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[Xmca-l] Re: discussing "Posing the question"



David,

In relation to art I believe the term "symbolic" may be productively
related to motive in addition to sign.  It seems to me that the
appreciation of motive in art is "non-signed", i.e. not a discrete
demarcation used to coordinate action.   So to construe "non-symbolic" as
different from the developed form of "higher appreciation of art" may be
problematic if you're taking symbolic to mean sign.

I can elaborate if this isn't clear.

Best,
Huw




On 4 June 2014 23:04, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> I've been reading a lot about the work of Otto Neurath, who is mentioned
> briefly by Vygotsky in the context of his discussion of "rudimentary
> functions" (e.g. Rock, Paper, Scissors in making decisions). He was
> apparently involved in the Munich soviet, briefly imprisoned, then a city
> official in "Red Vienna", where he seems to have become more interested in
> museum curating than anything else. His big dream was to design something
> called the "Vienna Method" which later became "Isotype", the "International
> System of Typographical Education" that forms the basis of most of our
> translinguistic street signs and danger instructions today. The idea was to
> make Vienna's museum's accessible to foreigners, children, and other
> illiterates. With the Anschluss, Neurath and his wife took refuge in
> Rotterdam, where she died. He then fled to England in an open boat with the
> woman who was to become his third wife and co-designer (and they were
> immediately separated and interned as enemy aliens upon their arrival!). It
> was apparently during the channel crossing that he came up with the
> quotation he is most remembered for, "We are like sailors who must rebuild
> their ship on the open sea, never able to dismantle it in dry-dock and to
> reconstruct it there out of the best materials.”
>
> It's a pretty good description of the way Isotype works--the system is okay
> for giving you here and now, but it has to convey negation and
> conditionality through red circles and triangles, which are only mean that
> if you already know that they do. It seems to me that Neurath is
> essentially pursuing the same problem as Rolf, in exactly the same
> context--how do you get children to go from non-symbolic appreciations of
> art to higher sorts? And it seems to me that intrinsically linguistic
> systems, like negation and conditionality, are key.
>
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>
>
> On 30 May 2014 00:13, Rolf Steier <rolf.steier@intermedia.uio.no> wrote:
>
> > David and Ed, I'm going to think about this a little more but first thank
> > you for these thoughtful responses,
> > rolf
> >
> >
> > On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 8:16 PM, Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:
> >
> > > Rolf
> > >
> > >        Thanks for giving me an opportunity to think more about mimesis.
> > > Some rambling follows:
> > >
> > >      Gebauer and Wulf in Memesis (around p315 there is a summary of
> much
> > > of what I am paraphrasing/interpreting) suggest that mimesis concerns
> the
> > > making  [I think here about your conversation with Huw about
> 'discovery'
> > > and 'making'] of symbolic worlds with, for instance, gesture, Such
> worlds
> > > have an existence of their own; i.e. they can be understood from within
> > in
> > > their own terms. These symbolic worlds are transformations of a prior
> > world
> > > (the world of 'Others') into the world of 'I/we.'  Mimesis is realized,
> > in
> > > essence, as a dialogic activity (I don't think this necessarily
> excludes
> > > narration, but I could be wrong) taken by participants, a deed or
> doing.
> > In
> > > this frame Mimetic Gesturing is one way of transforming the 'Other';
> > > however depiction (as distinct from Mimetic Gesturing) seems another.
> > >
> > >     So, perhaps (and this is complete speculation) the girls have
> > > purposively intertwined their depiction of the body of the figure in
> the
> > > work with its title to produce/make, in their eyes, a 'standalone'
> > > dialogical event (or symbolic world). Perhaps, the gesturing is for the
> > > self and/or friend (I mean I/we). In any case, in this framing the
> > > transformation has its roots in the object of representation and is
> > > realized in the gesture and its uptake by the recipient. So your
> > questions
> > > below are critical.
> > >
> > >     I hope this makes some sort of sense as I am still thinking about
> > > mimesis and depiction.
> > >
> > > Best
> > >
> > > Ed
> > >
> > > On May 27, 2014, at  4:24 PM, Rolf Steier wrote:
> > >
> > > > Hi Ed,
> > > > Thank you for asking this because I had been reflecting some after
> > > sending the previous email and thought this topic might need more
> > > discussion. I view mimesis as one form of gestural depiction. Streeck
> > > defines Mimetic Gesturing as “the performance of gestures to depict
> > > physical acts or behavior” (p 144 of Gesturecraft).
> > > >
> > > > I absolutely agree that posing with an artwork can be interpreted as
> > > mimesis. Where this becomes more complex (and I think interesting!) -
> Is
> > > when we ask what it is that is being depicted? If we use Episode 1 from
> > the
> > > article (Figure 6 on p160) - it might be that the girls are depicting
> the
> > > body of the figure in the work. Another interpretation could be that
> they
