Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label culture. Show all posts

Saturday, October 22, 2011

#CMC11 Visual Culture

With somewhat of a researchers background I am motivated to try to define the study of the photographs and other images that I possess.  It seems to me that being able to define such a study in acceptable research terms would give it more credibility.   With that aim in mind I came across the term “visual culture.”

Visual culture is defined in various ways:
According to Nicholas Mirzoeff' is perhaps best understood as a tactic for studying the functions of a world addressed through pictures, images, and visualizations, rather than through texts and words.  Here is a link to an article by Mirzoeff on visual culture.

Another term that came up during my search for meaning is semiotics:  According to Daniel Chandler in his online book on the subject:  Semiotics represents a range of studies in art, literature, anthropology and the mass media rather than an independent academic discipline. Those involved in semiotics include linguists, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, literary, aesthetic and media theorists, psychoanalysts and educationalists. Beyond the most basic definition, there is considerable variation amongst leading semioticians as to what semiotics involves. It is not only concerned with (intentional) communication but also with our ascription of significance to anything in the world.

I questioned whether this is the appropriate method as it seems that semiotics would be more the study of language and text however it is also defined as follows:   Semiotics provides us with a potentially unifying conceptual framework and a set of methods and terms for use across the full range of signifying practices, which include gesture, posture, dress, writing, speech, photography, film, television and radio. Semiotics may not itself be a discipline but it is at least a focus of enquiry, with a central concern for meaning-making practices which conventional academic disciplines treat as peripheral.  Here is a link to an article  by Irit Krygier, that provides photography with a definiton in todays digital age.

One could argue that I cannot do an adequate study of the photographs I possess unless I understand the intent of the photographer.  What is the context of the photo being taken?  Was it vacation, for a study, for a business reason…this anonymous collection of photographs may not provide worthwhile data in that regard.   These photos are an expression of human life, the way we live, and how we capture on film and what we deem important.  Reviewing hundreds if not thousands of photos of home life, vacations, landscapes, and celebrations provides a rich in-depth study of life in the United States but through travels abroad.

I am currently review several photographs of a travelers experience in Russia.  These photos were probably taken in the 1950’s and are actually slides:






Not sure where these photos were taken:

scan0071 scan0082 scan0098
I can put pictures that other people take and study them in the context of what motivates or inspires me to take pictures:

July 2011 trip 020

I love to take pictures of old farm buildings, abandoned farms and capture these symbols of a fading way of life.

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The above photo was taken in Silverton, CO at the Durango/Silverton Train.

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The above is a photo of ruins in Mesa Verde.  To me this is somewhat symbolic of how we capture other cultures through photography.

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Another abandoned farm picture.

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Sinclair, WY I believe..a semi abandoned town with an interesting history.

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We spent the night in a Hostel in Grand Junction.  I thought I would be uncomfortable in the postage stamp sized room but I immediately fell asleep.  The picture above is of the lobby, lounge space at the hostel.
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On the Durango/Silverton train.

If I were to do a post like this every week for the next five years I doubt that I would get through my collection of photos, one which I continue to add to either via scanning or my own photos.  It is a fascinating study for me.  I am struggling with how to define or frame this study and analysis.  Knowing that will help me a great deal to identify the context in which to place this analysis.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My MOOC overload #CMC11

Ok I am doing it again!  I thought maybe I had lost my enthusiasm for learning new things in different ways. I don’t think I lost that I think I just couldn’t carve out the time to keep track of all the opportunities.  I am turning into a junky with the latest education initiative and that is a MOOC.    So far I know of at least four interesting MOOCs going on ..two of which I am trying to participate in and two others I am considering participating in at some point.  Right now I am in Change11 and Creativity, Multicultural Communication.  You will find my posts for Creativity and Multicultural Communication on this blog and my posts for #Change11 on and posts of the other classes, if I decide to participate on other blog sites.
This course covers  how to communicate in a social networked world,  the emphasis for this course is on creativity..and also how we can solve problems creatively in a social networked world.    According to the blog about this course we will be learning about how to utilize the concepts of connectivism and connecting with others globally.  
From Wikipedia: 
    In contemporary society, different understandings of multiculturalism have resulted in two different and seemingly inconsistent strategies:
  • The first focuses on interaction and communication between different cultures. Interactions of cultures provide opportunities for the cultural differences to communicate and interact to create multiculturalism.
  • The second centers on diversity and cultural uniqueness. Cultural isolation can protect the uniqueness of the local culture of a nation or area and also contribute to global cultural diversity. The concept of “Cultural exception” proposed by France in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations in 1993 was an example of a measure aimed at protecting local cultures.

Our communication, observations and reactions to other cultures should generate creativity and inspire us as individuals in our thought, actions and artistic activities. Other cultures have an indelible influence on us as individuals, it creates synergy when we work together.

Kate Davies, in her article, Sustainable Minds in the Alternative Journal   identified the following tenets that I believe are pertinent to this initiative:

Creating Learning Communities
First developed in higher education, there are now many examples of collaborations for learning, including spiritual, professional, online and neighbourhood communities. World Cafés, for example, can bring a diverse range of participants together to share perspectives on sustainability issues. Involvement in practical shared tasks, such as creating community gardens or building a transition town, can further stimulate active learning.

Fostering a New Cultural Worldview
A learning society for sustainability could foster the development of a new cultural worldview - one that is based on respect for the Earth and the great diversity of life on which humans depend. With its presumption of human superiority, the dominant Western worldview assumes humankind has the inherent right to over-exploit other species and exhaust the planet's resources. Developing values and beliefs consistent with sustainability will require a shared understanding of the destructive consequences of this worldview, as well as a widely-held desire to create a respectful, long-term relationship with the Earth.

.Embracing Diversity
A learning society would embrace diversity - not only different cultures and ethnicities, but also different ideas, beliefs and ways of knowing. We can learn from people who do not think like us because they challenge our assumptions, beliefs and expectations. We can learn from the wisdom of peoples and communities around the world that have proved their sustainability over hundreds or thousands of years. In the same way that the health of an ecosystem depends on its biodiversity, the sustainability of human systems depends on cultural diversity and a diversity of ideas and practices.
(Davies, K.. (2010). Sustainable Minds. Alternatives Journal, 36(5), 8,10-11.  Retrieved September 17, 2011, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2125349971).

I decided to do some research on the term “World Café” and this is what I found, I hope to explore World Cafes further throughout this term:

World Cafe :
The Co-Intelligence Institute:

World Café Community of Practice:
The World Café on Second Life:  The World Café is a conversational process based on a set of integrated design principles. Simple yet powerful, World Cafés can evoke and make visible the collective intelligence of any group, thus increasing people's capacity for effective action in pursuit of common aims. It is particularly effective when people come together across organizational, social or cultural boundaries to foster collaboration.
World Café Community Blog:
I can’t wait to find and share more with you.  The World Café is a model of connecting either physically or virtually and exploring our world together.