56 Words on Hayles (well, 68 if you count this title too)

Hayles quotes Chun’s observation that “desktop metaphors, such as folders, trash cans, and so on create an imaginary relationship of the user to the actual command core of the machine” (630); I’d like to discuss why is this an “imaginary relationship,” what would be a “real” relationship, and what other metaphors frame our relationship to technology.

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9 Responses to 56 Words on Hayles (well, 68 if you count this title too)

  1. Justin says:

    Here’s my own mini-post: I’d like to talk about Gee’s semiotic domains, and especially the section of his piece (pg 18ish) where it uses the concept to redefine literacy. I think this could take us back around to some of our very first discussions/questions about defining “literacy” as a term (narrow or broad, v. orality, v. language acquisition, as necessarily connected to inscription technologies, etc.), and I wonder if Gee offers a way to resolve any early difficulties we had.

  2. profvee says:

    Thanks, Eyma and Justin for starting us off! As I mentioned in class on Monday, just 50 words (68 is ok, too!) on what you want to focus on is perfect and will be helpful to me as I prep for class for Monday.

  3. Kate says:

    I think Gee’s sentence about basketball on p.15 is a critical idea, like Peter’s story last week about how “revision” means totally different things to different people depending on their experience and pre-existing knowledge.

  4. adam.loretto says:

    I think we can trace clear connections between Papert and OLPC and Gee.
    At least one of the software pieces of the OLPC machine is a racecar that might as well be a turtle. A lot of the possibilities seem to be based on seeing the students as inquirers and designers.
    In Gee, the focus is on how games/computers could be used for a different kind of Papert-esque individualized education.

  5. red says:

    I’m interested in Hayles’s argument about OOP as the movement toward a more expressive medium. I know Alex Galloway thinks this, as well.
    But when you’re programming in OOP the art is in naming and choosing the data structure, but depending on your *goal,* everyone still comes out with similar answers (just different ways of getting there). Is that art? Is that expressive? Do we care about the outcome?
    If yes, I’m interested in this conceptual jump Hayles makes from machine to art–she quotes “the tools are beginning to look less like machines and more like parts of our minds, and more like expressive mediums like writing, painting, etc…” (can’t read page).
    Can we explore this for awhile?

    **I was never going to be able to manage 50 words.**

    since I’m already over: I really loved the Hayles! (surprised I have gone all this time without ever having read it before).

    And…I just found this quote, which has me undermining my entire post:
    “The *system* is the art, not the output, not the visual screen,
    and not the code. I want to let the data express itself in the
    most beautiful possible way.”

    –Net artist Lisa Jevbratt, in Alex
    Galloway’s “Perl is My Medium”

  6. Kerry says:

    Hayles quoting Ellen Ullman gives us that: “We can use English to invent poetry, to try to express things that are very hard to express…a computer program has only one meaning: what it does” (48). She also gives us the digital computer as a logic machine, and—following Galloway—that code is performative in the way it causes things to happen. I’m interested in what it might mean to read other texts—especially poems—as if their only meaning is what they do. I think of this question in the context of a poet I used to work with who claimed that the only metric for whether or not a poem was any good was: does reading it make you want to write a poem of your own? All the better if the reaction was so strong that you didn’t even finish reading the original before lighting out on your own.

    In very-short, I’m interested in the idea that sometimes “things that are very hard to express” are not so hard to do (and that this isn’t the huge problem we often make it out to be), and I think that both Hayles’ take on computation and Gee’s focus on the social are quite relevant to this idea.

  7. unLauren says:

    I agree with Adam, and I think that Hayles sounds weirdly like Papert in some places as well. With that in mind, I’d like to re-invigorate the discussion of “mind reflecting on mind” (Hayles 55). Papert claims that that’s part of how LOGO works: children can see how another mind learns. Hayles goes a little more meta with this, however, claiming that “speech and writing then appear as evolutionary stepping stones necessary to ratchet up Homo sapiens to the point where humans can understand the computational nature of reality and use its principles to create technologies that simulate the simulations running on the Universal Computer.” This is kind of an insane (if awesome) claim that I think Papert would likely agree with, but I wonder what this means for our class.

    (It also kind of reminds me of this, an article that my boyfriend likes to awkwardly cite in day-to-day conversation.)

  8. reb50 says:

    Gee frustrated me. Gamers are depicted as having an advantage over non-gamers because of the critical modes of thinking that gaming prompts. Are those thinking skills transferable to non-gaming situations? Gee says that we can prompt this game-like thinking by: facilitating critical learning/thinking and surrounding them with other critical learners. I buy his argument, and I hope the rest of his book fleshes out how these theories can be applied.

  9. Lauren says:

    I love James Gee. Just putting that out there. Also, amused by how much of this is his discourse/Discourse theory but in different terms (and it really does help to not see “discourse” and “Discourse” repeated dozens of times).

    I’m interested in thinking more about the producers-might-make-better-consumers-but-we-need-to-add-reflection issue in light of the way he talks about that issue and genres on page 16. I guess my question/interest here is in thinking more about the producer/consumer issue and the implications this has for scholars (really anyone who thinks critically about a certain type of text, but perhaps genre theorists in particular), but ALSO, and more importantly, I think, what this tension between producing and consuming and analyzing means when we think about asking students to produce certain genres in school that actually “live” elsewhere.