Contemplative Photo-collage in Media Studies Pedagogy

Updated: Oct 3

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33008/IJCMR.2019.19 | Issue 2 | September 2019

Kevin Healey

University of New Hampshire

 

Abstract

This project demonstrates an arts-based photo collage exercise developed in the context of an undergraduate seminar on Contemplative Media Studies at the University of New Hampshire. While it is readily adaptable for non-educational contexts, the primary goal of the exercise is to slow down, interrupt, and move beyond students’ habitual patterns of social media-based news consumption. By integrating both analog and digital arts-based elements, the exercise serves as a type of counter-practice to the ideological biases of commercialized digital media systems. The news content featured in this demonstration involves a family of asylum-seeking Honduran refugees who were caught in a tear-gas exchange with U.S. Border Patrol agents in Tijuana, Mexico in November 2018. A primary goal of this project is to critically reflect upon the limitations of news reporting and consumption in the context of the digital economy. A secondary goal is to develop new, more embodied and/or material ways of producing and disseminating fact-based content. By integrating arts-based and contemplative methods, these exercises enhance mindful news consumption by moving beyond the binaries of the personal and the collective, the mind and the heart.

 

Introduction

This project demonstrates an arts-based exercise developed for use in a classroom setting with undergraduate majors in Communication and Media Studies. The exercise falls under the general umbrella of Contemplative Media Studies (CMS), which I have defined elsewhere as the application of contemplative practices and principles to the critical analysis of media content, technologies, and institutions (Healey, 2015: 7). In this case, students engage in a contemplative photo collage exercise, the goal of which is to reorient their perspective on social media-based news consumption. The arts-based elements of the exercise are clear (primarily photography, collage), and as is generally the case in arts-based research (ABR) they serve as a way of using artistic processes to understand experience (see Leavy, 2018: 3-4). What makes the process contemplative is that, beyond catalyzing understanding of an issue via artistic techniques, it aims also to cultivate a particular form of self-awareness that contemplative scholars call ‘critical subjectivity,’ which involves ‘noticing and re-seeing habitual ways of being’ (Kinane, 2019: 8). Perhaps more importantly, it explicitly affords opportunities for forms of character development (empathy, compassion) that have distinctly transformative social potential (Komjathy, 2015: 16). Insofar as contemplative practice engages creativity for the purpose of personal and collective transformation (see Kinane 2019: 8, 13), there is great potential in integrating contemplative and arts-based research. With troubling or disturbing news-reported images as their starting point, an intended outcome of this particular exercise is to move beyond habitual forms of news consumption that tend to leave undisturbed, if not reinforce, the political-economic status quo that gave rise to such images in the first place.

 

Emotional and Informational Gatekeeping

In the era of cable television and social media, following the news may be easier than ever from a strictly informational standpoint. But U.S.-based research shows that the public feels conflicted about the process of news reporting and consumption. Survey respondents say that most topics get plenty of coverage, and over half say it is easier to keep up with news today than five years ago (Purcell et al., 2010). Yet 70% agreed that the amount of news and information available is ‘overwhelming.’ Roughly half say social media had little impact on their understanding of current events, while about a third say its impact is positive and half as many say it is negative.

 

Within those numbers, there are interesting variations by political affiliation and age: Democrats and younger people, for example, generally have a more positive impression of social media’s impact on their understanding of news. At the same time, researchers suggest that the public’s overall trust in the news ecosystem is increasingly fragile as tech companies disrupt traditional flows of information and position themselves as powerful informational and editorial gatekeepers (see Sivek, 2018: 126). This sense of distrust is one contributing factor to the widespread influence of fake news and propaganda during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

 

In fact, the affective dimensions of news consumption are especially complex in the era of social media. First, for a number of business and legal reasons, social media companies like Facebook downplay or deny their role as news and information gatekeepers. They prefer to frame themselves rhetorically as technology companies, and quite specifically not as media companies. Second, even as they avoid responsibility for their role in the news media ecosystem, they move aggressively to develop strategies and techniques for tracking and influencing users’ emotions. Emotion analytics, or sentiment analysis, is a flourishing field that aims to translate users’ emotional states into data that can be aggregated and processed, usually for commercial purposes (i.e. selling advertisements) (Wright, 2009). Third-party services and platforms themselves seek to understand how users feel about each other, about themselves, about news events, and about commercial products (Kennedy, 2012: 435).

