Make a rhizome.
But you don’t know what you can make a rhizome with,
you don’t know which subterranean stem is going to make a rhizome,
or enter a becoming, people your desert.
(Deleuze &Guattari, 1987: 246)
This text participates in the process of gathering (Edwards, 2010:5) spun over twelve weeks of the course in e-learning and digital cultures and across numerous online and offline spaces. Following Haraway (1991), it centres around relationality, making it a basic unit of the analysis and so it tells a story about, and interferes in, the relations that have or have not been assembled so far (Law, 2009:142). The main actants involved in this process of deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation are the human and the lifestream technology (edc antics).
At the beginning there was an emptiness and a feeling of wonder at how to populate the desert. The actants might have had differing visions and so their relation commenced and continued in a volatile fashion, subjected to constant changes as they transgressed and transformed each others’ discursive fields. While they enacted their practices, evolving for instance round authorship, agency, authenticity, there were unexpected shifts in power and understanding, novel heterogeneous links forged, traditional ontological distinctions eroded, as exemplified by active experimentation with visuality (visual artefact), reconfiguring the perception of the self and technology toward more hybridised and relational attitudes (descending the trees, posthuman lifestream), relating posthumanism to education (posthumanesque pedagogy, posthuman week). Translation is often not about finding equivalence but about betrayal (Law, 2009) and so, as a result, an actant rhizome began to form. The choice of this term over ‘actor network’ (which might be too easily associated with centralised architectures) is intentional in this gathering process, based on John Law’s argument that there is little difference between it and Deleuze’s agencement (translated into ‘assemblage’ in English). This is further strengthened by the revised after-ANT, in which Law moves to partial and so more fluid linkages in his analysis of relationality, making the theory fit in more seamlessly within the rhizomatic framework (Law, 2009; Gough, 2004).
Since the foundational divisions that existed initially seem to have been levelled out, as playfully shown by the first and the last entries of the virtual meditation series (links above), the process of the gathering can be regarded as pedagogically posthuman. It actively made use of situated knowledge, cyborg ontology and border pedagogy, the three cornerstones from the Cyborg Manifesto (Angus et al, 2000). Even though on the surface the lifestream appears to be chronologically ordered, it resembles ‘an imaginative mapping of possibilities’ (Gough, 2004) rather than an orderly network or a linear tracing. With multiple layers, entries and exits in the form of visual-textual assemblages accessed by means of feeds, tags and hyperlinks, it constitutes a textual strategy that might assist in ‘figuration of rhizomANTically becoming-cyborg’ (Gough, 2004), even more so when it is thought of additionally as a rhizomatic metastory which renders itself as an artefact and so does not only gather but is also gathered.
Angus, T., Cook, I., Evans, J. et al. (2001) A Manifesto for Cyborg Pedagogy. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2001, pp. 195-201. (Lifestream event 742)
Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1987) A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Continuum.
Gough, N. (2004) RhizomANTically Becoming-Cyborg: Performing Human Pedagogies. Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2004, pp. 253-265.
Haraway, D. (1991) A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century. In Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, pp.149-181. Online: http://www-leland.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/Haraway/CyborgManifesto.html Accessed 10/12/2012 (Lifestream event 707)
Law, J. (2009) Actor Network Theory and Material Semiotics. In Turner, B.S. (Ed.) The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 141-158. (Lifestream event 777)