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Thanks for bringing in Dissannayake, her _Homo_Aestheticus_ is a pretty
cool read too! (that's how I get an underline btw the word processing
functions on these mailers are less than primitive.) Dissannayake's
ethological approach to art is pretty useful I think. And I agree with
her that there is a pretty powerful biological basis for aesthetic
discrimination. As you say a "BASIC SURVIVAL NEED".
There is hardly a square inch in any classroom or administrative office
that has not at some point crossed an artists or a designers board. Many
times for that matter. Since australipithicus (sp?) first ventured out
onto the savannah, aesthetic discrimination has been the crucial aspect
of our survival and intelligence. If one can't tell "x" from "y" and
establish some relative values one is "lunch" and a biological dead end!
Hands and manual skills are useful but are of little value if one cannot
distinguish things and sense their "RIGHTNESS" OR LACK THEREOF. (oops
Next time any one asks if art has any practical value ask if they are
willing to ship the contents of their closets and wardrobes back to the
people who drew the designs and patterns and to forgo clothing all
together, save what they can grab up about them in the morning from the
floor of their cave. Do they think footballs grow on trees? Try to make a
decent football in class sometime to illustrate the point.
If we give up the arts it's not just fancy colors that disappear it is
buildings, manufacturers, tv, radio, malls, and pickup trucks. If you
want to find out what life without artists is like visit the old eastern
block countries. They shot the artists or locked 'em up or simply didn't
support those who wouldn't paint nice Norman Rockwell socialist realism
(and I LIKE Norman Rockwell) Do the voters want to drive a nice soviet
car or a Chevy? They just don't think about the consequences and we dont
point 'em out. Try running an economy like they did on pure "logic"
you'll get lines for shoes even if they are only available in one size.
Aesthetics, Arts ARE vitally important and as teachers we need to
understand how and why. Pay attention. Look at your environment is there
an artist hiding somewhere in the background? I bet so. Share that with
your kids and their parents. Let them try their hand at inventing their
world with out art. Let em' see how it goes...
We've already had so-called days without art, but as you can see even
artists believe that the only art that counts is the stuff in museums
galleries and websites. I'd like to see a real day without art. No cars
or commuter trains, no supermarkets, no media.
It is too easy to ignore the artistic infrastructure upon which our
world depends, we take it for granted, we assume it is too trivial or
commercial to consider or appreciate... we should at least consider doing
without it just to experience exactly how trivial it is...
I've sure gone off on a tear, haven't I? Well this thread has been
calling me and I've been trying to stick to my classes and my reading...
I finally gave up... Just because someone mentioned Ellen Dissannayake.
Hey go out and get her books from the library or even buy 'em if they
aren't there. You may not agree with it all but its well worth the
exploration for educators
Back to school
(at least back to cleaning out this stuffed up mail box)