This was my summary at the end of Week 1. There’s a rather sweet prescience to the quote above, especially about randomness. Back then, I was apologetic; by comparison, last week I wrote about the uncertainty and variety of lifestream content, about the artificiality of imposing themes onto its heterogeneity.
The use of ‘extension’ cements a sense of otherness back in Week 1. It carries an inherent implication of being added on, attached but not part of the original structure. I’m over here, engaging; the lifestream is over there, blinking, nudging. This has changed too. We haven’t quite hybridised, but as the flexibility of the lifestream, and the mobility of its boundaries, have become apparent, so has its centrality as pedagogical apparatus to represent my confrontation with course themes.
Striated and smooth space come to mind as I consider the shifting role of the lifestream: its smoothness has become more evident to me. It has come to represent a mooring for the contestation of ideas.
a local integration moving from part to part and constituting smooth space in an infinite succession of linkages and changes in direction. It is an absolute that is one with becoming itself, with process (Deleuze & Guattari, 1988, p494).
Both of these observations – the heterogeneity of lifestream content and its integration in practice – speak, I think, to the nature of digital culture as a ‘subject’. They speak to its fluidity, its infiltration, its rhizomatic nature. With that they speak to the struggle of forcing it into a recognisable mould of subject. It’s like shoving a sleeping bag into a briefcase.
Here there is little conflict between content and ‘subject’: the content too is multifaceted, multimodal and diverse. As I read it through it, I’m struck by how much of it I have not written, how much is the work of others, passively gathered in, reappropriated. This points to the shifting tectonic plates under our definition of ownership of digital content.
There is, however, evidence of my attempt to engage actively with course themes. In particular, I have tried to layer ideas of digital culture on top of my professional practice. But the vulnerability of that practice is clear to me: it is the earth’s crust, digital culture is the magma, cracking through. Our main defence is critical thought, and it still needs work.
I would be remiss were I to exclude from my final summary ideas around the sociomaterial, which have fundamentally changed the way I think. Critical posthumanism is a constant later theme in the lifestream, and I’m taking it into the final assignment. I’m starting to see the lifestream as a representation of the coming together of the discursive and the material. In this conflict between active and passive gathering of content I’m starting to see myself as decentred – after all, it has done much of the gathering itself. I’m starting to notice and comprehend its biases and subjectivities: assessment criteria, its public nature, institutional structures, the traditional educational rules to which it must be seen to adhere.
So, lastly, the lifestream is an entanglement: of networks, technologies, algorithms, bots, software, bits of code, institutional structures, texts, communities. These are active, generative and performative (cf. Scott & Orlikowski); they have qualitatively changed what I have come to understand of digital cultures. I hope that the lifestream reflects this.