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RE: RE: Visual Culture art ed questions (Very Long I Think)


Date: Thu May 09 2002 - 19:23:29 PDT

Esa doesn't think there is any contradition between teaching ART and teaching Visual Culture. Contradiction is't theterm I'd choose but in canonic terms, in terms of the spectrum of art taught I see in the VCAE literature at least a large difference.
* DBAE/Fine Art: The great primarily European art found in museums and galleries
* VCAE would include that and add images from commerical and pop culture
* ART in the old Balinese perspective I've cited earlier would include a much larger proportion of material culture. Essentially all the stuff you see in cultuiral museums of "ethnic art" even tho they may not have a word for art: shelter, tools, furnishing, apparel and accessories, communication and recreational artifacts, food (eg the varieties of Pasta)

I know we haven't exactly been encouraged to think this inclusively of art by the "Courtiers" of Fine Art.

Esa wonders about acacdemics "people who live their lives reading other people's writing and then writing about it" asking if their ("our" in many cases I acknowledge) is any less valid. I only wonder if it is any more pertinant? It is certainly highly self-referential. It is also very narrow.

Esa is correct that color and gender are NOT really pertinant. It is just that I get a little glee out of poking the characterization back at the proponents of Critical Theory and VCAE who are indeed very much concerned with issues of race and gender and fairness. AND for the best of reasons.

I asked whether Jargon was the proper word in an earlier post. No attempt to make anuy argument in that BTW. I was not sure if what was under discussion was the difficulty of penetratind VCAE and the earlier part of this discourse because to the preponderance of Postmodern Academic Jargon we were slinging around. I kinda like the irony of using the language (jargon) of "the oppressor" to undermine "the oppressor" but truth be told if no one else ggets the joke its not really as much fun. And I can speak and write plain english without dumbing anything down.

It would be refreshing to discard race and gender the first simply because it is merely an invention of Linnaeus and the second if only because it has so few contexts in which it is very significant.

>Visual culture at least from my POV, gives us a new
>opportunity to transcend the teacher-centered model of
>DBAE and bring the dialetic into interaction with our

Actually, I truly like the direction that this seems to go in. Yet I find that VCAE is a highly theory-centered model created by teachers and a model doesn't present that great of an improvemnet over teacher-centrism. It appears to represent fairly high level intellectual exercises. There is in this a deep belief I think that we educate children with the hopes of introducting them to the stellar heights of grad-studentdom. This represents arguably and academicism for the sake of academicism and not for the everyday life most people on this planet experience.

I greatly enjoy what intellectualism I can muster but I'm not convinced I would do well by prescribing it for everyone. Individuals have many approaches to enjoying the world and it's not my place to corner them in my classroom to get them to be bright little intellectuals. Or indeed to persuade them to examine the world from a particular socio-political perspective. I was born into a conservative family but at least partially converted to liberalism by encounters with a teacher or two before I was really competent to understand things. I'm happy where I ended up--stuck eternally halfway in between. I may indeed hacve chosen it for myself given the oportunity but I resent the presumption of those teachers in colonizing me with their values before I was of an age, before I was out of elementary school. I believe that VCAE has that potential but it is hardly a certainty

But I agree very much that more of learning needs to be put in the hands of students. Every year ask and so far no student has said that they knew why THEY chose to go to school every day. Other than that they were required or were supposed to. Obviously the idea that they want to learn is pretty far from their consciousness. The old assembly line model has probably done more to destroy the inate desire to learn than anything.

No give me the ability to teach each individual child what she wants to learn. NEVER in my life as an artist of any sort have I gotten together with 20-30 other artists to do essentialy the same work of art or in practical terms EXERCISE... Very appropriate it might be in a Fine Art curriculum by the way, BUt that ought to be a choice that comes later, I'm thinking.

I don't want to "interact" with commercial Visual Culture and the popular culture of the great mercantiale corporations. I do want to participate in real street-level visual culture. The Hip-Hop scene is probably the most vital street-level from the people visual culture out there right now. Talking about the meaning of its appropriation by commercial and consumer culture isn't about art any more. What I wea, what my room looks like, what I listen to, how I walk (Dead Poets Society) are all more important to me and something I --as a student-- participate in and contribute to that is culture and whenever VCAE veers onto this track we have no argument. This was where I was hoping it would be going 4 years ago. Now I have many doubts.

Don't LIKE Hip Hop? What can you take from it to grow YOUR culture and participate in YOUR verison of a culture into something as big as Hip Hop? That's what I want to ask kids. Their answer is art and done through art. AND -- importantly -- it might not involve a lot of reflective entirely conscious intellection. It might not involve formally dealing with the idea "Image as Text"

Interaction with primary culture not secondary culture of corporate sponsered imagery.

Some would want to tear down institutions of dubious value.
Others would prefer to build a new institution of value and to discover that in the proces with out addressing it they had undermined the institutions they might have opposed.

Art is much more about MAKING and much less about ERASING (Though Nauman did it very nicely I think)

Finally It would be nice to encounter more abbout Brain Research and cognitive functioning in mainstream VCAE. Bring it on!

>We are the ones who have
>failed to connect with the myriad forms of art in our
>environment and our lives because of our own
>definitions about what art is.


>If we are going to use the example of the Balinese,
>then we will support Visual Culture, because that is
>the context of our everyday lives.

Hopefully The NAEA's Caucus on Social Theory & Art Education will support this as well. Participating and contributing to culture more than interacting with its imagery at several removes.

>Call it what you will, but this kind of
>critique sounds to me like dinosaurs complaining about
>the disappearance of their food source.

My challenge here is to engage and participate in culture on the streets and in our homes not to simply interact with some academic image of it from the classroom.

cheers Esa Thanks for the challenge.

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