The Real and “an experience”

This is the question (really, the paragraphs…) I emailed Jeff the other day.

I’ve been thinking about this concept of The Real that we’ve been talking about lately, as well as the concept of “an experience” from earlier. It seems that part of the definition of The Real that we’ve
been dealing with implies that a “thing” is more real when it is more easily incorporated into daily life…taking your mp3s everywhere with you so there’s a “soundtrack” for life, the ability ability to take
DJing anywhere via the Scratch system and mp3s on a laptop. To me, these aspects theoretically make listening to music or DJing less of “an experience.” In the case of the mp3s/iPod, listening to music is no longer really something that has a definitive beginning and end to separate it from the “experience” of everyday life. And as for DJing, from Will’s description it seems that in its first conception it truly was “an experience,” contributing to the community gatherings in a significant and definable way.

These are kind of just musings, but the basic point is that for me, there seems to be a disconnect between the developing concept of The Real and the definition of “an experience.” So, is there a way to
reconcile these ideas? Do they only seem contrary to each other because of these specific examples? Are the concepts of The Real and “an experience” not really that related? Is our class’s working definition of The Real just still in its formative stages?


  1. laurabrunetti

    hillary, i can definitely understand how the real and an experience in terms of portability seem contradictory. i do not believe that the two are inherently exclusive, however, and i suspect in this case of particular contexts with this specific unit of measurement(portability) it may seem that the two are in opposing positions.

    for me the real is constantly in a formative stage ever since the lecture we talked about the cartoon and music media evolution examples. i took from that lecture to try and think of the real in terms of something, as in there is no one true “real/reality” (or if there is, we can never truly get to it because things must always be filtered and interpreted based on our experiences/lifeworlds/horizons, so it does us no good to argue about it here); instead it depends on the unit of analysis/measurement whether one thing is more or less real than another. furthermore, thing A can then be both more and less real than thing B depending on differing units of analysis/measurement.

    that unit of analysis/measurement may be an experience versus experience, or it may be portability, etc. the real and an experience may in one context seem synonymous and in another instance completely antonymous.

    anyway, that’s where i stand on the whole thing at the moment. of course, tomorrow’s reality and my viewpoint may completely change. 🙂

  2. bharat

    thanks for the questions Hillary!
    To me, it seems there is no contradiction though. Because every experience is based on a context and that context is the reality. As we saw in Bruner’s article, every experience is based on reality. The reality in this case is that we live in a world moving towards ubicomp and pervasive computing wherein our music, emails etc. etc. also go with us wherever we go.
    For example, the reality on which the experience of listening to music from a vinyl record is based is different – that reality was a social construct of a world some 60 years back.
    Thus, it seems we cannot really compare the two experiences based on different realities.
    But, I agree with you that the concept of “real” perhaps needs a bit more deeper thought than we have seen till now.


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