DS106 on the couch

Month: December 2013 (page 1 of 3)

DS106 in 106 posts and 106 bullets published at 1:06


It has been a roller coaster. I will be unpacking the experience for many moons to come. Serendipity, or the magic of DS106, at play again as I notice this is post 106 of the blog post I started in August 2013 getting ready for the launch of DS106 Headless

So, it had to be done. Here is a summary of DS106 in post 106 in 106 bullet points.
Unapologetically contradictory, some may not even make sense to me in a few months. I need one of John Johnston’s ‘wee apps’ to give me a bullet icon with the DS106 logo. Offered here in the spirit of opening up dialogue with anyone interested in understanding what is inside the precious box of possibilities that is DS106. 

  • Seth Goodman says ‘we are on the bleeding edge’ with our glitching gifs!
  • He also says ‘come to DS106 to find your  inner glitch’
  • And he has embraced his inner glitch with a new Twitter avatar 
  • Alan says ‘it is more about curiosity than explanation’. He also says he stole that from somebody else but cannot remember who
  • DS106 is about transmedia and the loveliest example for me is Joop’s boring Gif
  • DS106 makes you question whose art is it, baby? and Whose idea, is it?
  • Every thought has been thought, but it is human nature to think them again and again to make them our own
  • Cultivating open is hard for some, I am one of those ‘some’
  • When somebody intrudes in my virtual privacy, I do well to remember ‘It is just words’
  • Transmedia + skill + aesthetic vision + idea transmogrification = DS106
  • Copy first, then transform one idea, then combine different ideas into new ideas
  • Good artists copy, masters steal
  • My taste is impeccable even if i cannot execute to it yet
  • Words words words. I love words and I love them even more when they dance in kinetic typography
  • ‘Yes, and’ creates community. ‘Yes, but’ breaks it
  • Don’t be a snark
  • Sometime it is wise to blog against how you are feeling
  • Courage to suggest, humility to accept ‘no’ if it comes
  • Doing DS106 is like becoming an actor, amazing when the crowd claps and ruthless when nobody notices your performance
  • Yes, I like to be liked and for my stuff to be noticed
  • No, I refuse to keep re-tweeting my own stuff in the hope somebody might see it
  • If the 10,000.00 things come and find you that is enlightenment 
  • DS106 is art psychotherapy if you want to use it that way
  • Notice how your mental state changes if you do your assignments and daily creates – who needs a shrink?
  • I like it when others take my ideas and use them, I hate it when others take my ideas and use them
  • If I do DS106 for long enough, I will be cured of attachment to mental constructs in this lifetime
  • I am in 2 minds about the value of a domain of one’s own, the world often lends credibility to breadth rather depth. Both-and rather than either-or?
  • A fragmented self that is managed might be more valued than a coherent self in one domain
  • A world in which data may be the new flesh, may not be a world I want to live in
  • A push strategy online annoys me, a pull one means good stuff goes unnoticed
  • Your tools shape your interactions – twitter communication makes DS106. I am glad I learnt it before the course