> > > are depicting the painting itself (with the implication that they are
> > > acknowledging the intentionality of the artist in forming her own
> > > depiction). I believe that at some point in this interaction, the girls
> > are
> > > implicitly acknowledging the intentionality of the artist because the
> > girl
> > > on the left incorporates the title of the work (Four Artists) into her
> > > interpretation. I chose to use the term ‘posing gesture’ as a form of
> > > gestural depiction that is distinct from mimesis. I think that
> > > relationships between the artist, figure, artwork, and visitors are
> > complex
> > > and that some aspect of these relationships might be lost if we
> interpret
> > > it only as a gesture “depicting a physical act.” There is also the
> issue
> > of
> > > who the gesture is for (the self, the friend, or both). Perhaps this
> > > contradicts my previous email a little, but thank you for asking me to
> > > reflect on it again.
> > > >
> > > > Ed - what do you think? Maybe there is a broader question here about
> > the
> > > object of representation.. what a gesture is of? and who it is for?
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Tue, May 27, 2014 at 9:15 PM, Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu> wrote:
> > > > Rolf
> > > >
> > > >       If you would, could you say more why you think 'depiction'
> rather
> > > than 'mimesis' better captures the dialogic relationship between the
> > > participants. An example from your paper would be helpful.
> > > >
> > > > Ed Wall
> > > >
> > > > On May 27, 2014, at  8:14 AM, Rolf Steier wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Hello David,
> > > > >
> > > > > Thank you for your comments and for sharing your book as well.
> > > > >
> > > > > You noted that you found the idea of young people posing for
> Flickr a
> > > > > little depressing - and I can certainly understand this. Not to add
> > to
> > > this
> > > > > depression, but remember that few young people even visit museums
> at
> > > all
> > > > > outside of school visits! I don’t think that ‘flickr’ was a
> > > particularly
> > > > > large motivator in the end. The most surprising finding that led to
> > > this
> > > > > study was that visitors “pose” naturally. Many many people when
> > > approaching
> > > > > Munch’s “The Scream” would bring their hands to their faces to
> > > “scream” as
> > > > > a part of normal museum practice. I think the exciting thing is
> > > building
> > > > > off of this natural tendency to create richer engagements and
> > > conversations
> > > > > with and about the art- Not to replace interactions with the works
> > with
> > > > > photo taking activities. Although it is also interesting to see
> what
> > > > > expectations youth bring to these experiences.
> > > > >
> > > > > You also provided a few questions that I wanted to follow up on.
> You
> > > > > mention a distinction between “mimesis” and “depiction” that I
> think
> > is
> > > > > really interesting. I actually spent a great deal of time debating
> > the
> > > > > appropriate concept to use to describe these activities and I think
> > > both
> > > > > are appropriate and share subtle distinctions. I agree that
> ‘mimesis’
> > > > > implies a dialogic relationship between the participant and the
> > > artwork -
> > > > > but I would also argue that ‘depiction’ better captures the
> dialogic
> > > > > relationship between the participants. I used the concept of
> > depiction
> > > to
> > > > > be consistent with Streeck’s framework.
> > > > >
> > > > > You also mention that assuming gestures are either iconic or
> deictic
> > > > > suggests that artwork does not have ideal content? Maybe you can
> > > elaborate
> > > > > on what you mean by ideal content? I hope that I didn’t give the
> > > impression
> > > > > that I feel visitor gestures are limited to these types (A goal of
> > this
> > > > > article was to introduce posing as a unique gestural activity).
> > > > >
> > > > > Thank you!
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > On Tue, May 27, 2014 at 12:18 AM, David Kellogg <
> > dkellogg60@gmail.com
> > > >wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > >> I think I'd like to try to tie the discussion of Rolf Steier's
> > > intriguing
> > > > >> article to a book we published in January here in Korea, a book
> > which
> > > is
> > > > >> also related to the discussion of Vygotsky, the Imagination, and
> > > > >> Creativity.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Since we are discussing posing and artworks, let me provide the
> > cover
> > > of
> > > > >> our book, a painting by the Russian children's portraitist Nikolai
> > > > >> Bogdanov-Belsky.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> http://www.aladin.co.kr/shop/wproduct.aspx?ISBN=8994445536
> > > > >>
> > > > >> The book contains three very different works by Vygotsky on
> > > creativity and
> > > > >> imagination, which we translated into Korean: his "popular
> science"
> > > account
> > > > >> ("Imagination and Creativity in the Child", which was published in
> > > JREEP in
> > > > >> 2004), "Imagination and Creativity in Adolescence", which was
> > > published in
> > > > >> "Pedology of the Adolescent" and which can be found in the
> Vygotsky
> > > Reader
> > > > >> (Blackwell, 1994) and "Imagination and its Development in
> > Childhood",
> > > part
> > > > >> of which appears in Volume One of the English Collected Works.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> But the cover painting really says it all in gesture: Vygotsky
