Visual Thinking Strategy

A VTS Discussion with First Grade Students from Visual Thinking Strategies on Vimeo.

(source) In his 1997 article Thoughts on Visual Literacy, Philip Yenawine describes visual literacy as:

“…the ability to find meaning in imagery. It involves a set of skills ranging from simple identification (naming what one sees) to complex interpretation on contextual, metaphoric and philosophical levels. Many aspects of cognition are called upon, such as personal association, questioning, speculating, analyzing, fact-finding, and categorizing. Objective understanding is the premise of much of this literacy, but subjective and affective aspects of knowing are equally important.”

The three fundamental questions of Visual Thinking Strategy:

VTS

Abigail Housen and, later partnered with Yenawine, structure a theory of development around the experience of art. It has become popular as a basis for pedagogy in some schools, in many museums, and, as a foundational practice for art teachers and docents. (See: VTS Basic Manual: Learning To Think And Communicate Through Art; Housen, and Theory into Practice: The Visual Thinking Strategies, Yenawine. The latter article is available at VTShome.

VTS is very close to being in alignment with my own artmaking ethos, except it is missing the body. The body in this case is the viewing subject.

Here are four questions that could restore the body in the process of aesthetic inquiry:

(1) What do your findings feel like as emotions?

(2) What do your findings feel like in your body?

(3) Characterize your sense of your own experience?

(4) What are you doing to understand your experience?

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Speed Factors and Bell Curves

FreePlay June 11_5052

They, the Free Play assembly, refers to me as ‘Cap’ or Commish, and, it was Kolb who dubbed me the ‘handicapper.’ I’ve been making the Sunday morning line-up out since the season of 2004. As I have had occasion to remind people, the handicapping task goes along with a leadership task I obtained in 2004 by also taking over the on and off season care of the equipment.

For my own part, I consider myself additionally to be the one who fulfills the roles, variously and often situationally deployed, of peacemaker, group therapist, herald, dictator, pastoral counselor, and parent.

Most of the players take me completely for granted. This is okay simply because I am also in the role of researcher, and this is best done under the radar. This season I have asked for help and so Free Play Softball has implemented a council of elders.

Last Sunday I became upset. It happens. Sometimes handicapper is confused with the projection of being a fixer or the softball equal of a button man. In truth, I attempt to forge a close game, and better than half the time I am successful. Other times what I term principal dynamic factors have their negative way, and these help make the outliers of the Bell Curve. These factors reflect one well known truism and another statistical nuance. The truism is that the team that fields the ball better gains a substantial advantage. Almost all the runs in our games are unearned. Players tend to overrate their fielding ability, yet, as handicapper, almost everybody is inconsistent, and is rated as such.

The other factor is that the better hitters regress to the mean more dynamically than the mediocre hitters. The hitter who hits three out of four with power falls farther on a hitless day than a hitter who hits 2 out of 4 and rarely hits for an extra base. This is to state a nuance of performance that cannot be anticipated before it happens: the handful of excellent hitters are sometimes inconsistent, and when a good hitter has a bad day, this regression hurts the team’s chances more than the milder regression of the more often encountered underperformance of the mediocre hitter.

My handicapping theory is to spread out the fielding and the good hitters. This is my theory of equity–as a handicapper.

Oh yeah I became upset when one of my elder colleagues suggested I had favored my team with faster players. This perception was incorrect, but, when the criticism was accompanied by the player’s sense that I had concocted a probable rout, I became sharply angry for a moment. Tell me what you do not like about my line-up making, but don’t imply I am purposely undermining equity. The games are decided on the field.

Anyway, the purportedly slower team won in a rout driven by, yup, several great hitter’s off day at the plate on the losing team. I have made out the line-up for over 300 games. Roughly 70% have been decided by 4 runs or less.

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Whirling Around World Events

Whirling Dervishes Istanbul from John Cummins on Vimeo.

All the saints and sages have said evil deeds
become a dark hole which encloses the evil doer.
The worse the doer’s deed, the darker is the hole.
You may intend to snare someone else,
but you’re digging that pit for yourself to fall down.
Watch out! Don’t dig too deep.
Be soft earth so that you may sprout folwers of many colors.
You’ve been a jagged rock for years.
Just once–as an experiment–be earth!

