Phenomenological Anecdote: On Distraction in Digital Learning

My paintbrush darts back and forth over the page as the tinny, compressed vocal tones issue forth from my laptop speakers.

“…nature become ever prettier in images of national parks and in nature documentaries than it ever is in raw reality”, the voice tells me.

“That’s an interesting point”, I think.

I look back down to my paper and flinch. It looks waterlogged, the liquid creating shallow pools and ridges on the page. I lift it up and curse as I see that the paint has leaked through onto the tabletop.

I sit back, setting down my brush and the page in the sunlight to dry. I look up at the lecture playing on my screen.

Lecture Jean Baudrillard part 3b Hyperreality.

Four small, horizontally rectangular images of natural scenes; two bright, colourful and brilliant, two dull, drab and colourless, are perched inside the bigger rectangle of the playback window, which hovers just off-centre of the biggest rectangle of my laptop monitor.

I look up. Outside, the sun shines through the branches of the tree which frames the vertical rectangular screen of my window.

The lecture plays on. I’m more tired, focused on the leaves fluttering outside my window.

Something is buzzing. I look down. It’s my phone. A message pops onto the rectangular screen.

“Hey! Can you grab a bottle of wine for tonight?”

I unlock my phone with the circular home button and tap a response.

I say something along the lines of ‘sure, see you then’, I think. I’m still trying to listen to the recording.

I look back to the screen. It reads: the Paradox of Media Culture.

I get up from my chair. My back hurts. Finally I have a reason to go outside.

I look at the current slide; “Obscenity: everything exists on the surface of the screen. We become screens/media .” I close the laptop and the message disappears.

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