Minimal Viable Learning @ Reclaiming Digital Infrastructures
- Welcome to this Etherpad. This is the location where we will gather on the 31st of March at 11:00h for the Minimal Viable Learning session of the Reclaiming Digital Infrastructures series, hosted by Constant & KASK.
Reclaiming Digital Infrastructures is a research collaboration with KASK School of Arts in Gent taking serious the question how to understand digital networks and communication tools as an integral part of the art education.
- During this session, we will explore minimal viable forms of learning with Etherpad. Etherpad is a collaborative text editor that is often used within the practices of Varia members and their peer networks. During this day, we will focus on exploring and rediscovering principles of calm technology and minimal computing, while stretching both the software and our understandings of what online pedagogical places could be.
v _____ v _____ _ _ v _____ v ____ ____ _ ____
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| _|" V | | /| |_| |\ | _|" R \| |_) |/ \| |_) |/ \/ _ \/ /| | | |
| |___ /| |\ v| A |v | |___ | _ < I | __/ / ___ \ v| |_| |\
|_____| v |_|v |_| |_| |_____| |_| \_\ |_| A/_/ \_\ |____/ v
<< >> _// \\_ // \\ << >> // \\_ ||>>_ \\ >> |||_
(_V_) (_A_)(_R_) (_I_)(_A_) ("_)(__) (__) (__) (_P_)(_A_)_D_) (__) (__)
Welcome to the etherpad-lite instance hosted by Varia!
- A few things you should know about this space:
- - The pads are not indexed by search engines, but anyone who knows its URL is welcome to read and edit it.
- - Varia makes its own backups, meaning the contents of all pads sit on our hard drives potentially indefinitely.
- - The availability of the pads is subject to cosmic events, spilled drinks and personal energies.
- - Both the physical and digital spaces of Varia are subject to our Code of Conduct <https://varia.zone/en/pages/code-of-conduct.html>
» Be supportive. Be curious.
» If you have a question, ask. This is an experiment in speaking together from a distance.
» Don't delete text from other people, add.
- » Respond to each other. Feel free to engage in conversations with other fellow writers. You can do this by glueing your response to the others'. The colour change will indicate who is speaking.
"Although space and place are often used interchangeably (one definition for place according to the Oxford English Dictionary is a ‘two- or three-dimensional space’), place designates a finite location, whereas space marks an interval. Place derives from the Latin platea (broad way), and space derives from the Latin spatium (interval or a period). Because of this, place has been tied to notions of civilization, and space to freedom, emptiness, and frontiers. Dave Healy, quoting from Yi-Fu Tuan's analysis of the New World, claims ‘place is security, space is freedom: we are attached to one and long for the other.’ In contrast, Michel de Certeau, while asserting that place designates stability or proper relations, argues that space is a practiced place—space is what we experience, rather than that for which we long. Place is langue, and space parole; place is the overarching structure, and space the actual articulation. For de Certeau, space destabilizes place by catching it ‘in the ambiguity of an actualization, transformed into a term dependent upon many different conventions, situated as the act of a present.’ So rather than space being unrealizable freedom, it is how we negotiate place—it is how we do place."
- Wendy Chun, Control and Freedom
*･゜ﾟ･*:.｡..｡.:*･*:.｡. ☀️ Warming-up ☀️ *･*:.｡. .｡.:*･゜ﾟ･*
Stretching activity 1
- → Look at your fingers. Starting from the little finger on your left hand, massage each fingertip. You can move on to the right hand now and do the same. If you feel any tension on the way press for a few seconds and release.
- → When you are done shake your hands freely.
- → Press a random key below:
Stretching activity 2
- → What is your screen's width? Fill one entire line with your colour. You can press space or use any other key.
- → Write one or more words in the line without breaking it. You might need to delete some spaces.
c o f f eeeee
w o r d
Stretching activity 3
- → Fill in one line of the pad with your preferred (nick)name, your pronouns, something about the environment that you are in right now, and anything else you would like to share with the group about yourself.
ccl, she/her, writing next to two medium big windows, i heard it will be very warm today, so i'm wondering how to avoid the sun in the afternoon (it becomes hard to see the screen around 1/2pm, a sign, perhaps)
mb, she/her, tuning in from a quite house in Rotterdam with lots of sunshine outside and a thermos of coffee + a thermos of tea next to me on the left
ezn, she/her, too much light in here,
az, he/him, next to an open window (glad to not use sound so I can enjoy the noise)
pw, notnecessarilypreferrednick, he/him, crazyfreshbasementinbeuatifuloutdoorweatherconditions, enjoying the co-presence of etherpadders!
jboy, he/him, as most of past year in the corner of my bedroom but now with sit/stand desk (currently seated); sound of trucks coming into Amsterdam can be heard through cracked window;
lu, he/him, by myself in panic room, looking out the window I see a cat highway, a neighbor sunbathing, a huge tree that is beginning to leaf and a green parakeet eating buds
joak, he/him, i'm sitting in room
Stretching activity 4
- → Change your pad colour using the colour wheel on the top right.
- → Open as many browsers as you can and access this pad url from different locations. You can also use Incognito Mode for this in the same browser.
- → Finish the following sentence from your different user-subjectivities:
- Being online makes me feel like ...
i should probably not be, but instead go for a walk in the sunshine or something
well not sure if i am
onlinealone here for I can 'talk' to other parts of me .... but in other circumstances ... when I can not change browser, .... that is more difficult me myself+I?
