Free Play Softball League Last Up’s

David A. Kolb

A 20-8 lead was almost completely vaporized by a nine run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. I believe the largest comeback for a win was nine runs. Several years ago there was a fourteen run comeback that tied and ended the game, and, I vaguely recall a ten run comeback that tied the game but led to a one run loss in an extra inning.

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Upside Down

Jeff-Koons-Balloon-Dog-Orange-Sculpture
$58.4 million

“If the aforementioned tendencies—the event-driven turn in the market, the market’s ongoing globalization, the continued ascent of formerly ‘alternative’ practices to the mainstream, and persistent complication around investing in art—have all come into greater clarity over these past five years, one final factor arguably trumps all others with respect to the present vitality of the trade: the growing divide between the top of the market and everything else.” Noah Horowitz, author, The Art of the Deal

There are around 2,000,000 working artists in the USA. Many of them work at other jobs. I do not know of any social science research that is aimed to accurately capture the varieties of business models being deployed by individual artists. That said, there are tiers given by the global art market.

Regional art markets are variously describable, with specific institutional and commercial concerns leading the description of their local ‘art world,’ and, to a lesser extent, the success of some of their resident artists also adding to the description.

The top of the art world is the art world everybody is fascinated by, yet, working artists in their hometowns are much more likely to be fascinated by their local art world.

The amazing paradox of the world of art commerce is that its model is thought to scale all the way down to the lowest tiers of local art worlds. This is paradoxical. The results speak for themselves! I’ll demonstrate this soon. The scaled-down model is preposterous on its face. However, its verities infect most everything in the local art worlds, especially the nature of gatekeeping in those worlds, and, how a simple problem is mediated, that there are many more artworks than there are post-transactional places for the pieces to end up at.

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Instructed

Sol LeWitt 1928-2007

bonus:

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Chronic Outside Art Worlds

Nugs Hero (Stephen Calhoun 2017)

Nugs Hero (Stephen Calhoun 2017)

This is not a post about bongs-as-art. Unfortunately the video I’d like to feature is from VICE, and it can’t be re-embedded. Still, it’s right here and needs to be viewed (5m) before I note its few exemplifications of what I call the 01% thin art world.

First, the subject of the short video is a twenty-one year old college student, although, truth be told, he joined a venture capital group, and, the location for the video is his sleek Manhattan apartment. The young man is clearly monied, entrepreneurial, and, conversant with bongs. He is addressing the question: how such implements might instantly constitute a high end in either the smoking pot or art world?

$100,000 glass sculptures are not unheard of; Dale Chihuly’s chandeliers have sold for well over that amount. (Chihuly chandeliers are large 4-8 feet in length.)

…is actually an accomplished glass blower.

(Edward L. Milstein, Mr. Grey’s father, was around twenty when he co-founded a venture capital firm in NYC.)

Art is flourishing in New York more than anywhere else in America.

The people buying this right now are smokers.

Millennials in Manhattan go to a party implicitly tasked to, hopefully, begin to elevate bongs costing tens of thousands of dollars out of their current niche as high end devices for mere smokers.

Young Benjamin Milstein briefly comments without any guile about how a market might be made in NYC. Take aways, one, throw family money at the challenge, two, enlist apparently accomplished artists/craftsmen and give them a shot at upending the world of 2D hanging art joints on walls. An,d strike while the iron is hot in flourishing NYC!

mid-to-high market bongs

working class art appreciation:

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Sound and Sense

Music of the Spheres from Emic Films on Vimeo.

I say we are obviously as nature around us is. So that is also how our music is. But then our music must also be as we are (if two magnitudes both equal a third . . .). But then from our nature alone can I deduce how our music is (bolder men would say “how the cosmos is”). Arnold Scho?nberg

When I began, I had a very weak voice although with some melodic quality. I did not feel at all in touch with my body.

Through the use of the various sound practices, I occasionally developed a vague sense of being enlivened and having more energy, but this sensation came and went. About one year after beginning, in a group musical practice, I experienced feeling as though sound were coming, not from my vocal box, from my a place in the middle of my chest, near the pulmonary center. At the same time, I heard a ringing sound above the musical notes. These, I later found, were called overtones. I also felt a warm, expanding feeling from the heart and a kind of emotional release of joy.

This condition came and went for another 6 months. Then I had another “heart-opening” experience, which was felt as both massive pain and release of tension around the heart; I cried uncontrollably and felt I was coming apart.

