The first week of my Lifestream arises out of my existing interests in digital cultures, and my existing practices within it. As said in my first postings, it’s a stream coming from somewhere.
This week, I’ve been reflecting a lot on Jeremy Knox’s pre-reading for the course. His Springer Encyclopedia entry on ‘Critical Education and Digital Cultures’ had led me to anticipate a periodised historical progression across the course, from earlier Cybercultures, through mid-way Community Cultures, on to contemporary algorithmic cultures.
My Lifestream hasn’t been so neat. My consciousness of digital cultures feels far more grounded in the algorithmic phase, and not yet comfortable with it. Thus, within my Lifestream, I feel a lot of it has reflected upon anxieties about digital cultures, and these have tended to be more contemporary rather than located in earlier cybercultures per se. To my mind, this presents Knox’s three modes as a palimpsest, one laid over another. I sense Knox would see it likewise, even if his Encyclopedia article is somewhat neater in its presentation of historical phasings (with some concessions made for complexities).
A palimpsest allows for the kinds of contemporary anxieties within digital culture that a number of my Lifestream entries have highlighted – issues of surveillance, security, privacy. Also, a palimpsest need not – is not – equally overlaid in every place, on all people. To my mind, as digital cultures become progressively more embedded in our lives, the more they reflect both us and our contexts.
My Lifestream entries have tried to highlight context. Context is multi-headed: political, economic, legal; also psychological, theological, and biographical. My postings on diversity and unity, and on geography and the spatial, are exploring these areas. I’ve not touched on the theological yet, but hope that will unfold in the Lifestream to come. I also want to maintain the spatial, given my past experiences as a human geographer which still inform my present educational interests.
I’m trying to tie diverse elements back to education. This connecting been demanding but is, for me, part of wanting to connect digital cultures with practices as well as contexts – within everyday practices, ethical practices, embodied practices, and educational practices. This focus will help me connect digital cultures with my professional context, in theological education.
These connections are not something I readily make, and that’s a challenge I’m already sensing in the Lifestreaming. Also, I’m aware that my initial Lifestream has raised many questions, and predominantly has expressed anxieties: it also needs a balancing out in terms of possibilities within digital cultures, and I see a sharper connecting with practices as a way forward in this. Perhaps, though, I might be a digital pessimist. Will a Lifestream challenge that, or confirm it, in me? Early days, at this point, I think.
Also, I don’t feel my Lifestream is yet connecting much with the set readings and with the films in the Film Festival. I want to build these elements in, over the remaining two weeks of this opening block of the course.