Johnny Mnemonic \\//\\//
a window, same but not
i'm curious here, but also thinking about how much work i have to do
feeling like a hmmm ice cream, right now still fresh but which can of ice cream hmm i could go for pistachio oh good choice
part of a community (but then immediately i cringe when i find myself thinking that)
online I feel like a "muñeco de trapo", a "bambola", ragdoll I believe is called in english... a feeble body being bombarded by irrelevance
tired, very tired, the screen is a very strange companion that eats energy or gives me a foggy feeling in my head that scares me a lot
at the moment it feels exciting to not have to compress different feelings into one answer to this question and that makes me enthusiastic about different kinds of online spaces [like!]
alternates between, curious, busy, hyper, horny, tired, bored, overwhelmed, lonely
? + ?
Stretching activity 5
- → Now we will experiment with "pad listening" and "pad speaking".
- → Form groups of two by writing your nick/names next to each other below.
- → Choose one of these two actions:
- - Start with the first few words of a sentence
- - "Listen" to what the other is writing and step in if you think you can continue their sentence.
- → Switch up these roles.
- <`)))))< In reality, though, minimal computing is in the eye of the beholder.
azezn: this sentence? yes, this looks good.sentenced to what?for now, to the line.irl?no. we can't, haven icecream.i wish!!what taste?something new, even one i might not like.something i know will satisfy, which would be?pistachioabsolutelyand..alsmost bitter chocolateyeah, that's our sentence!!
jboy mb: while being together we face uncertainty in different ways, including our own motivations, the space we have to meet, what we hope to learn about, do we even have to "achieve" anything for this to be worthwhile?
another beginning, asking for endings, listening for what comes in between We're moving on now
when sun is appealing to you and you have to start with work in a basement, then not to think in 'solutions' but instead to work with a slip of the finger, with a blink of the eye, a twist in your footstep, a stretch in the pad offers dot dot dots....
lu+xx .:. wish that there would be more time to reflect upon different intensities of being with others. How can we learn to find each other while being apart? How to come together with multiple we's. Where do we find space. The place where you belong
ok, so i will 'write' a few words abouit the RDI (Reclaiming Digital Infrastructures) project 'here' ...
(you can finish my sentences if you feel like :-) )
it is bascically a shared intrest in reviewing the digital infrastructures we use in educatuo,n , arts / design education in these crazypandemic times ...
in some organisations (for m, working in ) Constant and KASK but there are other such as ... :-) VARIA yes! (and perhaps you too?)
there is a
huge frustration with proprietary tools that are dumped on us (who workers+students??) and we have to work with paradigms that are wefeel not compatible with the desire to enter into learning situations ....
so RDI is just one of those attempst to exchange experiences thoughts desires experiments to open this up.
practically speaking: it is a serioes of 4 meets, here is a description of all :
that is PAID FOR by KASK :-) (thank you KASK, yes thanks so much KASK! Great to feel their support +2) inside a sort of 'research (what does that mean) into how students teachers and other ppls populating a school copuodl Reclaim the School.
So the shared statement / desire / proposal of RDI is: that Digital infrastructure is part of that school and we (who? teachers and students? also IT, and managing staff? yes in conversation? yes) should have agency ion it ;... hence: pro: free software and participatory work ....
ah no; you can find links to the previous sessions on the link above.
and ah yes before the summer we'lll publish some funky document that summarizes all, to be used for collective future purposes ...
+ hank you Manetta and Cristina and Varia to host this session :-) clap clap clap clapthx
anybody here from a school IT department? (no need to make yourself known)
thank you peter! :)
Before we start with the introduction of today, we will share the schedule of and some links.
And before we do that, there is a question we want to put on the table:
This session, like other RDI sessions will be documented as part of a publication. Would you be comfortable with that? You are free to use the multiple pad tabs to multiply/diffract yourself if you prefer. We can speak about it at the end of the day, while being in a video call together.
comfortable i am
Schedule of today
11:00 - 13:00 Introduction + Stretching Acts [here on the pad]
13:00 - 14:00 BREAK
14:00 - 17:00 Conversation [on BBB] + Axes of Inquiry [here on the pad]
Links for today
https://pad.vvvvvvaria.org/rdi-ft-minimal-viable-learning (this pad)
https://bbb.constantvzw.org/b/man-ndi-qnv-uzt (today's BBB)
https://constantvzw.org/site/RDI-3-Minimal-Viable-Learning.html (announcement of today's event)
http://varia.zone/ (Varia's website)
https://pad.vvvvvvaria.org/minimal-viable-learning (Minimal Viable Learning research trajectory home)
In previous Reclaiming Digital Infrastructures events, we have been using Etherpads to keep notes from conversations or to collectively write stories. The Etherpad has become a favourite tool for many organisations who use it for offline & online note taking, generating ad-hoc workshops, writing collective emails, applications, reports.
We are currently on an instance of Etherpad hosted on Gouwstraat 3, Charlois, Rotterdam. It is hosted by Varia, an artist collective interested in everyday technology. Varia is a group of 16 people that works transdisciplinarily, following feminist methods, through collective work moments and events. However, a year and two months ago we stopped being able to host physical events easily.
As we all scrambled to find ways to mediate our physical presences in a digital unison, and as Big Tech further solidified its reach in all areas of life, work, care-taking, romance, the modest pad became a place of resistence. In the abundance of lists circulating with tips, some Varia members joined the pad choir to start the Digital Solidarity Networks pad. The free software tool list aims to be an asynchronous resource for knowledge exchange.
zoom bbb :---)]] in a bit on this particular pad and read a few snippets from it:
- This is the start of a listing of some resources regarding mutual aid strategies and social closeness through alternative digital infrastructures in times of physical distancing, remote working or care giving, etc. This pad contains examples of collective digital alternative practices, in a time where everything points to the further consolidation and accelerated normalization of the Big Tech industry (Zoom, Facebook groups, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.). Other attitudes are possible!
