At Peter Goodyear’s session, in the Networked Learning conference’s current ‘hot seat’ discussions, there was a fascinating discussion of the ‘virtual choir’ …

Singing in a choir is enjoyable for a number of reasons, one of which is creating harmonics/ harmonies live. So the virtual choir (“individual recoded elements that in turn were spliced together” as Jeffrey Keefer has it) – the virtual choir seems to almost undermine the sense in which music (in ensembles, whether vocal or instrumental) is, in many genres, about creating harmonies and chords, rather than individual notes.

But I must listen to the results! Perhaps it is a challenge (and an odd one) to see to what extent different musical ‘voices’ (in this case literally) can be recorded separately, and harmonized later – a very risky business., more usually done in a series of cumulative ‘over-dubbings’ (see the classic Tubular Bells, etc). If all the above is valid (?) then the ‘network’ provides not so much an affordances as a (substantial) challenge to individual/subgroup control of pitch.

So, in principle at least, this is in a sense a completely new type of networking affordance – to provide a ‘facility’ (ironically) to make things more challenging, or even more difficult, rather than easier.

Which in turn (?) makes me think that there must be other affordances of this kind – lets call them ‘paradoxical’ affordances (or even ‘ironic affordances’).

For instance, maybe the (by now) traditional discussion forum is also a paradoxical affordance, as it provides the challenge of developing and projecting a non-synchronous presence/voice, for which the usual ‘facility’ is grounded in the very different social space of F2F, synchronous interaction.

Makes me rethink the distinction I make between affordances and disfordances, and extrapolate that simple binary into a more ‘fractal’ conceptual map/framework, including at least paradoxical affordances. Whew! (See the diagrams for a forthcoming paper on affordances, here …)

And perhaps this ‘fractal extrapolation’ of ‘affordances’ applies to other networks (both virtual and material spaces) too, no?

Cross posted to here ...