Note Taking:

Discussion in class with Sarah Pink revolved around Reflexivity.

Here are some notes:

  • Emma has a new appreciation for shaggy
  • Writing about people, is a sensitive area. How significant is your work to the people in the research or interviews etc?
  • Be practical about ethics and what you find
  • Reflexivity – Your responsibility to the research. What is your relationship with the work? How does it impact what you know?
  • Therefore, it is being conscious and aware of the knowledge you are constructing
  • What is reflexivity – social science?
  • It is also about being reflexive and ethical as well
  • There is a certain ethics even when analysing and understanding texts
  • Balance between what you know and what you are making
  • The core of reflexivity is most relevant to you – look at it as subjectivity
  • This leads the questions: What is the knowledge you have gained through life? How does this impact your research? How does this make you bias?
  • What does it say about who you are? What does your knowledge bring to research?
  • We must also seek other ways of understanding
  • Being aware of what you are learning when you are out of your comfort zone to gain new knowledge
  • We must also be aware of the knowledge we gain. How do yo want the research to impact?
  • What is the reflexivity within your research topic? What are you as a person trying to bring to this area?
  • Think about how you navigate the theory as you do research
  • Why are certain things more interesting than others? Why are somethings not as relevant or helpful than others? – Even when it isn’t relevant or helpful it is in crossing that idea off
  • The core of the knowledge

Mitch: Critical object:

  • xbox hand controller
  • It has a sense of “Futuristic” qualities. (Space ship Driver?)
  • Is it handheld or works best sitting on the table in front of you?
  • What is the relationship between technology and how people perceive the world?
  • Possibilities will always be tangled by what people can actually do
  • Are we digital natives?
  • Applying reflexivity on our own experiences and knowledge towards the critical object. How does it shape what we think of it? And ultimately, what does it bring to a research project?

Reading Time

Hi Guys,
My readings this week are ones that the lovely Sarah Pink talked briefly about a few weeks back. Its from Elizabeth Ellsworth’s novel ‘Places of learning: media, architecture, pedagogy.’ Although, its mainly about pedagogy, i feel they still have relevance to the learning and knowledge (as a continuation from Friday’s class) …besides they are only 3 pages long.
Happy reading!



Notes from week 9

We began on a classy note over lattes at Pearson & Murphy’s and we ended up in a swamp of our own making. Here are the highlights:

1. Kai’s reading = robust discussion about the grey areas between knowledge and belief, fact and faith. How do you know what you think you know? Belief and knowledge are murky; there is a point where they inform each other.

2. Every text has an agenda but some are arguments and some are putting forward a series of ideas for discussion. How do you want to write in your field?

3. As you know more about your object of study you change and so does the way you look at your object. It’s a cyclical process that occurs continuously throughout your research.

4. Confusion and confrontation in research is NOT A PROBLEM, it’s the thing you’re going for.

5. Research is a landscape of swamps and pylons. In a field – a research field. And then there are piles of sand that people are standing on. Still within the field. Lots of people might be standing on one pile of sand because they share ideas and live in harmony. But those people definitely don’t associate with that researcher over there on that pile of sand. However they all still inhabit the same field. Confused? Refer back to point number 4.

6. Our job as researchers, is to swim around the swamp, climb up on a sandbank, think a bit, get back in the swamp and swim some more, until we understand the established knowledge in each field. Then we add our own little grain of sand*. That’s all we’re required to do.

*Grain of sand is metaphor for honours thesis. If it’s a Masters or PhD, you need to add a brick.

7. We’re in our field y’all! #toteslegit #bonafideresearchers #notjuststudents

8. There was much angst about how we navigate the swamp and somehow transform our puddle of research into a thesis/project. “It’s not practical to stay in your puddle of piss.” (TM. I’m getting t-shirts printed.) Don’t stop believing. Have faith that you will get out of the swamp.

9. You also need strategies. Moments of clarity come through reading other people’s work, talking to other people about your work and not thinking about your work. (Netflix anyone?)

10. Emma bought a critical object – an eyelash curler/torture device/food preparation implement. We agreed that this was a precise, single-function item, used for a specific purpose. The specific purpose, ironically, is more bizarre than any purpose we invented. The object is small and the movement it makes is small which suggests it’s personal and helps us place it within the civilisation that uses it.