- In such a context, we feel the response-ability to suggest a different approach to technology. One that promotes collective networks of solidarity that don't rely on data extractivist models, reconsider the figure of the user, and can be adapted to the specificities of each situation. Luckily, there are already plenty of kickass, inspiring initiatives doing great work in this arena. With this pamphlet, we hope to share some of them.
- So if you are interested in experimenting with other digital infrastructures, we invite organisations, collectives and individuals to look closer into these alternatives and support them to the best of their abilities, by either hosting their own versions of the software, therefore diminishing the visitor load, or providing financial compensation for their services.
The Digital Solidarity Networks pad evolved into a slow writing space with engagements across scales (individuals, groups, small organisations, institutes), timezones and degrees of technical closeness. Sometimes a number of people would be hanging around whom we didn't know, their presence felt like a small gesture of togetherness.
The pad became a space of togetherness when we were quite desperate for social encounters. The first event hosted on Etherpad was organised as part of the Read & Repair series and co-hosted by artist and educator Amy Pickles. During the session, Amy formulated exercises in advance and pasted them one by one, while keeping note of time. (In a similar way as we're coming together right now.) From a distance, on a Sunday morning, participants to the session, some of which were using the pads for the first time, joined in answering to the text and to each other in a way that allowed us to determine our own environment. While joining the event, we could talk to people in our surroundings, play music, make tea, take a break if needed.
Let's have a look at one of the first Read & Repair session pads:
- Welcome to our pad for the workshop.
- We have some guidelines for pad use here:
- » Be supportive. Be curious. Consider that nobody knows you besides what you write. Meaning, be extra nice with your words.
- » If you have a question, ask. This is an experiment in reading together from a distance.
- » Don't delete text from other people, just add.
- Today we are going to read a scanned pdf together, an excerpt of Ilya Kaminsky's work Deaf Republic.
- You can download it here: http://126.96.36.199/files/debris.bought.references.ilya_kaminsky_deaf_republic_excerpt.pdf
- The selection of the book was scanned by amy, who does not remember her choice for selection.
- We are not reading the whole book and we are not starting at the beginning.
- we will scroll through it,
zoom bbb in and out, and read it together from afar.
- Today is an experiment in distanced collective reading.
- You can read at your own pace and / or we have a number of exercises prepared that we can use to start conversation.
- amy will add the exercises and quotes on the pad intermittently.
- We will converse through typed out language here on the pad.
do you mean that we will read kaminsky tiogether here ? no it was just to share a snippet from this particular Read & Repair session that happened on a Sunday morning a while ago ... gotcha :-):--)
that's a really lovely selection
Also bigger scale institutions started to show interest in pad practices. In a work session with Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, we were asked to introduce our methods and reflect on the collective technological space that Etherpads generate.
- <`)))))< In general we can say that minimal computing is the application of minimalist principles to computing.
Below is a snippet that introduced one of the exercises that was done that day:
- We will add a few questions on the pad. They are not necessarily meant to be answered, but rather to develop textual threads filled with questioning thoughts about the forms of event-ness that pads make possible. Please feel free to add your own questions; anyone present is invited to respond to them. We will spend around ⏲ 20 minutes on this.
- → Take a moment to observe the pad. How do you perceive the space that the scenography of the Etherpad creates?
(it's like the nyan cat):) ~=[,,_,,]:3
These experiments were carried by Varia members into institutional educational settings (mainly art schools) where the pad became an escape from the rectangularisation of online classes. Sometimes the pad was used as a central meeting place during a whole class, other times it was used as a parallel space next to a videocall-based space. Although we're not convinced at all about the Etherpad as a main/the only educational environment, we were curious about the impact it had on the feeling of togetherness and viability of an online class. It became a way to re-think the sessions we had together on MS Teams.
This is the introduction text of a Digital Media class with 3rd year Graphic Design students in May 2020:
- //////////////////////////// <these are snippets>
- Welcome on this server tour!
- We will visit a couple of servers this morning.
- These are all servers that work on collective imaginaries of digital infrastructure, public networks that are hosted by individuals, groups, collectives, small-initiatives, non-profit organisations and cooperatives.
- Please feel free to make pictures along the way or document this tour otherwise.
- We will make multiple stops and will take a couple of minutes for each stop.
- At each stop, there is time to comment, ask questions, or share observations here on the pad.
- We start our tour with a question: what is a server?
- (Please feel free to write inline on the pad as well!)
- // network
- //the inbetween that connect nodes
- //network maneger
- //internet world
- // operating systems
- // computer based or also maybe in real life?
- // access to collaborate
- // 'to store'
- // 'connector' / 'gateway' between provider and user, it 'serves'.
- Both hardware and software.
- //A place that contains certain information that is accesable in some way
- // a computer that processes requests and deliver data to another computer over a network
- // Storing information and share as much data as possible with anyone who is entitled to do so. A inbetween supercomputer?
- // Device providing services to a client. A single server can serve multiple clients, and a single client can use multiple servers.
- //a 'room' of your own
- //computer program or device that provides funcitionality for other programmes or devices. Its role is to share data and resources.
- Beautiful, let's continue!
- \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ </snippet>
A small thing that appeared was the usage of the double slash (//) as an act of formatting in the moment which was started by one student and suddenly taken over by the rest of the group. It was interesting to experience how structure was not inscribed by software but generated through collective dynamics.
