May 3, 2015

Non-Content and the space inbetween - Week 3 #Rhizo15

For this post I'm going to look at non-content, the doughnut hole kind of view of life.
This is from the suggestion in this week's video to "peek under content", what is included and hence, what is excluded.

Where content is given for learning there will be gaps and spaces to explore.

I'm going to examine non-content or gaps through 3 different lenses:

1. Music
Spaces, rests, silence - they are all critical in music. When learning the violin I was told..."play the rests" do I do that? But after many years of playing I understand a little better how to respect the rests in music, don't rush them, give them the whole value and feel the pauses between phrases.
Is there anything between B and C? If you are a classically trained pianist you would say no, however, there are microtones to play with on the cello. As noted in The Cambridge Companion to the Cello (Stowell 1999) microtones are in between semitones and there are also "unstable harmonics" to play around with.

2. Crochet
Talking about the holes, one of my other hobbies is crochet. This method of weaving a single thread with a single hook around different size holes, creates an amazing array of garments. If the thread is content, the holes are the critical non-content that makes up the garment. Give it more holes, call it lacy. Make it closed with very small holes, call it fabric. The holes become integral to the design and the finished product.

3. Train station platforms

Who would have for thought that you could find non content here? The "Mind The Gap" safety message is known far and wide outside of London. A whole message based on space. They could have concentrated on the step but no, make people aware of the gaping hole and hope that ensures people don't fall into it! This is part of problem solving, looking for the gaps in the existing help material. Looking for a work-around or how to build a bridge over the gap. If there is no workaround available then it's best just to warn the students to the "mind the gap".

I think that the space between content is just as important or more important than what is 'included' in a course. By looking at boundaries and things that form the edge of the content you can better understand and focus on the content or add another angle. What I like about this style of Rhizomatic Learning is that you are free to find the non-content to create the content. However it may not work for all learning styles or those with differing levels of learning ability. As soon as you select content, there is content excluded. As long as they learn from the gaps are able to match holes together in a web then you can jump on the web and learn some more.


The same is true for punctuation.  It tells the breath to rest.  Holes are content.  I think here of John Cage and his notions of silence and his performances of silence--both on the page and off.
Provocative post.
Mary Ann Reilly

Images from Google images labelled for reuse.
  • Robin Stowell (ed.) (1999). The Cambridge Companion to the Cello. Cambridge Companions to Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.