Nov 01 2010

Analog/Digital: Fallen Fruit (ethnography)

Published by Dennis Dollens at 13:37 under General

Click on the book cover for a full-screen view with page controls.

This is a 19 page animated book. It is designed for swift reading with the large, bold and/or color call-outs. The longer, small texts contain the argument etc. While some of the group’s manifestos are reproduced, the originals may be downloaded at Fallen Fruit’s website.

The YouTube video below is a 1 minute portrait of the group working with Samsung’s Galaxy tablet.

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “Analog/Digital: Fallen Fruit (ethnography)”

  1.   Martin Gibbon 01 Nov 2010 at 21:34

    Hi Dennis,

    Definite ‘food for thought’ (sorry couldn’t resist the pun) with a imaginative, artistic and creative story of ‘Fallen Fruit’.

    ‘Technological abilities have altered the way we learn and the way we teach, and the process is far from over’, this is so true, and is you elude to, increasingly these assist with our global understanding and responsibilities.

    …trees as ‘biological community members’ is a useful example of how physical place and digital social media interlink.

    Loved (have now signed up, looking forward to using with my students…) and I thought the barcode was fabulous. Great stuff :)

  2.   Sharon Boydon 03 Nov 2010 at 08:31

    “We are relearning to be part of Nature’s Nature” – superb! This really works for me, we’ve been working on fruit maps of our local towns in the past couple of years but haven’t gone out onto the web with them – this is so encouraging.

    I agree with your reflections on the use of the word “community” – I like “virtual space”

    Unfortunately, my old phone doesn’t understand colour, nevermind barcodes, but I’ll ask some friends with iPhones to fill me in on what I’m missing :)

    This is so much more than a short ethnography – this has the “seeds” of so much more (sorry, following Martin with the theme :) )

  3.   Marie Leadbetteron 03 Nov 2010 at 23:20

    I can’t believe you made a book!

    I love links with technology and nature. It kind of pokes it’s tongue out at people who think that because you are ‘on the internet’ you somehow aren’t in the real world. Those connections with actual wholesome hobbies that are good for us & the world are as sweet as a fallen fruit crumble.

  4.   Michael Sean Gallagheron 04 Nov 2010 at 11:54

    Great work, Dennis. Truly expansive, eye-opening, thought-provoking stuff. I like how you went right after the notion of community online and how it differs from the physical variety. I think it is a term in dire need of redefinition as its application in the virtual world is problematic (as you say).

    Essentially, the difficulties, in my opinion, sit with

    Boundaries: where does the thing end? I think the readings point to this difficulty a bit as well. At some point as ethnographer, we need to make the conscious choice to stop following the trails and say this is what it is under the resource/time limitations that I was able to observe it. But it proves frustrating as it feels incomplete and I suppose that has a lot to do with the limitations (time) of the ethnographer, as opposed to any realistic limitations on the community itself. I think, however, when we start following these threads and they just keep on going, we might actually be crossing into another community/entity; its just that the boundaries aren’t as rigid, clear (they are almost amoebic; they give when pushed).

    Emotive elements: I feel that any community needs to have some ability to produce emotional resonance in its participants; a sense of belonging, but how does one, as you say, define this without referring to its nostalgic physical counterpart? It is tough, for sure. We rely on physical metaphors for virtual situations (Mom, school, Golden Ages that are only more golden in hindsight), but is that just because we are dealing specifically with an emergent ecosystem, one that lacked the vernacular to be properly expressed in “human” terms? I think we will start to see acceptable metaphors/means of explaining this community without relying on the nostalgic underpinnings of our physical world existence. I just don’t think we are there yet.

    Fantastic stuff, Dennis. Truly thought-provoking.

  5.   Noreen Dunnetton 04 Nov 2010 at 15:53

    Apart from the sheer visual beauty of your ethnography – love good design – part of my job, it reminded me that schemes like this, whilst intensely local in their physical manifestation, can also be global in their resonance! I’m sure the American scheme came first but thought you might be interested in a set of similar schemes in the north of England

    The other idea I found interested in your ethnography was the idea of using the digital medium to spark or motivate physical activity – again, reminded me of something my previous company worked on for kids called Mission Explore which uses a website and mobile phone app to get kids out exploring their neighbourhoods – just London at moment but plans to expand.