 

The history of such forms of analysis precedes the era of Web 2.0 and social media, and can be used for the public good. ‘Affective computing’ has been employed, for example, as part of a range of services to enhance autistic persons’ ability to recognize emotions in others (Sivek, 2018: 126). More often, though, commercial companies leverage sentiment analysis to nudge users toward certain behavior or patterns of thought and engagement. Facebook might, for example, want to provide targeted advertising based on a users’ current mood; or it might want to favor emotionally positive content in a user’s News Feed to encourage more sharing, more ‘likes,’ or other forms of engagement.

 

To be clear, I am not advocating for an artificial separation of news and emotion, in the name of some outdated notion of objectivity. It is important to recognize and appreciate the affective dimensions of news consumption and civic engagement. In fact, there are a range of scenarios within which users, tech companies, and news agencies can and should engage current events with both heart and mind, emotion and reason. As Sivek notes, ‘legitimate journalists use emotional imagery and narratives often to help audiences understand the significance of news topics’ (2018: 130).

 

Unfortunately, and especially in the absence of well-established ethical guidelines and governmental regulation, the dynamics of social media do not favour the virtues of judiciousness, thoughtfulness, or compassion. Instead they favour aggressively-engaged vices such as tribalism and hyper-partisanship, along with special forms of civic disengagement that Draper and Turow (2019) call ‘digital resignation.’ The affective ecology of social media (in conjunction with the commercial interests of cable news and broadcast radio) amplifies whatever latent or manifest partisanship already exists on the ground. This makes social media a ripe field for the creation and dissemination of propaganda. As Vaidhyanathan (2018) argues, the real scandal of Facebook’s role in the 2016 U.S.

 

Presidential election is not that it was hacked against its will by malicious trolls, but that it was in fact used precisely as it was designed to be used –most worryingly by Russian operatives who wished to foment partisan rancor, confusion, and distrust in the American news media. American-based companies like Data Propria are already gearing up for targeted political campaigns in the build-up to the 2020 election.

 

As influential gatekeepers of news and media content, the problem with social media is twofold. First, platforms can be used with malicious intent to manipulate public sentiment via fake news and disinformation. Second, the same platforms can be used with arguably benign or ‘neutral’ moral intent (i.e. commercial success), but with impacts no less troubling. The second problem is arguably more insidious than the first, if we care about news consumption as the cornerstone of democratic life and meaningful civic engagement, and not simply as a commodity to be sold to advertisers in the digital market. When news consumption is reduced to ‘engagement’ via likes, retweets, comments, etc., we lose meaningful engagement in favor of the fleeting experience of moral sanctimony or performative morality. In this way, as theologian Walter Brueggemann argues, the ‘ethos of consumerism’ amounts to a programme of ‘achievable satiation’ – one which appeals to our moral sensibility but is ultimately ‘concerned only with self-satisfaction’ and as such tends to leave the political status quo intact (2001: 41-42).

 

Even if we bracket egregious cases where social media companies or third parties aim specifically to manipulate user sentiment, typical patterns of social media news consumption fall within certain parameters of behavior and affect. Companies like Facebook want to encourage ‘engagement’ of the sort that can be neatly packaged and sold to advertisers. More time on an app, and more interactions with the app (likes, shares, posts, etc.) are a top priority. Facebook researchers have sought specifically to understand how they might encourage positive user emotions by tweaking content algorithms, presumably because users who feel good will stay engaged and share more. But negative emotions, at least from the standpoint of data collection and time spent online, are equally valuable if not more so than positive ones – anger, fear, and contempt reveal just as much about us, and are often more engaging (consider how often people get stuck in a comment-thread argument from which they cannot easily escape).

 

While extreme emotional states may be good for engagement, companies do well if users reach a relatively stable plateau of mindless scrolling and low-level interaction. Critics have compared this habitual form of interaction to the ‘narcotic-like properties’ of slot machines, where for example someone might sit for hours pulling the handle of a slot machine (Schulson, 2015). The moment of peak excitement (jackpot) may never come, but the expectation that it might is enough to sustain the flow of coins from the gambler’s pocket to the casino’s owners. In either case – the extremes of tribal, partisan engagement and the addictive slot-machine repetitiveness –the user experiences a degraded form, if not a mere simulation of, social agency. By design, users do not understand (and in fact cannot understand, given the opaque nature of proprietary code structures) how platform algorithms are designed to limit or nudge their emotions and behavior.

