Digital Marginalia 3 – Connective Tissue is Key

I ran across a scrap of paper that I had scrawled two ideas on:

“Aesthetics help inform people of the usual cues for identity. They identify a person as as a participant of a culture”.

The whole idea that aesthetics are a cultural artifact that I haven’t thought about for probably ten years. So it lead me down a rabbit hole of thinking about aesthetics as a white thing – as in a racist artefact of a dominating culture. Then I ran across a Washington Post article about film and the inherent racist qualities of the technological process (film and lights calibrated for white skin rather  than a multitude of tones).

I started thinking about how we (and by that I mean white people) end up designing software, websites and apps from that privileged perspective. I haven’t really dug deep enough to think about it more than a passing thought, but I wonder about these things when I have some moments alone. It’s not a comfortable space as I’ve always prided myself as being an anti-racist sort of fellow.

“There is only one literacy – the one item that you need to be literate is just in different forms.”

I think this is from Stephen Downes, or it could be from someone else. Whoever said it, that resonates with me right about now.

I’ve been working on using D2L’s Valence API to extract an entire course’s discussions for network analysis, and found Philip Larsen’s Presentation from Fusion 2014 (which I attended, but not that session, dammit!) which will pull the data out, and then I’ll use PHP to create a CSV for input into the network analysis tool. There’s not that much more to write about as I’m basically using the existing project carte blanche and do some heavy lifting after the fact.

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