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



Huw--

I'm taking symbol as one kind of sign. It's a sign whose interpretation
passes through a culture.

So if I see a mosquito and infer that summer is here, that's a sign but
it's not a symbol. But if I go into a department store and I see a picture
of a mosquito on a box and I infer that the box contains poison of some
kind, that is a symbol. If I see a T-shirt with an antlered animal on it,
and I infer that the design represents a moose, that is a sign but it is
not a symbol. But if I then read and understand the superscript
"Abercrombie and Fitch" and I infer that the wearer is the sort of person
who will pay large sums of money in order to have somebody else's
advertising logo sewn rather than printed on his or her chest, then that is
a symbol.

Yes, I think that motive is related to the distinction, but I guess I see
it as a special case of something much more general: the ability of culture
to move motive away from the immediate situation and to make motive into
something highly proleptic--something which anticipates and event tries to
influence the actions of generations unborn. I don't see how this is
possible without culture and even more specifically without speech. The
difficulty of writing "danger" logos for future discoverers of our nuclear
waste--the fact that the messages which we sent to other galaxies via the
"Voyager" are already dated even to us--the ease with which we can
distinguish art from pornography are all examples of the indispensability
of speech to higher artistic functions).

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies



On 5 June 2014 23:14, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> > > > > >>>
> > > > > >>
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
>