End of Summer Meanderings

With one more week before I begin putting together and formulating lessons for this coming school year, little did I imagine thinking about my art history theories of my college days with implications of where my students will be as they grow up in this evolving cyberspace. I have always been amazed at the idea of typing a web address and seeing a major corporate media outlet and then with a few key strokes looking at someone’s homepage. I should warn the reader I don’t intend to step through a logical article here because I’m still on vacation and I’m not writing for some scholarly purpose. I’m merely connecting up a few glass beads that have been rolling around in my head. What if the Long tail is a realization of the Situationist’s vision of creating a spectacle and history for oneself which was originally by the artists but now has been transposed to the everyday person? The spectacle not lived vicariously through old media forms but now individually within the network of connections or social networks. I wonder with the passing of DOPA are those of us that use social networking tools part of the counter culture? (A good site with information on what to do is here and to read more try here. ) I have this fear that those within education who are resistant to these social networking/web 2.0 tools in the classroom, and change in general, will feel relieved that they may not have to deal with them anymore with the passing of this bill.

Can we draw lines in the sand and simplify and polarize these issues even further? With mashups and content being reappropriated and downloaded online for free (in a virtual fulfillment of the Yippie dreams proposed in such books as Steal This Book) students are not paying for the content, but taking it and using it for their own means. The tools to do this are free and the content is free. How will congress look upon open source if the powers that be decide to label the tools as anti-capitalist? After all I just set up a Moodle site to use and I wonder what will happen now that Blackboard has been granted a patent on all things involving LMS or CMS? Do you look upon those who are hackers in a positive or negative light? I thought this video that I came across at youtube and posted below was a funny implication of what our students will be doing when they grow up and how this will frustrate the media powers. But now it seems to me to have a more sinister tone as if some people might really begin to think this way. What are the perceptions of our congress that would pass such blanket laws as DOPA, decide issues such as internet neutrality without understanding the implications? When Douglas Englebart looked down the avenues of Menlo Park and envisioned a computer of the future could he have envisioned how these tools in the hands of everyday people would be used? If the individual is creating their own spectacle (photos, video, podcasts, blogs) and distributing the work through the long tail has this not fulfilled so many avant-garde movements such as Surrealism which strove to connect up art with everyday life. My students using iLife to create content are constructing their own tower of Taitlin, dreams and constructions about their world, not some corporations vision to be consummed passively. And how powerful is the communication as the students’ perceive it as available around the world. The urgings of these art movements was to free the individual of false overlays created by the societies’ meaning makers or corporations, the rationalists who wanted to maintain the status quo for personal ends. Hopefully the students will inherit an internet that dreams are made of. We must help them learn the dangers and appropriate behaviors and learn with them how to best prepare them for the future, but we will not be able to if we cannot use the tools in the classroom.

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