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[Xmca-l] Re: Rationalism and Imagination

Perhaps this experimental comparison of remembering TV and radio might be
interesting. Ed's  earlier post put me in mind of this, but it took a while
to dig it out.

On Sat, Dec 12, 2015 at 5:26 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> Hi Ed (and others),
> Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
> First I'd like to say that what I wrote I wrote without a totally clear
> picture in mind, or at least a picture that I articulated effectively. If
> you can imagine that!
> When I wrote of your TV experience, I wrote about it in reference to the
> radio experience, in juxtaposition with that experience. I think point of
> view (POV) is something that functions so elusively, that we aren't aways
> aware of this being constructed.
> Making art, whether writing a poem, painting a painting, making a
> sculpture, playing music, etc. there is a constructed
> reader/viewer/listener/experiencer being made by the artist through the
> piece, and conveyed through the medium. The artist might be doing this
> consciously or unconsciously, but they do it. Consider looking at Guernica
> without a POV.
> What is happening with more modern technology is a kind of telling of
> stories that dictate experiences as such. So if one has different
> experiences that do not compare to the story, one must surrender to the
> story or one is alienated, just by the pervasiveness of the medium and the
> message therein. Consider what it must be like for LGBT to experience a
> flood of stories and songs about heterosexual romance. If you can, then you
> have taken, temporarily, a POV, even if it's in your imagination. If you
> can't place yourself, then consider what a friend told me, that it's like
> hearing bad Christmas music all the time, wherever you go. This ability to
> take a POV creates human empathy and sensitivity because affect populates
> this POV. The affect is the answer to "What is that like?"
> In old-time radio, there was more apparent freedom available to the
> listener, as you said the imagination has more leeway to construct images
> about what the listener experiences. Even in theater there is this
> experience because the world is represented on the stage, and sets do not
> simulate the world as the world actually is, so for the theatergoer, the
> imagination and the flexibility of POV is still possible. One can focus on
> one character or another.
> In television and film this seems to be less flexible. I'm not saying that
> it is not possible to have imaginative experiences in film or television,
> just that POVs are more deliberately constructed in comparison to the
> storytelling wizard sharing time with a group around a fire and telling
> stories of old, or in your case, your radio program.
> When I watched Star Trek TV episodes, I myself had a "reverse" experience
> from yours. After, I read (somewhat campy) stories published in a book
> series and I couldn't get William Shatner's and Leonard Nimoy's personages
> and voices out of my head, or any of the other characters that might pop
> up. It was an uncomfortable experience, and I could never really get into
> the stories. I don't even remember what they were, I just remember this
> experience, I was probably 13 at the time. But I think it's because the
> associations are so strongly mapped, there's no space for an imagination to
> happen (Until we all become post-modern I suppose).
> My assertion is that POV is the only way we can experience a story, and
> it's our way into the story: we can feel affect for the characters or
> situations, that's how they grab us and engage us, they make us care about
> something. I am the one listening and thus positioning myself to the story,
> that is one freedom I still possess. I can even say, "I don't buy that
> story," or "I have a better one," and so on. I don't think taking a POV is
> all that conscious unless one is actually focusing upon this idea. ANd even
> in that case, one might ruin the experience of a film by deconstructing
> what the director did, or how the editor edited, or the screenwriter wrote
> lines, etc. Which I suppose is still taking a POV, but more as a distant
> observer than getting involved in the actual story. I might offer that the
> less aware we are of the POV that we take, the more likely we are to feel
> an affect more deeply. It might be why we call art art.
> I don't think I am saying your stories are or are not an instance of
> Mike's point. If I am (or am not), it's not planned. I was only responding
> to your experience of what happened and am offering a possible explanation.
> You can certainly disagree with me. I don't think storytelling is a
> delirium at all. I think we live and die by the stories we hear and share
> and experience through hearing and telling.
> Would you say more about what you mean when you asked, "Are you saying
> imagination cannot be drained of effect since 'affect has to arrive first
> to ignite the process'?" What does it mean to say imagination is drained of
> effect? Do you mean is imagination killed if affect is missing?
> Though I still would like to hear your reply, I'm going to say that I hope
> we agree that imagination is an expression of freedom.
> If there is conscious and deliberate attempts to invoke a specific
> "picture-making" through cultural meaning for a specifically contained
> response (I can't call that an imagination because there is propaganda,
> manipulation or deception involved), this approach, in my opinion, is not
> far from brainwashing, or some means for justification for group
> identities, what have you. The end result are adults with limited ability
> to be creative or imagine anything on their own. Such an imagination is a
> muscle with a very constrained reach and one can experience pain if asked
> to imagine something far beyond common experienced. This may be why
> conservatives or fundamentalists are so reactive if anyone strays from the
> flock or behaves spontaneously. In such society, one would likely be
> considered deluded.
> We had a marvelous presentation by researcher who visited us in the lab
> yesterday. She is studying the use of tablets (iPads) in preschools. One
> finding she made is that during interaction with the iPad (either alone or
> in a small cohort of others) children try to "break" the apps that they
> interact with, or they use it in ways that were not a part of the design. I
> see this as an attempt for kids to create their own POV and not settle for
> the POV as "dictated" or set out by the app designers. The broom is the
> pivot for the imagined horse only because the child is free to imagine it.
> That is my opinion of what is going on. Artists do this all the time, it's
> part of problem-finding and discovery as an art-making process.
> Then I went to a different level, in considering tech with a particular
> generational cohort. This is what I was trying to say about new generations
> (as kids) coming to new tech who will have the experience where affect
> "begins again." It's not like that for their parents using the same new
> tech, who developed as children with different tech. For the parents there
> is an overlap of the old tech and accompanying behaviors assigned to the
> new one, so the approach possesses a kind of baggage, like learning a new
> language. Of course these are huge generalizations that can be easily
> picked apart. I'm just trying to describe an idea I have about it.
> In my imagination, in response to your comment about drained affect in the
> face of a rationalized move, it feels like you are describing a killjoy.
> Kind regards,


It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch

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