- <`)))))< The learning curve for using one, though, can be threatening to beginners, and therefore requires more than minimum effort.
Let's have a look at another snippet from a Etherpad hosted class, this time for first year BA?
MA? (BA) students who were just encountering Autonomous Practices (what's that?)(what means Autonomous? making its rules?) (It's a sort of minor department at the Willem de Kooning Academie (WdKA) in Rotterdam) gotcha for the first time:
- Welcome everyone!
- We are currently on the pads of the Experimental Publishing Master of The Piet Zwart Institute, which belongs to the WdKA. A pad is a collaborative document that we can all edit simultaneously.
- As we have ventured out of official WDKA spaces, the conditions of how we relate to each other have changed as well. You do not need to write your full name on this pad if you do not wish to. We will use pad colours, first names or nicknames as ways to identify and respond to each other.
- This is an experiment in reading & writing together from a distance.
In other types of learning environments pads were used in combination with other technologies, such as radio streams. In the workshop Temporary Riparian Zone, Cristina Cochior and Angeliki Diakrousi hosted a streaming workshop combining audio streams with textual streams. Combining both spaces (audio and text) into one interface created a collaborative multi-dimensional learning space. Participants installed radio streaming software, wrote material they would be performing on the pad and took part of a radio stream with multiple mountpoints.
Let's have a look at their interface. If you can come back to this pad in a minute, we can continue together again.
!^^^yes! great^^^will return to listen
The pad formed the perfect ground for the exploration of what minimal
learning can be. With its un-invasive attitude, it became an environment that we have been using in many different situations and contexts, on different timelines and with different group sizes.
At the end of last year, we had the opportunity to further dive into our everyday technological practices in a residency at the School of Commons. It was the place where we started to work on the formulation and the understanding of minimal viable learning.
In the final wrap up text we formulated it in the following way:
- In the last months, learning, with all its communal and convivial aspects, turned into an online-only endeavour. This sudden transition didn’t leave much room to make a judicious (?)considered choice of modes of interaction, communication tools, utilised services and platforms. Within educational organisations, we witness a double movement: on the one hand, a centralisation of all activities by means of the software suite (e.g. Microsoft Teams); on the other hand, the standardisation of a maximalist mode of communication meant to replicate class interactions (e.g. Zoom meetings).
- Both aspects deserve scrutiny: are we sure that activity centralisation is a good idea in the long run, letting others decide how digital tools shape our educational environments? And are we fully convinced that the video call mode is the best mode of exchange, to foster the relationships of the class setting? In both cases, technological maximalism takes over: more is more.
- We believe that minimal, frugal solutions can prove more effective than hi-tech, hi-bandwidth, baroque ones. The latter can be an opportunity to renegotiate online presence, during this residency we will focus on exploring and rediscovering the principles of calm technology and minimal computing, and accommodate different rhythms of engagement.
Or how someone else phrased it:
- Colm O'Neill @email@example.com: "Microsoft #teams is an attempt at a deeper integration of a #slack style multi-* management. It is the worst." - https://post.lurk.org/@colm/103833616423916596
👾 👾:-) 😺
In the everyday practices of Varia, we work intimately with Etherpad in different ways, not only as users or user-learners, but also as server administrators that keep an Etherpad running. The particular Etherpad that we are using right now, is hosted on a server that we are running from our collective-space in Rotterdam-South. Combining Practices of self-hosting with collective sys(ter)-admin <333 work, means that the services running on our server are subject to cosmic events, spilled drinks and personal energies.
This results in emails such as:
- hey all, there is no electricity in Varia at the moment, due to a power failure in the neighbourhood. Not sure how long this will take, Stedin is on its way. :/ Hopefully nobody is relying on pads this afternoon! Manetta
- (From: email sent by Manetta Berends on the varia-members mailinglist, 23 September 2019)
And status logs such as: https://pad.vvvvvvaria.org/status (pasted below)
- (See $ ls -lah /srv/etherpad-lite/var/etherpad_sqlite.db)
- 12 Maart 2021, 16:30: checked the Etherpad again, it is 15G now.
- November 20 2020, 12:05: the Etherpad database is 11G big. We grew by around 9GB in a year. There are 1122 pads at the moment.
- The current status of the etherpad is 2.2G on Nov 13 20:38 2019.
- <`)))))< A Raspberry Pi could be understood as an example of a minimalist piece of hardware because the creators reduced computing components to what they saw as a bare minimum to achieve simple tasks.
Based on these experiences and as preparation of today's session, we started drafting a minimal viable learning minifesto. The minifesto is written as an text-based operator to demand space for:
- concrete technological minimal practices
- vocabulary stretching, dialectical (re)learning, viability studies and action experiments
It is the first time that we share this text with a public, we're very curious (and a bit nervous too) to see how it resonates with you all.
We propose to take 10 minutes to go through the minifesto together now and annotate it with any kinds of thoughts, questions, question marks, tensions, examples, etc!
There will be time in the afternoon to further unpack specific statements that are made.
<start of minifesto>
Minimal Viable Learning minifesto
[* = multiplier]
user-learners * < etherpad > * outputs
- environments user-subjectivities
A minimal viable learning environment ...
- understands minimalism as a multiplier that enables maxi* and multi* outcomes.
- has a weight. A minimal viable learning environment is aware of sys-admin weight (maintenance), hardware weight (disk space), environmental weight (eco-footprints) and connectivity weight (network capacities).
- uses minimal identifiers (nicknames and colors) to shape maximal types of user-subjectivities. User-learners can self-define their modes of engagement.
