"Feeling pedagogy’s affective and material flashpoints in the science fiction animation 'Zima Blue'” in Flashpoint Epistemology Volume 1: Arts and Humanities-Based Rethinkings of Interconnection, Technologies, and Education

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Informed by Julietta Singh’s call for a dehumanist education to defy calcified colonial desires of human mastery and classification, this chapter takes a new materialist approach to excavate pedagogy’s flashpoints present in “Zima Blue,” an episode from the 2019 science fiction animated series, Love, Death & Robots. The episode follows Zima, a brilliant and cybernetically augmented artist whose work focuses on a specific shade of blue before the unveiling of their final masterpiece. The narrative ontologically unsettles human/nonhuman boundaries and demonstrates how this unsettling can disrupt subject-object distinctions taken for granted in contemporary educational habits despite the increasing entanglement of artificial intelligence and similar technologies. The chapter addresses three flashpoints: the material pull of the color blue, how Zima troubles the presumed educational subject, and the unruliness of pedagogical transformation. I suggest that paying attention to the affective and material dimensions of Zima’s blurred bodily distinctions between machine, artist, and artist-machine provokes the emergence of pedagogical flashpoints forefronting ethical and entangled ways of relating to others and things in the world.

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