Transliteracy Workshop

IMG01008.jpgToday is the day!
Following on from last year's transliteracy unconference we're holding a transliteracy workshop. Last year the vote was to have a day where we could put into practise our ideas of transliteracy in order to *make* transliterate objects.
We have piles of string, coloured papers, digital cameras, computers, scanners, robot lego, old answering machines, playstation and more.
As a reminder, the definition of transliteracy (so far) that we're using is:

"The ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks."

The aim of making transliterate objects will help us understand *why* something is transliterate as right now we seem to have an innate idea of what transliteracy is but how to we begin to describe it in words, images, sounds etc…?

Making Transliterate Objects – Works in Process
Group A) cardboard “futurizer”
Group B) “How do we point to the ‘it’ in transliterate object”? What makes it transliterate? (merged with group D)
Group C) Models of Collaborative Narrative
Group D) decided to embark upon the creation of an “offline web that becomes something else”
Internal Narrative of Group D’s collaborative objective *middle* connection:
“I found myself awake far too early last Tuesday. In a huff I threw the quilt back and stumbled over to my laptop, banged a few keys and cursed its inability to respond adequately to my desires. I whipped the handbook open and searched for instructions that would solve this annoyance. Twenty minutes later, I gave up. Fuck it all! I figured Gavin would be up by now, so I rip-trapped his number into my land-line, reading aloud to myself from my mobile fone. He was out. Again, having organised yet another rambling trip through Facebook. I cast about my room, once again disappointed in both technology and friendship.


Stage 2)
Quick Thoughts:
– So far we seem to be in agreement that transliteracy is more about processes than objects.
– As Group D’s transliterate web tried to demonstrate is the importance of different kinds of connections and that each user/reader will have their own personal way of making connections.
– Importance of imagination
– rules are important both for guidance but also instigators of creativity – working against the rules
taxonomy of connections (group C)
-realisation that all our objects and the making of them are integrated
-also idea is that communication about transliterate objects is part of the process
– palindromic world where the virtual and the real have similar properties (Through the Looking Glass)
– Mark = idea of provisional coherence
– Sue – you have to be in it to *know* what’s going on
– Jess = role of temporality, can’t quite be a transliterate object because is always already a process, about becoming rather than a static *thing*, also that each view is actually a view in time which also changes
Sue – so how is that different from ordinary literacy?
Martin – because of the protean nature, the data structures, the way social networking happens, the ways tides happen to flow…
Mark L – maybe traditional literacy has a certain standpoint and if you approach it from a different standpoint it doesn’t quite work or can’t quite be read, there is a sense that there is a feedback element is less apparent in the traditional way, there is more of a singular directionality
Ann – there are several moments of understanding something, but with transliteracy there is always going to be reinterpretation, not only by the maker but also by the person who engages with it
Martin – semipermeable and open systems
Sue – the transliterate space, estuary, salt and fresh water mixing etc…there is always a constant flux going on, a messy space that some people would prefer not to be in so maybe the *tidier* areas are traditional literacy but the muddy bit that is constantly changing is the transliterate area, leaky and liminal
Mark L – thinking of objectness of something like icons in Facebook which look like a *something* which you can attach. The object is the ongoing series, the ongoing way of mapping relationships, is about an ongoing process.
Sue – perpetual beta
Bruce – Is there a literate object?
Chris M. – there are objects that demand transliteracy.
Ann – it’s a cultural artifact and with a transliterate object you can’t just come to it and learn it but you must come to it and relearn it and relearn it so it is the process of relearning it
Mark H. – If I have to teach 10 year olds how would we do it, that’s the acid test. If I really had to say it is *this* maybe it only exists in a conceptual sense.
Ann – its the practise of engaging with a technology (a song, a work, online etc…). The flexibility of moving between different kinds of literacies, being in a position of being able to engage *appropriately* with the technology (it’s rules).
Sue – if we were to create and index of transliteracy what kinds of questions would we ask? But what’s the role of self-taughtness, it isn’t really measurable and that is thrown into the mix of transliteracy.
Chris – good teaching (transliterate) would see transliteracy in action and then help inculcate it
Martin – traditional education is still about books in the world
Chris – We’re in something of a crisis because literary knowledge is shrinking because there is all this other kind of learning happening but we’re not attending to it and helping people move between blogging and tv and cinema and books etc…
Ann – no one is tackling the known unknowns
***Mark L’s initial thoughts:***
Transliteracy of / in objects
Things – the boundedness of a thing – “the open object”
The system as an object – a system of links / of linking(s)
If I can point to it as an ‘it’, is that because I recognise thingness in it ?
The ‘object’ as a complex of functions – or the tool as the object
Literacy as an ability to operate or manipulate the codes – the glass table object operates as a modelling – both in its being built and in the discussion around it of how the conception of a transliterate object might come about – it remains in process, a doing rather than an it – or perhaps we can point to the process as a thing
Boundedness – I can point to an ‘it’ and a what it is not – A / not-A
I can identify when I am in the object, engaged with its traits / characteristics –
Layering / accretions –
The object is what the coming together / the clustering / the accreting or cohering makes evident – if viewed from the wrong direction from the other side from a different vantage point it may not be apparent – standpoint?
The literacy may arise in being comfortable or familiar or fluent in working / operating / using media across forms / on and off line, to build? Or make? Or bring into provisional coherence a functioning or attractive or …
Stage 3)
Respond to a transliterate object and add/modify it; groups will choose to modify or add to a transliterate object that they did not help to create:
nb live blogged