    Mission Explore

  6.   Jen Rosson 04 Nov 2010 at 16:40

    Dennis, your point that “’social media can no longer be separated from the genetic profile of organisations” is really excellent, and provides something like a mission statement for the concept of hybridity, which is what I read this community as being about. Like Mark’s adult fans of lego, the ’subject’ of this community is resolutely material, but at the same time it doesn’t really “respect conventional categories, divisions, or dichotomies” (in Carpenter’s words).

    As Sian asks James – where do you position yourself in this community? what drew you to it, who are you in your role as ethnographer?

  7.   Dennis Dollenson 04 Nov 2010 at 16:59

    Jen, hybridization is the core of what I was looking at from the beginning. I had never met the group and had no idea of their notions of analog/digital fusion. But I have long thought about (starting with Haraway) cyborgs not necessarily needing implants and so the physical reality and digital realities become fused. And I knew once I began the project I was contaminated, infected. That viral ideas had altered my notion of what a few individuals focused on art, fruit, and the city could achieve in terms or perceptually infecting attitudes for making living urbanisms with cellular life a force of change via trees, gardens, etc. These are conclusions related to design as I research it and how I see it as part of tranliteracy and inseparable from ontological discussion. I now position myself as appropriated by the community but I have joined nothing — it has merely transformed me. Molecular chemistry has literally been change in my thinking because of the focus of the class and will play out over time.

  8.   Mark Garratton 04 Nov 2010 at 20:37

    Hi Dennis. Many thanks for this wonderful study. My understanding is that within many cultures, a truly transformative journey occurs when a full circle has been achieved. Within certain martial arts (perhaps potential communities within themselves), a student begins with a white belt which is replaced at regular intervals by belts that are progressively darker in colour. Eventually, and with enough dedication, a black belt is achieved. A proper black belt is however designed to lose it’s colour over many years of wearing – returning the wearer to being a “whitebelt” – the point at which the wearer can truly say that they have learned their chosen art.
    I am sorry for the digression, but I almost envisage your chosen “community” as describing a circle in terms of returning to nature through the use of modern communication technology – almost a return to biblical notions of the forbidden fruit etc. In this respect it has real power, and strikes a chord with all of us who experience the world as a concrete and neon blur.

  9.   Hugh O'Donnellon 05 Nov 2010 at 12:56


    The cloud-based medium through which you have disseminated this piece marries very well with the philosophy of ecological protection: paper and ink not required.

    Furthermore, the idea that we able to roam such wild environs but take our technology with us is quite enticing: uLearning is something I have been keeping a tab on, as I see many GPS-base app opportunities for Biological Sciences, the Geography subject, etc:

    “Ubiquitous learning (u-learning) utilizes smart devices to provide people the right information at the right time in the right way – it’s anytime, anywhere (literally), anyway. I like to think of it as the collaborative, informal convergence of e-learning and m-learning (mobile learning).It’s “wearable” learning with a social aspect that embeds learning in our work and/or life.”

    GPS positioning and data acquisition – tied to something like Google Maps – would provide your community volumes of data sets; it may even encourage participants since efforts could be reduced to the point whereby their mobile devices merely act as proxies – perhaps?

    A more embedded and perhaps more ubiquitous, less intrusive marriage between technology and nature.


  10.   Alison Johnsonon 05 Nov 2010 at 23:24

    Hi Dennis

    I too liked the technology and nature link – following on from our discussions elsewhere with Jeremy too I found out that the connective, branching places of the Rhizome are called nodes which is a term also shared with technology too of course – perhaps this is the term we should use instead of community? to soften we could add your ‘collective’ which I also liked – how about nodular collective or collective node.

    Also liked your additional space – ‘conceptual space’. Great technology but I too have an old phone so cant read bar codes either sorry

    Fab job

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