The Spinning Silhouette is an fascinating optical illusion:
Which way is the silhouette spinning? Now focus your attention on the shadow beneath her. (Hint: watch the shadow of the foot.) Do you see the silhouette changing direction? With some practice, you can see her performing half-pirouettes, back and forth, at will.
Very cool - because the user completes the image. One of the issues with doing any sort of critical work - that is, analysis and praxis involving issues of power relations, control, discipline, voice (and lack or suppression thereof), privilege - in any field is that there are those who cannot, or refuse, to see the criticality. People who are used to engaging with their world in a hot way - fragmenting, categorizing, separating, applying linear, deductive reasoning - in other words, those who have been trained to be chronically literate, have a great deal of difficulty seeing the world "spin" in any other way.
There are lots of methods to help see the world turn in different ways. But each of them takes practice - practice to learn and master the techniques, and practice in learning how not to be distracted by our previous training and socialization. Not so coincidentally, a lot of what I've been doing lately - the Generation Gap, and How Do We Know talks, my thesis research on Valence Theory (plus another small summer research project on marketing), the playing around with cyber-education that I'm doing are all connected by seeking to notice what we haven't noticed lately, and thereby understanding our world in a new, expanded way.
As it turns out, I'll be doing an Applied McLuhan for Managers playshop in Ottawa on September 25 that is open to the public. Details (location, cost) are being arranged by a team in Ottawa, but if you're interested, write me and I'll connect you with the necessarily information. There are lots of ways to train yourself to notice, but this way promises to be fun.
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