The role of mischief in a posthuman pedagogy
After making my way through the reading, the posts (including my own), and the comments for this week on a posthuman pedagogy, I started to connect these with my own choice for the final assignment, the use of augmented reality mobile applications for cultural heritage studies. There are a lot of similarities here and a few made me remember some of the works we reviewed in #idel (I personally took it, along with many of my classmates here, in 2009). In keeping with speaking of our instructors in the third person, Michael Gallagher (zing) remembers a paper that was pointed to in IDEL from one Jen Ross.
The paper takes a jester’s, trickster’s and fool’s look at teaching in online spaces. We argue that teaching in digital environments is different and requires different attitudes and strategies than its offline counterpart. We use archetypal, literary and historical characters of the fool, jester and trickster as metaphors to explore issues of authority, risk, innocence, fun, complexity, liminality and absurdity (Ross).
Wow. That sort of sounds like a fairly good series of roles for a posthuman pedagogy, doesn’t it? Throw in the flaneur and I think we have enough to incur as many boundary crossings as our posthuman hearts desire. Risk? Fun? Absurdity? Emotive properties of digital or even hybrid environments. Jester, trickster, fool, flaneur? All vehicles of affect, change agents.
What particularly resonated with me was the sense of mischief, a playful energy with a negative connotation. How mischief could be used to great affect and effect in mediated mobile augmented reality environments. I immediately thought of virtual graffiti and how cultural heritage itself could embody the mischief, or at least house all its examples. What if we had the ability to virtually spraypaint the Mona Lisa? Or write Gallagher Was Here on the Brooklyn Bridge? Or scribble “freedom” on the hard concrete of Tiananmen Square? I recoil at the thought (I emotively retreat) of graffiti as “damage”, but warm to the thought of graffiti as representation, a learning artifact in and of itself. I recoil only because it is disquieting, but does this disquiet, discomfort imply a liminal approach, a boundary crossing? Doesn’t it at least signal a desire for one?
Isn’t this the sense of liminality we want to construct in our posthuman pedagogies in higher education? To hold no artifice so dear as to not be open to our interpretation, our mediation, and allow its strength to flow to us? With mobile, augmented reality, and perhaps an inoccuous graffiti application, perhaps we could counter our own cultures in an attempt to mediate a future of learning.