Following this, I began to use the primary sound/music practice of finding a note that resonated in the heart, and singing that note every day for 15-20 minutes, using various mantric sounds. At the end of about 8 months, I could always find my way to this sound. At the same time, any catches in my throat, voice or breath that came up I began to re-experience as inhibitions and old memories that prevented me from intoning a natural sound (that is, saying who I was). report of a client of Dr. Klotz; The Key in the Dark: Self and Soul Transformation in the Sufi Tradition Neil Douglas-Klotz

A Beethoven string-quartet is truly . . . a scraping of horses’ tails on cats’ bowels, and may be exhaustively described in such terms; but the application of this description in no way precludes the simultaneous applicability of an entirely different description. -William James

Rana Gorgani – Sufi dance – Auditorium Musée Guimet – Paris from Rana Gorgani Official on Vimeo.

What we call music in our everyday language is only a miniature from that music or harmony of the whole universe which is working behind everything, and which is the source and origin of nature. It is because of this that the wise of all ages have considered music to be a sacred art. For in music the seer can see the picture of the whole universe. (Pir H.I. Khan)

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Objectively, There Are, Sometimes, Adjustments

david a kolb

Objectivity, no matter what it is in practice, or within technique, or in philosophical specification, lands always as a sort of brutish given. It is a species of truth claim that is paradoxically about the independent nature of the so-called real object, and also is reliant, even dependent, on a subject having derived this truth claim from perception, mechanical observation, or from all the methods of grasping. Still, objectivity is not an interpretation; oh, it is said to not be so!

The potential for discrepancies between features of the subject’s perceptual impressions and the real qualities of the perceived object generates philosophical questions. There are also philosophical questions regarding the nature of objective reality and the nature of our so-called subjective reality. Consequently, we have various uses of the terms “objective” and “subjective” and their cognates to express possible differences between objective reality and subjective impressions. Philosophers refer to perceptual impressions themselves as being subjective or objective. Consequent judgments are objective or subjective to varying degrees, and we divide reality into objective reality and subjective reality. Thus, it is important to distinguish the various uses of the terms “objective” and “subjective.” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Objectivity)

(see also: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Scientific Objectivity)

I remember as a thirty-something man–so, sometime ago–Ayer’s Language, Truth and Logic moved me to tears one lunchtime while contemplating the nature of nature from the sun-warmed bank of the Otter Creek, Middlebury, Vermont. The other learning at the time was to finish the book before investing in the emotional reaction!

Soon enough I would find my way to the practicalities of William James. Yet, A.J. Ayer of course goes all the way around his circle too.

Evidently, there is no general answer to the question what constitutes a
meaningful life. A life lived in one culture at a given social and economic level
which satisfies one person might well fail to satisfy another who dwelt in a
different or even in the same environment. Treating the question subjectively one
can say, platitudinously, that it is a matter of the degree to which one achieves self
fulfilment. Treating it objectively, it is a matter of one’s standing in one’s society
and the historical influence, if any, that one exerts. We have seen that the results
of these different viewpoints need not coincide either with each other or with
what we humane and liberal persons would regard as morally commendable. (A.J. Ayer, The Meaning of Life)

 

Since everything is an apparition, "perfect" in being what it is, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may as well burst out in laughter. (Longchenpa)

Since everything is an apparition, “perfect” in being what it is, having nothing to do with good or bad, acceptance or rejection, one may as well burst out in laughter. (Longchenpa)

In common, folk, practice, with respect to the social sphere, objectivity is pragmatically the non-confounding ‘just so’ of commonsense comprehension of the ecology of human objects, structures, regulatory features, and so is graspable as being constituted by the clear description, the sensible abduction (or explanation,) the operational model (or map) of mechanical interrelationships, and, at the extreme where objectivity quickly fades into intersubjectivity, the shared truths or norms. These latter elements also reflect a hypostasis of collective interpretation, and churn the just so into the good enough. Not everybody need be in agreement on these, now, subjective, matters.

We recognize that objectivity-proper doesn’t need to come up much. Our sight and cognition is fairly dependable once it is well understood what interpretation tends to cloth perception “in.”

For example, it could be observed that the Free Play Softball League meets around 10am on Sunday. A dude looks over the roster of players who have showed up and starts to design line-ups on a piece of notebook paper. Thinking  of a more particular recent instance, this same dude could be observed to have made an adjustment to the line-ups midway through the game.

