Penumbral Places – a cartography of disorientation

#digifest16 #www16

Here is my contribution to the call from Chrissi Nerantzi for images of a tapestry of digital learning and teaching. I present an image metaphor from Black Crag in Cumbria of my niece in the moment of capture, the winds blades circumventing change around her fixed geographical point. If it looks akward, well I never said I was an artist (and I almost added a graphic from fitbit) and my fiddling around with layers is problematic, to say the least, as seen.

IMG_1624

How symbolic is the concept of layers! I usually retreat to nature to escape the fugue that social contexts contain us within. When we scaled the small fell of Black Crag and reached the trig point, a strong gale ensued. Not daunted, we all felt we had to capture our triumphant endeavour with – variously –  cameras, iPads, SmartPhones. My own original shots seemed to absorb the brunt of the winds in an image, as all came out distorted by its power revealing dales that appear to undulate. Layers start to be constructed as soon as we emerge into the raw purity of nature. I’ll try to explain what I mean by that.

There are so many metaphors in nature: maps, orientation, being present in a moment but elsewhere simulataneously. I’m discontent with metaphors, sometimes, because in my research I want to get to the core meaning, rather than wrap ideas with further labels. Metaphors are though, I suppose, helpful tools to make the abstract in language more tangible.

I often take my research with me on hikes, as the obfuscation becomes less obscure and I can focus and think in transcendent footsteps, almost to literally clear my head. I mean ‘intrapersonally’. I discovered this powerfully when I walked 700 km along the Camino de Santiago, years ago – the Field of Stars. Walking is a profound method of situating ourselves to landscapes and, well, our selves.

In nature, we are omnipresent: we’re social and in solitude; we exist in a moment, but may be elsewhere in our thoughts; more often than not these days, we take our devices with us to capture the liminal moments we uncover. Some use images, some use words and some use numbers to represent what they find. Our tools let us have it all ways.

This is what I conceive of as psychogeography and a metaphor for the real essence of mobile learning.

 

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Learning technologies, Mobile Learning, place, psychogeography, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Penumbral Places – a cartography of disorientation

  1. Hello Howard,

    Thank you so much for responding and the visualisation for the #www16 #digifest16 tapestry ;). Please add at least your Twitter id to this and as you mention in your latest tweet, perhaps a higher resolution image would work better. Thank you in advance for sharing this with me.

    Interesting what you say about metaphor… I have found that people find it easier to express using them, as they often help us share something complex in a visual way which helps us make connections and relate to.

    Would love to find out more about your research.

    Thanks again and speak soon,
    Chrissi

  2. Thanks Chrissi, I’ll send through a high-res image shortly. As a writer and English teacher, I find metaphors powerful but in my research I aim to get to the nitty-gritty. Yes, they certainly improve our understanding and help to represent complex abstracts and all communication methods are used to represent, whether poems or paintings. Maybe I was a little harsh!

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