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Lesson Plans

Re: New Thread (digital photo)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Tue, 15 Jul 1997 23:16:56 -0700 (MST)

On Tue, 15 Jul 1997, craig roland wrote:

> Henry wrote:
> ...snip...
> >As for justifying our existance via our willingness to incorporate....
> >computers or anything else is a moot point. It's been done. Is it evidence
> >of desperation? Probably. If the expanded use of any "tool" will help
> >insure the survival of art education in a given context or if it will
> >possibly enhance funding should one take that opportunity? We'll all
> >probably have to answer that one for ourselves. Perhaps not in reference
> >to computers, maybe in terms of math or science, other effective tools of
> >the artist.
> ...snip...
> It would seem to me that the decision to include any "tool" into a school
> art program should be based upon what it presents students rather than the
> potential it presents for "insuring the survival of art ed" or for
> "enhancing funding."

I heartily agree that it SHOULD have such a basis. I'll leave it at that.

I believe that traditional media technologies will continue to have a
place in any forseeable future, and that is is a "good thing", and that
personally there are many things I prefer about traditional media and
despite the fact that a goodly portion of them are to some degree toxic.
Not lethal mind you, those are much rarer, just toxic and for that
inconvenient in today's search for activities which, in terms of children,
are certifiably risk-free.

Given my druthers I'd salt the playground with mineral and vegetable
colorants maybe some "bait" flowering cactus to sucker in some of those
nice little red bugs. Then we'd spend the year uncovering resources and
finding out what we could do with them. Today it doesn't seem quite as
practical as it did a year or so ago.

Balance is important.

> "In spite of all the promises and benefits of new technology, its potential
> drawbacks are too great to ignore. In particular, its potential for
> fostering glitz over substance, speed over sustained effort, and
> entertainment over critical reflection should be of concern to all of
> us--especially as art teachers.

Absolutley! The novelty factor generally takes a generation or so to sort
itself out. Photography, once again, is a good example. I'm bored as heck
with all the drop shadows and shiny surfaces, video and sound simply to
have video and sound, paint programs that come in a gigantic packaged
"kit" with components and novelties I'll never be interested in using
designed by programmers who never turned their cuticles blueblack with
pigment. But, just like photography, some of these bells and whistles are
going to make some of the conventions of traditional art trivial and
redundent; though who knows what yet?

Going the other way, other media will mimic computer tricks and at some
time in the future, no doubt, they will choose that mimicry to evoke
nostalgia for an "old traditional media" --computers.

When have significant "technological advancements" ever NOT been
overwhelming in the end? Aesthetic sensibilities seem all too likely to
be overwhelmed. That's not a good thing. It is, I think, to a degree,
unavoidable,; but it needs mediation and criteria for developing useful

The "uniquely human", I think, must be the central focus. The image of
technology as "inhuman" tho is a false one The only non-human technology
I've run into lately has been connected with Roswell, Area 51, and big
budget science fiction films. Technology is essentially human and
therefore I think we need some resolution with the concept and the allied
myth that humanity is somehow "unnatural".

Basically, I'd argue that technology is essentially an extension of our
humanness but that other myths and models have intervened and intruded to
create models for us of a technology as a sterile mechanism. We need not
maintain that formula, but to get beyond it we have to find some way of
experiencing technology as human... changing the form of technology, NOT
the form of humanity, of what it means to be human and, to do that we
would need to get beyond assumptions about what constitutes "human".

An odd, perhaps convoluted, approach, but one I'm stuck with.

Sorry about all these L o n g sentences too.

How about this: Consider the appearance of "artificiality" as a marker of
error more than a fashion statement. Its a traditional perspective
thousands of years old and has been a useful guide for more then one long-
lived culture. Can we seperate "artificial" from "technology"? I think we
can, but it might require something of a stretch.

Appearances are incredibly malleable. We don't have to accept the obvious
ones. The correspondence between mechanical forms and biological ones is
often noted. Lately there has been a lot of talk about "artificial"
biological constructs: clones, recombinent DNA. A breakdown between the
artificial and the natural may be in progress here, eh?

Artificial is what we don't want and natural seems to be desirable. The
way we keep investing in technology gives every apperance that tech is
also desirable. Still, there is an awful lot of superfluous technology
that I suspect we would never miss. But the big question seems to be how
do we get what we seem to want... useful "natural" feeling technology?
What might constitute a comfortable, natural intuitive technology?
It might be something to ask kids in this coming year.

Still, Craig, aside from this standard formalized view of tech as
unnatural I agree with and share your interests, wishes, and desires for a
return to a more human world.

Still, I like technology too and as a human and natural phenomenon. I
don't always get what I want with respect to this tho. But, I'll keep

> In the end, whatever technologies are brought to bear on the art learning
> process, children must learn to use the tools they have available to think,
> to imagine, to create, to take on the impossible, to play with ideas, to
> explore, and to feel what it means to be human."