 

In this sense, the rhetoric of executives like Mark Zuckerberg and Cheryl Sandberg, who describe Facebook as a forum for authentic self-expression, rings hollow (see Healey and Potter, 2018). Such rhetoric is misleading at best, if not intentionally obfuscating. In fact, Draper and Turow (2019) argue that companies deploy this kind of misleading rhetoric precisely to encourage among users an attitude of resignation toward the dark underbelly (surveillance, lack of data privacy, aggregation and commodification of data) of the platforms they otherwise enjoy.

 

While young people (e.g. undergraduate students) are exposed to plenty of news, and while they may express a positive regard for the role of social media in aiding their understanding of current events, research shows that emotional and cognitive responses to news usually occurs without students’ awareness. Younger viewers only recognize the level of exposure upon reflection, and then realize that they do not process news consciously (Sivek, 2018: 131; see also Klurfeld and Schneider, 2014). Consider Sivek’s description of the most common user behavior on social media:

 

It would seem that even scrolling quickly through social media feeds laden with emotionally provocative content could contribute to a users’ affective conditioning regarding news stories and newsmakers, thereby altering over time the user’s judgment of them. Representation of emotion, whether words or images, may only be subliminally perceived during such scrolling, yet still affect audiences’ evaluation of information (2018: 129).

 

In addition to the subliminal nature of affective conditioning, the temporal pressures on content (constant need for news ‘scoops,’ up-to-the-second personal updates, etc.) has been shown to ‘reduce the opportunity for analytic deliberation… allowing affective considerations free rein’ (Sivek, 2018: 129). Her point is that the dynamics of social media favour not a balanced integration of heart and mind, but a mindless provocation of emotion by means opaque to users, and for purposes that are arguably at odds with users’ best intentions and interests. Again, my argument here is that, contrary to the explicit declarations of people like Zuckerberg and Sandberg, agency and authenticity is not at all what platforms like Facebook encourage or cultivate among users – unless we define an authentic life as one in which our every thought and emotion is posted online, captured for analysis, and sold to marketers.

 

Contemplative Art as Counter-practice

Once we recognise how commercial interests shape the dynamics of online content and behaviour, it becomes clear that the role of emotion in understanding and decision-making is an important element of any program of ‘media literacy.’ So, what is there to do? How do we move beyond ‘digital resignation’? As Draper and Turow suggest, trending hashtags like #DeleteFacebook are better seen as symptoms than solutions. Rather than rejecting social media how can we, as users and researchers, engage it on our own terms – or at least in ways that subvert the subliminal process of affective conditioning that Sivek describes?

To be clear, I am not positing artistic practice, however contemplative in nature, as the solution to the problems I’ve identified above. Meaningful transformation of the digital environment rests on a ‘three-legged stool’ of regulation, technology, and a broad shift in cultural norms (Draper, 2019: 218). Nevertheless, my argument here is that the path to such broad structural reform begins with, or at least includes as a constitutive element, the development of specific counter-practices – that is, exercises or rituals that upend habitual ways of thinking and acting, and which thereby open up possibilities for imagining alternate ways of being with and ‘doing’ digital media.

 

Insofar as they include a contemplative dimension, such practices enable what Bruggemann calls the ‘prophetic imagination’ – a mode of thinking and being that challenges established structures of authority. Rather than resignation, such imagination cultivates a radical hope (2001: 11). In her discussion of media literacy (and specifically news literacy), Sivek explicitly advocates for mindfulness practice as a tool for ‘increasing news consumers’ awareness of their emotions and reducing their “cognitive failures” regarding the information they see’ (2018: 131). ‘Assignments and exercises could encourage students’ awareness of news exposure and of their emotional responses to it, thereby encouraging further analysis of emotions spurred by provocative real or fake news content’ (Sivek, 2018: 132). What such exercises aim to cultivate is not simply knowledge about media institutions, or facility in media production, but what some Thai educators call ‘media wisdom’ (Sivek, 2018: 131). I adopt this phrase here because it captures the element of authentic agency I wish to cultivate among students.

