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Notes Towards Day 10 (Thursday, 10/3): Selling our Site Visits

mlord's picture

I. 11:25-11:55
meet in Mark's classroom
each student gets ONE MINUTE (Anne has  a stopwatch)
to "sell" her destination to the rest of us:
where do you propose we go?
what might we learn there?
what critical question are you proposing that we take up,
if we should choose to travel with you?
help us "taste the curiosity" in your research path...

when you've finished your speech,
place your destination on the projected city map

then make a sign (paper, markers, tape provided)
w/ your name, destination, and 3 keywords:
what might we learn about, going where you want to go?

II. 11:55-12:15
circulate with your signs,
to find yourself (@ least one!) traveling partner(s);
agree on where you will go, how you will get there, & how you will spend your time;
re-place your names and destination(s) on the projected map

III. 12:15-12:30
"reading" the map together->
where are we going? how are we getting there?
what parts of the city are we visiting?
what dimensions of the life of the city will we be exploring?
what are we leaving out?

IV. 12:30-12:45
A. travel instructions
, with video:
on this trip, you must use the R-100 (Norristown High Speed Line),
then transfer to the Market Street El
--follow instructions @
schedules @
[runs every 20 minutes M-S, every 30 minutes on Sunday;
this is much cheaper than the Paoli Local, but also more complicated:
it involves walking 3/4 miles across the town of Bryn Mawr,
getting the high speed line to Upper Darby, and then
transfering to the Elevated line into Philadelphia]
distribute two tokens/apiece, and reminder
re: need for $1.50 for surcharge + transfer

B. writing instructions:
another 3-pp. web event
due by midnight on Sunday--
this one needs to grow explicitly from the last one, and incorporate more research:
ask yourself what questions the last paper raised, which you'd like to explore further
(recall the path you just followed, to select your weekend destination...
how did you get there? how might you reproduce that method in writing?)

You will be re-doing your writing assignment from next week,
reading your experience in the city through one of the lenses Flanagan
(and/or one in  her range of artistic examples) has provided.
The lens should both sharpen and deepen your perception this time 'round,
enabling you more fully both to structure and to investigate
your exploration of some part of the city.

Take your "curiosity trip" this weekend
with full awareness that you will be writing about it.
Take careful notes.
Tune into Flanagan's concepts with an open mind
about how you might draw on them to think some more.
Have a playful experience of minding your curiosity.

As you use the works of other writers/artists to push/push back on your thinking,
be sure to supply p. #s and list "Works Cited" (this is all laid out in Writing w/ Sources,
your gift from the ESem program); also make all links active.

Two tips:
When using your LENS to "read" carefully-selected aspects of your city-playing,
it will be more sophisticated to show how each aspect is subtly different,
rather than asserting that they are all "identical."

Even more sophisticated (!) would be to use your city playing to "read" the 
effectiveness of the lens itself: What does it highlight? What does it hide?

C. We will re-organize into new writing groups in person on
Tuesday, & do some writing-group work in class on Thursday

D. message from Serendip's webmaster: remember to sign in and to use user names:
Cordelia posted twice without logging in-->
those postings didn't get published because
a) she used her full, real name, and
b) she referenced the first name (rather than username) of the original poster

others have also been referencing others' names, which will likely result
in future google search results finding and linking those posts to real names.

some of you have usernames in the form first initial/last name; in the last year,
Google has "improved" its algorithm to link that with a person's real name.

About 5% of alums who have posted on serendip have requested takedowns
because of Google search results, but this number might grow as Google
gets "better" at identification and people become more aware of the issues
of public identity.

E. reading/viewing instructions for Tuesday:

in preparation for our welcoming Zadie Smith to campus on Wednesday night,
we are offering you a series of "tastes":
a short teaser of her reading the opening to NW
four video tours of NW: KilburnWillesden LaneCamden Lock, and 37 Ridley Ave
interview in The New Yorker (July 23, 2012)
Permission to Enter (short story excerpted from the end of NW)

[also begin reading the novel, which we will start discussing on Thursday....
you will need to finish it over fall break...]

how does Smith represent the city?
how does London seem "like"/unlike Philly?
how much play is visible there?
what forms of play can you identify in her writing?
what are her "strategies" for playing?
come to class with some questions you'd like to ask Smith
what research might you do to answer those questions yourself?

V. if there were world enough, and time...
pick up the sectional conversations about play/critical play:
is it still play(ful), if it has a goal? (Tessa)
might we split apart unstructured play from later reflection on it? (Frindle)
how might mosaics (making a whole out of broken parts) differ
from absurdist art like Dadism (which breaks a whole into parts)?
how deep does the breaking go? (Agatha)
how possible is re-assemblage/repair?
("yes" w/in "no"? "no" w/in "yes"?)
cf. assaultive early 20th c. material w/ (more?) accomodationist
21st c. work of Mary Flanagan and Jane McGonigal (via Tomahawk)-->
epic wins in video games inspire collaboration in solving the world's problems
(induce urgent optimism, social fabric, blissful productivity, epic meaning-->
a belief we can change virtual worlds...); we now use games to escape,
but we can use them to model the real world, to make it more like gaming:
"we can make any future we can imagine, and we can play any games we want"