- puts accessibility at its core. Viability inherently requires the learning environment to always be adaptable in relation to different needs of user-learners, teachers and servers.
- does not try to imitate the physical environments in which education takes place (the classroom). Technological environments make space to rethink how and where education happens.
- is open-ended and supports re-use. It supports multiple formats and pipelines. Key ingredients for this include: unconditional formatting, shape-shifting capacities, port-ability and reuse-ability of the files.
- is situationable across different kinds and scales of networks, communities and groups. It uses non-extractive software which is published under an open/free? I wonder about "open" since we've seen the growth of "open core" licensing that doesn't really extend autonomy (ah, would be curious to hear more about your example, we were mainly understanding it as installable & adaptable software)(I'm thinking of stuff like [i think] Rocket Chat which, while "open source" can really only be used as packaged by the developers who try to upsell you)(but I don't think we need to rehash "free" vs. "open source" software debates right now...)(haha maybe we can still leave a trace though! +1) license.
- does not intrude in users' environment without explicit consent. At the same time, it is aware that user-learners extend the learning environment with their own.
- refuses surveillance mechanisms seeping into the learning environment.
- acknowledges that technology does not flatten power relations, but instead has the capacity to both subvert and reiterate existing power structures.
- allows for open structure collective learning: groups can make protocols and rules in the moment.
- embraces perspective partialities: all user-learners which co-inhabit the learning enviroment bring in their differences in regards to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality and abledness.
</end of minifesto>
I am curious about the reaction of people when presented with the etherpad, which is very centered around typing, has anybody ever expressed any dissent about making all interaction text-centric and dependant on the tempos of typists?
maybe it will happen today? :) dissent is hopeful, non-participation is more of a problem 🤗 (in teaching)(yes & nicely phrased)(yes, agree!) Yes indeed it would be good to check in with everyone here too and put this question on the table
typing, + language + reading as a minimum
relatedly, I wonder how the nonlinear way of using pads works out in terms of accessibility - like for people who depend on screen reader software
does someone have experience with screenreader plugings to etherpad ?
interesting one yes. one aspect of etherpad that speaks back to this is the option to save the text as a file, which can then we piped into a screen reader i guess? but, not sure how to engage with that in real time
and speech to text as input ? hmmz yes good point
sorry i think accidentally deleted a sentence ah where was it? something like "I understant "minimal" as "non-baroque"
ah no, I deleted myself :-) no worries ah okey :) maybe you could also say "minimal" as "avoiding ornaments"? not sure about phrasing modernistic-non-ornamental minimalism as something that is always the most generative? (trying to write down a thought, sorry it might be unclear) mabye I understand now why you deleted it. to say "non-barque" opened the the whole debate on baroque ornaments in my head. but well even ornaments had its function in its paritcular context to relate to its underlying functional structure
text also has a certain kind of gravity to it, light-heartedness, humour require great skill to be well communicated in text I think
it also requires a lot of attention to be able to follow (even just read) multiple lines of conversation
minimalism as understood here does not signal a desire for less or an embrace of austerity
While preparing for today, there were many ideas for things that we could do together.
At a certain point it was clear for us that we really wanted to invite you to a series of stretching activities, that return to the things we discussed above into practice. Translating thinking into practice is therefore not only a way for us to share experiences with you, but also a way to invite into a thinking space in your own way. We will continue on this line in the afternoon, by inviting you to formulate new stretching activities.
In the coming hour, we will go through a series of stretching activities that all emerged from previous pad-based collective moments, in different types of learning environments.
→ Read the lines 107, 241, 303, 380 in this order.
(From: "The User, the Learner and the Machines We Make", by Alex Gil, 2015, published on the Minimal Computing blog, <https://go-dh.github.io/mincomp/thoughts/2015/05/21/user-vs-learner/>)
* . * . . *
.. * . * . .. *
* * . * *
. * Magic Words *
. . . * .
. . . *
. * * * .
Magic Words were brought into the software ecology of Etherpad by Michael Murtaugh, a member of the Brussels-based arts organisation Constant. Magic Words are used to enact certain commands; using __PUBLISH__ on this pad indexes it on this page: https://vvvvvvaria.org/etherpump/ (every hour, so at 13:00 it will be indexed)
They are little spells that can be used anywhere on the pad to indicate how we want to interact with the text. We would like to think together with you what kind of social incantations magic words can evoke. What kind of relations between text & reader, reader & reader, place & text, place & text & reader could the magic words provoke? If we see magic words like small instructions that can be activated during a collective reading experience, how would that affect our being together?
We will be adding, using and reusing new magic words during the reading time that will follow.
. - * Spellbook for Reading through Magic Words . - * ..
Here are a few examples of what the magic words could look like. Think of them as launching a specific kind of interaction with the text fragment that it sits next to. This will be our collective spellbook that everyone can add, edit or use at will.
If a sentence or paragraph is raising questions or you would like to know what others think about it, we can use this incantation to take it with us into discussion.
This magic word is used to encourage those encountering it to read aloud the text fragment that it sits next to.
This magic word invites the reuse of the text fragment that it sits next to in an unexpected context.[can be tooted on mastodon for example, but it leaves a lot of space for interpretation, feel free to edit/adjust]
An invitation for someone else encountering the magic word to rephrase the sentence it sits next to.