> > > asks--and
> > > > >> answers--the question of why one form of creativity after another
> is
> > > > >> exhausted, when the child's imagination is still developing
> > > vigorously. The
> > > > >> child poses. Then, at a certain point, the child becomes
> > > disillusioned with
> > > > >> mere posing and becomes interested in drawing. The child draws.
> > Then,
> > > at a
> > > > >> certain point (usually right when the child appears to be making
> > real
> > > > >> progress), the child becomes disillusioned with drawing and takes
> up
> > > > >> writing. The child writes. Then, at a certain point (usually, as
> > > captured
> > > > >> by Bogdanov-Belsky, right when the child begins to learn how to
> > write
> > > > >> compositions in school) the child becomes disillusioned. The now
> > > powerless
> > > > >> and disillusioned daydream, which we extravagantly call
> > > "imagination", is
> > > > >> all that is left.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> I liked the article. I loved the idea that recreating a painting
> as
> > a
> > > > >> "tableau vivant" includes both an external plane (dialogue) and
> and
> > > > >> internal one (narrative). I thought the ability of the author to
> > > recover a
> > > > >> kind of underlying structure of pose, comparison, focus, and
> > > adjustment
> > > > >> from the careful analysis of two incidents was actually very
> > > convincing and
> > > > >> shows the power of a theoretically informed analysis over a
> > > statistically
> > > > >> equipped but merely empirical one. I also find this underlying
> > > structure
> > > > >> far more helpful than the usual vague talk about extra-corporeal
> > > artistic
> > > > >> experience and reflection that we get, even in the work of
> Bakhtin.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> But I confess, I found the idea that children spend their days in
> > > museums
> > > > >> recreating paintings with their bodies for a Flickr account a
> little
> > > > >> depressing. I wonder if there is any evidence that the evident
> > > > >> understanding that emerges leads to any actual creativity or even
> > any
> > > > >> posing outside the museum. Perhaps, if it doesn't, that is a good
> > > thing:
> > > > >> Munch, in addition to being a smoker, was a notorious depressive.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Some specific questions:
> > > > >>
> > > > >> a) On p. 149, the author says that "meaning is embedded in the
> > word".
> > > > >> Doesn't this imply a conduit metaphor? Isn't it more likely--on
> the
> > > basis
> > > > >> of the author's own argument--that the way in which words carry
> > > cultural
> > > > >> meaning is by forcing the hearer to re-enact the meaning making
> > > itself?
> > > > >>
> > > > >> b) On p. 151, the author appears to confuse the concept of
> metaphor
> > > with
> > > > >> Lakoff and Johnson's "conceptual metaphor". Also, I can't see how
> > > children
> > > > >> can develop concepts from metaphors, because it seems to me that
> in
> > > order
> > > > >> to have a metaphor you need a concept first.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> c) On p. 152: if we assume that visitor gestures are either iconic
> > or
> > > > >> deictic, doesn't that suggest that artwork has no ideal content at
> > > all?
> > > > >>
> > > > >> d) On p. 152, the bottom: isn't "depiction" more of a NARRATIVE
> > > stance,
> > > > >> while mimesis is a more DIALOGIC one because it places us inside
> the
> > > > >> artwork? Just a thought.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> I remember taking part in an art exhibition in my wife's hometown
> of
> > > Xi'an
> > > > >> in China twenty years ago where we left a huge canvas by the exit
> > and
> > > > >> invited all the viewers to try to paint something. It was at a big
> > > > >> university and some of engineering students tried gamely, until
> the
> > > art
> > > > >> students came along and painted everything black. Interestingly,
> > > though,
> > > > >> neither the engineering students nor the art students tried to
> > > reproduce
> > > > >> any of the artworks--they were more interested in looking out the
> > > window
> > > > >> than in looking back at the exhibition.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> David Kellogg
> > > > >> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >> On 23 May 2014 01:09, Vadeboncoeur, Jennifer <
> j.vadeboncoeur@ubc.ca
> > >
> > > > >> wrote:
> > > > >>
> > > > >>> Dear XMCA,
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Rolf Steier is now on XMCA, and his article "Posing the question"
> > is
> > > open
> > > > >>> on the T and F website:
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/.U3zs4Sjsq24
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Just click on the green button to the right side of the article.
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> There is loads to talk about, and one question that comes to mind
> > is
> > > in
> > > > >>> relation to the museum installation as a design experiment. In
> what
> > > sense
> > > > >>> is it a design experiment? What does it make visible? How is
> > learning
> > > > >>> shaped by access to this experience in a museum?
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> More questions?
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>> Best - jen
> > > > >>>
> > > > >>
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> >
>