(Rumi)

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Tubular Transmissions

I really like the rumored-to-be-cancelled Netflix series, Sense8. As we finish catching up with season one, it strikes me that the saturated globe trotting opening sequence provides a nifty psychological priming for what follows: a transcendental thriller, created by The Wachowskis, J. Michael Straczynski, and Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski.

The series explores the aging sci-fi trope: evolutionary advances are to be punished and eliminated by the regressive powers given by consensus, convention and everyday jeopardies. Unfortunately, the series adheres to the biases of the film modality that favors the regressive working through of this conflict in violent ways. Still, with eight international principle roles split between men and women, the show’s recombinations of its cast for the sake of plotting the advance of egalitarian and social justice themes, even if these are contracted to the scale of the various relationships of the sense eight.

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Make It All Up

res obscura


Iain McGilchrist

Epistemology establishes how we understand reality, what we believe the world to be made up of. If library directors do not have a way of knowing what is, how are they to know how to act in a time of crisis? (Phenomenology, Aesthetics, and Planning for the Artful Library Director, Kenneth Warren, 2014)

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Straight ‘Poiethics’ But With a Beat

librarian Kenneth warren

Ken Warren | photo purloined from Lakewood Observer

NOWHERE TO RUN

There’s nowhere
to run in marriage

Working and paying everyday
for wanting her,

But if you’d leap,
like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins,

Past the shadow curved around her,
into whatever’s left in your coffin,

You could rip free
from her wine sack

Your Noah, your Pip,
your keel, your breaker,

And sail with them
into the raging wave to come.

Ken Warren (1953-2015)

h/t Joe Napora, who posted this on
honoringkenwarren

Stephen Calhoun artist

Life is for

the living,

death is for

us all.

(Abdullah Ibrahim)

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Free Play Futility and the solidarity of variability

Free Play May14

Free Play Softball League, a confrere open to anyone 16-96 who has the chops to enjoin a game that references an ethic, that a game may be literally played as an experiment in learning how to play the game itself, and, additionally, references the variability of human nature.

The affectual ecology of the latter comes to fault the enjoining ethic. That this ethic is referenced, rather than it is something to anchor to, was obvious in our third week of the new season.

A group of five elders, including myself, came to be convened prior to the second game so that we could figure out between ourselves how to dial back several behaviors that have become too woven into the game. The motivation to do this was to reset the game’s overly competitive mood for the sake of making the game more inviting for new players.

We established a protocol for transforming the way the game processes controversies. Such controversies are one of three grounds for negative behavior. (The other two are: disparaging other player’s actions, and, rooting against the opposing team.) Last Sunday the protocol, centered on eliminating arguing by situating the decision in only the judgment of the two team captains, got completely ignored in the one instance it was called for.

Actually, what happened was worse than this summary, although the argument itself was not terribly intense.

Transformation is difficult.

I violated the prohibition against disparagement when I became impatient at the plate, and beseeched the opposing pitcher.

patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue. (Ambrose Bierce)

Transformation is difficult.

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As If, a yoga of the practice of irony in a cosmos of contingency


A leading moral and political philosopher, Kwame Anthony Appiah is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University. He explores the ideas of the philosopher Hans Vahinger, who argued that our theories of the world involved understanding things “as if” what is in fact false were true.

Vaihinger

via: http://gradlectures.berkeley.edu/lecture/

I had begun this article with reference to Hans Vaihinger’s examination of the two simple words, as-if, which he posits as a fictive device. Until I read his book I was completely unaware that I used them in daily life. Once I did, I couldn’t get as-if out of my mind. Not only that, I found it was fascinating to observe how other people used these words. When I asked if they were aware of the fact, invariably the answer was no. Nevertheless, once they did, they were delighted at finding a treasure right under their noses. From these observations I gathered that the various ways we employ as-if reflects a desire to step outside the routine of daily life, the easiest way being to entertain fanciful thoughts. Such thoughts aren’t to be dismissed outright as a waste of time. If we were asked about them, we’d respond that they constitute an important part of our lives, indeed, are essential to our psychic health. At the same time these thoughts have basis in reality–they arise from experiences in real life–and can reflect our deepest desires. excerpt Some Reflections on Hans Vaihinger (Richard McCambley)

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Teaching Cartoon: man unable to ‘splain

teaching cartoon
Man unable to ‘splain the argument for reducing desire.