To signal doubt or reservations about anything declarative that follows, since it is insincere, tentative, or causes anxiety
invite reader to take on the role of another, LARPing a sysadmin that needs to stay up all night to extend file systems might give a better feeling for what a 9Gb growth in a file might actually mean
ignore this message (haha <3)
invite others to turn something written into an incantation? lovely
renders content of pad onto an audio file using a screen reader
__REWRITE 2023-01-01-01:00CEST:-)____ pads needs to be reviewed at a certain moment in the future !
read following text fragment using a high-pitched voice
freezes the pad for 30 minutes. noone can write, only reading is possible
___TWISTER___ change color and nick and continue in existing color - to be combined with __ROLEPLAY__
forget after reading
Read this sentence twice. Read this sentence twice.
An invite to get up do a small dance and return to where you were sitting when you encounter this magic word. (this magic word is reused from another session)
execute the following text fragment with root privileges on the server :)
reboots the server (which server?) etherpad server
render text snipped as as zalgo text ŗ̵̢̧̞͓͎̰͒̉͊ͅê̸̡͙̭̫̫̍̾͝͝ń̸̺̮͗̂̈́̈̽̽d̴̡̨̺̻̬̳̦͎̤̓̒̀͊̅́̓́͋͘͘è̷̛͉͎͎̤̖̜͍͕̩̟̀̌͆͒͊͛̎̈́̿̈̚͝ṟ̵́͐̿͑́̚ ̷̞̫̰͕̞̭̃̇͠t̶̙̳͓̯̺̐̆̔͑̀̇̀̈́̀̂͠e̶̮̲͔̙̖͇͛̾̅͆ẍ̶͓͖̈̃̀̿̈́̅͛͋̓̽̈́͘̕͝ṱ̵̛̦̺̱͙̥̘̞̙͎́͒̓̃̓̉̔͂̐ͅͅ ̵͈͙̹̦̩̈́̏̈͗ş̴̻͓͙̼̞̲̈́̅͆̊͝͝n̸̬̩͎̤̝̹͎̫̻̬̬̉́̃͋̋͊̉ȉ̸̹̾̏͒́̿͠ͅp̶̢̡͎̘͕̼̹̗̜͆͊̃̌͑̒͋ͅp̴̣̞̫̳̦͉͚̰̲̖̦͓̗̋̂̈́̌͘͠͝e̴̛̤̙̞̍̔͂̊̋͌͑͘d̷̡͙̮̫͍̯̱̳͖̓̿̾ ̸͖̥̦̘́̇à̶͉̤̗̣͙̰̆͒̓́s̴̭͍̩̝̪͇̤̬̯̎̋͂̔̊̋͜ ̴̡̹̮͕̘̬́̀ͅá̸̡̲̰̱͚͈̹̟͕̬͌́͐͗̓͊̐̐̒͠s̸̛̻͙̍̆͛̍͐̔̈́͋̚̚͜͝͝ ̵͉̥̯̆͆̒̔̒̕̚̚̕ͅž̷̬͍͍̬͑̐̂͋͗̌̓̉̍͋̽̒ả̵̡̨̧̢̦̘͍͙̝̖͔̾̊̍̇l̶̩̙͇͉̟͇̥̗͈̫̙͎̎̎͒̌͑̎̚͜ĝ̴̨̨̛̝̥͓͕̟̟͚̭̻͈̜̯̀́̊̐o̸̫͖͕̖͉̜̜̝͂̀ͅ ̴̟̺̽̂̀̉t̵̡͓̳̹͈̺͖͚̫́͛̀͐͊͐͗̀͑̓͘ȇ̴̛̼͊̉͌̍͋̎̃̕͝x̸̧̼̲̦͙͙̻̪̟͔̦̱̏̈̋̄͜͝t̵͇̃̇̐̿̒̃̈́́̃̿̌̽͒̚
question: does a magic word trigger an event outside of the current etherpad (such as indexing), or is the definition of magic word open for our interpreattion .. ? at the moment the magic words are indeed shown on https://vvvvvvaria.org/etherpump/ but nothing else happens programatically with them. they are open to our present interpretation The __PUBLISH__ magic word is the only one that triggers programmatic action, it is basically the switch that includes this pad in the etherpump page.
Let's take a few minutes to think about other possible __MAGICWORDS__ you could add to the spellbook. We can continue doing this at any point of this session.
In the next part of this session we would like to read a few paragraphs from Chapter 1 of the book
Teaching to Transgress
by bell hooks, author, professor, feminist, and social activist. In the text, she introduces ideas around engaged pedagogy as forms of self-actualization and self-conscious engagement. Although the text is written primarily from the perspective of a teacher, it questions the mode of engagement in learning environments and asks how these cross with the different living environments. We think the text can speak also to learners (which we consider ourselves to be).
We will paste the reading below, you can use the magic words again and engage with the text in different ways.
Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks (1994)
(From Chapter 1: Engaged Pedagogy)
To educate as the practice of freedom is a way of teaching that anyone can learn. __TWICE__ That learning process comes easiest to those of us who teach/learn who also believe that there is an aspect of our vocation that is sacred
__SQUEAK__; who believe that our work is not merely to share information but to share in the intellectual and spiritual growth of our students. To teach/learn in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students/teachers is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.
Throughout my years as student and professor, I have been most inspired by those teachers who have had the courage to transgress those boundaries that would confine each pupil to a rote, assembly-line approach to learning. Such teachers approach students with the will and desire to respond to our unique beings
__EXPLAIN__, even if the situation does not allow the full emergence of a relationship based on mutual recognition. __ALOUD__ Yet the possibility of such recognition is always present.