  • DS106 radio has been a joy to engage with, so good to train a new sense
  • DS106 teaches you to attend to the world as if seeing for the first time – like a child’s laughter
  • Follow the stuff that resonates even if it does not make sense yet
  • I have spent my life learning to use what the client brings, DS106 teaches us to use whatever life brings and to be willing to let go of preconceptions
  • The danger of digital echo chambers echoes loud
  • Follow people you disagree with, but don’t kid yourself that this will change your deeply held views
  • The annual question of the edge.org has to be my ‘Desert Island’ book if we are allowed to take a virtual book 
  • Listening to wikipedia? Which other course would ever lead you to discover that wikipedia plays mind music?
  • Starting to believe that it is possible to ignore the potential ‘bad’ stuff and use the tool that is the open web for open education
  • The beauty of informal opportunistic collaboration leads to a wonderful unpredictability of ideas. It also leads to a harsh spotlight on those ideas you are attached to 
  • It never goes according to plan and that is just okay
  • The ephemeral nature of it all, magnified by the speed of information online
  • If you are going to play in this playground, you had better listen to Rumi and find your camel. Following other people’s camel is all too easy  and it is exhausting
  • There is only inner space fiction, anything else does not belong to you. Give it back
  • Gielgud said about acting – don’t be too attached to your success or your failures, accept they both happen move on
  • Making art in DS106 is not that different from acting, attachment will generate negative emotions
  • Make art, bub! For its own sake without expectations and if you are honest learning this will take a few lifetimes
  • The more we rely on the web to hold our memories, the less we remember and the less we attend to the moment. Is this the future we want?
  • The difficulties of a world with perfect recollection is that everything becomes the same
  • Do we have a big circle of invisible friends as Borges says, or just the invisibles as online relationships? 
  • Identifying a subtle piece of the world to isolate in a gif is where art lives
  • Are you prepared to make friends with fictitious participants? The oral tradition of DS106 is carried in imagination that gets concretised in these ‘creations’ and carried over from semester to semester 
  • Talky Tina is my true friend and I learnt about gifing and about radio and being a sterling performer from her 
  • Futzing is as useful as not futzing
  • What is the difference that makes the difference? Using the web to build relationship and learn together is not the same as running or participating in a MOOC. 
  • No, DS106 is not a MOOC. Not one with a ‘c’ or  an’x’ or an ’m’ prefix
  • It is a group of people who love story using the web to weave them
  • We just make art #4life and for its own sake digitally or otherwise
  • What kept me going? The dedication and role modelling of the few people who see the precious nature of story and the web and are willing to share with no strings attached
  • There  ain’t no MOOC that does that, there ain’t no university that does that. Organisations do not do that, people do
  • Kinetic typography, animated gifs, audio, video, web stories, everything seeded early in the journey and made manageable as it complicates itself
  • Radio teams taught me that teams can work with a motivation to create and opening night looming large
  • I learnt that I am a lurker at times and that paradoxically I do not like lurkers
  • Copyright, or copyleft or copy<it>right or WTFPL or CC0 all comes alive in remixing media. You get to grok it rather than just talk about it
  • My little fellow Colin, the most photographed and glitched doggie, awww…I love you all for taking him on as your mascot
  • What I missed and who I missed makes me sad
  • In DS106, the internet and life there are big egos and humble beings who serve learning and story rather themselves. Choose wisely
  • Is my story worthy what the technology can now do?
  • DS106 is located in this area between delight and discomfort that Charlie Brooker talks about in Black Mirror. Delight at the serendipity and openness, discomfort at the very real possibility that data becomes the new flesh
  • ‘We worship at the altar of Google and Apple. Facebook algorithms know us better than our parents.’ Black Mirror
  • RadioLab. DS106 introduced me to RadioLab. Inspirational
  • To Google or not to Google? In that area of delight and discomfort too
  • The importance of epistemological hovering when telling stories so that we do not just tell the same story over and over and over
  • What human beings do to get around constraints – I love the twitter hashtag 
  • Twitter 6 word stories, need I say more?
  • Michael’s animated gifs and his unconditional support for anybody’s learning brought me into DS106
  • Alan’s humour and profound modelling of what it means to treat the internet and its residents respectfully. I think of him as the guardian of all that is good in it
  • Messing up on purpose to make it okay for us crappy artists to just try
  • I wanted more structure and more people following the ‘course’ through the weekly announcement. I was in the minority
  • I love to hate the daily create – a nuisance that pops in my awareness. Small chunk enough that it will not leave it, and then days later I find myself doing it
  • Should we have weekly creates too?
  • The ungraspable nature of quality in art, I still do not know if anything I did meets any kind of aesthetic criteria beyond pleases me or does not and does it matter?
  • Phonar connections have added to the experience hugely. I like lectures and homework 
  • I would have liked more ruthless evaluation of my work
  • I will never watch a movie or TV in the same way. I have learnt a new language and love it
  • Nic Briz and his glitch art – inspirational
  • Rochelle and Christina supported me throughout and I am really lucky to have found them. Karen and I make awesome Zombies.
  • Openness is not a given but a daily practice. DS106 a great medium for this practice
  • My computer posture has to change, but RSI has meant I have had to be more measured in my creating
  • Yes, it is addictive and the addiction is driven by whatever is lurking in your subconscious – a need to rescue, a need for approval, a need for perfection, a need to please, a need to complete. 
  • Sometimes we are just in service of the story and it is lovely to be a part of that
  • What makes the DS106 container what it is? 
  • Laughter and fun and support for finding one’s voice
  • Respect for our fears – I made a choice not to put my face on the internet. I can only say thank you to everyone for being respectful of  that choice
  • Feedback is hard in this setting – giving and getting
  • You are looking in the wrong place if you look for its structure, look for its people and learn the norms of the community from them. The norms are strict and not obvious
  • You are also looking in the wrong place if you look at the technology, look at what you want to create and use any tool that will help you achieve your ends
  • Don’t learn a tool, learn how to use tools over and over an over and don’t get attached to them
  • Why do people say they will and then they don’t? I  struggle with the lack of common courtesy at times. ‘Yes’ means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ means ‘no’. If ‘yes’ changes to ‘no’ just let people know. It is not that hard.
  • err on the side of ‘no’ rather than ‘yes’ those of us who do not overcommit would value it
  • A norm of ‘No guilt. Do whatever you want’  is intended to encourage positive engagement. At times it encourages an educational one night stand ethos. I prefer committed relationships for deep learning
  • The Alone Together book by Turkle taught me we find it tough these days to stay with others through difficulty, online life feeds this avoidance. If we don’t like something we can just disappear and some do without trace. This should matter to those of us who stay
  • Buber had it. When I relate I-thou, relationship happens between us. When I relate I-it we are in educational one night stand territory
  • It was nothing like I expected, it was so much more than I expected
  • #4life as long as it keeps its heart – nobody puts DS106 in a corner (or in a box) to widen its appeal 