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Legacy Artworks #12: Old Whole

photographer stephen calhoun

Old Whole (2009)

This is another installment in moving selected pre-2012 artworks to the blog. Here’s what has been moved so far, Legacy Art works 1993-2012.

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Opening Day, Free Play Softball League 2017

Free Play 4232017

Opening Day, Free Play Softball League 2017, first game in the age of Trumpism. It was a closely contested game if you forget the results of the first and last inning.

This season we’re hoping to attract new players to our league that is ideally described by elder Tom: “It’s a game that people of any skill level can come and play in and learn how to play.”

I convened some of our elders to find out if it growing the game was doable. Oh, and I suggested we’d have to dial back the game’s sometimes fractious, and, at times overly competitive atmosphere. We devised a series of guidances, responses, and contingent interventions, for the sake of recovering the founding ethos of our pick-up game, a game that aspired to be inviting to any gender, and any age between 16 and 96.

Caption, Please?

Think of a good caption —

What Gurdjieff calls ‘Objective science’ uses the musical analogy to depict a universe composed of a chain of energies that stretches from the lowest octave to the highest: each energy is transformed as it rises and falls, taking on a coarser or finer nature according to its place in the scale. At each specific level, an energy corresponds to a degree of intelligence, and it is consciousness itself, fluctuating within a wide range of vibrations, that determines human experience. (Peter Brook, in notes to his play, Gurdjieff)

Free Play 4232017

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Questioned, Again

Stephen Calhoun, cleveland ohio photographer artist

Oh Good Party has published this month an interview with yours truly, artist Stephen Calhoun.

(Oh Good Party is art advisory and art concierge providing services to their private group of asian collectors, some in Canada, most in China. They invited me to be the second American artist to join their roster of artists.)

On my own website there is an extensive Q&A too.

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Extreme Cases

cavepainting

NUMINOSUM

At the threshold of the divine, how to know
But indirectly, to hear the static as
Pattern, to hear the ragtag white noise as song—

No, not as song—but to intuit the song bird
Within the thorn thicket—safe, hidden there.
Every moment is not a time for song.

Or singing? Imagine a Buddha, handmade,
Four meters high of compacted ash, the ash
Remnants of joss sticks that incarnated prayer.

With each footfall, the Buddha crumbles. Ash shifts.
With each breath, the whole slowly disintegrates.
To face it, we efface it with our presence.

An infant will often turn away as if
Not to see is the same as not being seen.
There was fire, but God was not the fire.

Eric Pakey is the author of ten collections of poems, most recently Trace (Milkweed Editions 2013) and Dismantling the Angel (Free Verse Editions 2014). A new collection, Crow-Work, is due out from Milkweed Editions in 2015. He is the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University. Kenyon Review Fall 2011

Werner Herzog on Chickens from Tom Streithorst on Vimeo.

Since most categories are matters of degree (e.g., tall people), we also have
graded concepts characterizing degrees along some scale with norms of various
kinds for extreme cases, normal cases, not quite normal cases, and so on. Such
graded norms are described by what are called linguistic hedges (A4, Lakoff
1972), for example, very, pretty, kind of, barely, and so on. For the sake of imposing
sharp distinctions, we develop what might be called essence prototypes,
which conceptualize categories as if they were sharply defined and minimally
distinguished from one another.

When we conceptualize categories in this way, we often envision them using
a spatial metaphor, as if they were containers, with an interior, an exterior, and
a boundary. When we conceptualize categories as containers, we also impose
complex hierarchical systems on them, with some category-containers inside
other category-containers. Conceptualizing categories as containers hides a
great deal of category structure. It hides conceptual prototypes, the graded
structures of categories, and the fuzziness of category boundaries.
In short, we form extraordinarily rich conceptual structures for our categories
and reason about them in many ways that are crucial for our everyday
functioning. All of these conceptual structures are, of course, neural structures
in our brains. This makes them embodied in the trivial sense that any mental
construct is realized neurally. But there is a deeper and more important sense in
which our concepts are embodied. What makes concepts concepts is their inferential
capacity, their ability to be bound together in ways that yield inferences.
An embodied concept is a neural structure that is actually part of, or
makes use of, the sensorimotor system of our brains. Much of conceptual inference
is, therefore, sensorimotor inference. ( George Lakoff Philosophy in the Flesh )

