Creative Commons

Creative Commons from my online Flickr album is composed of multiple layers. They include a .jpg of the Google Earth generated globe which is inverted, stretched and manipulated in 3 other layers, ripples from an M. C. Escher print and a stunning photo by a Professor Andrew Davidhazy from Rochester, NY. described on a few of the 80, 000+ references to him on Google as modest, talented, a great teacher and a ghost expert for photography. I have just licensed my work on line with the Creative Commons. Their icon lets people know that they can use your work for non-commercial reasons if they attribute it to you; they can make derivatives but they have to share-alike. Of course the challenge with Goggle Images is some of the most stellar images available are difficult to track down in terms of authorship because there are already so many derivatives. This was the case with this drop of water by this well-known professor who continues to do astounding work. I left a comment on his web blog but I re-entered it three times before I realized he had wisely included an administrator’s block for unedited entries. It may take him ages to even check his comments. When he does he will find to his annoyance in his busy life, that I’ve inadvertently left three. More than that I just emailed him instead of Flckr’s team re: emailing our Flickr photos to WordPress. He is going to put me on his ‘block permanently list.’

An Inuit friend reminded me that many Inuit of Canada view the world from a circumpolar point of view. In honour of my Inuit friends and students from time to time I view the earth through their lens. I positioned then froze the globe from a circumpolar point of view using a Google save screen option. So I have geotagged this to the north east of Baffin Island, perhaps somewhere near Pond Inlet. Hello to the family of Julia and Ernie! Their family photo in their traditional clothing taken when they visited you in Pond Inlet in 2005, is framed and hanging in our home on Vancouver Island.

Del.icio.us Topographies and Tag Clouds An Adobe Photshop image consisting of 5 layered images: my Del.icio.us cloud tag, title layer, google generated 3-D virtual space with branching rivers as metaphors for organically emerging rhizomic pathways,

a miniaturized image of Vancouver, BC’s skyline, the del.icio.us tag cloud image (my first since I began to use this free social bookmarking tech tool) and an altered topographical map of a site where a meteor landed. This final layer was inverted so the meteoric collision with the planet became the sun in this delicious cloud.

‘Folksonomies’ is an organic emerging term in an organic emerging system. Is it perhaps an example of autopoiesis constituting and nurturing its own rhizomic organization? There are economic, political, social as well as ontological and axiological dimensions to the unfolding taxonomy of cyberspace. Tag clouds leave visible trails of a blogger’s inner life. Unlike solitary browsing through library stacks or flipping through pages of a book, internet searching and browsing leaves digital imprints that allow us to retrace where we were yesterday in terms of our understanding of a topic. Theoretically how well we understand a debate or discussion informs how discerning we are in our judgments. Our ethical topography changes as we travel and encounter Others whose ideas and/or values resonate or are in dissonance with our own. Encounters with the stranger, one whose experience differs greatly from our own in some way, provides us with an opportunity to re-evaluate previously held beliefs or assumptions. In welcoming the Stranger in friendship with a heightened degree of hospitality that includes a willingness to tolerate ambiguity temporarily, to briefly at least set aside prejudices, we open ourselves to the possibility of fresh insight that expands for both of us. It is only through the invention of unique terms such as folksonomies, or ethnoclassification or perhaps tag.clouds that I might filter through infinite numbers of blogs on taxonomy and find the like-minded individual who is concerned about the potential emergence of an inclusive taxonomy that somehow includes the more socially vulnerable not as objects of charity but as fully participating members in civil society.

Frimr was the ninth free topographical tool I investigated in my exploration of the connectivity/content potential. On Hallowe’en 2006 we parted ways. Christophe from Frimr could not explain to me which of the feeds I had listed on my Frimr account were not mine. He could not explain why my score was too high. (I suggested to him that maybe the site urls that hosted my feeds were being counted in as my feeds because of their programming?) I know I’m not famous but I also know I play fair.

The size of the Frimr icon (which I had compared to a pumpkin) as it appears on a Frimring member has something to do with being a boastful frimeur or frimeuse. The idea behind this fictive service is that the user can map out their presence or absence on the web. The first time I realized I had a zero rating was a bit unsettling. Why would anyone expect anything else unless you publish or blog in a network or community hooked into the blogosphere?

