Reflecting on the practice of archaeology, Gabriel D. Wrobel and Stacey Camp talk about staring at a site and you will start noticing things:

I brought my father to a site where workers had removed the thick foliage so archaeologists could thoroughly map the site. Another archaeologist and I excitedly discussed the visible architectural features – patios, terraces, the stubs of walls. Finally, my dad threw his hands up in the air and said “All I see are rocks!”
But our trained eyes recognized that the piles of stones or earthen mounds we saw were suspiciously aligned. Stare at archaeological sites long enough and you’ll notice them too.

Mark Binelli talks about the way in which Frederick Wiseman makes documentaries from found objects.

He sees himself, he told me, like an artist who makes work from found objects, except in his case, the art is assembled from found events.

Sometimes such a practice involves instilling constraints as Matthew Herbert outlines in his ‘found sounds’ manifesto.

This reminds me of what Alan Levine calls a noticing pattern and being open to the space you are in

Continuing on from my discussion of space and music, I am always apprehensive about playing new music out loud. I feel there is a strange assumption that when you play something out loud you know what is coming. For example, I recently played The Avalanches’ We Will Always Love You and I was asked about the bleeps at the end:

The last song, “Weightless”, contains the sound of morse code, the original 1974 broadcasted message beamed into space, written by Frank Drake with assistance from Carl Sagan among others. It included encoded information about human DNA and other indications of intelligent life to anyone in the cosmic vastness who might be listening.

Although I had an inkling what it was, I was a little lost for words.

I often have the same issue when putting on playlists too.

I have been reading Fiona Hardy’s How to Write the Soundtrack to Your Life with Ms 9 and am really intrigued by the space created. There is a part of me which keeps on questioning various actions and activities, wondering if they would really happen. Would kids write songs so quick? Would they really have access to a video camera … at lunchtime? However, I also wonder if the problem is me? Maybe, I am not the intended audience? Maybe such books are not about being true, but instead about dreaming in an alternative universe?
I went into Global2 today and cleared out my data before it closes down at the end of this month. I exported the various sites and deleted them. I can understand the decision to move on from Edublogs, however I think that this is (still) a very under-utilised platform. A Google Site is not a blog and it has many limitations.

As we talk about Social Networking 2.0, I wonder what safe spaces we are providing students to experiment and explore?

I ate out at a restaurant for the first time today since the start of COVID. It was strange knowing what was appropriate practices in the new normal. There was the line for in and out, the sanitising stations (one of which was empty) and the pre-booking to balance numbers. At the end of it all though, it was easy to look around and find examples of humans and average practices. More than confidence, it felt about faith.
This month, my feeds have been full of Trump. Here is a selection:

Although this is a significant decision for everybody in the world, I wonder if a part of the post-election actions have been as much about Trump’s effort to garner attention. I am reminded here of Doug Belshaw’s post from a few years ago, Curate or be Curated and the challenge that we face in regards to managing our feeds and thinking about who or what is filling our mental space.

After listening to a recent episode on corruption in politics on The Minefield podcast.

During this conversation Waleed Aly, Scott Stevens and Bruce Buchan discuss the current situation at home and abroad, I am left thinking whether people have simply become jaded by such discussions and how this all plays out.

In Tom Barrett’s newsletter, he asked the question, who owns the learning?

This left me thinking about ownership and instead wondering about assemblages and systems.

A desiring machine is an assemblage “always in relation to the big social machines and technological machines” (Deleuze, 2004, p. 243). Language, media, literature, education and capitalism for example always orient a body towards a particular way of expressing desire, to produce a desiring subject so to speak. Desire always precedes subjectivity; subjectivity is the codification of ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ desires within a given body.

From that perspective, it feels like learning becomes about components rather than ownership. Maybe it is technology, maybe teachers, maybe heutagogy or maybe space? Maybe it is about the shock?

Learning, for Deleuze, is an experience which cannot be planned or organised, but that all learning is an event that shocks, causing some form of transformation within the body and mind of the learner.

In an interview with Metal Hammer, Tom Morello rues the fact that young people are unwilling to put in the time and effort these days when it comes to mastery.

“I’m disgusted by the fact that a lot of young people these days aren’t willing to sit down and practise the electric guitar for eight hours a day. They are all looking for an easier route to becoming famous. Look at the Top 50 songs on the radio in the US – there are no guitar solos in them. I see [Tom’s 2018 all-star solo album] The Atlas Underground as a Trojan horse. I want it to turn a new generation of kids on to cranking up the guitar.”

In an interview with Tim Shiel, Kate Miller-Heidke touched on the effort and sacrifices required to maintain her skills. In order to preserve her voice, she does not drink, smoke or go out in loud venues.

This sense of dedication reminds me of the story about Picasso’s napkin.

The story goes that Picasso was sitting in a Paris café when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” “No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years”

It can be so easy to judge a provide off the cuff remarks on a piece of music, without any recognition of the time, effort, sacrifice and nuance that may sit behind it. However, this only captures a part of the space. I guess this is part of Ed Droste’s point it usually takes five listens to form a judgement.

I remember when my mother passed, in the last month it felt like the whole world stopped. However, when I was finally forced by life to reconsider things, it occurred to me that space does not stand still.

In getting the backyard organised for my daughter’s birthday this morning, it dawned on me that during the last month when the last thing on my list of things to do was cutting things back and nurturing the garden, that the garden didn’t care, it just kept on growing. Whether it be the passionfruit vine stretching out even further along the fence line or the lemon tree growing even taller, the garden had kept on going.

I had a similar experience recently as the restrictions put in place to get on top of Melbourne’s second wave were lowered. I breathed again and moved beyond the day-to-day to consider again with the world outside. In the process I discovered that an old friend had been diagnosed with cancer.

In Alex Hern’s recent newsletter, he discusses the importance of ‘setting your eyes on the horizon’.

I think it’s important to set your eyes on the horizon. Find some things a couple of weeks away, a month away, maybe more, and just let yourself get excited about them. Maybe try and book some time off work in the middle of the week to do something you wouldn’t normally devote a day to. Upgrade your TV dinners to film nights with popcorn, and rent a movie you actually want to see rather than just picking whatever’s included with your Netflix subscription.

I agree with that, this is how I got through. Keep an eye on the prize. However, I guess it is also important to keep connected to world around you.

When my mother died, a colleague told me it can take years to come to grips with it. A part of me understood, but was also perplexed with why. As our daughters grow older, they have me reflecting on my own childhood, about what I did and how I acted at the time. Maybe it is one of those mysteries of time and memory that cannot be known, but I still find myself wanting to ask my mother questions. It has taught me that there are just some spaces in life that cannot be filled, merely acknowledged.