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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: January 9, 2006
Latest Update: January 9, 2006
Message 83 of Learning Records:I,TOO, AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT READ THE NEWS PAPER. I CHOOSE TO GET A QUICK SUMMARY BY WATCHING THE NEWS EVERY NIGHT. I'M TWENTY YEARS OLD FULL-TIME COLLEGE STUDENT AND PART-TIME WORKER, I HAVE NO TIME TO SIT DOWN AND READ. I STRUGGLE ENOUGH TRYING TO DO REASEARCH PAPERS AND ESSAYS FOR SCHOOL. TO ME IT IS JUST MORE CONVENIENT TO WATCH THE NEWS. MAYBE WHEN I HAVE SOME MORE FREEDOM TO RELAX AND READ THE PAPER I WOULD DO SO. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE NEWSPAPER IS A GREAT LEARNING SOURCE BUT I BELIEVE IT'S FOR THE OLDER GENERATION. I WILL TAKE SOME TIME OUT DURING THE DAY TO READ THE PAPER JUST TO SEE IF IT WORKS FOR ME. RANIKA BENNETT SOC.220 P.S. JEANNE I WILL GET THE PICTURES UP FROM THE ART EXHIBIT/RETIREMENT PARTY A.S.A.P
Reply:Ranika, thanks for taking the pictures. We'll get them up for the online exhibit when I get back if not before. I think the reading of the newspaper is one of those issues for governance discourse next semester. I'm glad you're giving it a try, but the circumstances aren't really helpful. I think the university should consisder the possibility of supporting our students in this endeavor, and the newspapers themselves should pay attention to the needs of younger people like yourself.
December 22, 2005
Message 76 on Learning Records:I HOPE YOU ARE FEELING BETTER FROM THE RADIATION TREATMENT. DID YOU BRING JAGUAR WITH YOU? MY NAME IS RANIKA BENNETT AND I'M IN YOUR SOC.220 CLASS ON TUESDAY AND THURSDAY NIGHTS. I JUST WANTED YOU TO AT LEAST KNOW MY NAME AND WHO I AM BECAUSE I'VE BEEN COMING TO ALL THE LECTURES AND SOME OF THE ART CLASSES ON THURSDAY NIGHTS. I LET YOU BORROW MY STATISTICS BOOK TO TEACH THE CLASS SPSS. I DIDN'T KNOW IF YOU RECEIVED MY OTHER TWO MESSAGES THAT I PUT UP ON LEARNING RECORDS BUT I KNOW YOU ARE AN EXTREMELY BUSY PERSON. ANYWAYS, I WAS READING THIS WEEKS ARTICLE ABOUT YOUR JAGUAR AND IT MAKES ME REMEMBER MY IMAGINARY FRIEND FROM CHILDHOOD. I AM MY MOTHERS ONLY CHILD AND I WAS ALWAYS USED TO PLAYING ALONE, SO I GUESS I IMAGINED HAVING A BROTHER. WHENEVER I WOULD GET IN TROUBLE OR HURT I WOULD TALK TO HIM AND THINGS WOULD SOMEHOW BE BETTER. SOMETIMES PAIN IS ALL MENTAL LIKE WHEN YOU FALL DOWN AS A CHILD AND MOTHER'S KISSES MAKE IT BETTER. I'M GLAD YOUR PAIN WENT AWAY, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS BY AN EXTREME ACCIDENT.
Reply:Thank you, Kat. The jaguars and your brother are part of that childhood innocence we lose as adults. Artists often try to recapture it through childrens' art. I think that's a mistake. I think the innocence is still there if we recognize it and give ourselves permission to explore it. Maybe only children are more willing to imagine. And yes, one of my jaguars was there in the hall at school with me. I remember reaching out to pet him, but I'm not sure whether it was during the exhibit or after. They're around. I just need dto remember to invite them out.
December 22, 2005
Message 60 of Learning Records:Jeanne, I was reading the current issue of the picture taken of your Love1A class on Thursday, and I see how we not only need naked space for social discussion but also for helping others. It gives you a sense of freedom when you can speak freely about certain topics and issues that go on in our society around a group of people that are just like you. The visual art that we create seems a little elementary but it is a simple way of getting a message across to people and it is fun. In the picture I see some people focused on making their box, listening to you and I see a sense of togetherness.
Reply:Good point, Ranika. We, as a people, have forgotten about having discourse on major social and economic issues in a context that reminds us that we do have a vote and a voice. There are many was to create naked space, but most of them involve elite groups of professionals. Rarely do we recognize the need to carry on such discourse with all of us. Habermas laments the loss of such skills, but spends little time focussing on how our nations-states are supposed to develop them.
I agree that most of our visual art is elementary, but that's the first step in re-introducing us to the art and music we removed from liberal education so long ago. Your comment that it's fun is very telling. It is fun. We are depriving ourselves of much beauty and understanding by misunderstanding the role of performance in art and music. We have trained ourselves to be an "audience" without answerability instead of promoting and acknowledging interactive performance beyond our museums and concert halls. My goodness, we've even done that to sports. This semester we introduced stamping projects, so that students could use stamps in lieu of drawing skills, and we've begun to find ways to turn our crafted art into more skilled interactive performance. For example, Quan Banks, in Love 1A, gave Betty a very sophisticated origami box, much more complicated than our box of squares. One advantage, though, to starting with elementary projects is that everyone can play.
What you call "a sense of togetherness" is called in formal theory "a sense of community." I'm proud to see that we can capture that, for those of us who have experienced it, in Betty's photo.
Let's link your response to statistics, shall we? What could our interactive art be used to measure? Well, one thing that Susan and I noted with amazement was the enthusiasm generated by having the art projects available, and also the enthusiasm with which the whole school responded during our exhibition, and as Susan's students shared their boxes at UWP. I missed much of the interaction on transform_dom later in the semester, but I've noticed the number of messages in which students comment on their art work. One of you might like to go through the messages and do a qualitative analysis of those comments, or a quantitative analysis of how many comments were made this semester, as compared to next, when we'll have the project better mapped out.
Many teachers asked if we would extend the art work to their bulletin boards. There could be a whole interview study on what prompted those requests, and what it would mean if we shared new instructions and models I've been putting up with other instructors. We might also want to interview our own students on how their sharing of guelphs and other small art projects like the boxes was received by their families, friends, neighbors. Lenora offered voters a piece of candy from her decorated box in thanks for voting. Then a day or so later a caller to KPFK sugested that the unions sponsor one last ad thanking everyone for voting.
What we did this semester could best be compared to ethnomethodology and/or grounded theory. We started out with a hunch that actual projects would suit the naked space. We tried several, both with detailed instruction and with none. Now we look back to see what we learned from what took place. One result is the Live Out Loudcard project that I posted this week, and another was the boxes and how we learned to use them to illustrate the underlying and often unstated factors that go into a social construct, where the box represents the social construct, and inside we put icons of the many component factors. Bruner describes this as making abstract thought concrete, as a means of teaching. jeanne
December 22, 2005