Anyhow a couple of weeks ago the audio stopped working on our aging television, the VCR conked out and my beloved Kodak digital camera died after having been a hard working member of my team for many years. After having used up my two for a toonie budget of DVDs I took out a number of free public library DVDs on the centuries biggest storms, tours for tourists, Einstein, etc. Dave was able to hook up the sound from the DVD directly through the speakers which he borrowed from my PC so I can watch DVDs on our television but not VCRs. Leno and Jon are just not as amusing watching with captions. The timing is off and the spelling is impossible. So during this period where I am off on medical leave I began to explore what is free out there in this virtual space where smart people fix broken things and help me to find useful stuff including where I’ve put my own things. I don’t have any idea how it works. But if only a few people find something that I have done provides them with a pointer, an idea or a new word, maybe all that energy, passion and hard work teaching, learning and research can still be socially useful.

I had become more courageous in moving from my status as blurker (is that the word? I can check it on the glossary of blog terms I have bookmarked on my del.icio.us space) to searchable participatory citizen of the blogosphere. It was the rapture of deep space provided by Google Earth that lured me out of my security zone. It was the tagging on Picasa, then Flickr that enmeshed me even further. It was the seamless interconnectivity between certain sites (I’m still figuring out which are which) that compelled to get more deeply into it.

Mirrored mountain, marina and clouds

The fish bowl/rose bowl
often half-filled or empty reflecting my own image and the subtle changes in light of my embodied living space became a visual metaphor for the complex reflexive way I see and live the world Strange it is that I am still unable after all these months to pick up the phone to call a dear friend or family member or to write them a personal email but I feel safe, solitary and satisfied while growing this strange, organic rhizome of virtual synapses from the security of my fish bowl here in this tiny but stunning island village. It is easier for me to compose the bulk of this reference letter as a blog than it is to open an MS Word document and write it. How can I be so verbiose and speechless at the same time?

Well, I’ve just gotten off the phone with a lawyer whose daughter was a former student. She’s now applying for law school and needs a reference. The letter would have written itself since she has such a stellar personality but I had asked to talk with someone who knows her well so I could refine adjectives and situate the fine qualities I had come to know within the broader framework of where she has been and where she is going. I had cautioned her that I am on medical leave and have not been doing teaching or research since 2005 and a letter from me might have no academic capital. But she still preferred to ask me. It is a bit ironical because that class was the last I taught at the university that turned me into a ghost, a non-entity in the department. Talking to her father reminded me of why I loved teaching so much. With or without my letter this young woman will become a fine lawyer with a fresh approach who will examine the law from a broader perspective. She isn’t afraid to ask “Why?” Her creative, original arguments will make judges blink without being disrespectful. Her clients will be in excellent hands. She will model ground rules of fair play by debating her arguments skillfully and forcefully without belittling her opponents or making personal attacks. She recognizes her God-given talents but they have not made her arrogant or boastful. Although she is a strong advocate of human rights she has a heightened sense of inclusivity and is therefore not blind-sided by the ‘we’ question. While she has the courage to take risks she is not rash or imprudent as it is in her nature to be reflexive in her thinking.

Her father acknowledged that the law itself is not rigid and timeless but organic and changing as we evolve. I understood that he was reminding me that something might be legal without being ethical. I found these useful citations through Google which I have added to my del.icio.us bookmarks.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. Jacques Anatole François Thibault) (1894) The Red Lily

What does it profit a poor and ignorant man that he is equal to his strong antagonist before the law if there is no one to inform him what the law is? Or that the courts are open to him on the same terms as all other persons when he has not the wherewithal to pay the admission fee?” Vance, William (1926) “The Historical Background of the Legal Aid Movement,” The Annals from the National Equal Justice Library

The following is a list of my new navigational tools for the blogosphere. Unfortunately when I try to let my dear friends know about this they are made uncomfortable my the need to download a reader, etc for some of these:

 

Black Pupil as Mirror the </p> <p>Other-Eye

I used AdobePhotoshop to digitally insert my own image onto the reflective surface of Leonie’s eyes. Black Pupil as Mirror: the Other-Eye (2004) is from my Flickr album.

I am using the free tools of cyberspace to tag, geotag, reference and categorize in an attempt to find myself by mapping where I have been and maybe contributing to an emerging organic taxonomy in the process. I am fortunate enough to have a monitor, a mouse and access to metablogging.