Paulo Freire and the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh are two of the “teachers” who have touched me deeply with their work. When I first began college, Freire’s thought gave me the support I needed to challenge the “banking system” of education, that approach to learning that is rooted in the notion that all students need to do is consume information fed to them by a professor and be able to memorize and store it. Early on, it was Freire’s insistence that education could be the practice of freedom __UNSURE__ [if i understand about how the word freedom is used] that encouraged me to create strategies for what he called “conscientization” in the classroom. Translating that term to critical awareness and engagement, I entered the classrooms with the conviction that it was crucial for me and every other student to be an active participant, not a passive consumer. Education as the practice of freedom was continually undermined by professors who were actively hostile to the notion of student participation. Freire’s work affirmed that education can only be liberatory when everyone claims knowledge as a field in which we all labor. [<--] __TWICE__ That notion of mutual labor was affirmed by Thich Nhat Hanh’s philosophy of engaged Buddhism, the focus on practice in conjunction with contemplation. His philosophy was similar to Freire’s emphasis on “praxis”—action and reflection upon the world in order to change it.
In his work Thich Nhat Hanh always speaks of the teacher as a healer. Like Freire, his approach to knowledge called on students to be active participants, to link awareness with practice. Whereas Freire was primarily concerned with the mind, Thich Nhat Hanh offered a way of thinking about pedagogy which emphasized wholeness, a union of mind, body, and spirit. His focus on a holistic approach to learning and spiritual practice enabled me to overcome years of socialization that had taught me to believe a classroom was diminished if students and professors regarded one another as “whole” human beings, striving not just for knowledge in books, but knowledge about how to live in the world.
During my twenty years of teaching, I have witnessed a grave sense of dis-ease among professors (irrespective of their politics) when students want us to see them as whole human beings with complex lives and experiences rather than simply as seekers after compartmentalized bits of knowledge. When I was an undergraduate, Women’s Studies was just finding a place in the academy. Those classrooms were the one space where teachers were willing to acknowledge a connection between ideas learned in university settings and those learned in life practices. And, despite those times when students abused that freedom in the classroom by only wanting to dwell on personal experience, feminist classrooms were, on the whole, one location where I witnessed professors striving to create participatory spaces for the sharing of knowledge. Nowadays, most women’s studies professors are not as committed to exploring new pedagogical strategies. Despite this shift, many students still seek to enter feminist classrooms because they continue to believe that there, more than in any other place in the academy, they will have an opportunity to experience education as the practice of freedom.
Progressive, holistic education, “engaged pedagogy” is more demanding than conventional critical or feminist pedagogy. For, unlike these two teaching practices, it emphasizes wellbeing. That means that teachers/learners must be actively committed to a process of self-actualization that promotes their own wellbeing if they are to teach in a manner that empowers students/everyone present.
Progressive professors working to transform the curriculum so that it does not reflect biases or reinforce systems of domination are most often the individuals willing to take the risks that engaged pedagogy requires and to make their teaching practices a site of resistance. In her essay, “On Race and Voice: Challenges for Liberation Education in the 1990s”, Chandra Mohanty writes that
resistance lies in self-conscious engagement with dominant, normative discourses and representations and in the active creation of oppositional analytic and cultural spaces. Resistance that is random and isolated is clearly not as effective as that which is mobilized through systemic politicized practices of teaching and learning. Uncovering and reclaiming subjugated knowledge is one way to lay claims to alternative histories. But these knowledges need to be understood and defined pedagogically, as questions of strategy and practice as well as of scholarship, in order to transform educational institutions radically.
__ALOUD__ Professors who embrace the challenge of self-actualization will be better able to create pedagogical practices that engage students, providing them with ways of knowing that enhance their __GLITCH__
capacity to live fully and deeply.__SUDO____DOUBLEREADINGTIME FOR THE WOLE TEXT FORNONNATIVEENGLISH SPEAKERS____TRIPLE REDAING TIME FOR PEOPLE WITH dyslexia___
a question/critique: "active participation" seems to be the imperative now (not in an emancipatory way, but forming subjectivities through enforced modes of inter-action)?
agree, but perhaps we have to read this in its time (1994)? the recuperation of "participatory democracy" hadn't proceeded as far then yes
it requires capacities / skills / abilities to be(come) active and participate
___AUTHOR-DELETEDBECAUSE-INRETROSPECT-CONSIDEREDLESSRELEVANT___ aka __UN-TIMESLIDER__
"participation" is a praxis, if you have never experienced a participatory space and are used to the "banking model" as Freire puts it, you might not have the tools to engage in participatory practices. I think participation requires of certain preconditions, people need to feel that the space shared has certain safety thresholds, people need to have the tools to express and manifest their contributions. Often times, when learners reach institutions of higher learning, they have been "damaged" by the "banking system" and cannot/will not feel safe when exposed to a participatory practice. What kind of "unlearning" is needed before progress in participatory learning can be made?
would bell hooks use breakout rooms?camera-on? with proctoring software looking on
*･゜ﾟ･*:.｡..｡.:*･*:.｡. 🔥🌧️ Cooling down 🔥💦 *･*:.｡. .｡.:*･゜ﾟ･*
Close your eyes ⏲ for 5 seconds ⏲ and when you open them follow as below:
→ Focus on the in between, how much space is there in between each sentence;
Close your eyes again, breathe in and out ⏲ for 5 seconds ⏲
→ Focus on the colours on the pad; then focus on the white space in between;
Close your eyes again ⏲ for 5 seconds ⏲
→ Which words to you encounter? focus on one;
Close your eyes again ⏲ for 10 seconds ⏲ let your thoughts drift with spontaneous thoughts, impressions...
→ Look at the most distant spot you can see away from your laptop.
We will gather in a BBB hosted by Constant: https://bbb.constantvzw.org/b/man-ndi-qnv-uzt at 14:00 CEST!
