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Artful Brain


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Feb 24 2004 - 14:02:51 PST

Marvin writes about the research of Vilayanur S Ramachandran. And, as a
matter of fact, another Getty member (Vicki from Australia) sent the BBC
lectures on to the list several weeks ago, without much response.

I think we all need to be paying attention to brain research. I think we are
on the verge of some incredible discoveries. I have been particularly
following the research connected with dementia, Alzheimer's and stroke
victims and what part brain areas play in producing new kids of creativity.
I've been looking at the Ramachandrian stuff for more than a year.
Basically, I think he is documenting what artists come to inherently - the
stuff that is hard to put into words or teach----- how do you teach that the
brain automatically groups or makes associations when given only the most
economical information?

Not too long ago an e-mail went around that was filled with misspellings.
It didn't matter the misspellings because the brain makes a perception and
translates correctly. It's the same with lines and shapes and why
Ramachandran's explanation of the genius of Picasso makes sense. I think,
sometimes, we get so hung up on historical examples that we forget the

If you read the BBC lecture and the "rat studies on the rectangle" -
the recent posts on kinders saying dottism and squarism becomes logical.

The questions Marvin asks are the stuff of thesis research. What if? What
if we changed our perceptions of the what ifs?
Art Ed is lingering in a slow transition. DBAE played it's role, but that
role is getting old. Many resist the calls to try VCAE and there are
plusses and minuses to that approach.
> How might art curriculum (syllabus) change if we started using a lie detector,
> not to find truth, but as an assessment tool to determine student responses
> when exposed to art?
And I ask, how might we accept the perceptions and not put them into a box
of of a traditional view?
NCLB is behind. I want to see every child go forward.

I don't know what the truth is any art work. I'm always challenged by new
perceptions. The only truth is that a work has enough in it that a reaction
is caused. It's all Metaphor. and are we teaching that?
> Most great works or art - be it Western or Indian - are pregnant with metaphor
> and have many layers of meaning.

I hope I live long enough to see some convergence of the old and the new.
I want to see emphasis on technique replaced by metaphor in art teaching.
What is your metaphor for how you teach? how is your classroom a metaphor?
what a lesson to use "squarism " or "dottilism" as a metaphor.

Marvin, I want to hear your answers to your own questions.

We are very lucky to have this Getty group to bounce around ideas. We help
each other with the nuts and bolts of day to day survival. ..... But so
often I yearn for thoughts about where we are headed in this business
where is the research going to take us? and sometimes I think the Getty
"goes down" because we aren't talking thinking stuff enough. Remember, Getty
was the force and guts behind DBAE and maybe they are looking for another
avenue to get on, to get behind to justify once again .

Just some rambling thoughts