 

Case Study: Other Lands Whisper ‘Maybe’

The video embedded below demonstrates a multi-step process that is easy to reproduce in a classroom or workshop setting. This demonstration takes as its starting point an image of Maria Lila Meza Castro and her three daughters. This photo, taken by Reuters reporter Kim Kyung-Hoon, captures the moment after U.S. Border Patrol agents used tear gas to disperse asylum-seekers at the border of Tijuana (Cunningham, 2018). It is the type of emotionally-laden image that one might encounter (e.g. while scrolling through a Facebook News Feed) without pausing long enough or purposefully enough for meaningful engagement. The steps in this collage process interrupt that habitual cycle of mindless and/or emotionally unreflective news consumption. Furthermore, as an arts-based method the exercise aims to ‘make conscious and to give clarity, form, and meaning to the human phenomena under investigation’ (Leavy, 2018: 596). Immigration is the subject at hand here, but other contentious or timely topics work just as well. Students should select an initial image and read any relevant news reports that provide necessary context for understanding its significance.

 

 

Step 1: Close-up Selection

Having selected a viral news image and having read contextualizing news reports, the first step in the collage process is what contemplative scholars call ‘beholding.’ This goal here is to replace a typical fleeting view with ‘a contemplative way of seeing.’ Beholding is a way of ‘being with images’ that includes attention to one’s emotional and physical responses to an image. The effect is to encourage ‘appreciation and relatedness rather than abstraction and distancing’ (Barbezat and Bush, 2014: 149-150).

 

As the video shows, in this step we take a moment to notice, and move beyond, the most striking and obvious elements of the image – in this case Castro and her daughters. With a colored marker, we notice and highlight other elements of the image that are meaningful, perhaps symbolic or metaphorical, but which are not as obvious. In this case, I have highlighted the shadows cast by the Castro family on the dusty soil. That area of the image also includes some of the whitish gas emitted by a tear-gas canister.

 

From a contemplative standpoint, beholding an image in this way helps us move beyond the abstract, linear thinking that typically accompanies reading news reports. ‘When we look at an image,’ Bush and Barbezat explain, ‘we see it all at once, as a whole’ (2014: 149). By discovering additional hidden elements of the image (hidden, that is, by habits of thought), we engage our emotional response to the image and question our conditioned responses. The creative element of choosing a close-up area creates a sense of agency, ownership, and emotional investment in the image that carries into the next steps of the process. In other words, we become involved (or, as we will explain later, ‘entangled’) in the event and its participants.

 

Step 2: Close-up Cut-out

As the video shows, I chose tear gas and shadows as a sub-element of the original image – objects with latent symbolism that both the artist and viewer can engage. Such symbolism may not always be easy to find, and it is not necessary to explicitly require such elements as part of the exercise. But one might ask, during or after the process, whether any symbolism is present. If so, it does lend additional meaning to the process. As Leavy explains, a symbol is ‘a very efficient carrier of vital energy, memory, knowledge, and experience’ (2018: 595).

In any case, in this step we print out an enlarged version of the close-up selection and then, using an X-Acto knife, cut out the figure elements from the background. While the first step involves an element of embodied engagement with the image, this step is important because it takes that engagement to another level. ‘The kinetic is considered to hold the embodiment of memory, the somatosensory orientation to our bodies in the world,’ Leavy explains (2018: 593). Here, we must slow down not only to cut the image neatly, but to avoid cutting into our own flesh. This part of the exercise heightens the potential for embodied, emotional, and sensory-based ways of knowing – known in ABR as aesthetic epistemology (Leavy, 2018: 592).

 

Step 3: Layering

Once the close-up section has been printed and the figure cut from the ground, we create a heightened sense of space by layering the cut-outs over the original image. In this case, I found a rectangular piece of glass that I removed from an end-table, and placed it on four wine corks. The cut-out pieces are about 1.5 inches above the original image. Other material variations would work just as well—children’s wood blocks, small wood stamps, etc. This part of the process requires some aesthetic judgment: What should I block from view? What should I reveal or partially reveal? Should I preserve the original orientation, or rotate it? There are two benefits to this step. First, it requires more active engagement and decision-making on the part of the artist. In this sense it responds to Sivek’s concerns about emotion, understanding, and decision-making in media literacy as described above. Second, it introduces a sense of ambiguity since it raises questions about the relative importance of different elements of the image. In other words, it represents visually the disruption of habitual patterns of news consumption described above as a primary goal of the exercise. Ambiguity is an important concept in ABR because it opens avenues of creative insight, encouraging a willing embrace of uncertainty about what we are seeing and our interpretation of it. On this point, Leavy draws an explicit connection to contemplative practices, since such practices also encourage embracing uncertainty as an avenue to transformation (2018: 594).

