Make Cycle #2: ReMEDIAte with Me! Reflections and Connections

So far in this Make Cycle, we have witnessed objects transformed to text, text recast as music, images turned into binary code, and even a small dog turned into a story made of light! So much creation and reflection has gone on – and is still going on – around mediation and re-mediation! In a week that we hoped would highlight the Connected Learning principle of production-centered learning we have been delighted by the conversations and questions about processes, the complexities of moving from one medium to another, and the multiple iterations of productsthemselves often blending and bending multiple media.

Brian Kelley Writer’s Notebooks Quilt

Some projects made us consider the processes we go through and the tools we use to compose. Early in the week, Jessi Watson awed and inspired us with a glimpse into her multiple creative processes as she layered an ink drawing with a musical composition and poem, all remediating one another. As the week progressed, Stephanie Loomis also helped us peek into the work behind remediation, taking us from Photo to Fantasy

Throughout the week, Kevin Hodgson iterated through several remediations of the same poem using resources such as Garageband to highlight the musical aspects of poetry, with results that ranged from revelatory to more abstract. His multiple iterations based on one source text invite us to consider what we keep coming back to as a source of invention as well as the ways a single message changes when expressed through different media. 

Word Drop and Broken Verse: Further ReMEDIAtion of a Poem

In taking one text and translating it – and translating that translation – Kristen Bourgault moved from a photograph to color palette to hexidecimal code to binary code to a visual representation of binary code. This cycle foregrounded each version’s affordances and constraints, helping us consider how well a message translates across various media. 

originalimage

Photograph

representation

Visual Representation of Binary Code

Similarly, Janis Selby Jones accepted the invitation to work within constraints and kept coming back to an idea, working through multiple remediating iterations of sense making until she felt she had arrived not just at a new product, but at a new understanding.

Radiant Equity

In addition to playful processes and inspiring projects, there was also much critical reflection. Chris Campbell, after remediating his introduction from Make Cycle #1, noted that: “it’s good to rethink things and try out different ways of doing and as CLMOOC progresses I need to do more things and push outside of my comfort zone and the familiar ways of doing things that I’ve developed over the years.” We found that many participants at our Summer Institute also talked about comfort zones and what is generative – and what is frustrating – when working in new media. 

Remediating an Introduction

Deanna Mascle reminded us of the exhilaration of having too many projects in the air, reflecting that “there are many exciting benefits to re(media)tion for us personally as well as for our students” and  “that some projects require some (maybe a lot) of trial and error – and sometimes we can’t always fulfill our vision, but that’s not important. What is important is the play and the creation and the learning that took place.”

masclejuggling

Emerging Themes

There were some truly outstanding moments for our learning this week. As we hosted the Make With Me, a conversation with Paul Prior and the #CLMOOC Twitter chat, we saw emerging patterns across the conversations. 

On Composing

Janet Ilko brought up this great point that might help us to see constraints as a friend and not an enemy …

And Monica Multer pointed out the dual nature of making and creativity …

Sheri Edwards got to the heart of authenticity and what comes along with it …

On Intentions & Audience

In a conversation with Paul Prior, he made us think about…

If we think that the way that we communicate is we learn a language and then we say things and everyone understands us, we’re way off. We’re always way off. And if we think that people will value it the way we intended it to be valued, again, we’re going to be sorely disappointed.

In the Make with Me chatroll, Suzanne Linder (@linderkong) reminded us that…

…[A]s I tried to write up what I was thinking while I was making, I felt like the words were so inelegant compared to what I composed with objects.

Similarly, Wendy Taleo (@wentale), caused us to pause and think about…

… I think the sharing is separate to the process of translating. When I remix I learn during the process and share thinking maybe someone will get it or not.

And Christina Cantrill (@seecantrill) reminded us that initial intentions are just that, starting points, and nothing more …

Let’s say you tried to make a sand animation to get folks to do the make this week … now that would be really hard/ interesting. You might lose a lot in translation … but gain entirely new things!

Classroom Connections

It is clear that the CLMOOC community is constantly connecting the work in #clmooc to their lives and in their classrooms.

Julie Johnson on the importance of different perspectives:

Sheri on meaningful choice for students:

Marc on differentiating for comfort in the classroom:

Scott on idea generation as a collaborative process:

Paul Prior connected these threads for us in our conversation with him:

We should be rethinking education as play, not as some sort of transmission of something into somebody’s head, which is one way we’ve thought about it. We do program computers that way, but that is not how humans develop.

What you’ve got us thinking about

With so much to see, read, listen to, and interact with, this week has produced both new understandings about what it means to compose within and across media and new questions about this kind of work. In curating for this newsletter, and as we wrap up our local Summer Institute, we saw the beginnings of questions that we would like to keep exploring.

What are the relationships between ourselves, our purposes, and the media we work with? 

Throughout the week, people repeatedly touched on identity as they remediated introductions, played in spaces they knew…and in ones that were new to them. With so many potential starting places, many chose first to make a personal connection, others picked the tools they were familiar with (or not!), others chose a purpose, and still others the ‘in’ of play and tinkering. In looking at the spaces and means of making, and how these affect how we are able to represent ourselves, our processes, and our products, we wonder how we can invite students to ask similar questions. What would it look like to offer inventions to create with so many starting points and open pathways available?

How can we use remediation as an entry point to address issues of equity? 

And, how can we draw upon our experiences as makers to consider who might feel (un)comfortable and (un)invited with different approaches? As we reflected on the frustrations of making and remaking with things locally as part of CLMOOC, we found increased empathy for our students, especially in time constraints for innovation and the limited support for true collaboration in many of our classrooms. Chris Campbell echoed this conversation about vulnerability and making when he wrote in our #clmooc Twitter chat that “our choice of media (and language) includes or excludes people based on what they are comfortable with and what they use and what they understand.” And Chris Rogers extended our thinking to consider the socially constructed constraints that create inequity in the lives of our students:

So, what IS the definition of ‘remediation’?

In addition to all the work with media and re-mediation, we also thought a lot about language itself. Many people asked “Why remediation?”a word that has multiple meaningsand offered related words like recontextualize, transposition, and innovation. Working through this definition work (even if we don’t finish it) has helped us pay attention to not only our words but also, as Paul Prior reminded us, to their histories as well. Kevin Hodgson summed up a key point nicely in his series of blog posts, noting that “moving from one medium to another, you can lay bare the agency and affordances of each, and how it transforms/does not transform the original. But it requires reflective stance to make that visible.”

Ryan Kerr, while making his Analog Random Poetry Generator during the Make with Me, noted that “sometimes [what it means to re-mediate is] kind of hard to pin down, but that doesn’t make it not awesome and not beautiful. It gets to bleed into a lot of different realms and channels, different parts of our creative process that we don’t always get to, or always are asked to.” 

Thank you for inspiring us!

We’d like to thank you all for your awesome and beautiful participation in the various realms and channels of the second Make Cycle. Of course the examples in this newsletter just scratch the surface of the great minds at work in the CLMOOC. Thanks to all for an informative and invigorating conversation. We are looking forward to continuing to learn alongside you as we see what else develops through our dialogue in the coming weeks.

Next up? Glasslab Games and the NWP Game Jam team. Stay tuned!

Scott, Katrina, Ryan, and Karla
University of Illinois Writing Project

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