(I suppose we’ll have to make an inquiry to learn why the dude did so.)

Still, such goings-on are clearly and objectively aspects of the game. Such goings-on may be observed, described, explained, as objective parts of the game.

The dude last Sunday was very pleased, and this was observable, at the conclusion of the game. It reflected a tally of runs. Dude liked the tie score. He could be seen to be smiling.

A 1-2-0-7-0-5--15
H 2-0-3-6-3-1--15

 

 

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Gratuitous Surfing Videos for Summer 2017

The Dock from STAB on Vimeo.

The Dock

INTO BLISS – Jordan Rodin from David & Douglas on Vimeo.

Into Bliss

Culture Shifters: Jake Burghart (Director of Photography @ Vice) from Mike Pagan on Vimeo.

VICE’s Jake Burghart

(I learned to surf in Hawaii during the summer of 1968. I did so on a Hobie with a mahogany stringer, and, then graduated to my cousin’s new Greg Noll red fiberglass long board. It was all long boards back in the day. The last time I surfed was on a vacation trip to Hilton Head in 1970.)

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I See You

1997: Birth of the Camera Phone from Conscious Minds on Vimeo.

The Mobile Phone in the Hands of the Nepalise People: A Humanistic Perspective of Technology (master thesis, Merilin Piipuu, pdf)

The Art of Making Photos: Some Phenomenological Reflections (Thomas S. Eberle, pdf)

cameraph

Women on the move: the mobile phone as a gender technology (Carla Ganito, pdf)

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Sitting On a Porch, but not any porch

david kolb

Dave Kolb and I enjoyed the longest conversation we ever managed to conduct over the fifteen years we’ve been friends and something like, but not really exactly like, colleagues. Our shared interest is the experiential learning theory* he helped conceptualize in the late seventies. He is its principal conceptualizer over the past thirty-three years, a span that began with the publication of the cornerstone presentation of this theory, Experiential Learning, Experience As the Source of Learning and Development(revised 2015).

When Dave signed the copy of the revised edition he gave me, he named us fellow travelers. I like it. Our paths have crossed in conferences and symposia, in workshops and, especially on the softball field on Sundays in Cleveland Heights, at 10am. I encountered Dave and Alice Kolb, his wife and most essential collaborator, back in 2002 when I ventured out to thie softball field for the first time, believing at the time that I was going to assist a documentary filmmaker who wanted to make a short about the Free Play Softball League the Kolbs started as an experiment in open system and experiential learning on the old Adelbert quad.

Yet, the three hour dialog we built together this week was the longest sustained chewing session we ever attempted or accomplished. This moment was favored by dave and Alice being between book writing projects, or, otherwise freed from the usual bearing down of their research agenda. I know this from their presentation at the June conference, a presentation offloaded into a nicely organic collaborative discussion about several of their current interests.

In our dialog, after we covered sundry subjects of interest to aging men and softball teammates, we latched onto one of several subjects that interest me as an independent scholar an fellow traveler. As it turned out, this subject, where is the ongoing theory-making in experiential learning theory happening right now, had come up between Dave and Alice on their morning walk the day Dave and I settled into our chairs on his spacious front porch. After we noted that there aren’t many scholars besides the Kolbs that you can point to, we started to ideate together on shaping (just the beginning) of what the extension and further elaboration of experiential learning theory might grapple with.

This is a big subject. We touched on examples from our different interests that bend the theory-in-use a bit differently than the most secure current conception of the theory supposes is phenomenally the case. This is not a disruptive tangent to the theory because one of the enhancements of the theory would, were it to begin to be formulated, configure the theory to flex more to particular contexts. For example, my creative process does not align with the cyclical or spiral process of the current theory, rather it oscillates between concrete experience and (what I would term,) spontaneous revision, a quality of active experimentation.

We made our beginning in any case. It would be really fascinating to continue and especially to put the handful of inspired (by theory!) persons in our community or out there in the wild together, to do some chewing.

Nowadays, almost all the action in ELT is rooted to its use in consulting, pedagogical, and coaching practices. This usefulness has put evaluative and assessment tools close to the center of those activities. The biggest impact extensive new theory-making could have on current day practice would result from theorizing context-dependent, and therefor distinct differentiations according to context pressures, of the theory-in-practice. This could be given by, for example, idiographic or qualitative difference-making that is focused on particular situations and their particularities. Certainly, from the several ways I may contextualize my own practice as an experiential learning endeavor, I’m able to lightly suggest that enactive, or social cybernetic, or, negative-capable, or, neurophenomenological, or ecological, perspectives, each create different and cogent and positive pressures when these outlooks are used to describe particularities given in specific situations.