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Three Into Four, Repeat. . .

zontalstainedglass

The shuttling to and fro of arguments and affects represents the transcendent function of opposites. The confrontation of the two positions generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third thing—not a logical stillbirth in accordance with the principle tertium non datur but a movement out of the suspension between the opposites, a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation. (C.G.Jung)

Four-Elements

see:

On the Importance of Numinous Experience in the Alchemy of Individuation Murray Stein, Ph.D.

River Dharma 46x46

RIVER DHARMA (2017) Stephen Calhoun

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Just Sayin’ – once again

Talk Origins – central counter-creationist resource

CounterEvolution

12. Nobody has ever seen a new species evolve.
Speciation is probably fairly rare and in many cases might take centuries. Furthermore, recognizing a new species during a formative stage can be difficult, because biologists sometimes disagree about how best to define a species. The most widely used definition, Mayr’s Biological Species Concept, recognizes a species as a distinct community of reproductively isolated populations–sets of organisms that normally do not or cannot breed outside their community. In practice, this standard can be difficult to apply to organisms isolated by distance or terrain or to plants (and, of course, fossils do not breed). Biologists therefore usually use organisms’ physical and behavioral traits as clues to their species membership.
Nevertheless, the scientific literature does contain reports of apparent speciation events in plants, insects and worms. In most of these experiments, researchers subjected organisms to various types of selection–for anatomical differences, mating behaviors, habitat preferences and other traits–and found that they had created populations of organisms that did not breed with outsiders. For example, William R. Rice of the University of New Mexico and George W. Salt of the University of California at Davis demonstrated that if they sorted a group of fruit flies by their preference for certain environments and bred those flies separately over 35 generations, the resulting flies would refuse to breed with those from a very different environment. 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense

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Compare and Conjoin

creativity

Cube-O-Probe – Locate Creativity?

creativity probe

  • From the symbolic potency of the solar system, which generates the sense of depth suggested by McGilchrist, astrology offers us what in neuroscience is called environmental enrichment, in other words, stimulation of the brain by its physical and social surroundings. As an enriched environment for imagining incoming archetypal energies that can feed bio-dynamic entities such as ourselves, astrology stimulates the brain through its imagination of electrical, chemical, and network charges, arousing us to satisfy our needs for: 1) attachment; 2) control; 3) self identity; 4) pleasure. With astrology these needs can be met on the cosmic and personal scale of an imagination that transforms presumably random events into the narrative of a soul’s journey through the space/time of earth. (Kenneth Warren)
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Outside, Looking Outside

In his pamphlet, Asphyxiante culture, a classic statement of an anti-cultural attitude, the artist Jean Dubuffet relates an instructive anecdote to illustrate the degree to which cultural preconceptions can completely stifle the proper apprehension of anything that resists accepted ideas about art. It concerns a conversation he had with a teacher to whom he tried to expound the hypothesis that throughout history there have always been forms of art alien to established culture and which ipso facto have been neglected and finally lost without a trace. The teacher expressed his conviction that if such works had been assessed by contemporary experts and deemed unworthy of preservation, it was to be concluded that they could not have been of comparable value to the works of their time that had survived. To support this view, he cited the example of some German paintings he had seen in an exhibition. Though these had been executed at precisely the time the impressionist school was directing art into new channels, they bore no traces of that influence. After submitting these forgotten works to a thorough and objective perusal, the teacher felt obliged to admit that they were aesthetically inferior to the work of the impressionists; art criticism had accordingly been perfectly justified in preferring the latter.

