Assignment 5: What is reality?

What is reality?

 Explore issues surrounding the real in contemporary society. Write an essay of about 2000 words. Analyse the boundaries between the real and the virtual in our contemporary culture.

I will be submitting the complete version of Assignment 5 via OCAs Google Drive for assessment as there are images still within copyright contained in the essay. You can see a PDF without those images by clicking: final-draft-online-version.

A complete copy of my feedback can be accessed here: sjfassignment5creativeartstodaytutorreport

Following are some responses to my feedback (my thoughts in colour). 

  1. This is a well conceived and imaginative exploration of themes flagged in the assignment question. The overall presentation is professional, reflecting a genuine commitment to the area of study. The arguments are suitably varied within an overall coherent structure, and a consistent tone of critical evaluation runs through the whole discussion. I was of course very pleased the opening summary showed a recognition of my commitment and that I had succeeded in presenting my essay professionally.
  2. You might yet look into Plato (ideal as real) Kant (space and time are inaccessible because they are subjective intuitions) Derrida (on the metaphysics of presence – see below) and Deleuze (on time and cinema). A good list for me to be getting on with over the next few weeks. I am very keen to keep learning and pleased to have these suggestions even though the course has finished. 
  3. If you are minded to make further changes an interesting and, to my mind by far the most persuasive yet paradoxical thought about temporality comes under the heading of deconstructing the metaphysics of presence (Derrida). Briefly, we think of the real as just what is present to us – occupying the same time and space. But the present is inconceivable without the past and future to frame it, and inconceivable with past and future as a point of transition from one to the other. Post-structuralists will call it a gap, a cut, or caesura to signal the idea that the present is absent. First of all, this is interesting as I have been thinking about how to approach some practical things regarding a couple of projects, and cutting out the present was one solution, so this it seems would be a relevant action to take. I am not sure at this point about making changes to my essay, although I had said I might when I sent it to MB. This is not because  don’t think I ought to but because I need to use my time wisely, and given the overall positivity in my feedback, I am a bit wary about muddying what is there currently.  I shall read the suggestions and make a decision afterwards since there is some time between now and the submission deadline. If I think I can add to it, as well as retain the thread of my debate and remain within the word count, then I will do so.
  4. What does interactive amount to and is it really a technological phenomenon? Isn’t any old conversation interactive. Yes! I wish I’d made this point.
  5. Your reflections are well-considered according to the criteria of assessment. The main point that comes across is that your approach is polemical. This seems to govern all else. If you intend to remain with that approach you need to be aware of its limitations – I’m sure you are – that bouncing one idea off another may challenge the reputation of an argument but not so its truth, for which you need to drive one argument to the bitter end. I’m genuinely not sure I would know how to avoid polemic, and very confused by what is meant here. Do I intend to remain with that approach? I do not know the answer. I know I am extremely interested in the arguments surrounding writing, and academic writing in particular, and very much want to read Small Arcs of Larger Circles: Framing through other patterns by Nora Bateson, as well as the female philosophers I mention in my reflection who have addressed this. I feel I can’t really make up my mind until I am clearer about the options. It would be hard for me to drive any ‘argument home to the bitter end’ without being vitriolic, I would imagine. I think one would need to know what they think for certain to drive an argument home to the bitter end (although I’m also reminded about my son’s debating club where he is given an argument which he must take regardless of what he actually thinks – is that what might be going on here?) I’m sure there are many things I could argue against to the bitter end. So I have to perhaps look for things I can be brave about, giving me an opportunity to drive one argument to the bitter end, which would require me to stop being ‘wishy-washy’. But how does that address not being polemical? I’m a bit confused about what I’m being advised to do here.
  6. The polemical approach is driven by the learning log which contains a welter of rich and varied material – debated and critiqued on the hoof. I am extremely pleased with the overall tone of my feedback. But I’m a bit unsure of what to make of this final sentence. As my family grows and my life becomes more stable I will indeed, no doubt, be able to approach things in a way that might be described as considered and deliberate rather than ‘on the hoof’. I look forward to such a time, and I’m not there just yet. But how does this stop things from being polemic? Is MB saying I need to think and write about less, as well as avoid linking subjects to my own interests (directly contradicting earlier advice from another tutor?) Do I write too much? Does the blog contain too much? I’m genuinely confused. 

Finally, it was helpful for me to see my notes prior to actually writing the essay which are here and All of my A5 research is available here: I think I managed to plan more than I have done so in the past. I have enjoyed this course very much indeed and am grateful for the support and feedback I’ve received from my tutor and fellow students.




8 thoughts on “Assignment 5: What is reality?

  1. What a journey of discovery this course inspires! This post is very clear and easy to read for me, I understand your points, even though I haven’t started this part yet. Great News to hear your all done, you were a great motivator for everyone as you set the pace. Thanks for your insights over the past year and good luck with future work. Xx MW


  2. Well done SJ. The feedback is really good and although I have not read your essay I suspect I would be reluctant to alter it given the feedback. I had to look up Polemical! – relating to or involving strongly critical, controversial, or disputatious writing or speech: a polemical essay.
    Having done so I don’t really understand what he is meaning you should do??
    Will you submit now before the end of Jan or only in March?


    1. I am too late for the January submission as I would have needed to do so before the 7th Jan so March it is. Thanks. To be honest, I have looked briefly at the recommended reading and in order to first read it, then understand it, then incorporate it (in a way that cannot be described as ‘on the hoof’) I suspect leaving it as it is for this level of study will be sufficient. How are you getting on?


  3. Big sigh – you’ve reached the end of this particular journey and with such a well-written and researched piece of work. I appreciate your concern regarding writing style, and am certainly interested myself in exploring that more feminine style of writing you refer to but I do think that, with this piece of work, you have developed a writing style that is academic whilst retaining your energy and curiosity around visual culture.

    A pity that you were just that bit too late for March assessment but perhaps you can just sit back for a while now and enjoy some ‘free’ reading.


    1. Thank you, Catherine. I am a bit lost about the whole writing style thing. I think I still have so much to discover and learn in relation so can’t really say one way or another. I do find the impenetrable way people sometimes write quite difficult to accept as it prevents access to others, but then I don’t think one should pander to ignorance either. Not everyone is going to be able to read, see everything nor will they even want to. It’s tricky one – I’m certainly as you know extremely interested in the masculine/feminine, and in language as something by which those each make their way into the world. I am planning much free reading and am currently getting on with a book I bought a year ago!


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