Before I went on leave from my studies, I was investigating the work of artists, political philosophers, theorists, anthropologists who had taken the ethical turn. There was already a call for a sociological imagination from a postnational point of view. The more I read the more it seemed public policy analysts, journalists, artists, rights workers, cultural workers, anyone involved in teaching, learning and research … could benefit from at least engaging — if only to disagree — with the arguments put forth. But these thinkers are part of the slow world. It takes time to read with a high tolerance for ambiguity. Most of these writers need to be read as we read hypertext. For someone already aware of their references their is no need to click on the hotword. For most of us we need to follow the links through a virtual labyrinth. It’s a way of reading that is in that liminal space between browsing and searching. I often felt like a detective looking for clues. It wasn’t enough for me to finally reach some heightened understanding of an argument or concept. I wanted it to be traceable so I could follow my own paths back and help someone else see the strength, utility and/or elegance of a thought. Or even to help me find it again so I could appreciate it anew. I had the advantage of a lifelong connection to the visual arts. I could picture the ideas. I am so grateful that there are these tools now that allow us to create these shareable mind maps. Rob Shields had suggested I introduce students in my Off-Campus Aboriginal Program to the concept of dialogism. Dialogism is more respectful of the other and therefore offers the potential for a more ethical relationship between Self and the Other. Bakhtin described this as the relationship between Self and the Other-I. I have played with that idea visually by using reflections, people mirrored in the eyes of others. Leonie’s eyes are particular good for this because they are so dark and reflective.

However, as discussed in chapter four above, Bakhtin’s Hermeneutik is of a distinctive character. Whilst he acknowledges the embeddedness of ‘Being’ or Dasein in tradition and in history, he does not shy away from the Marxian conclusion that modern society is riven with antagonistic material interests and that, accordingly, language can be seen as a medium of dissimulation and domination as much as a conduit of interpersonal communication and self-understanding. In drawing such a conclusion, Bakhtin sides with Habermas against Gadamer on this issue; yet, with certain provisos, he refuses the former’s recourse to a nomothetic or generalizing social science to justify the conduct of critique. In this he subscribes to Goethe’s famous dictum that ‘theory is grey but life is green’. To justify his particular interpretive stance, Bakhtin appeals to distinct ethical or moral standards which owe much to the tradition of German idealism (especially Kant) and as Clarke and Holquist point out, to certain theological/ religious idioms (such as Russian orthodoxy and the Jewish dialogical tradition of Buber, Levinas and others)” (Gardiner 1992:192).

 

Via di Santo Spirito, 36


Via di Santo Spirito, 36, originally uploaded to Flickr on September 21, 2004 by Andrew Losowsky.
Since Losowsky’s photo was first uploaded as the first in an ongoing project called ‘The Doorbells of Florence’, it has been viewed on his Flickr account 3,528 times (as of 10/11/2006)! I believe he is the one who first coined the term Flicktion? His tags are brilliantly simple: Florence, Italy, doorbells and of course Flicktion. Since then his doorbells have been ringing. Check out the tag ‘doorbells’ now on Flickr and you will find 1000’s that I believe were inspired by Losowsky.

Each of Losowsky’s photos has an accompanying quirky text with pull-you-into-the-story first lines inviting the reader into (fictive) urban lives behind the doorbells. Losowsky has plans to publish ‘The Doorbells of Florence’ as a book.

I learned about ‘The Doorbells of Florence’ Flicktion project in an article by Adam Mathes, a young CMC grad student (2004). It’s entitled Folksonomies: Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata and has been frequently (1917 times on del.icio.us) bookmarked . It is a concise, useful article in which he describes the role of cooperative, user-generated classification (organic tagging, folksonomies, ethnoclassification) in contrast to those generated by dedicated expert knowledge workers who focus on taxonomy as a profession. The success of this organic process of social tagging is dramatically illustrated by “The Doorbells of Florence.”

I learned about tables that stretch in Ben Henick (2006) article “12 Lessons for Those Afraid of CSS and Standards” alistapart.com (bookmarked 1097 times on del.icio.us). In this article he introduced ‘Tables vs. Semantic Markup’. I don’t understand anything about Semantic Markup, css or xhtml but his code was so clean. Hopefully my tables will stretch to contents.

