Saturday, 8 March 2014

#LiveArtHistory W2: Story

I can only post a sort of ‘marker’ blogpost for this week; too busy for words: student conference – music improvisation event – all the usual work – started a new F2F course – finishing another MOOC - tons of marking. Hey ho.
But this CalArts course is so excellent, I need to capture it here; if I cannot do all the work this week, I can at least re-visit it later and catch up with myself. I foresee a very visual summer!

Art as story
We explored art as public storytelling, and history- and meaning making from the caves of Lascaux to Persepolis via Davide, Jericho, Monet, Picasso, Kerry Kames Marshall, Jeff Walls, Cindy Sherman, Martha Rosler …
A key implicit theme was power: who gets to tell the stories – who has access to the traditions, resources, vocabulary, training, tradition, time… the cultural, semantic and semiotic capital to make the meanings that count – that stick – that help us become who we are – or that deny us alternative ways of being who we might become.
Out task this week is to tell our tale of who we are in ten images with a very brief commentary: one for after the marking!! But a wonderful additional task for this week is to go back into last week’s assignments and to engage with another participant in a deep and thoughtful way. I have posted useful questions, suggestions and resources below – and these are definitely things that I will be embedding in my own practice as soon as humanly possible.
W2: Assignments
Optional Sketchbook Assignment 1 Follow Up
Regardless if you did last week’s sketchbook assignment or not, I encourage you to try this out. Some of you are already commenting on the work that’s been posted to date, but let’s make our first attempt at critique with the following prompt:
Visit the Sketchbook Assignment 1: My World and the Art World forum and choose an assignment. Try especially to spread your attention between assignments that may have already received a lot of feedback and ones that haven’t. Prioritize finding an undiscovered gem or two.
Look at the student’s submission. Don’t respond immediately. Give yourself at least a few minutes to really look or study what the student has submitted. 
In your reply, describe, in words, exactly what you are seeing or reading in the student’s assignment.
Then, select at least one of the following and add it to your comment:
a.                            What is one thing about the submission that immediately caught your attention?
b.                            What is one thing about the work that took you a little longer to discover?
c.                            What are three questions you would ask this student about their submission?
d.                            How does the medium/format that the student has chosen (drawing, text, chart, etc.) affect how you understand the meaning of the submission?
Repeat for another assignment. Try to comment on at least three assignments this round.

Optional Sketchbook Assignment 2: Mental Map (Tracks A & B)
It’s good to try to know yourself as an artist and visual thinker. And it’s interesting to learn from others. This week I’m asking you to tell your own story in images and words, and learn about things you might not know from other people’s stories.
1.                 In your sketchbook, assemble ten (10) images, books, films, or even music/songs that provide a history and context for your current work or interests in art, animation and/or gaming, whether as a practitioner, viewer or player/participant. Choose works that are important to the way you think, and just as importantly, works that inspire you in ways that you can’t always perhaps put into words. Reach back into your childhood (where you may perhaps find some unexpected sources of inspiration) and look around you to collect some contemporary resources. (This assignment is particularly well-suited to a digital sketchbook, like a Tumblr or blog, but as before, if you are posting content that is not your own, please cite where you retrieved each image with a link.)
2.                 Sequence your images/items in a way that makes sense to you, chronologically or thematically or some other way.
3.                 In this forum, start a new thread. Give your thread a title, write a short intro (100-200 words), and post your images/list of links, or a link to your digital sketchbook/blog where you created your sequence.
4.                 Click “Create New Thread.”

Further Reading and Web Resources:
See the work in fine detail, panel by panel.
A simulated walkthrough of the caves.
Marshall’s 2012 Elson lecture at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., The Importance of Being Figurative, is worth a listen (recorded March 12, 2012).
A list of some photographers working in a way similar to Jeff Wall:
Persepolis (the book), 2003, and Persepolis (the film), 2007
Marjane Satrapi’s 2003 graphic novel is highly recommended, and we encourage you to see her 2007 animated feature, too. It’s available on Netflix if you have access to it in your part of the world (membership required), or on video.
Charles Baudelaire, “The Painting of Modern Life,” in The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays, 1964.
Baudelaire’s seminal collection of essays has been republished widely. Check your library.
TJ Clark, The Painter of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985.
A revised edition was published in 1999.

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