I am so fascinated by how my classmates have drawn parallels between content from our course readings and applied them to aspects of their MRPs, their hobbies, interests, and just everyday life. I think this illustrates the boundless nature of networks and how they can exist in a variety of ways and are essentially not fixed to a single definition. In my past studies, networks has always seemed to be applied to the digital age. I was interested to examine Peter’s approach to new media and how digitality has increased the material dimension of networks, but not necessarily improved it for networks have existed in other ways before. I myself have always applied the concept of ‘networks’ to existing in the digital realm, however this class has provided me with the tools and ability to recognize how networks operate beyond the digital.
Sloterdijk’s criticism of the network ‘web’ metaphor resonates with an approach I learned in Mobilities last semester, and this helped me find ruptures and problems with various networks. Mobilities is concerned with that ‘in-between space’ and I think this applies to Sloterdijk’s criticism, which partially looks at those areas that the web metaphors visually illustrate but do not expand on. In each of those invisible spaces in networks is an element of that network where politics, affordances, and perhaps power exists. Now I know that these areas of the networks are just as critical as the networks themselves.
I agree with what Nicole mentioned in her final blog post, which is that each week felt somewhat ‘isolated’ in regards to how the content seemed entirely new. I always found myself asking: “in what manner does this tie into the overarching theme of this course?” It was not until we stepped back and discussed the presentations and reading as a class that I began to notice parallels and themes, which became very useful in helping me find these overlaps on my own.
One of my favourite quotes is by author Doug Dillon and he writes that “the stars up there at night are closer than you think”. Although not written to explain networks, I think it could potentially act as a metaphor to explain an element of them. Various networks exist around us and they are not as distant as they may feel. We do not necessarily have to be at the ‘centre of a network’ in order to be part of it because in some instances, they may not be one, but that does not mean we are distant from them either.