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


Date: Sat May 04 2002 - 21:17:06 PDT

Esa Tipton <> wrote:

>Perhaps in the way that "Esa" is a nickname for Teresa...

I'm missing something there I guess.

>What leaves DBAE behind in the field of arts education is
>not the validity of the model or its usefulness in the classroom...

Yeah no doubt about it DBAE is inadequate today. It's a gread adjunct to consumer culture tho. Builds wonderful Fine Art consumers when its done right. While I continue as a Fine Artist and make some cash at it I can no longer take it that seriously. (apologies to those offended by that)

Incorporating the new research is of course important. I would advise some cynicism in adopting it however. just remember how significant the OLD research it replaces has turned out to be. There's one guarantee: everything we know IS wrong, WAS wrong or WILL BE in error eventually. And a few of the things once known to be "wrong" are currently considered "right". So it goes.

It just goes to show the importance of relying on "bad" information. We must embrace the new data--right OR wrong--- if only to be able to move past it. Pain in the rear tho.

Visual processing and visual literacy are important.
Perceptual discrimination of difference and value is vital.

Nothing much comes out of the Getty in Art Ed these days
what's up in Rotterdam, Birmingham,
and Copenhagen?

OK DBAE is stuck on on the surface of things. VCAE offers a more Meta perception.

>The linear DBAE model continues to focus primarily on
>objects already imbued with importance and meaning

DBAE focuses on the surface level and perceives facts and judgements.
VCAE finds another level, not yet deep, and imagines possibilities. Semiotic critique destabilizes the surface examined by DBAE and nothing more.

It's something of a tragedy but the human brain has many limitations. It is prone to conflation and given, adequate experience, is quite happy to willingly suspend disbelief. The problem with critique is that it is a rare individual who can encounter an attractive possibility and not somehow adopt it as an assumption. Even rarer is the instructor who can effectively communicate an understanding of the problem to a majority of her charges. Not unlike DBAE as you note; but by way of a different route.

VCAE is not a bad idea at all, like most things it has not been thought out very deeply. After the hook is set there is often something of a rush to help those getting that shaft. We are gifted with an expedience prone to unexamined and unforseen consequences. VCAE is inventive but not truly creative. It all happens in the head and nothing but illusions and glamours are produced. Speculations of some complexity perhaps but little depth or long term significance. We are left with ideas which feed our vanity but are little more than intellectual entertainment -- Bubblegum as it were.

VCAE is no less artificial than DBAE. It is grounded in empirical observation and abstract reasoning. With reason in the real world we are alway in possession of too few of the variables in play. They are discovered only in retrospect.

VCAE continues the Marxian adversarial perspective: Us versus Them. Thus it follows Gramsci's strategy of counterhegemony seeking to colonize naive students for the best of reasons with an ideology reflecting only one side of the coin and thus perpetuating a potentially infinite cycle of hegemonic regression. Good guys becoming bad guys again and again.

NOt that anyone is listening anymore. Grin!

Both DBAE and VCAE offer the student an opportunity to displace the teacher. VCAE a little more perhaps.

>One of the most impressive semiotics texts I have seen
>is a non-linear textbook for non-lay people

It's called?

VCAE is no less a creature of (Western) academicians than DBAE -- equally "Tools of the master" I suppose. I dissagree with hooks. A material hammer may not be applied to itself, a conceptual hammer may be iterated as necessary to accomplish the task. The problem with most of this Franco- American theory is that it shys away from taking itself apart with its sharpest tools.

Deconstruction is merely the free-agency of ideas. All things are possible and any clever mind can reveal the pope as the anit-christ with a neat deconstruction. We are more familiar with deconstruction in the debased form of spin doctoring or the even earlier Rhetoric of Cicero.

I have always believed that a picture is worth a thousand words and that art is best when it touches the ineffable. Art can communicate things language cannot. To reduce the ineffable to a deconstructed semiotic critique destroys that foundation and denies that possibility. If I believed in that I could not believe in art thereby rendering the critique moot as it is pointless to critique something that can't be believed.

Too often I read or hear some thing like "Only this can achieve that" History has too often shown the fallacy of such argument. There is always more than one way to defrock the feline.

I claim that art is the engine of culture. aesthetic making "writes" culture and  democratically if allowed to. Art is not about art, it is just how we do things. Art criticism is of interest to the critics, art history to the historians and aesthetics to the philosophers. to the extent that an artist identifies with criticism history or philsosphy they have meaning and the subsequent art reflects it's service to the discipline that guides it. Art has often served as a handmaiden and acted outside its interests. Politics teaches us only how to better control the other. Art can be made in the interests of control. Doctrinaire Socialist Realism for example. VCAE in some ways continues to lead us down that path. For the best of reasons--reason being what it is.

>>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.

Like those French guys? I agree. Best not to perpetuate the pattern any further, eh?

NO I don't want to "know". I want to have a voice. I want to be empowered - to participate. Through aesthetic making we all have the opportunity to participate; to democratically engage in an initiative process through art. To shape my world as I would have it and encourage others to copy what they will. Direct participation as an aesthetic maker not secondary participation as an aesthetic consumer (DBAE) or tertiary participation as a critical theorist or poltical pawn (VCAE).

Bricolage is a process of construction. In that process what is at hand and  not of value in any other purpose is deconstructed and used to create the world. Art - aesthetic making - can dismantle the old world while recreating a new one. Rhetoric only adds confusion

As this was a rhetorical exchange I suppose everyone is now more confused than ever huh? BIG GRIN!

Enough for tonight. peace. -henry

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