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Which clippings match 'Smooth Phenomenal Space' keyword pg.1 of 1
17 NOVEMBER 2014

Mapping the geography of childhood playscapes

"In 1972, the British–born geography student Roger Hart settled on an unusual project for his dissertation. He moved to a rural New England town and, for two years, tracked the movements of 86 children in the local elementary school, to create what he called a 'geography of children,' including actual maps that would show where and how far the children typically roamed away from home. Usually research on children is conducted by interviewing parents, but Hart decided he would go straight to the source. The principal of the school lent him a room, which became known as 'Roger's room,' and he slowly got to know the children. Hart asked them questions about where they went each day and how they felt about those places, but mostly he just wandered around with them. Even now, as a father and a settled academic, Hart has a dreamy, puckish air. Children were comfortable with him and loved to share their moments of pride, their secrets. Often they took him to places adults had never seen before–playhouses or forts the kids had made just for themselves.

Hart's methodology was novel, but he didn't think he was recording anything radical. Many of his observations must have seemed mundane at the time. For example: 'I was struck by the large amount of time children spend modifying the landscape in order to make places for themselves and for their play.' But reading his dissertation today feels like coming upon a lost civilization, a child culture with its own ways of playing and thinking and feeling that seems utterly foreign now. The children spent immense amounts of time on their own, creating imaginary landscapes their parents sometimes knew nothing about. The parents played no role in their coming together–'it is through cycling around that the older boys chance to fall into games with each other,' Hart observed. The forts they built were not praised and cooed over by their parents, because their parents almost never saw them.

Through his maps, Hart discovered broad patterns: between second and third grade, for instance, the children's 'free range'–the distance they were allowed to travel away from home without checking in first–tended to expand significantly, because they were permitted to ride bikes alone to a friend's house or to a ball field. By fifth grade, the boys especially gained a 'dramatic new freedom' and could go pretty much wherever they wanted without checking in at all. (The girls were more restricted because they often helped their mothers with chores or errands, or stayed behind to look after younger siblings.) To the children, each little addition to their free range–being allowed to cross a paved road, or go to the center of town–was a sign of growing up. The kids took special pride, Hart noted, in 'knowing how to get places,' and in finding shortcuts that adults wouldn't normally use."

(Hanna Rosin, April 2014, The Atlantic)

Roger Hart (1979). "Children's Experience of Place", Irvington.



1972 • ad-hoc geographies • alone but not lonely • being allowed • childhood agency • creating imaginary landscapes • dissertation project • elementary school • environmental psychology • environments for children • fifth grade • free range playgrowing upHanna Rosin • how children learn • how children play • kid-oriented experienceslearning by doing • making places • modifying landscape • New England • observation (data collection) • open spacesopen-ended play spaces • overprotection • patterns of usepersonal autonomypersonal freedompersonal responsibility • places for children • play fort • playhouses • playscapes • riding bikes • risk-taking • Roger Hart • route mapscriptible spaces • second grade • smooth phenomenal spacesocial constructionismsocial geographysocial researchspaces for childrenthird gradeurban mapping


Simon Perkins
16 NOVEMBER 2014

The school which encourages risk-taking through open-ended play

"It sounds like a child's dream and a parent's nightmare – a school with no rules. But at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, a blind eye is turned at break time while the kids run amok outside. Dani Isdale joins the children as they climb trees, skid around on bikes and fire makeshift weapons – it's all allowed and even encouraged.

'The need to wrap up our kids in cotton wool and not give them an opportunity to hurt themselves – you are actually taking away a lot of learning opportunities,' says principal Bruce McLachlan. When playtime ends, serious learning begins and he says the children are much more receptive, confident and cooperative after their 'free range' play. But he does admit to Dani that there is just one rule – the kids aren't allowed to kill each other. They love it, but do parents think he's gone too far?"

(Dani Isdale, 21 October 2014, SBS Dateline)

[Bruce McLachlan, the principal of Swanson School in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand believes that 'wrapping children in cotton wool' is more risky in the long–term than giving them the freedom to set their own rules in the playground]




Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) • ad-hocagency of access and engagementanarchic freedomAotearoa New ZealandAuckland • breaktime • Bruce McLachlan • climbing trees • cobbled togetherexploration of unfolding possibilitiesexposure to riskfree range play • Grant Schofield • health and safety cultureimpromptu playimprovisationjerry-builtjunk playgroundlearning by doingmake-do playgroundsmakeshift • makeshift weapons • no rules • open spacesopen-ended play spacesparticipatory processpersonal responsibilityplace for childrenplay spacesplayscapesplaytimerisk-taking • SBS • SBS Dateline • school principal • scriptible spacessmooth phenomenal spacesocial constructionismspaces for children • Swanson School • turning a blind eye • universal no-fault personal accident injury scheme • wrapping children in cotton woo


Simon Perkins
14 NOVEMBER 2014

Smooth and striated interactions between sound and digital technologies

"In the plateau '1440: The Smooth and Striated' from their book A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Deleuze and Guattari propose a distinction between smooth and striated space. Presenting a dialectical construction of space in which 'the two spaces in fact exist only in mixture' they argue 'smooth space is constantly being translated, transversed into a striated space, striated space is constantly being reversed, returned to a smooth space' [46]. In particular the technological model of smooth and striated space Deleuze and Guattari put forward serves as a useful construction of the interaction between sound and digital technologies. Using the example of fabric, Deleuze and Guattari explain a conception of striated space in which there are 'two kinds of parallel elements; in the simplest case there are vertical and horizontal elements, and the two intertwine, intersect perpendicularly' [47].

Performing different functions, one of these remains fixed, the other mobile, as demonstrated by one piece of thread remaining in place while another interweaves, or transverses, it or by the x–axis of time in a digital sound buffer which remains linear, straight, as its corresponding y–axis of amplitude simultaneously traces and diverges from it. It is crucial that 'a striated space of this kind is necessarily delimited, closed on at least one side', as 'fabric can be infinite in length but not in width' and though time does not constrain sound the limited headroom of digital audio means amplitude must [48]. Technological striated spaces are constructed with top and bottom, as belied by the seams of fabric or bit depth of digital sound [49]. Digital sound involves a constant process of translation in which sound moves between the smooth phenomenal space of actualized sonority and the striated space of potential that is the digital domain, while still presenting a smooth space of its own, and so is itself nothing more than a functional abstraction."

(Ben Byrne, 2009)

Byrne, B. (2009). "Digital Sound: On Technology, Infidelity and Potentiality". Totally Huge New Music Festival Conference. Edith Cowan University, Perth.


2009 • actualised sonority • amplitude • bit depth • cloth • dialectical construction • digital audio • digital sound • digital technologiesfabricFelix Guattarifunctional abstractionGilles Deleuze • headroom • infinite length • intersect perpendicularly • intertwine • interweave • mixture • parallel elements • Perth • process of translation • recording in analogue • recording sound • smooth and striated interactions • smooth phenomenal spacesmooth space • sonority • sound • sound capture • spacestriated space • technological striated space • thread • transverse • warp • warp and woof • weaving • weft • woof • x-axis • y-axis


Simon Perkins

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