Dave and I have noted that the enactive perspective is very sharply appropriate to elaborating a bit more about the instantaneous presence involved in reacting in an embodied and learning ‘full’ way in response to being thrown a pitched ball while acting as a batter.

KOLBELTSIMPLECYCLETHEORY
The triangle at the bottom of the ELT schema reflects a kind of liminal or boundary condition for holding theorization away from its being made practical. Theorizing is begun as an impractical matter.

*Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory is a theory of learning, not a theory of learning-by-doing. It would pose itself as a meta-theory of learning-by-doing were learning-by-doing ever to be rigorously theorized.

(h/t to Mai P. Trinh for first entertaining my sense that ‘where are the theorists?’ was an interesting question.)

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Legacy Art Works: In the Tariqa

In the Tariqa
(2014) In the Tariqa (16 x 10 1/2″)

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Settled It!

I would use such a rarified technical term to better describe my artistic position, that there is no reason to actually deploy it! While I contemplate the problem of the insider/outsider artist, I also play around with the designation I grant to myself. There is no way to summarize or integrate the slew of positions that are–at a minimum–personally vibrant. On twitter I have at times tagged posts #outsider, #visionary, #archetypal, #generative, #experimental, #experiential, (and more.) Each such designation fits in their specific way.

Nothing rides or rests on this designation even if it might find its way into an explication gathered from possibilities which inhere to ‘here’s what I am about as an artist.’ Nor can any designation capture the thick part of my practice, the part that is partly described as being underdetermined, stochastic, heuristic, etc..

Still, to my self and for myself, I am an enactivist artist. My subjectivity is situated in a body, in a time and place, in an interface, in a constructively vital ecology. This settles it for the time being.

And, yes, I am dedicated to articulating designations that rub the post-modernity of the art world’s predispositions and normative designations differently. Why?

It seems to be a universal feature of human perception, a feature of the underpinning of human epistemology, that the perceiver shall perceive only the product of the perceiving act. He shall not perceive the means by which that product was created. The product itself is a sort of of work of art. (Gregory Bateson, A Scared Unity, p217)

If we relate this to seeing the art object, the crucial tacit element to this point of Bateson’s is that the entirety of the second and third orders given in the cognition, processes and history of the artist, and which are behind the art object, are not at all features of perception.

enactivist theory:
etec.ctlt.ubc.ca/510wiki/Enactivist_Theory

Tutorial on Embodiment

Tutorial on Embodiment (eucognition.org)
5.1.3. Embodied dynamicism and enactivism

“Since the early 1990s the computationalist orthodoxy has begun to be challenged by the emergence of embodied-embedded cognitive science (e.g. Clark 1997; Wheeler 2005; Varela et al. 1991). This approach claims that an agent’s embodiment and situatedness is constitutive of its perceiving, knowing and doing. Furthermore, the computational hypothesis has been challenged by the dynamical hypothesis that cognitive agents are best understood as dynamical systems (Van Gelder and Port 1995). These developments can be broadly grouped together under the heading of embodied dynamicism (cf. Thompson 2007, pp. 10-13). While this approach has retained the connectionist focus on self-organizing dynamic systems, it incorporates this emergentist perspective into a non-computationalist framework which holds that cognition is a situated activity which spans a systemic totality consisting of an agent’s brain, body, and world (e.g. Beer 2000).” (Froese, 2009)

“The paradigm of enactive cognitive science originally emerged as a part of the embodied dynamicist approach in the early 1990s with the publication of the influential book The Embodied Mind by Varela et al. (1991). However, while the enactive approach also emphasises the importance of embodiment, situatedness and dynamics for our understanding of mind and cognition, it has stood out from the beginning by promoting the cultivation of a principled phenomenological investigation of lived experience as a necessary complement to a standard scientific inquiry of the mind (e.g. Varela et al. 1991; Varela 1996, 1999). Moreover, it has recently set itself apart even further by placing a systemic biological account of autonomous agency at the heart of its theoretical framework (e.g. Weber and Varela 2002; Thompson 2004; Di Paolo et al. 2008). This complementary focus on biological (living) and phenomenological (lived) subjectivity clearly distinguishes the enactive approach from the rest of the competing paradigms in the cognitive sciences (cf. Thompson 2007).” (Froese, 2009)

bonus:

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Vanishment in the Garden

The Shark In The Park from Polynoid on Vimeo.

