Inefficient mapping

My Inefficient mapping of birds flying

My Inefficient mapping of birds flying

Dr Linda Knight was our dedicated scholar-in-residence at the recent Western Sydney Uni Autumn School for research students.

On the last day she ran a workshop with us where we created an inefficient map of the uni grounds. Using a page of tracing paper and a multi-coloured magic pencil, I recorded bird flight paths in the space before my eyes. Other students recorded sounds, ant paths, leaf movements to name a few. The layers of tracing paper were then put on top of each other and stuck to the window/lightbox. The one image shows all the movement happening in that space at that time. The images are scratchings of the thing being recorded rather than a still-life drawing. These are layers of meaning in this place. They are called inefficient maps because no map can capture all the layers in a place or space. Turning our gaze to the non-human expands our perception to notice the complex series of entangled things. Look for the complexity and richness in the data using these sensitive noticing methods. How do all the bits of data talk to each other, how do you connect them? Notice, be attentive, go deeper. The methodology is the mapping and the drawing is the method.

I was struck by how busy that space was with birds flying!! I walked every morning and heard the bird calls but was not cognisant of the extent of the movement around me until this exercise. I watched a few people walk across the grass in front of me oblivious to the movement above them. It changed my way of perceiving this space. I was noticing how extensive the non-human was in this people-place of learning which I now perceive as a space of learning.

The tracing paper layers record layers of playground movement. Movement creates difference. If there is no movement, objects would be the same. The focus is on the marks on the page where no labels are required. See Deleuze differentiation theory.

Without theory Dr Knight cannot draw. Dr Knight does teaching with theory like Jackson does thinking with theory. Dr Knight spoke about “the pedagogy of choreography and the choreography of pedagogy”. Her conceptual frameworks are movement, affect (yet to come, always becoming) and power (feminist writes – Sara Ahmed, Donna Harroway, Karen Barad). She has moved from a contextual to conceptual approach. Conceptual work expands beyond the concepts so the work appeals to a broader audience.

Practice based methodology is used in the production of drawings where drawing is a mode of thinking and theorising. Rosi Braidotti refers to potentia – the yet to come – a becoming space. Drawings become a converging space to communicate on these becomings. Drawings are used as spark points that spark theories. They are energy flashes for theory to emerge; an agent for theory making. The act of drawing closed the discursive space; talking all the time while drawing. Arts based practices transcend reductive thinking. See The Walking Lab.

“Language imposes structures on experience. So using arts based mediums can shift perception using a less mediated experience that connects us with the landscape” (Dr Brenda Dobia).

“The mode of drawing opens up a different way of thinking about a space. A space of relationality e.g. you and the tape recorder.” (Professor Margaret Somerville).

“Ask what is the movement of the situation? Movement is disruption which is disturbing. Find the invisible in the disruptive activities. ” (Professor Margaret Somerville).

Here is an example and explanation of Linda’s work using inefficient mapping:

” Linda Knight’s work focuses on the pedagogies that occur in pedagogic sites. She is interested in how ideas about pedagogy as a human exchange, might be rethought. Playgrounds are often regarded as sites where children build social relationships, play, and undertake physical activity, however how might inefficient mapping turn the focus away from human activity and attend to the pedagogic aspects of other factors such as surfaces, light, time, animals, birds, sounds, gestures, shade, rain, and noises?

In mapping movement of playground spaces, pedagogy shifts beyond a directional exchange of information to become a complex series of entangled movements, affects and sensations.

Contact Dr Linda Knight and read her work:

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