Feel free to connect in your preffered way: chat-only, audio-only or with camera on...
script - rhythm - attention => togetherness / flow / shared space
pre-structured versus created in the moment
What can you learn on a pad (using it as a learning tool) that you cannot learn elsewhere?
- multiple subjectivities
- collective close reading
performative aspect: writing publicly, quickly, properly... which makes it intimate and intrusive
recording (time slider) leads to discomfort for some participants
extractivist platforms do that too - but much more! you don't even know who can replay what!
Axes of inquiry to study Etherpad as a tool for minimal viable learning.
We are adapting "x-dexing", a mode of navigation with an open number of trajectories, into axes of inquiry for minimal viable learning practices. The practice of x-dexing has been developed by Jara Rocha and Manetta Berends in the context of the Iterations project co-initiated by Constant. X-dexing attends to transversal aspects in-between multiple materials, making common grounds or tensions emerge. https://iterations.space/files/iterations-x-dex.pdf
The axes of inquiry below can be operated in groups, by going through the following steps as many times as the group wants:
step 1: pick one of axes of inquiry in bold, and then one bulletpoint from the list
step 2: pick a second axe of inquiry in bold, and then one bulletpoint from the list
step 3: take a moment to see how/where they cross
step 4: write a stretching activity which can be done together with the other participants
You can make a pad for your group to work and write together here on the Varia etherpad instance: https://pad.vvvvvvaria.org/.
Please leave a link below:
jboypwZ.Blace https://pad.vvvvvvaria.org/minviablebreakout tnx
azccllu https://pad.vvvvvvaria.org/the-fish-school & https://altpad.vvvvvvaria.org/the-fish-school
AXES OF INQUIRY
Note: we use @ to signal a WHO, and # to signal a WHAT and + signifies __?
In what ways is Etherpad minimal?
What kinds of minimalism make the Etherpad viable/adaptable/morphable?
Viable for whom, what, where and how?
capable of living
capable of growing or developing
capable of working, functioning, or developing adequately
capable of existence and development as an independent unit
having a reasonable chance of succeeding, financially sustainable
In the first session of RDI, etherpad was described as "lightweight software". Can we unpack the weight of the software? (The difference between "lightweight software" / "leightweighted software")
- eco-footprint (@earth#energy)
- maintenance (@collective/sysadmin#energy/time)
- diskspace (@infrastructure#availability)
- mobile data connection (@individual#costs)
What identifiers are asked of a user?
- color (range)
- nickname (range)
- distinct subjectivities (unit, userid)
- plain text (reading/writing space, pos/neg)
- line-based/grid-space (navigation)
Supporting re-use and re-formatting, non-committal/non-coercive formatting, promiscious practices
- no pre-structure (#in situ writing protocols)
- save as file (#pipelines)
- extentions (#wysiwyg, #images, #comments, #page-width, #spellcheckers, ...)
- collective guidelines in the moment (@dyslexia, #linebreaks)
- skins (#agential css cuts) +conviviality, +situationable
- character rate limitations
- code of conduct (#response-ability)
How is Etherpad a viable learning-space**?
What kind of viable learning-space does Etherpad create?
How can the Etherpad shape a specific kind of collective viable learning, that is distributed (over different kinds of timelines/engagements/perspectives).
- inline responses
- collective exercises (such as: warming up, cooling down)
- forms of moderation/playing the host
- documented & archived
- cultural backgrounds
- differences in regards to race, class, gender, abledness
- text only (reading & writing)
- collective learning, collective authorship*
- the software is not the same rendered for everyone (#screen resolution & width, #network connectivity)
*: How does authorship play a role in learning-spaces? And how is authorship being complexified in a collective learning-space?
**: what happens when you move from the user-space to the learning-space? from a subject position to an activity. Etherpad doesn't format an user as a learner. (Not as much as MS Teams does)
***: ref to Donna Haraway, "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective" Feminist Studies 14, no. 3 (1988); via Ines Kleesattel, "Situated Aesthetics for Relational Critique. On Messy Entanglements from Maintenance Art to Feminist Server Art" Aesthetics of the Commons (2021), https://www.diaphanes.net/titel/aesthetics-of-the-commons-6419
Stretching Activites area
E X C E R C I S E D E S C R I P T I O N :
The role of 'host' is adopted in turns,
someone does that by pasting a sentence in the pad:
BIG JOY: The Adventures of James Broughton
The host is then inviting the group to some exercises by encding the sentence.
Underline: dug under the table
Italic : swing arms left our right
Bold: carry out bodybuilder gestures flexing?
Strike through: stick up your arms
BIG JOY: The Adventures of James Broughton means: Flex your muscles untill next text-encoding.
BIG JOY: The Adventures of James Broughton
means: continue flexing, but under table :-)
The role of host can be taken over by somebody else by pasting another sentence and start encoding.
To partly obliterate text by drawing a continuous line through the centre thereof
To partly obliterate text by drawing a continuous line through the centre thereof
To partly obliterate text by drawing a continuous line through the centre thereof
i write you this message from the depth of my heart
but the content of the message does not matter?
so in the end the activity is deciding the rhythm and mode of engagement....
swing arms left our right
Stretching activity (a)synchronous maintenance
Gather on a pad with as many people as possible.
Pick one line, share the linenumber with everyone.
Select a unique letter. Write it below to make sure that everyone has selected another letter.
Start to write a the letter on the line, press the key for 10 seconds.
Everyone starts at 3, someone is counting.... 1.... 2.... 3!
Goal: Obfuscate the operational transformation/conflict resolution and achieve identity morphing!
Character selection: jx/w