Dubuffet points out the stupidity of this sort of reasoning, based as it is on a notion of objective value that betrays the worst kind of cultural myopia: where respected critics have testified their approval, there can be no dissension; bad marks in art can never be forgiven, at least not by layman. Dubuffet stresses the futility of the man’s ‘objective’ certainty, and suggests that it is only as a result of a particular education, of a particular cultural formation that the teacher made the judgement he did. His aesthetic preference was totally determined by these factors. A difference in his background or a difference in the opinion of the experts might well have led to a completely different assessment of the paintings concerned. Instead, the teacher bowed before the prevailing wind emitted by the Establishment, and could consent to find objective beauty only in the place marked out by a superior order. Roger Cardinal, “Cultural Conditioning,” Outsider Art (1972) excerpt | hat tip Petullo Art Collection

Cardinal’s essay bookends, for me, Clement Greenberg’s The Historical Context of the Avant-garde and Kitsch. I’m nominally an outsider artist, not much at all a naive artist, surely am an untrained artist, and in all ways a self-trained artist. Most art is created by self-trained artists; like 99%.

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Fronting Front

Rock stars seems to be an odd metaphor for art, given the state of the world of rock music, and, even more so, given the difference between the scarcity model of high art that underlines art world status, and, the popularization model–based in hits and reach–of pop music. There isn’t a good way to bridge Justin Bieber with Al Wu Wei, or Adele with Damien Hirst. Anyway, I wonder about this–while Mr. Bidwell’s sense does, once again, moves me to consider the similarities and disparities betwixt the art and music markets.

Jens Hoffman asserts “real creativity doesn’t necessarily happen anymore in LA or NY.” Is not the objective truth that real creativity has always happened most everywhere? The validation of artistry supplied by the entanglement of capitalism with the sociology of normative artistic practice provides a rather thin warrant for speaking of necessity, as Hoffman does so.

I’m being charitable. NY and LA are art centers because of the scale of capitalism and culture, and laws of institutional attraction that unfolded in the two largest American cities. From my idiosyncratic perspective, real creativity and the sites of its happening is not a question resolved by affirming the obvious, that L.A. and NYC are America’s principle art centers. First order creativity does happen where it does happen, and this would tend to disrupt the facile tautology that reduces to: city A is an art center because it is a center for art.

It will be fascinating to observe both ideas become joined by the outcome of the curatorial process which will unfold for the sake of shaping a Triennial roster of international art stars and their local counterparts.

In music, the democratization inherent in the self-organizing operations of the internet have led the mainstream music business to counter this an solidify a global cartel; and then affirm by its reach a mostly reactionary (as against an avant-garde,) “pop music.”

bonus:

FB-Sixteen-Faeiries-(2017)46x21-Stephen-Calhoun

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Manual Rotation

artist Stephen Calhoun

What can you discern about your reflection in the archetypal ensemble?

Contact – Mystery
Code – Gnosis
Action – Love

How might you overcome your isolation by gauging yourself in universal modes of polarities?

Ken Warren (from notes to a presentation, Repairing the Opposites, Doubling Stars, Turning Swine Into Pears, given by Ken Warren and Stephen Calhoun at The Analytical Psychology Society of Western New York, December 12, 2014)

Proverbs 3:16 tells us: “Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left her riches and honour.”

Stage One: Survivor/Transitional-Object
Stage Two: Truster/Trickster
Stage Three: Unscrupulous Competitor/Hero
Stage Four: the Virtuous/the Shadow
Stage Five: Materialistic Analyst of Things/Anim(a/us)
Stage Six: Empathizer with Every Person/Wise One
Stage Six needs desperately its unconscious complement, the Archetype of Meaning, a voice of wisdom from the depths.
The Sequence of Archetypes in Individuation, James Whitlark


Alan Watts

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Water and Animals and Humans

Ganesha_Wallpaper

The self is a metaphor. We can decide to limit it to our skin, our person, our family, our organization, or our species. We can select its boundaries in objective reality As the systems theorists see it, our consciousness illuminates a small arc in the wider currents and loops of knowing that interconnect us. It is just as plausible to conceive of mind as coexistent with these larger circuits, the entire “pattern that connects,” as Bateson said. Do not think that to broaden the construct of self this way involves an eclipse of one’s distinctiveness. Do not think that you will lose your identity like a drop in the ocean merging into the oneness of Brahma. From the systems perspective this interaction, creating larger wholes and patterns, allows for and even requires diversity. You become more yourself. Integration and differentiation go hand in hand. From: ‘World as Lover, world as Self’ Joanna Macy


earth-water-distribution-bar
56ca59f3c72b793dfcc839b6f5070378

urban-water-cycle

“I like the rain, because I know it will always end.” [Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh]

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