January 17, 2017

New Year, New Stories

(Love these unsplash.com photos)

January and it's summertime in my corner of the world. If you stand still enough, for long enough, the stars will show you patterns. This month I'm joining the open course of Network Narratives. So far it's been an interesting journey of hacking, alchemy, Taoist principles, seek-your-own-adventure, story telling and mysterious personalities appearing! Who knows what will happen but I'm in for the ride! Where are the trails so far?

Twitter - it's all about @NetNarr and #NetNarr (with a daily challenge #dda1-14 this month)

G+ - Maybe I had a bit of FOGD* so I setup a Collection. You can join it here.

Blogs - RSS feed pending on this blog

Hypothes.is Group (New feature to me!) - https://hypothes.is/groups/3g3oPBPP/networked-narratives

New trails will appear, I'm sure, as the course 'officially' starts today!

* A derivative of FOMO that Laura Gibbs dropped into the conversation about the Fear of G+ Dying!

GO TO Networked Stories for more of the NetNarr adventure.

December 16, 2016

The importance of touch

We need to touch as human beings

We are tactile by nature

Will we evolve out of that in the digital age?

I was watching the documentaries of the Twin Towers coming down - the amount of paper! it was scary and like confetti but meaningless. Out of context, charred, settling in unsettled piles on the pavement.

A hypothesis that I'm working on is that on reason we have not gone paperless in the office is that we still need touch

The touch of paper

The touch of pen nib to paper

The feel of pencils shedding colour on paper

The importance of touch in creating and making

The importance of making for connections

The importance of texture

The touch of keyboard (I'm desensitized after years of this touch)

Touch of fingerpads on clarinet keys (a new touch for me this year)

Touch can regulate emotions

Touch modulates negative emotions (Hertenstein et al, 2006)

I reject this image, the tech has no touch

Until I read about the work of adding a sense of touch to prosthetics

I'm left with the feeling of empathy for those who have lost touch

Ahhh, the cold, hard face of tech, 
if only there was more love,
more hands to hold
more flirting and laughter
less bits and bytes.

Surely then, I'd be engaged
more likely to respond
more open to be me
this techy, messy, pixelated
version of me
working in the digital.

Poem for #HumanMOOC 2016

Hertenstein, M. J., Verkamp, J. M., Kerestes, A. M. & Holmes, R. M. (2006) Touch in humans. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 132, 10+.(Accessed 2016/12/15/).

October 6, 2016

Playing and Seeing Scales

When I received this postcard from Sarah Honeychurch, I traced my fingers over the threads. Just two colours but I could detect 3 lines. Each line is made up of 5 strands. I spread them apart, clear lines against the bright background. It reminded me of the Circle of Fifths and I wondered "Could I play that?".

This was not a random thought pattern, as I've been prompted by Laura Ritchie's MUS654 course. In Laura's post here, she talks about visualising scales and making them tactile. I've been thinking about the Circle of Fifths and the lovely, tidy visual that it gives you. Check a Google Search for Wallpapers for visuals of that. I start by placing the scale numbers around the string points and then wrote out the patterns created by the stringwork. Now to choose the key. I'm playing the clarinet and it'll be a solo piece. I have the freedom to choose what key this should be in. I think about colour and different energies in the day as I listen to "A Lecture Demonstration with Pandit Nikhil Banerjee". I'm given bright yellow by this postcard but this uplifting colours is drawn down by the dark colours of the cotton.

In my first attempt at the 3 lines, I play crotchets with the equal spacing that I see. I'm thinking about the space that is created in the middle, the smaller spaces created between the lines. The importance of playing silences, rests and spaces between.

I try to merge them but I'm unhappy with the results. I turned to a different app and chose another  key. The final attempt. I decided to use these notes as an ear and articulation exercise. The notes were discordant in some parts and I kept wanting to change it. This was good ear training.

Visualising scales is fun!

Resources and apps:
Camera, clarinet, Baazart, Score Creator, Acapella, PicPlayPost, Soundcloud

September 28, 2016

Melody and Memory #MUS654

Is there something about context that gives those notes meaning?

Laura poses a question this week. I am linking this with a question of my own.

How does context link with memory?

Yesterday I was thrown back in time, with a seemingly obscure choice of J S Bach's solo cello piece at my son's end of term school musical.

It reminded me of the exact place where I used to play these pieces. I'm glad Laura also turned to Bach and mentions it in her post here "Making It Melodic" https://www.lauraritchie.com/2016/09/26/making-it-melodic/. In particular how many performers can make this piece their own, through interpretation and situation of performance.

When I heard that melody in the musical, I closed my eyes, blocked out an auditorium full of parents, children and teachers chattering, a video screen displaying a rolling tape of children's colourful drawings and repeated my personal mantra that I created nearly 20 years ago during a personal development course.

I can't see any obvious link between these events but what came out of that memory trip was a warm feeling and a re-affirmation that love needs to be a focus in my life again. The theme of those children's drawings where joy, friendship, family and love. I wonder if this will now be intertwined in the memory/context mix.

Robertson et al (2015) talks about semantic associations and how this is part of the complexity of how memories are formed or even disassociated. They conclude that 'These semantic associations with context are complex, can develop over a lifetime and are complicated by additional associations brought by language use.'. The language of music adds to context and yet can transcend context.

September 27, 2016

Getting Stamped - Part II

Stamp collecting was a hobby when I was young. I have lugged around those stamp albums for the last 30 plus years. Each time I open the box, I can't bring myself to ditch them. I can't imagine my son seeing any value in them. It's time to get creative!

Step 1: Pick the album that has the least sentimental value and pick out a few interesting ones. My son and I have some project-fun time and remove all the stamps from the albums and he has great fun in tearing and ripping up the empty album.

Step 2: Soak the stamps in water and checkout a Youtube video for some hints on what to do next.

Step 3: Make the paper and let it dry

Step 4: Collect some poetry and some materials from the upcycle pile and create some postcards.

Step 5: Post them out!

My mother still takes great care on what stamp is chosen for the recipient. When I receive a letter from her I check the stamp carefully. Letters from family have immediate hand writing recognition. Postcards from #CLMOOC peers have Avatar and Twitter handle associations. As I handle these thin slices of paper, I think of people's avatars and Twitter handles. Will this association with these icons pass as well? How will we connect or associate with each other in the future?

Wendy Eiteljorg and her marvellous creations in this post, I'll be using stamps!
Karen Fasimpur Postcard Project