Yoko explained that there is evidence of a reciprocal developmental relationship between humans and the tools we use. We designed the tools and the tools designed us as our bodies adapted movements to be able to use them. (This is a very simplified version of a very interesting section of the conversation.)

From here we went on a tangent and discussed the ethical issues surrounding eugenics. Interesting, especially in relation to the notion of collective futures, but perhaps also a good place to finish up. Until next week…



So where do i begin? Fridays class felt to me like an AA meeting for people who can’t seem to find their way off one hill onto another, whilst constantly finding themselves in moments of weakness as they stand in puddles of pee.

After beginning off with Kai’s reading ‘What is Social Construction’ by Paul Boghassian, the focus of the group seemed to revolve around the idea of belief and knowledge. Are they related? How fine is the line dividing them? These parallel terms seems to run close to many of us in understanding how do we know what we know? I noticed another consistent element of our class – I think we can all thank Adrian for this – metaphors! Coming left, right and centre, it was almost a challenge to see if we can reply to a metaphor with another one.

Critical object time, find us going a little off topic in regards to Emma’s object, though the key theme that i gained from this derailed conversation was the idea of evolution and human evolution. I guess it fits back with the earlier discussion of knowledge progression and how what we know ‘evolves’ our directions in the future. What i know now on this day, is gained knowledge that i didn’t have a week ago. This new knowledge will effectively shape my research and allow me to move in and out of the reoccurring “puddles” or messes of my own making. Furthering this idea, another important point i gained was that I should force myself to keep moving forward and to not stay on the same “hill” for too long. Take a step forward first, then work out where I’m going or what I’m doing after. Welcome my new motto: Do it, then figure it out later (…Sorry mum!)

The overall class kind of reminded me of a story i heard a few years back about a Professor lecturing his students about time management, called ‘the jar of life’. With a jar in hand, the Professor filled it with golf balls, pebbles, sand and water, continuing to ask whether the jar was full yet. Although, his demonstration was a story of priorities and management, for me, i look at it in terms of my knowledge gained so far this year. (Warning: metaphor alert!) The jar is my brain and the contence are my knowledge; It might seem full, but there is always room for more.

Notetakings: 1/5/2015

Hi dudes, sorry this took so long, you know how Honours life goes…also my housemate got Netflix on the weekend and its the worst thing that’s happened to my productivity, I’m terrified. Anyways….

Yoko’s Skype in – worked surprisingly well, thanks to the amazing laptop-swivelling skills of Ellie (I’m just gonna go ahead and refer to myself in the third-person, lets just accept it as weird and move past it).

READING: Against Interpretation

Everyone really liked the reading this week. Sontag write very well and is very easy to read, and we all found different aspects that would relate to our research. Although after discussion it seemed that we all kind of turned around and decided we didn’t like Sontag all that much, as will be demonstrated below.

Social constructionism­

Had a great explanation from Yoko about this school of thought and how its probably going to be of interest to some of our research – particularly Ellie and Kai – but also those who are following feminist theory, phenomenology etc as a framework through their research.

Ellie was unhappy and a bit fed up of French intellectuals being only concerned with “high art” and dismissing things that could impact their theories, like cinema, news and other media.

Yoko explained this could be seen as a form of cherry picking, wherein the intellectuals use things from their immediate surroundings – usually other intellectuals – to find things that support their theories (she mentioned Grounded Theory as an alternative to this).

This was where Mitch decided he didn’t like Sontag, given that she dismisses filmmaking as an object to be interpreted, which Claudia pointed out was odd because Sontag was a filmmaker, among other things.

Claudia’s amazing notes: what the hell

Claudia used her insanely neat notes to tell us about the hermetic cycle, which is a branch of the interpretivism that Sontag seems to be criticising

The Hermetic cycle made Ellie kind of angry with its endless dance of interpretation and the fact that an object only means what you bring to it. Yoko explained some criticisms of the Hermatic circle to try calm Ellie down, and encouraged us all to see it as one form of understanding that can be used when examining objects or ideas.


CRITICAL OBJECTBeth’s amazing disco-ball earring that is not at all shitty or cheap despite what Ellie might have said

Some quotes from when the object was first presented:

Emma: Does it have a use?

