Welcome, Members of Parliament

Welcome, Members of Parliament. This blog is designed to act as a student forum for anyone enrolled in my classes at a Dallas-area proprietary college, former students, and/or others who find our conversations interesting. The Parliament will be moderated to ensure civility and relevance. The directions we take, the paths we follow, and the concerns we address are all up to you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Art, Science, Storytelling, and Life

I'm adding another TED lecture to your repertoire this week, namely one by Scott McCloud of Understanding Comics fame. Almost all of you should have encountered him by now, if not in your intro to design classes, or storyboarding, then in Writing II (or is it I?).

At any rate, I came upon it by accident when I was looking for TED lectures that might reference the Renaissance (one of the tags on the video, but not really referring to the actual period in art history). This turned out to be one of those wonderful moments of serendipity the web makes possible, because it's relevant to our class in several ways, even though it doesn't really have anything to do with the Renaissance.

One of the first things he does in his talk is to map out three kinds of vision: blind faith (things you believe in but can't see); stuff that's physically visible and thus manifest precisely because we can see it; and what's possible: what we can en-vision. These distinctions are useful, because they can help us talk about art through the ages, and begin to understand how people perceived art in different contexts.

Better yet are his principles for using vision: learn from everyone; follow no one; watch for pattern (where visions of the future begin to manifest themselves); work like hell.

Essentially what this leads to is a path toward innovation--making the new connections that make new stuff happen. In other words, it leads to creativity.

Later, in his discussion of the relationship between art and science, he notes a connection between vision and meaning that points directly to my lecture on the origins of writing: the rebus. Remember the rebus I showed you when we were talking about the origins of alphabets?

Well, this is a good example of the visual made audible--and the achievement of sound through vision. When you think about it, hieroglyphic writing systems depend on this marriage of the aural and the visual in order to make the transition that actually divorces sound from object.

One more thing: if you ever want confirmation that I'm not completely off my noodle about those infamous "rules of technological development," McCloud affirms at least one of them when he reminds us of the error Marshall McLuhan warned about: putting the content of new technology in the shape of the old. Or, according to Uhlmeyer's rule #312, "New technologies often follow the form of the old."

This video is longer than the previous one (about 17 minutes), so grab a snack and sit down for a few minutes. It's a bit dated (filmed in 2005), but quite enlightening nonetheless. Feel free to comment on interesting points you notice, or connections you make as a result of having watched.

1 comment:

dj said...

Very interesting lecture, one of the most interesting points to me was the three types of vision beliefs that he spoke on. I do not find it hard at all to believe in what can not be seen, but i was unaware of the three main types of vision, and the fact that they are true not only in world views (the spiritual world) but also in art, science, and politics. I felt as though esp in art and politics there was one type of belief and vision and that was what was based off of what was already proven. But it's true what they always say, "you learn something new everyday."
Another point that stuck out in my mind was the story of the frog, I had actually never heard that story, but it makes perfect sense, sometimes in life we expect to much from eachother, or we expect eachother to act a certain way, but forgetting that we are all human, we were all raised different, we allow friends, family and other loved ones to disappoint us, but it is in all of our "natures" to behave a certain way.