Raspberries and blackberries have won the day in the berry garden out back. They have come to dominate the strawberry patch in the rectangle set in an unfavorable place right by a large buckeye tree.

This is similar to how my creativity has become reoriented to visual experiments rather than sonic experiments. Sometimes when I walk past the two pedal steels in my current digital image processing studio, I strum the strings.

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Six days I stray, on number seven I try to be a little better

freeplay 2017 July 2_DSC0122

Here And Now
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Here, in the heart of the world,
Here, in the noise and the din,
Here, where our spirits were hurled
To battle with sorrow and sin,
This is the place and the spot
For knowledge of infinite things;
This is the kingdom where Thought
Can conquer the prowess of kings.

Wait for no heavenly life,
Seek for no temple alone;
Here, in the midst of the strife,
Know what the sages have known.

See what the Perfect Ones saw-
God in the depth of each soul,
God as the light and the law,
God as beginning and goal.

Earth is one chamber of Heaven,
Death is no grander than birth.

Joy in the life that was given,
Strive for perfection on earth.

Here, in the turmoil and roar,
Show what it is to be calm;
Show how the spirit can soar
And bring back its healing and balm.

Stand not aloof nor apart,
Plunge in the thick of the fight.

There in the street and the mart,
That is the place to do right.

Not in some cloister or cave,
Not in some kingdom above,
Here, on this side of the grave,
Here, should we labor and love.

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The Choice
by William Butler Yeats

The intellect of man is forced to choose
perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.

When all that story’s finished, what’s the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day’s vanity, the night’s remorse.

freeplay 2017 July 2_DSC0115

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Perfection
by Robert William Service

If I could practice what I preach,
Of fellows there would few be finer;
If I were true to what I teach
My life would be a lot diviner.

If I would act the way I speak,
Of halo I might be a winner:
The spirit wills, the flesh is weak,–
I’m just a simple sinner.

Six days I stray,–on number seven
I try to be a little better,
And stake a tiny claim on Heaven
By clinging close to gospel letter.

My pew I occupy on Sunday,
And though I draw the line at snoring,
I must admit I long for Monday,
And find the sermon boring.

Although from godly grace I fall,
For sensed with sin my every act is,
‘Twere better not to preach at all,
Then I would have no need to practice.

So Sabbath day I’ll sneak away,
And though the Church grieve my defection,
In sunny woodland I will pray:
“God save us from Perfection!”

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Ngaphandle – Part One

Edward M. Gómez on Outsider Art from Sinnlicht on Vimeo.

Definitions?!

RAW VISION : The controversy surrounding the exact definition of Outsider Art and allied fields has been going on ever since awareness of the phenomenon began so here we try to clarify the different aspects.

Essay offers sub-divisions without defining the term itself.

Outsider Art Fair: Over the years, the parameters of Outsider Art have expanded dramatically to include art made by a wide variety of art-makers who share this common denominator of raw creativity. Outsiders come from all walks of life, from all cultures, from all age groups. In recent years, Outsider Artists may have even come to outnumber Insider Artists who have achieved critical validation within the elite art world, and yet who speak with increasingly less clarity and relevance to us about the human experience.

It seems to me obvious that there are more self-trained artists than there are academically trained artists.

Huffington Post 11/20/2014 10 Outsider And Self-Taught Artists Who Use Art To Create Their Own Worlds: The term “outsider art” was first used by art historian Roger Cardinal in 1972 to loop together art made by people living with certain disabilities, as well as those living on the outskirts of society. Unlike most other art movements, outsider artists don’t have much in common besides straying from the norm. They work in different media, throughout different times and places, without shared assumptions or aesthetic styles.

In fact, most outsider artists have or had no idea they would be categorized as such — or even that their art would be seen by someone other than themselves. Therein lies the conundrum — is a celebration of outsider art redemptive tribute or exploitation?

In “How to Look at Outsider Art,” Lyle Rexer defines the tricky genre as “the work of people who are institutionalized or psychologically compromised according to standard clinical norms.” This definition was amended to include those enduring an altered state of consciousness — whether from marginalization or incarceration. “Self-taught art” is a category that often overlaps with outsider art, referencing artwork made without schooling that strays from the norms and styles of the time.