 

Step 4: Photography

As shown in the video, this step introduces opportunities to play with light and shadow (which in this case coincidentally relates to the symbolism of the close-up). The space between the raised cut-outs and the original image can be leveraged to create additional aesthetic comments on the relative importance of different aspects of the image. Moving a clamp light or adjustable desk lamp creates shadows of different intensities, sizes, and directions. The goal here is to be playful with light and shadow. Experiment, and take a good number of photographs for later viewing. Err on the side of abundant experimentation.

 

Step 5: Digital Image Editing

In this step we return fully to the digital realm, having made a brief but meaningful excursion into the analog environment. While digital editing software can easy simulate the kind of lighting, shadow, and close-up effects created in the prior steps, it cannot create the embodied experience of printing, highlighting, cutting, etc. This step leverages the relative with which applications like Photoshop can manipulate colour, hue, and other aesthetic elements. This is helpful especially for students who have little or no experience with sophisticated image-editing software. Adjusting saturation, hue, brightness, and contrast is easy enough for inexperienced students, yet powerful enough to be an essential avenue for aesthetic expression for advanced users.

 

The video does not show the step-by-step process whereby I manipulated the photographs from Step 4. There are plenty of Photoshop tutorials online. Instead, the video shows the progression from original image to final collage, as captured at three or four key moments in the creative process. The examples in the video are not meant to be instructive but inspirational. Each student will have unique associations between colour, emotion, and content. The primary goal of this step is to use digital editing software as a tool to explore these associations, and to create a final edited image that best represents the artist’s engagement with, and reflection upon, the subject at hand. Several versions of the final collage are embedded with this essay. Two of these final pieces appear in Raw Art Review (Healey, 2019).

 

 

A Note on Musical Accompaniment

I composed the music accompanying this video through a process of poetic transcription, based on published interviews with Maria Castro. In summary, I copied and pasted all of Castro’s statements (translated into English) into a separate document, distilled these statements into a sonnet, and set the sonnet to music. This process is involved enough to warrant its own essay. Suffice it to say the process is emotionally engaging in a similar way to the collage exercise described here. I included the music as a background element in the video both to demonstrate the potential of this alternate form of ABR and to heighten the emotional intensity of the video demonstration.

 

Discussion

As noted above, both contemplative studies and arts-based research have a clear focus on ethics. Contemplative practice accomplishes more than stress-relief. It is transformational in terms of character development, which includes one’s being-in-the-world with others who matter. As Karen Barad notes, ‘ethics is about mattering, about taking account of the entangled materializations of which we are part, including new configurations, new subjectivities, new possibilities’ (quoted in Leavy, 2018: 639). The exercise described here aims to call attention to our entanglement with digital technologies, institutions, and content. We produce them, but they produce our subjectivities as well. The process is iterative and emergent in ways that are ethically fraught. Users, citizens, and technologists alike have a responsibility to question and actively participate in the ongoing formation of digital subjectivities. Neither resignation, nor complacency, nor naïve idealism are viable options for a sustainable future.

 

The theoretical approach taken here is one of ‘agential realism,’ which aims to move beyond the naiveté of empiricism, the essentialism of critical inquiry, and the self-indulgent irony of post-structuralism (Leavy, 2018: 635-636). As a framework for ABR, agential realism attends to the materiality of the world, the entanglement of artists and the materials they creatively engage. ‘The material also shapes the artist,’ as Leavy notes (2018: 643). Research does not simply describe reality. When it leverages emotion, it does not simply reproduce the artist’s ethical awareness in viewers. Research creates, or co-creates, multiple possible realities through the interaction of human and non-human agents (ibid., 637). In this case, those non-human agents include the paper we cut, the glass we balance on wine corks, the lights we clamp and adjust. Perhaps more importantly, they include the digital applications we use to discover and transform a viral image; the coded algorithms that select content for us while enabling us to share our own work. From the perspective of media studies scholarship, this type of integrated analog/digital process allows researchers and students to become entangled with media in ways that serve an ontological purpose – namely to envision, and generate, new modes of entanglement. The point is not to escape digital culture, but to become newly, differently entangled within it. Most importantly, the pedagogical goal here is to displace and subvert the gatekeeping power of the human engineers and business operators of digital platforms, as well as the material affordances of already-created, non-human platforms. In this sense, there is ‘an ontologically substantive performative aspect to our inquiries, a way in which our research designs and practices constitute the phenomena we study, and they in turn constitute us as subjects’ (Leavy, 2018: 643).