Friedrich’s Antithesis

October 12, 2006

Tuesday is two for a toonie night at Holly’s video-DVD shop in Cowichan Bay. I chose Auerbach’s film Dear Frankie (2004) featuring child actor Jack McElhone as Frankie and Gerard Butler as his Dad-for-a-day. I knew Dave had too much work to spare anytime to watch a DVD on a Wednesday evening, so I chose one that I thought I would enjoy. (He’s taking his students out stargazing tonight and he found an amazing site that makes star mapping easier to comprehend. I hope his students appreciate the passion he puts into his work! Since I am unable to work right now, I am trying to help him by setting up his own del.cio.us and wordpress.com accounts to keep track of the great teaching resources available on the internet. Apparently I am also driving some students on his outing to see the endangered historical Kinsol Trestle.)Shahla is lending me a wedding outfit suitable for the mother-of-the-groom. After I selected my favourite she and I walked to one of her oceanside spots, a small unfriendly but beautiful marina in walking distance of her home. It’s another angle on Genoa Bay and Saltspring Island. I’ll look it up and link it to Google.

I really miss my ancient Kodak DC210 Zoom. Between the time we first began our lease-to-purchase it in the spring of May2000, until its last brave attempt at the top of Old Baldy Mountain at digitizing dull details of my everyday life, it faithfully provided us with thousands of photos. It does seem odd that our TV, the VCR and the Kodak all conked out in the same two week period. Anyhow beached technologies propelled me to start playing with freebies on the internet – which is still working for now. So I am writing again after months of a major writing block. It doesn’t matter if it’s nonlinear, disjointed and in every direction at the same time.

Friedrich's Antithesis When I am playing with these blogging tools, I know it’s deceptive, even contradictory but I feel like I’m all alone looking out over some virtual Escher-like panorama. The zenith above, nadir below and multiplicity of vanishing points all around me. I played with Friedrich’s Romantic hero overwhelmed by the sublimity of nature in his Wanderer Overlooking the Sea of Fog (1818). (Thanks to Wikipedia’s use of the digitial Commons it’s available in high resolution and thanks to the Kunsthalle Museum locating Friedrich’s work in the 21st century as Good Art, or at least Art with a Buzz after decades of being Bad Art.) And since the tools for the blogosphere are so agile at finding strands of thought I can wander in all directions and still locate myself. It’s like a rhizomic archives of memories. And it’s free.
Anyhow I want to remember that I really enjoyed Dear Frankie. It was more than the cinematography imitating the light andnuanced colours of 19th century painting. It was something deeper. It illustrated how an abundance of grandmother-mother-love can help a child absorb the battering of everyday life experienced by the most vulnerable amongst us. There was something elusive yet powerfully touching in the way that Gerard Butler played the complex role of the stranger-father-for-a-day that stayed with me. Perhaps it resonated with the way my own father had that same silent but loving presence in my childhood. Perhaps it has something to do with the proximity of the ocean. Perhaps I saw in him, those qualities I admire in Dave and our adult sons.Dave took me to the Malahat again with our after school Tim’s take-out. I’ve begun to sketch the topography. Mount Baker, the Sisters and Vancouver were clearly visible as were the ferries winding their way through the Gulf Islands channels. I think I can distinguish San Juan Island, US from the others now.Fayzdeh called as soon as we got in the door. She drove me to our gym where I was able to spin for 45 minutes while she did her yoga class.

Reflecting on the Fall

October 11, 2006

Glass Bowl Flaming Colours I am not sure when I first became intrigued by the miniaturized worlds of spherical reflections. Was it while I was a contract art educator working on the National Gallery of Canada’s M. C. Escher exhibition? Was it while examining the Jordaen’s painting in the Baroque room where I found a reflection on the wine glass, a speck of blue sky and brick buildings across the street from the artist’s 17th century studio? Was it in the reflections in the eyes of Others that some artists like Lucas Cranach captured? Or was it when I did my first painting of the light effects on a wine glass half-filled with water. I had noticed this effect while sitting at the café in the NGC’s Great Hall of the glass. The domed parliamentry library literally mirrored in the Great Hall’s architecture was captured in an inverted tiny reflection in the wine glass. It seemed at the time like an ideal metaphor for the topsy turvy politics of the gallery management.
Once I began to record these reflections I saw them everywhere. They were no longer the visual equivalent of white noise. I sought them out. Eventually they became the visualization tool for concepts of Self and the Other-Eye. This manipulated photo taken in the fall of 2004 showing a glass water-filled sphere reflecting fall colours and the fireplace is on my Flickr ocean.flynn space. It’s another way for me to attempt to create a multimedia digital topology of self and the other using free technology of the blogosphere. This morning I also blogged on my beached wail blog. Eventually I want to connect my del.icio.us to all of this.