Teaching Into the Void: Reflections on ‘blended’ learning and other digital amenities

Donatella Della Ratta

Research output: Non-textual form & short web contentWeb publication/siteProfessional


This essay combines the experiences of teachers and students* in the turn to ‘blended learning’ during the Covid-19 pandemic, to build prefatory theories of new, emergent phenomena—from the exhaustion produced by constant ‘self-gazing’ and its role in ‘zoom fatigue’, to the anxieties and oppressions of the dominant interfaces (The Tyranny of the Rectangle) and their consequential resistance techniques (Camera On, Or Camera Off: That is the Question). Through anecdotes and personal accounts, we will enter a founding critique and examination that aims to walk these interactions and isolations with both compassion and criticality, towards a counter-politics reliant on exposure, as well as poesis. A counter-politics that finds and forms itself in the aural rather than the visual (Intimacy Out of the Void), one that is most present (and most potent) in the ‘awkward moments’ of lags, lapses, glitches, bandwidth failures and frozen frames (In Praise of Awkwardness).

The emphasis lies throughout on withstanding naturalization and remaining in defiance of the ‘normalization’ efforts and narratives that pertain to all of the above. There is an urgency here.

This is a direct account, examination, and rebuttle, of what it means to be a teacher and a student during the techno-determinist moment of ‘the Corona Crisis’—a crises of education, embodiment, and alienation, in more ways than one.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherHogeschool van Amsterdam, Lectoraat Netwerkcultuur
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


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