Archive for the 'Essay' Category

Dec 01 2010

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Sharon Boyd

Essay Topic

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Soil, Soul and Society: the Responsibility of Being Posthuman

Our readings from weeks 8-10 raised the same issues of what it means to be “posthuman”, and we noticed that responsibility (to other humans, other creatures, other “things”, our planet, ourselves) and awareness of that responsibility are key factors in the debate.

Throughout this course, I have been swirling around the dualism shown in my original artefact – the greenwoman/machine hybrid – and each week added a new layer to that until it’s now positively geologic! I was concerned for a while that I wasn’t moving beyond this, but now I wonder if I was, in fact, coming full circle – at least as much as I could manage anyway :)

The problem lay in trying to decide *what* to do, nevermind how to do it. How to take a subject so huge, with so many tantilising sideroads I could travel down so easily? I was finding it hard to tie myself down to one clear route. Angus et al.’s (2001) paper from last week (A Manifesto for Cyborg Pedagogy) made me smile, as I could see I was having the same problems as Geoff with his cup of coffee.

crossroads

Image copyright by Martin Liebermann/zeitspuren

I’m dipping in and out of Davis’ Techgnosis at the moment, but also reading Alastair McIntosh’s Rekindling Community: Connecting People, Environment and Spirituality. It was from this that I got my title, as I love the triune of terms – very Celtic :)

triskele

Further inspiration and confirmation arrived on Sunday with an interview with Margaret Atwood – her blending of science and literature echoes the work we have been reading and the thoughts I have been having. Likewise, she blends a dystopian vision (reminiscent of James Lovelock’s Gaia theories) with a determiniation not to let that prevent her from becoming involved in “good causes” – supporting the connections in her life.

In my essay, I will discuss this connection of being, knowing and doing in connection with each other and the land, in part as a reflection of what it means to be a “responsible posthuman”, and in part as an examination of ways in which we can become more active and how the web supports, facilitates and perhaps also acts as a barrier to this action. That sounds very clear and confident when I read it back, but I’m not really. Like everything on the MSc though, I find that when I throw myself into it, the “doing” teaches as I go.

I was intending to follow James’ example and use Issuu, but I’ve changed my mind and decided to use Blogger – mainly because that means that, whatever happens to this blog in the future, the essay will “stay with me”, if that makes sense? I’m also pondering a build in Second Life, and again creating the essay in Blogger will allow me to pull links from the blog into the build and vice versa – suitably weaving as appropriate.

I still have to figure out my criteria – that’s always the hardest part for me!

Any ideas, suggestions, tweaks and questions are very welcome :)

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