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RE: Re: "Visual Culture Art ED" was: Are there any new ideas out there?


From: Esa Tipton (tmtartseducation_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat May 04 2002 - 00:29:06 PDT

Perhaps in the way that "Esa" is a nickname for Teresa
and you were not at first able to see the link, is a
good metaphor for visual culture and semiotics. What
leaves DBAE behind in the field of arts education is
not the validity of the model or its usefulness in the
classroom, but its failure to embrace new research in
the field of visual processing and apply these
concepts to the visual field surrounding us. It stays
locked into a linear model of looking at art and art
history, with rigid rules about what is valid and
not-valid in the field of study. The most exciting
work I find in the field of arts education is coming
not out of the Getty but out of Rotterdam, Birmingham,
and Copenhagen.

The linear DBAE model continues to focus primarily on
objects already imbued with importance and meaning
instead of looking at objects at a meta level as
representative of a vast array of cultural, social,
historical, political, and personal norms. Instead, it
uses an artificial method of describe, analyze,
interpret and judge, in a teacher-driven context, to
often lead students to assumptions already
pre-determined by art dogmatists. Is helping students
to see through the nature of this paradigm to reach
their own process of inquiry which may not be linear
or agree with the cultural norms it implies
"bubblegum"? Then give me some!

One of the most impressive semiotics texts I have seen
is a non-linear textbook for non-lay people in the
field of art to use with children in various private
and public settings. The text uses the organizing
principle of sensory properties instead of the history
of art to present explorations of "objects". One can
go through it in a linear fashion if you want, but it
links throughout the text from point to point by
various visual cues, colors, and objects, so the text
can be opened at any point and used from there.

I use "objects" here as a broad term for the very
designation of calling something a "work of art". In
DBAE, we have truncated the potential to examine the
object at a meta level. We are already controlled by
academicians thinking as to how the object became a
meaningful artifact and we repeat it by our giving it
the same value and meaning. Only Visual Culture can
help us "deconstruct" the cultural assumptions which
have led us to this assumption by exploring all of our
visual field with informed meaning. This was where Art
Criticism and Aesthetics began and Visual Culture
continues to lead. Controlled by French Academicians?
Look only into your art history texts to see how much
control there is in male dominated hierarchies from
pre-modern cultural institutions.

Glad to see you back on the list, too, Henry!
Teresa wrote:

> Semiotics is wonderful bubblegum and over-valued.
> Currently tho, Seioticism is being wielded as a
> hegemonic club. Hegemony of the "good guys" of
> course. Semiotic interpretation offers new points of
> view but is no assurance of achieving a more
> accurate picture of what's going on.
> But you put your finger on an important point.
> Shouldn't this new paradigm be called Cultural
> Semiotic Art Education? Image is being made a focal
> point but then, magically almost, image becomes
> text.

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