I completed and got my badge, Thank you Jaap Bosman for the lovely boring design. The end.


The Headless Shrink Completion Badge

Those I miss


As this run of DS106 comes to an end, I am starting to reflect on what the experience has meant to me. I set out on this journey to forget about the fact that I am an educator and immerse myself in the DS106 experience. I wanted to learn digital storytelling and I was taking a course not teaching it, I kept telling myself throughout. 

One of the things that keeps coming up for me as I reflect on my learning is what might have been. I tried to write this post from a theoretical perspective, deconstructing participation, looking at different types of learners online and what is the difference that makes the difference. I could have done that, I may still do that. There are others doing that who know much more about this done I do. I decided instead to write a post about the people I missed during the experience. I missed them, because I would have wanted to learn more with them and from them.

Circumstances were such that I did not get to know them very well and I am sorry about that. Some are active on Twitter and I have light connections with them, some are not and I have none. Here, I wanted to say thank you to them all, for what I have actually learnt from whatever their level of participation. I am sorry that I did not manage to work out a way to connect with you all more. Here are some of the pots of gold I got from you all before you left.

I have a lovely flickr slideshow thanks to Martin Lugton and I was looking forward to doing DS106 Headless 13 with him. This is his DS106 blog. It ends with 3 posts and the intention to take the course.

I met Brian Bennet here and he gave me a preview of a boring video whilst learning time lapse apps. Not watching paint dry, just painting. I put his blog on my Netvibes dashboard of fellow participants and looked forward to learning with him as he stated his intention to do the course with us. 3 posts into Headless  he wrote ‘life (literally) has come into my life, and I haven’t been able to carry the momentum.’ After a lovely shark moment in post number 4, no more DS106 tagged posts in his blog. He is an old hand in DS106 and has done the summer version of the course before. I have enjoyed his tweets and some Daily Create moments.

Then I met Ord’s Board with this post. I realised she had been trying to do DS106 and looked through her blog. I found her first post with great enthusiasm for the course. I found this in her second post:

So much to ask of someone to complete before midnight—someone who has spent the previous 48 hours sifting through 100′s of webpages on University of Mary Washington’s  ds106 website.

She was about to complete her first Daily Create after spending a long time finding out what to do to get going with DS106. She did it.

