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Lesson Plans


Re: Size and Power

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
R. Moore (ronmoore)
Thu, 1 Apr 1999 18:09:02 -0800 (PST)


I think Sidnie Miller raises a very nice point about aesthetic response to
magnified objects. Aristotle said we don't find very large or very small
things beautiful. I suppose he thought that they just can't serve as
objects whose organization and design we fully comprehend and SEE. But,
since his time, we have made giant strides in magnification, and can
appreciate the remarkable features of very small and very distant objects.
Those little critters that live in our eyebrows (I'm told that they look a
lot like tiny alligators) are a nice example of startling visual
impressions rendered aesthetically effective only through magnification.
Sometimes smallification seems to render things appreciable, too, as when
a room or garden is condensed and made present as a whole in a gazing ball
or concave mirror. And of course mirroring itself has a way of converting
what is just "there" into an aesthetic object. (See Jonathan Miller's
lovely new book, ON REFLECTION, on this topic).
It seems to me that there are a number of useful classroom
projects lurking in this area. Why not have kids consider ("reflect on")
ways in which our visual perceptions of things are altered, emphasized,
changed, etc. by the instruments through which we observe them. Seems to
me to be a neat way of combining a little science with art (optics plus
aesthetics).
RM

On Tue, 16 Mar 1999, Sidnie Miller wrote:

> I was thinking about the power of small things---have you ever seen the
> pictures of the greatly magnified little bugs that live in our eyebrows,
> dust, clothes and all over us?? They have the capacity to reduce the
> strongest of us to shudders.
>
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