Ellie: It looks out of place, it needs to be in a space that’s dark and loud and with flashing lights around it

Mitch: It looks like it would have some practical use

Kai: It could be religious, I think people often bring a religious interpretation of things that they don’t understand

Ellie presented that it had a different impact when experienced physically (ie by picking it up) than when just looked at. Mitch agreed, saying that touching it made it seem more pointless that when he just looked at it.
Kai mentioned that it seems like it should be part of something, that it doesn’t exist on its own, and that is seems to need something else to be fully functional.

Clearly there was a lot of focus on the function on the object, but Yoko redirected us to think about how it exists in a culture that has a focus on the visual. Beth asked a hypothetical: If you saw this without knowing about mirrors or light, would you see the world reflected back at you or would you just see a scattering of light?

It also began a great discussion about the idea of ritual in our society, from hailing the holy orb at a disco, to capturing light and bringing it inside in the dark days around Christmas, and the way Christmas is expressing in a time of mass production and cheap materials.


We then moved on to each present our individual progress in our Precursor 2 project to the Yoko-Laptop Overlord, which I won’t outline here.

All in all, great reading, great object, great chats and awesome technology made for a swell lab.

Next (this) week:

  • Reading: Kai
  • Critical object(s): Mitch and Emma

Reading for 8 May

Hi guys, here’s my contribution towards the reading for this week’s class. It’s titled “What is Social Construction”, by Paul Boghossian, a professor of philosophy at NYU. You can read more about him here. It’s a really interesting reading regarding Boghossian’s belief of social constructivism, that the world we live in is in fact a construct of human minds. Human beliefs and thoughts shape how we view things, a sort of experiential learning, and that helps us form our own opinions and beliefs. The language is also really easy to understand, which helps us in this dire time. Enjoy!



Download here: What is Social Construction

Notes from the Future (actually 24th April)


24th April 2015


  • Introductions all round!
  • GOOD WATCH: Sarah recommended a video, a doco done by a PhD student. “Mirror, mirror” on Vimeo, <>
  • Talked a little on what everyone has been reading so far (at least we all have had time to read stuff outside of class!)
  • Sarah’s done her PhD on women bullfighters in Spain. Minds blown all around.
  • Also, she’s currently working on a project about using technology to experience what others are experiencing, and how do experiencing it yourself create a form of empathy.
  • Uncertainty: uncomfortable forms of empathy, i.e. while studying bullfighting, it was hard to get a sense of how the locals felt.
  • Whenever you write about other people, it’s interesting to see how they reach to what you have written about them, and how they reconcile themselves with that interpretation.
  • GOOD READ: Christina Lammer’s “Corporeality”


  • What is the difference between a method and methodology? A method is a process whereas methodology is how you understand the method and how you approach it.
  • Reflexive practice – what you know through the method you are using.
  • What about biographies as method? When you use that method, you take ownership of it. Always find something original about it, and always improvise and innovate.
  • When you use a method, have the ability to change and/or add something to that method, and to constantly improve it.


  • Research: makes your work original. How do we go about finding out what we need to find out?
  • Look at how people used the method you’re going to use. Lots of people will approach it from different angles. What can you bring to the research that has not been done before?
  • Create some kind of innovation.
  • What if you encounter unusual things in your research? Unusual practices? Don’t discard it. Instead, use it to your advantage and turn it around. Internalise it.
  • If we knew what we were going to find out, there’d be no point in doing research at all.
  • Almost serendipitous: a fortunate happenstance or a pleasant surprise. A blessing in disguise. That is the sort of mindset you should take when attempting research.


  • Sarah’s own book. Second edition – Pink Edition. Sensory Ethnography.
  • As a researcher: Your job to pull all the research you have done together, so that you can tell stories that you want to tell. When you’ve managed to bring all these things together, that’s when you feel you’re really driving the research.
  • Interesting people to follow if you want to know more about interviewing methods: Christine Hine (Virtual Ethnography), Tom Boellstorff, Larissa Hjorth.
  • Interviewing methods: Photo elicitation, smell elicitation (using photos and smells to elicit a response from the interviewee, because it produces a more natural response as compared to the traditional style of asking questions and getting responses, which may not be as effective enough).
  • Video re-enactment is also a much better form of interviewing because of muscle memory. If you want people to tell you about something, you can watch them perform that activity, because it helps them articulate it clearer and more naturally, as well as give you the best possible representation of that idea.