Thursday, May 7, 2009

Anthropomorphism - it's about being human

In teaching the range of books that feature anthropomorphised characters, like Winnie-the-Pooh or Peter Rabbit, one of the issues has always been that these characters tell us more about humanity than about their actual species or otherwise.

Thus I delighted in this tale of a little tweenbot making its way through the park with the help of passers-by. As Kacie Kinzer remarks: "But of more interest to me was the fact that this ad-hoc crowdsourcing was driven primarily by human empathy for an anthropomorphized object. The journey the Tweenbots take each time they are released in the city becomes a story of people's willingness to engage with a creature that mirrors human characteristics of vulnerability, of being lost, and of having intention without the means of achieving its goal alone." With a smile on its little cardboard face, who could resist helping the tweenbot out? Even if it was just a bit of technology and cardboard?

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