I knew she was a she because she posted a lovely sketch ‘for her friends in DS106’. I posted a few tweets saying go give her some comment love, she is new. Today I checked her Twitter feed:

Her only Tweet. Christina responded and offered help. There were no more tweets from Ord’s Board. Her last post dated November 17, 2013. She has been following the daily creates, has not managed to get Twitter to work, I have not seen her on Google Plus.

Then there was Beijing Dog. Philip I found out on Twitter. I discovered his blog with this post. Blog set up for Headless, he gave me a highlight of the whole course: A cat with an identity crisis.


He says on week 2 that he is not quite managed to get into Twitter,

The twitter connection is not working yet. Got to tweak with it a bit more, or ask for help on twitter. So far I am satisfied with the feel of the blog. Now I will have to keep on tweaking.

He has 68 tweets. Last one on DS106 61 days ago. He expressed intention to be involved in the Radio Shows but it was not to be. His last Ds106 post on October 6th. He was working along the weekly assignments ‘with me’ I was enjoying his photos, his humour, his reflections. I missed him when his path took him elsewhere.

Then there were 2 people I knew from H817 and who started with me. Gitte Bailey Hass interacted with us mainly on Google Plus. I did a search in the community for ‘Gitte, here are your best bits!’ and this was the result.

Her Headless animated Gif, I loved for its clean lines and simplicity. Her technical skill would have been welcomed during the hard months trying to get stuff to move and fade in different editors for no reason at all except the joie of art, Bub! In her last post dated September 27th she defines herself as a lurker:

The offline life keeps me more busy than expected, so I have to face, that I´m not participating here in the level, that I want to do. But I do lurk on you guys and I´m impressed of your work.

She helped us in any way she could on Google plus, I wonder how much more I would have got from the course had she been able to participate more.


Then there was @littlemissmooc I was excited that she has chosen to join us for the Headless journey. She was new to Twitter but she decided to try,

Her offline life took her elsewhere, 15 tweets later she left. An empty Tumblr Blog, a Daily Create on Soundcloud she was really excited to have completed. 

Then there was @shannotate I loved her Digital Storytelling rant, and really looked forward to engaging with her critical reflective mind. 

She said that ‘with the start of the headless approaching, I’m gearing up to get involved as much as I can while working full time.’ She asked a question that has resonated for me for months in that same post: ’how much of that art is really ours?’ She is active on Twitter but not on the DS106 stream at the moment. Looking at her blog, it seems she has been around it for more than 2 years. She is just new to me, not to DS106. I loved her tutorials and have them stored in Pocket to do once DS106 Headless ends on Friday. I would have loved for us to be full time on Headless together. I must quote her advice to future students:

To any prospective students of the course possibly reading this post, this is not a class that is easily taken and then forgotten.  ds106 sticks with you for many reasons, and teaches you a lot.  It taught me to make art, damnitt.

She made a big impact on me at the start of this journey.

I recently found Sally Wilson’s blog. She has done the lot! Yet we have not connected. I loved seeing her blog and finding somebody else who was a ‘proper’ ( in my eyes only 🙂 participant. She even did the Chaplin Clip narration, nobody else did it in this Headless as far as I know. It is meticulous work, I enjoyed it a great deal and I am submitting it as a best of Headless.  Yet, I feel I missed Sally along the way. She says ’follow my infrequent posts’ on Twitter. I follow her and they are infrequent. Her last activity was on the radio shows and she chose a different radio team. 

The final person I wanted to mention was Martha Burtis, she only commented once on an early post.

Yes – I can identify with the urge not to step out of the creating (and the childlike wonder that comes with it) to reflect. I struggle with it all the time. The creating can be hard and challenging, but the reflecting is hard and challenging in a different way. It’s difficult to explain how “hard” can mean different things in different contexts. It’s like I always describe my relationship with writing. It hurts me to write (I love to write). It hurts like the pain of climbing a very steep trail (I love to hike).

Can’t wait to see all your creations and reflections in #ds106!

I found myself looking forward to engaging with her as a result of this comment as it seemed to speak to a tension I know deeply both personally and professionally. It was not to be. Twitter contact has been light and infrequent, life took her to things other than Headless 13.

These are the people I noticed and missed, the ones I wanted to learn more with but  their paths took them elsewhere.

