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Lesson Plans


Henry's Postmo

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Glen Williams (gw1944)
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 16:35:52 -0600

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Fellow Teachers:
I apologize in advance for this type of response. I have a visceral
reaction to Henry's tome on Post modernism. If I don't do it now ( and in
stream -of-consciousness) I won't do it at all. Here goes.
Art is about order. Heresy number one. Even late 20 th century art
focuses in order to shatter other focuses. Robert Frost wrote that poetry
was a momentary stay against confusion. Momentary is the operative word.
Nietzsche said that there were no facts - only interpretations. Perhaps it
is the order posited in the current Chaos Theory, but the very absolute
truths , as Henry has noted, are highly migratory. One can win an
intellectual argument by insisting on the set of rules. A closed set.
Speaking of Godel. Closed sets build in their own paradoxes too. 1=2! Hah!
Failed manifestos litter the floor of art history classes. The joy of
Heisenberg and his Uncertainty Principle is the very real metaphor it
makes for the attempt at judgment of time and place and our own relative
distance and relationship to the "IT" of it. Who was the poet that
asked.."..are we looking at or from?" A good late 20 th century question
coming from an earlier time.
A profound "highly migratory" truth from T.S. Eliot about language used
to codify ideas or emotions..."we only get the better of words to say the
things we no longer need to say."
Is postmo a tool kit to fight intellectual tyranny in our time? Sure.
But where does it leave us..."after the first death?" That one is obscure
but it is my stream of consciousness so what the hell.
How / where does this leave me in my classroom with 25 reasonably eager
art students? Answer. In a better position to be accepting of diversity,
encourage articulation of visual and conceptual experience, and to treat
the arts as inclusive of a world where sciences favor the exclusivity of
and ever contracting and expanding universe of absolutes. Thanks Henry I
needed that
Glen Williams Vt.

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