Anthony Luvera transverses in the idea of authorship, participation and pedagogy as an artistic habitude. He reconnoiters the relationship between authorship and participation in the creation process, and investigate the ethics involved when representing people’s lives with photography. Shaun Hides explores the interaction between power, identity and culture within E learning in higher education facilities. With Luvera we question why he started volunteering, is it a white man’s guilt? As a researcher and photographer we believe he did not want to feel as if he was conforming to the power hierarchy that has been set between the homeless and society by doing this he is avoiding ‘the power of the researcher’. Mauss talks about the gift, can we really give a free gift?. “I have never found a man so generous and hospitable that he would not receive a present, nor one so liberal with his money that he would dislike a reward if he could get one“ Mauss,1967). Luvera gave himself to the volunteers, but at the end of the day he will get paid for his work, overall this was just a project he was making his livelihood from Ethnographic research was conducted in forms of interviews, critical enquiry, and long-term circumspection with participants. Participatory pedagogy was reenacted with participants, who also subjugated majority of the work, in the creation of collaborative portraits(self-assisted photography). He then comprehended the self-representation and identity of homeless community and individuals within the context of images and description. In quintessence Lovera’s primary objective was to construct a ‘public archive’ for the sake of a ‘collective memory’ preservation for ‘homeless Belfast’.
Luvera spent a significant part of his research with observation to generate insightful understandings of the participants and their own ‘culture’ within the naturalistic setting. “When opportunities arose I told the people I met about my work with photography” (Luvera, 2010) Through this, Luvera was able to gain rapport with his participants intending to deliver comfortable feelings. This is crucial for valid research as authentic information was gained when participants would act as they were if the researcher was not present. Hine suggests that by becoming an “active participant…it allows for a deeper sense of understanding…instead of being a detached and invisible analyst the ethnographer becomes visible and active” (Hine, 2000)
The effectiveness of ethnographic research can be questioned with the limited and invalid representation of an individual. According to Hammersley, the most valid example of this anti-realist representation and trend is the growing interest in the rhetorical strategies used by ethnographers, these often being treated as constituting rather than merely representing what they describe.” (Hammersley 2013:2) The liability of this research and its method is challenged, when some of its contributors are not so much anthropologists, but artists who use ethnographic research and anthropological ideas to inform their practice.(Sarah Pink, László Kürti, Ana Isabel Afonso 2004:3)
Then, Luvera iterated the validity of the project exists in the likelihood to further demonstrate the presentation of the individuals, despite those representation is constrained by institutions and their social regulations. “Forms of self-representation may go some way to broadening our understanding of individuals whose portraits are depicted primarily through the trace of their brushes with the institutions … Filling in some of the remaining gaps and absences of the archival record with the first-hand representation of the points of view of people…may offer a more complex, nuanced and varied understanding of the experience of home-lessness.”(Luvera, 2010) Luvera scrutinised on the modesty and first-hand information the self-representation captures, and how it takes along to offer the scenario of a full scale of life. However, it seems that the nature in capturing authentic life history and memory lost within the ignorance of photographs and its description. It is seemingly that the collection of photographs lost its continuity to present a complete life journey of the homelessness or queers, instead, the acknowledgement of different and marginalised groups or class is raised.
In comparison, Hides examined the interplay of power, identity and culture in HE and e-learning, he also questioned the disappearance of ideology within postmodernism. He penetratingly made use of Slavoj Zizek’s work to analysis and critique the instrumental e-learning and its connotation in the performativity principle, and the comparison between different types of institutions indeed strengthen his theme. Hides proposed that international students, the performative learner and the plagiarizing students functioned as symptoms within the operation of ideology in HE. Given an incisive insight into the ideology across the HE and its engagement with contemporary technology, Hides made clear about the ideological critique after postmodernism.
Luvera suggested that hidden(personal) memory can be recalled through photography. He used photographs and the archive without the political control to record people who suffered from homeless, helping to capture and remain the life experience of the homelessness. “There is no political power without control of the archive, if not of memory(Derrida 4). ” On the other hand, Hides revisited that memory is featured in the hyper-intelligences software, where memory became the infrastructure of the adaptive learning model, advancing the learning outcome and experience.
Moreover, Hides and Luvera both agreed that social values and ideals be unraveled under certain social behaviours, in their cases, it will be the construction of learning models and photographic representation. Luvera emphasied on the consideration a public archive make and its concealed social values, e.g. homelessness being marginalised and misunderstood in social class. “here is relatively little information available about the experience of being homeless as told directly by the individual” (Rosler, “Fragments of a Metropolitan Viewpoint” 20). While Hides inspected the aim of the revisal in the modern cognition, accusing the assumptions embedded in the technology, e.g. the evaluation of the learning effectiveness be the aim of education. “dramatic depiction of one e-Learning ideal: perfect, performative assimilation?” (Hides, 2010).
Multiculturalism was presented in Luvera’s archive where it absorbed the heterogeneity to construct the authentic and miscellaneous public archive. “The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual excess produced by a mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has been materialised, that has become an objective… putting power in the hands of the disempowered” (Luvera, 2010). For Hides, multiculturalism serves as a spectacle in higher education. Its diversity helps to bring convenience and advancement in the rapid development of contemporary technology.
The themes of social power, representations and vulnerability are shared in both speakers’ research. largely we miss the structural changes in our affairs that are introduced subtly, or over long periods of time. The fact that most population relied on information technology proved us the cultural shift existed over the years. “we become what we behold”(McLuhan,). Though Shaun and Anthony are aware of the social and personal outcomes of any medium be the consequence of our own representations or those formed by the power of the media, ie the classroom has now became a place to be within the medium but also outside in other social platforms. The homeless man is uneducated, filthy, smelly and begging for food.
It was concluded that Luvera and Hides research shared the discussion of social values, multiculturalism, power, spectacle and memory being embedded in different social behaviour. In contrast, Hides’ research was more incisive and critical, while the authenticity of Luvera’s methodologies and analysis was challenged.
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