Emergent collaboration in the rhizome

This is a post which seems to have been permanently & erratically ‘in progress’ over the last couple of months. It is essentially a sequel to the previous post, and charts the wave of spontaneous, rapid, emergent collaborative creation that emerged unexpectedly from that post.  I wanted to do it justice by attempting to chart its course and along the way, attempt to make some sense of the experience.  It was one of many highlights for me in the #rhizo14 experience, which spawned a multitude of creative, intellectual, and academic collaborations, playful re-imaginings, remixes and experimentation with ideas.

Indeed, one of the best things about rhizo14 were the collaborations that seemed to sprout purely from mutually spontaneous excitement and energy. These include some really fascinating research collaborations (described by Frances Bell  here), and numerous creative collaborations – many of which I probably don’t even know about (although Maureen Crawford has linked out to many of the poetry collaborations <‘internet poempathy’>  here). What I think is most interesting is that these collaborations are emergent, spontaneous, unscripted, unplanned – not part of any premeditated curriculum, but instead evolved from participants sharing, experimenting ideas and creating something tangible from their shared ideas.

I haven’t been directly involved in the research collaborations (though have contributed as a participant) but I’m finding the emergent creative collaboration from #rhizo14 fascinating: the use of art as a form of inquiry (not simply artistic expression),  how the collaborations emerge – and how quickly they occur, how others are pulled in /invited / inspired to participate, and the continual, fluid morphing and evolution of the remix and its outputs, across multiple platforms and time.

Maureen Crawford (@jmc3alberta) in her post ‘Internet Poempathy’,  refers to this type of activity as ‘Internet Lingo’,  eloquently describing the experience:

Inevitably there are numerous layers (and leaps) that become more accessible after multiple readings. Sometimes there is no going back, only pushing or dancing forward with the traces of what you were able to connect with. ….This is a 3D, nonlinear, encompassing everchanging ecology. In its multiplicity Internet Lingo shuns duality. Right and wrong become more and more relative. There is a sense of play, of allusion, an infinite number possible connections and sequences….

What you will find is “written by far more than two people and consists of multi-media mash-ups of tweets, Storifies, blogs, and links too complex, convoluted and dynamic for any one reader to ever fully absorb. [It] is constantly evolving, thus forcing the reader to become a participant in a linguistic sense-making journey” (Crawford & Jones, 2013. unpublished). The dogtrax cross, the scent is lost, picked up and relocated, re-established across continents. . . and timezones.

This post is a postscript of sorts to the previous post, and a homage to the spontaneous remix,  creative collaboration & play that has emerged from it. Typical of the rhizome (or, perhaps – the Internet Lingo), this has unfolded across a multitude of platforms: in the comments on the previous blog post, twitter, soundcloud, YouTube, Zeega…and continues on, spreading and branching out into ever unpredictable places.

I decided to do chart the journey as a storify, since it was relatively easy to pull media from multiple platforms and most of the communication around the collaboration occurred through twitter. But then, only after I’d created it realised I couldn’t embed the storify into wordpress.com.

So here’s the link >  https://storify.com/tanyalau/the-spreading-rhizome

9 thoughts on “Emergent collaboration in the rhizome

  1. Maureen Crawford says:

    Tanya,
    It is always such a delight to pull mental taffy with you! I appreciate you taking the time and making the effort to document some of the creative cavorting we have done. What a wonderful multicoloured piece of metacogknitting you have done with this post and the Storify. No wonder we all had to take a little bit of a break to catch our breath, and check to see if the sky was still blue.

  2. Soozie Bea says:

    I think you’ve infected me!

    Everything is Rhizome Theory now in my head! I think I might do the MOOC so I can have a soak and some more collaborative thinking space with which to play with…

  3. tanyalau says:

    It’s so awesome you’ve been infected : ) I think that’s great. Yes!! definitely do it when it rolls around again – I think Dave said it might be around the same time next year? In the meantime, people still post interesting things to #rhizo14 hashtag in twitter. There is still a lot of action in the rhizo14 facebook group too (don’t know if you’re a facebooker…I’m not really, so I missed a lot of what went on, I do occasionally log in and check it out though; it’s still quite a hub).

    • Soozie Bea says:

      I love having Facebook centred on silly things like my dogs, friends, D&D, and family (usually in that order ^_^) – and having my Twitter more as my open-to-the-public, work, politics, cultural studies arena.

      Off to the hashtag!

      • tanyalau says:

        Yes, that’s the way I feel about FB too – although I’m not often on it even for that (What’s D&D – Dungeons and Dragons??!!). It’s interesting though how people tend to use different platforms for different things, and share different things on different platforms – an then it becomes quite hard to mentally break out of a particular habit of usage. Whilst there are no doubt crossovers between the networks people foster on the various social platforms, there is a tendency to use them for different purposes and in different ways. I wonder whether that is due to the internal affordances of each platform (supporting different ‘styles’ or ‘types’ of interaction?) or merely just the social norms that have been built around them. Probably a bit of both. No doubt someone, somewhere has done a PhD on this…! It is one of the questions that have come up in my mind in my masters research topic thingy (which I am still just sitting and procrastinating on, but which I do need to pick up again next semester….eeek…)

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