6 thoughts on “Transliteracy Workshop

  1. Fascinating that the focus is on “tranliterate objects” rather than transliterate processes or transliterate relationships, especially given comments about activity at the edges, boundaries, margins (estuaries).
    Pleased to see that there was some mention of learning (in the whole sense, as something that people do anyway, all the time, not purely as sanctioned education and teaching). Some theories of learning might be helpful for thinking about and interpreting transliteracy.
    I’m interested in the effect of culture and context on transliteracy. Originally, I took the “use” term in the definition of transliteracy to mean the practical ability to operate within/in/on different media. However, now I think it is much more about the abilities to interpret, interrogate, make connections and relationships, make judgments, create/recreate knowledge and meaning, understand and move between different cultures and contexts.
    I also think we’re all innately transliterate, anyway, just going about our everyday business. This process/experience, the one the PART group is going through, is about elucidating that (rather than inventing or creating it) and making it visible.
    What’s the role of story telling in all of this?

  2. As a newcomer to transliteracy it struck me when we were asked what a transliterate object might look like -just how close we came to creating biological analogues embodying relational process in yesterday’s workshop. That is self-sustaining systems with internal logic, but acting as magnets or attractors to outside data-exactly as a primitive organisation operates in an interplay of collaborative parts or cells with their own specific agendas, which benefit from mutual co-operation. The biological /viral metaphor was extended into the taxonomic deconstuction of a group artifact and also in the making of a story ball which had a viral appearance and external nodes to link to other story worlds.

  3. Shani you make an excellent point and I think by the end of the workshop we were mostly in agreement (I think I’m right in saying this) that transliteracy is more about processes and connections and how we (and perhaps objects) *emobdy* connections or demand/suggest/instigate a transliterate response rather than an object per se being transliterate.
    The most interesting part for me was discovering what transliteracy is *not.* At least for me…when a group in the final session (I think it was Sue and Chris M.) took apart and catalogued what another group (Ann, Keno, Mark H., Mark L., Sascha and I) had made. The visual result of all our pieces lined up, categorised according to type (large paperclips, coloured paper, postits etc…) not only meant that each item became something else, what were *tags* and keywords to us were now *just* postits and what were connectors and data traps were now paperclips and cellotape but also that the connections between the pieces had been broken. All parts where now single items rather than connecting to other parts or at least enabling connections…so I guess for me, the possibility to connect is a large part of transliteracy.

  4. Martin I think you’ve hit on a key idea, the linking to story worlds. We talked a bit about the role of narrative in the making of the *story ball* (I’ve forgotten who came up with that brilliantly apt name) and for us it was quite important that there would be a *infinate* (of course this would depend on the size and growth of the database) opportunity to connect to other stories (or parts of stories) across modes (sound, vision, text, kinesthetics etc…) and platforms.
    Mark L. probably has a lot more to add to this idea.

  5. This is all very interesting and I’m sorry I missed the day. Actually breaks my head trying to recreate some of these ideas. Before the event I spent time trying to imagine what a transliterate ‘object’ would be and I see now why it’s so difficult. I had got as far as separating multiple-literacy: ability to be literate in a number of ways, trans-literacy: awareness of communicating in different modes simultaneously and Transliteracy: unconscious / seamless movement between different modes. With Transliteracy also, in my view, there is a resulting potentiality that was not expected.

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