Michael Sean Gallagher writes:
Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container
A fascination and apprehension towards water and an appreciation of how it governs our thinking is the focus of this playlist and much of the kind of media gathering and mobile learning I like to do in my spare time. Everywhere I travel or live, I instinctively find myself leaning on a railing staring into a river or an ocean or sea or a lake. I see people wading in the water or having a picnic next to it or even just socializing or walking along it in the evening and I began to think about how much of the water itself is actually governing our behavior. How much of it defines how we learn in this world?
So I began recording audio next to rivers to hear their flow and the people next to them. I kept hearing particular signatures in the water (how the Thames sounds completely different from the Seine, etc.) and I tried to make playlists that mirrored these. I assembled and edited the playlists haphazardly, looking for music that flowed, bounded, and receded, like waves on a shore. I listened to these sounds and playlists as I studied and as I walked, mostly through London along the Thames past Wapping, Limehouse, and Shadwell, out past the pubs of Whistler, Turner, and Dickens. I kept pulling from a literary past to make sense of it and so I turned to Hesse:
Flow of ideas, aspirations, dreams through the imagination; collective action as packets distributed in bursts. Learning networks become like water on pavement: they find every crack and crevice. Full saturation. We love water (out of necessity) as it is ever-changing. So are we. We love music that mirrors this flow. It is perpetually possible, always in the process of becoming.
Having your learners construct a playlist to reflect the learning or cognitive impression of a particular object or space is engaging another mode for reflection, another type of literacy. The tracks are:
And if you want to hear these different signatures in the water, listen for yourself. A few can be found below.
Michael Sean Gallagher is a Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and a Phd candidate at the Institute of Education.