 

This theoretical approach within ABR is consistent with contemporary perspectives in science and technology studies. In ABR, the idea that material systems have their own agency – their own purposes with and against which we struggle as human designers and users – is like saying that a seed has its own agency and purpose. This does not mean that the seed is conscious, or that it has intentions toward which it strives. As Leavy explains, it means instead that it ‘organizes environmental materials into the general order of cherry tree’ (2018: 641). Not a specific tree of certain size or shape, but whatever tree-like form might arise from the particular soil in which it is planted, with the nourishment of whatever rains fall.

 

A similar perspective permeates science and technology studies, in both popular and scholarly forms. For example, in both The Inevitable and What Technology Wants, technologist Kevin Kelly argues that technical development has direction to it but is nevertheless unpredictable, generating unforeseen consequences as it emerges from, and interacts with, the human and non-human systems that surround it (Kelly, 2016; 2010). Similarly, and in a more academic vein of argument, Kentaro Toyama (2015) outlines a theory of ‘amplification,’ where the human context on the ground heavily influences the long-term impact of a newly-introduced technology.

 

For example, social media might be inevitable but not necessarily Facebook. The seed of digital network technology, planted in the unique soil of American commercial markets, has generated a unique fruit indeed. When that unique fruit, and its seeds, spread to foreign markets the process creates a whole new context of interaction and entanglement. The results often exceed or escape the original vision of the gardener/engineer, yet are consistent with the general ‘purpose’ of the technology. Indeed, whether the various fruits of social media are nutritious or poisonous to the quality of public discourse is a question that has only recently come into the forefront of public and legislative attention. Siva Vaidhyanathan (2018) argues that in Russia’s propaganda campaign during the 2016 election, Facebook was doing exactly what it was designed to do, despite the protests my Mark Zuckerberg and others about their intentions and the safeguards they implemented. The purpose of Facebook, and the way it acts as an agent in relation to other agents in the world, is too complex to be contained either within Mark Zuckerberg (or Facebook’s) conception of itself. To be sure, Zuckerberg’s philosophy has always exerted ideological agency in shaping the social media landscape. But Zuckerberg did not anticipate, nor does he or Facebook have a grip on, the interaction of Facebook with more nefarious ideological agents: racism, sexism, or ethnocentrism for example. Other stakeholders besides tech leaders –namely users and legislators – cannot assume the moral neutrality of social media. In this sense all stakeholders bear some responsibility in shaping our social media futures.

 

Conclusion

In this article and video demonstration, I have argued that contemplative, arts-based pedagogy can enable students (as future users, developers, and citizens) to exercise greater responsibility in shaping our socio-technical future. The collage-based work offered here aims to cultivate not just informational awareness, but empathy and compassion – an integrated engagement with news content that is too often lacking in the social media ecosystem. Whether such exercises are effective and successful depends not on how they are received as pieces of art. The point, in other words, is not for students to create ‘great’ works of art. It is the process that matters more than the product. As Leavy explains, at its best ABR ‘invites people to imagine new possible entanglements with the professions and social challenges of our day’ (Leavy, 2018: 644).

 

The exercise described here thus aims to answer Sivek’s call for a more nuanced definition of media and news literacy. Emotion has the ability to ‘lubricate reason’ in a way that is both wondrous in its speed and subtlety, and frightening in its potential to render us vulnerable to manipulation (Slovic et al. 2007: 1349; quoted in Sivek, 2018: 132-133). We need to develop special practices so that ‘when we see emotionally provocative news content and realize that emotional manipulation may be occurring, we can attempt to short-circuit that process and engage that information in a more cognizant manner’ (Sivek 2018: 134). My intent is for other researchers to adapt, modify, and share variations of this exercise and the products thereof – to plant the seed, so to speak, for other contemplative media scholars, knowing that its purpose will unfold in unexpected and inspirational ways that we cannot entirely anticipate.

 

Acknowledgement

This project is supported by Public Theologies of Technology and Presence, a research initiative based at the Institute of Buddhist Studies and funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.

 

References

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