Knowing with New Media



Codes and matrices

The Ripples model suggests a few concepts and strategies applicable within various disciplinary activities, which may assist in the progress
and evaluation of creative activities.

Let's begin with Arthur Koestler’s (1989) concept of matrices and codes.
In illustrating this concept, Koestler uses the example of a spider’s craft of engineering its web. According to Koestler, the spider's work
is guided by a biological algorithm, ‘a fixed code of rules built into the spider’s nervous system’ (p. 38). The fixed code of rules guides the spider to define and connect the topographically most suitable points for the web’s attachment. The sequential steps in the construction of the web are a fixed code. For example, the centre of the web is always at its centre of gravity. However, the ‘lie-of-the-land’— the topography and by extension, specific conditions of the particular area and circumstances; as well as the physical property of spider’s body size and weight — regulates the web-engineering to its maximum usability resulting in its individual uniqueness.

In other words, the process of engineering a functional spider's web
is guided by the balance between the fixed codes of rules and variable factors of matrices.

We can draw a parallel with this analogy and contemporary education by saying that if students follow the rules of the code while excluding their individual agencies from acting upon their personal interests and peculiarities used within given circumstances, the outcome can be rendered unsustainable. The intention of reconnection, placed at the heart of the Ripples' learning, aims to reconstruct the broken circularity of codes and matrices; as together they form a synergetic alliance that facilitates the emergence of creative strategies leading to the expansion of knowledge.


Ripples of the Ripplework

Codes Matrices

'Pluses and minuses, apples and oranges, anything you please—can be used to express
or signify messages'.

William Friedman, 1963

William Friedmans


Arthur Koestler


The words above, expressed by an acclaimed cryptographer, William Friedman, are significant in understanding the codes matrices circularity of the Ripples' creative semiotics — cinematic writing.

In making meaning, the Ripples' knower hinges on the logic of the existing fixed system of functional communication, such
as linguistics, mathematics, physics, chemistry, music, chess, and so on. These are the systems of representing meaning-making. They are the rules of the game, the codes.

At the same time, by exploring and employing various modalities of expressions afforded by new media, the knower customises existing codes in accordance with personal needs and preferences.

Tailoring Friedman's words to the Ripples' system of communication, it can be said:
signs, symbols, colours, shapes, texture, compositions, movements and sounds are used to compose codes to signify meaning.



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