Christie’s : ‘Outsider Art is perhaps a catch-all term,’ explains Christie’s specialist Cara Zimmerman. ‘I tend to classify it as art made by people who weren’t working within the artistic establishment.’

In the United States, she says, the material stems from a folk-art tradition. Most Outsider artists received no formal training and were influenced by pop culture and the world around them rather than other mainstream artists.

The Atlantic The Rise of Self-Taught Artists. Out is the new in. : For an artist to be considered an outsider, he or she must first be brought inside the professional art world by an insider.

Huffington Post 1/30/15 What Is The Meaning Of Outsider Art? The Genre With A Story, Not A Style: There are various ways to make sense of outsider art as a genre. Roberta Smith calls it “a somewhat vague, catchall term for self-taught artists of any kind.“ Lyle Rexer defines it as “the work of people who are institutionalized or psychologically compromised according to standard clinical norms” or “created under the conditions of a massively altered state of consciousness, product of an unquiet mind.” Jerry Saltz argues it doesn’t exist at all, except as a discriminatory boundary preventing untrained artists from their rightful places in the canon.

Artsy – About Outsider Art: A label applied to artworks that have little connection with the art world or are created by people with no formal art training. The term is also applied to artworks by people with psychiatric disabilities and others on the margins of society. However, as more and more examples have been exhibited and subsumed into the historical canon, some have argued that the ‘outsider’ label should be retired.

Hyperallergic. What Does “Outsider Artist” Even Mean?: In a blog post from 2007, dealer Edward Winkleman discusses the issue of intent and his changing perceptions of outsider art:

Being the stubborn loggerhead I am, I can’t get myself unstuck from an assumption about the importance of intent in art. Especially intent with regard to communicating.

Taken to its logical extremes in our debate, however, this assumption has led me to conclude that the work of Henry Darger, for example, is not “Art” because (or so it’s been reported) he had no intention of ever showing it to anyone, meaning it was not created with the intent of communicating anything with anyone, and that then made it something other than “Art.”

Now I can look at Darger’s work and feel my jaw involuntarily drop. I can marvel at the vision. I can delight at the composition and especially the color. But because I know (or think I know) these works were the result of a masturbatory effort, they don’t meet my own definition of fine art, which goes beyond just intent to communicate to include what bnon called, in the thread on child prodigies yesterday, the act of “submerging [one]self in art history as well as surveying the contemporary field and carving out a niche.

Jerry Saltz on the Outsider Art Fair — and Why There’s No Such Thing As ‘Outsider’ Art: Which brings us to the the horrible Rubicon that still separates so-called “outsider,” “self-taught,” and “visionary” art from institutionally sanctioned official art. Now that even immigration reform can happen, it’s time for MoMA — and all museums — to integrate “outsider art” into their permanent collections and erase that distinction for good. They need to allow these artists to take their rightful places in the canon. In addition to the artists mentioned above, visionaries like Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, Bill Traylor, Adolf Wolfli, Martin Rameirez, Minnie Evans, John Kane, Clementine Hunter, Hector Hyppolite, and others must be integrated into the canon. At the Fair, there’s a 1939–1942 town scene by one of the greatest “outsiders” of them all, Bill Traylor, that would easily compare with any Picasso from the same period. Or, indeed, any artist.

With this outmoded discrimination still in place, the story of art is woefully misrepresentative — a lie, even. Millions of viewers and thousands of nascent artists are being denied the chance to see some of the best work made in the last 100 years simply because it was once decided that to be an artist meant having had pre-approved training. It’s a self-perpetuating false distinction…

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Discrete Charms

Admit something:
everyone you see, you say to them: “love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud; otherwise
someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us
to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full moon
in each eye that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in the world is dying to hear?

(Hafiz)

Thus Adam might have called the animals “by their own names” in two senses. Either he gave them the names that, by some extralinguistic right, were already due them, or he gave them those names we still use on the basis of a convention initiated by Adam. In other words, the names Adam gave the animals are either the names that each animal intrinsically ought to have been given or simply the names that the Name Giver arbitrarily and ad placitum decided to give them. (Umberto Eco, Serendipities, Language and Lunacy)

Natalie Johnson Dance presents: AGEN, Sunday 1:30pm, March 2017 from Natalie Johnson Dance on Vimeo.

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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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