articles / Installations in Public Spaces Slide 6What‟s at stake here is that we can move backwards andforwards across all these modes and media: exploring, This is an extreme example of a show case – the production linearticulating, curating and constructing knowledge. Social that Zaha Hadid ran right through the centre of the new BMWmedia offer so many ways to have conversations and exchange Headquarters building in Germany, as only she could. Blogs aretexts, and because so many of these conversations are, en a good, quick way to showcase work. The hyperlink on thepassant, „recoded conversations‟, they can be re-used, re- image, however, is to a showcase in a wiki – for „footprints ofversioned, aggregated, mashed up, etc – providing wonderful emergence‟ – if could equally be done in a blog, except for theresources for creating new ideas, perspectives, artefacts and fact that it is a hybrid use, as it also serves as a collaborativeknowledge. space for people to create their own „footprints‟ – and thatThese same recorded / conversations can take place across all could not be done as easily on a blog.of the elements on slide 5, and be copied, pasted, re-
particularly for second language speakers. But as you research embodied perception and learning, you realise thatSlide 7 prepositions are wonderfully proprioceptive indices of theNarrative blogs are easy to create using this format, which is flavour of the way people move, and relate to each other ina variation on „digital story-telling‟, except that there is no space within their „language‟ – which is so much more thanaudio track, the words are done in text instead. A narrative words.like the one in the linked blog post can be created in 15minutes or so. This can be used, for instance, for gathering Slide 9and structuring research data, and narrative accounts - serious Point of view blogs are also quite standard, by now. But theyor fun. do establish a new kind of meme, or genre – they are more than a newspaper or magazine „column‟, as they‟re more „free-Slide 8 standing‟, less institutional, more personal voice than „writing‟.Ideas or thoughts in progress are „standard‟ for blogs. They There are also ways of creating parallel columns of blogs,can be used as „nuggets‟ or „knowledge objects‟ in a research which an be used for several emerging points of view - but thisprocess (or in writing books). They might be copy/paste/re- has to be done inside a wiki – effectively creating somethingversioned bits of emails or conversations, encapsulated in a that looks like many blog pages alongside each other (simplerblog post, like this. They often reflect a change or shift in than it sound, actually).perspective, which might or might not be the start of a paperor presentation – or book or installation for that matter. Thisone is about prepositions, of all things. Slide 10 Aggregators can play various roles in blogs. This one is anPreviously prepositions seemed to me to be counterproductive, aggregator blog, or newsletter, that Stephen Downesuntranslatable, and even perverse parts of language,
runs, for a very large subscribed audience. It‟s a good is itself a kind of hybrid „research presence‟ which is nowexample of aggregation – scanning, sampling, added a posted into Slide Share, but could just as well be posted on acomment and perspective, and then providing a range blog.of links for the reader to explore, themselves. It is also linkedto a more extensive version of the same thing, on a webpage(if you click on the banner graphics). He has developed anopen source aggregator, GRSSHOPPER, which you can use too.Slide 11This is a link to the Potosi Principle installation, which is agood example of research presence, and also of how aninstallation can function in the same way as a research paperor book. To wit, it is based on extensive research for ideas,objects, images, theories (about colonial extraction of silverand surplus value from the Potosi mines in Peru), linked up toan analysis of how painting functioned – both in Peru andelsewhere, to support and legitimise this extraction /exploitation. And all of this is curated, structured cross-
This was an issue. This cartoon was only included, andSlide 12 „published‟ in the blog after quite a bit of soul searching.One of the most interesting things about social software is Eventually it was decided that it should be included, because it is used to make perfectly respectable academic points, butthat like many of the most interesting innovations in more so that it also illustrates the way the space of „academiccommunication, it completely restructures social space – how debate‟ has been broadened. Zizek, in particular, makes aand where we live and do things. In particular, it radically point of doing so, even though he sometimes enjoys steppingshifts the boundaries of public and private space. And in the over the boundaries a bit much.process, it demonstrates how every new technology, meme or„teme‟ crates new affordances, and changes the social ecology. ThankThere is another issue here, of course – namely, the issue of Youthe borders of „serious‟ blogs that try to contribute toacademic discussion. In this case, the issue is whether humour(and „toilet‟ humour) is appropriate for a „serious‟ blog.