Thinking about the TFC site

I have been watching some of the trials on the Teaching From Country website (there’s a link on this page).  At the same time I have also been exploring some web2 sites like Flickr .. such a new adventure for me and not without a feeling of risk.  I have avoided this part of the world as though it were somehow quite inimical.   But between the two sites there are some astounding contrasts.  For me the biggest is the way the TFC site makes only minimal attempts at hiding the traces of the work involved in doing Teaching From Country.  We get to see and hear and wait out with those involved, the times when things don’t work as well as when they do.  When screens shake or go blank it isn’t edited out.  It is most unusual screen play in a world hell bent on representing itself in controlled ways.  Take for instance the way people represent themselves on sites like Flickr and Facebook, with their ever more extreme (and yes, creative) avatars and names and use of language.  Mind you, given that the content of posts often seems banal in the extreme (15 versions of ‘great photo’ one after the other) it requires manipulation of the other variables to make a difference: the groovey spelling and punctuation (’Rly nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!;)), the ever more idiosyncratic self portraits; the ever more controlled and transformed representations and metaphors.  By contrast the effort not to censor the image of what TFC entails is thought provoking.  I know that some of the people involved have already spelled out the thinking behind this deliberate leaving of trails, in the article, Designing Digital Knowledge Management Tools with Aboriginal Australians (Verran et al, 2007) and that it is to do with staying located.  But what else can we say about it?  Anthea


~ by ganyu on July 17, 2009.

2 Responses to “Thinking about the TFC site”

  1. A lot of what you’ve said hear rings bells for me. From the mid 80’s I took on board concerns raised by the documentary filmmaker, Peter Watkins, about a ‘monoform’ (as he dubs it) inculcated in all of us by our exposure to mainstream media, and hollywood in particular. His chief concern is that the form controls the message in a very limiting way, and that little by little we are taught not to think about the messages, partly by the sheer mass of material coming at us. And he developed this thesis long before the internet and social media. Here’s a link to his essay on the ‘mono form’ on his website:

    I’m enjoying your blog very much and have linked it to Pomonal Publishing.

  2. Your comment has made me think again about this blog which I have neglected for so long, because, as you might have noticed, you are very first person to ever leave a comment!

    I have been reading Peter Watkins article and am reminded that he has been a strong voice re these issues for decades. Not quite a lone voice but largely drowned out by the clamour of the ‘mono form’.

    Thanks for awaking these slumbering beginnings!

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