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Lesson Plans


Re: Questions Raised about Art Ed & Tech.

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
henry (taylorh)
Fri, 10 May 1996 13:34:41 -0700 (MST)


On Fri, 10 May 1996, JAMES H. SANDERS wrote:

> if we mistake this virtual community for real face-to-face interaction,
> we run the risk of absoving ourselves from action in response to the
> isolation we authentically feel.

A popular notion James. May I explore it a bit? There is an assumption
here that face-to-face interaction is "real" as opposed to "virtual". Is
this a reasonable assumption? On the surface, most certainly. Probing
deeper, may I suggest that your impressions on a "face-to-face" encounter
rely about as much on the experience of virtual/internal constructions of
"reality" as an encounter with a monitor with text and perhaps graphics.

How frequently do we rely on assumptions about what, precisely, is
occuring in the skull of the person opposite us? At least as often as we
hear the phrase "That's not what I meant!" I'd say. Nuances of facial
expressions, gestures, haptics... may lead us to believe we experience
more and with greater "reality" when we encounter one another in the flesh
but I doubt the accuracy of this belief. Face-to-face encounters are
indeed "more real" in any tactile sense, but as soon as we approach any
COGNITIVE relationship we have moved out of the tactile and physical realm
and into the virtual realm inside the skull.

Philosopher of art Suzanne K. Langer pointed out in the late 40's early
50's that art was in effect a virtual experience. The more our experience
relies on understanding, memory, or belief; to that extent we rely on the
Virtual "reality" and not the Material "reality". Thought, understanding,
and belief are all events that occur without intervention of the physical
senses. Memory's connection with the material relys on a record of sensual
experience mediated through additions and deletions appended by
understanding, and belief.

In the virtual realm we rely on "virtual senses", analogs of the physical
senses. And this, I think, is why the Greeks assigned to memory the role of
mother to all the muses for so much of our experience and our
appreciation rely upon our memories to lend a "sense" of truth and
rightness to the occurances and experiences to which we bend our mind to
decipher. (likewise the "sense" of falseness, incongruity or "ugliness"
which we also encounter.)

> I too have felt supported by the awareness that others are sharing
> similar issues and concerns - but if I retreat to the terminal to find
> friends, I'm turning my back on the real work of that I could be involved
> in, in my own workplace and community.

James, I respect this belief, but as you no doubt note, I do not share it.
While I still do not fully grasp Plato's notions of "The Ideal" My
experience leads me to experience both the virtual (Ideal?) and the material
domains as equally but differently REAL. There is not, however, any reason
that I can think of why you or others ought to disregard your own
experiences or take up my beliefs. Examine carefully what and how you
actually do experience and live accordingly. I suspect that plenty of
room exists for differing "realities" if we are willing to allow it.

> I believe we all have adequate sources of challenge in our own back yards,
> if only we have the will to take them on. If this discussion group reduces
> the dialectic tension - how might it actually be serving as a disservice to
> our agency?

I have insufficient understandng of the ecology of the domain of which
"dialectic tension" is a part to attempt to modulate its occurance. Maybe
it cycles, maybe we have no actual influence on such "tension", I don't
know as yet. As to my agency in a cognitive ecology, boy! I bet there is
a college of doctorates in the exploration of that particular idea.

> I too have found great comfort in this space - but satisfied needs don't
> motivate... While enjoying the talk, I hope to retain the necessary
> sense of uneasiness and challenge that further propels me in my
> work - the real work of human interaction, not the insular world of text
> and terminal.

In other words: Stay hungry. Good advice that. I understand (virtually)
the connection here to your previous discourse on reality. I understand
how my sense of your reality across the web might lead me to not engage
some local relationship. But by the same token my encounter with one
local relationship *face-to-face* might accomplish exactly the same thing
with respect to another potential and local relationship.

What you are actually arguing then appears to be valuation of the local
over the global (QUITE A VALID ARGUMENT, but not, I think, a universal or
eternal value) and "reality", virtual or corporeal, has little to do with
the act of valuation.

Your argument then appears backwards. Perhaps you should begin by arguing
that local relationships morally outweigh global relationships therefore
virtual relationships sap the vitality of what can be achieved locally.
By making this argument however you would appear to be denying value to
global relationships and so in some way denying value to those who choose to
engage in them. (?) Maybe? (?)

In any case, I would argue back that some of us are more comfortable in
global work, that the global is part of the overall ecology and requires
its partisans just as does the local sector. Those of us who choose to
work globally may help to ease conflicts where marginally local groups
(regional?) or communities in vastly differing communities find conflict.
Globalists have their place but it is not required for one to think globally.

Henry
in an analytic frame of mind.
Have to work on a Vitae now and several late papers
so long 'till tomorrow


  • Reply: Kathrine L Walker: "Re: more art and culture"