There are also the ones I did not find, the ones I did not like, the ones I did not learn from…Where is the centre online? Where is the centre in a course with no head? Reading the paragraph I just wrote one more time – the reference point is that digital echo chamber that is the ‘I’. 

This is how it is for me, may be I am just more self referenced than most. I certainly know that the instinct to be open and share online is something to be cultivated and not something that comes naturally for me. 

I have saved the best for another post, what I have learnt from all the wonderful people that have come on this journey with me, the ones that have made this experience unforgettable and who I hope will be #4life.

To those of you I have missed this time around, may our paths meet again more deeply in the future. 



This is a guest post by the boy ghost in the image above, who has chosen to remain anonymous.

I am so thrilled about my beta test of the GIFaChrome camera! I was able to get a version of the camera from my friend Ina, and she kindly agreed to take an image of me that shows my real nature. If you hover over the right side of the image above you can see an arrow pointing to the old image Ina took of me, a boring old still image. It does me no justice, as you can tell when comparing it to my GIFaChrome image. Whoever heard of a ghost that doesn’t glow and move?

This camera is so easy to use: all you do is point and click and a beautiful animated gif appears. It’s like magic! You don’t even have to have full material substance to work the thing, as I have been able to play around with it myself (though I still need practice, and this pic by Ina is the best image so far). 

The only thing that is missing from the GAC image is my lovely “booooooo-oooooooo-oooooo” sound that I tend to make when floating in this way. But those people over at GIFaChrome are so clever, I expect this will be available in a software update soon!

The GIFaChrome launches December 13, 2013. To pre-order yours, go to the GIFaChrome website!

Yes! I hear they have John Johnston the Chief engineer working on adding sound to animated gifs. I think it will definitely allow you to add the boooo hook sound to your lovely image. Although I think initially it will not play automatically but you will have to click on the image before it plays. See this test image: http://johnjohnston.info/106/simple-glitch-update/

Our first Boring Gifachrome from a boring video

I am sleepy and DS106ed out. But when you have to do something you have to do something. I Just saw this tweet:

It contains this wonderful animated gif which combines two different creative ideas we have been playing with in DS106 – boring video and a new photo format Gifachrome. 

I woke up this morning, seems a lifetime ago in DS106 time, and came into my room to find my dog really stressed out at the start of his day…not. 

I remembered the daily create a few days ago that asked us to create a boring video. I thought this was my chance. I took my Vine app and recorded my dog snoozing…nothing happened in this video bar the news in the background and ever so slight movements as he snoozed. This wonderful man, saw the video and used it to create his (first?) Gifachrome animated gif! Thank you, Colin Dog is very pleased at all this exposure he has been getting. A dog can never have enough good photos. 

GIFaChrome unveils a world first: Their first cross-species endorsement for their Gifachrome camera. 

I wanted to do a film like this with my favourite gifs from headless 13. I came across this one from PBS early on DS106. On watching it again at the end, I notice a reference to glitch art. An example of how much we miss as we keep looking for more and new…It took me until nearly the end to ‘discover’ glitch art but I could have discovered it at the beginning had I paid attention to this film when I watched it. 

As the last week of DS106 approaches I am reminded of a post by Seth Goodman that was one of the first I read from him and one that made me stop and pay attention.

It was called Documenting Learning:

He gently argues that the act of completion is evidence of learning. It would likewise be silly to ask the parachutist in the image above to document the learning of parachuting. The act of a safe landing is all the documentation we need, no?

I will complete, have I learnt?

“Our data is the new flesh. The screen is the retina of the mind’s eye. The battle for the global mind will be fought on the internet. The network is reality and reality is less than the network. Listen to the voice inside you and make today the day you take back control. Thank you.”

We worship at the altar of Google and Apple. Facebook algorithms know us better than our parents. A book I must read Machine Dreams analyses my favourite science fact series Black Mirror.

A quote from The Guardian expresses the push-pull I feel about DS106 as it concludes this week:

This area – between delight and discomfort – is where Black Mirror, my new drama series, is set. The “black mirror” of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.

Photo quote from: http://www.endemoluk.com/programme/black-mirror


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