Monday, November 2, 2015

Contemporary Collaboration and a Sudden Need for Simultanious Critical Analysis

Several months ago I started using a Google classroom for my art students. Before starting the classroom I deciding to use the stream as a Q&A forum for critique and peer to peer feedback. Through experience doing similar collaboration with Google+ communities I found the open peer to peer sharing was really fueling work and creativity. I created a community for my post graduate level online courses in leadership last Spring as well and all of the students loved it.  We were able to get around several questions and help one another quickly in a easy to follow info posting stream.  
The collaboration and viewing of artwork intrigued me greatly though. This was profoundly different from a document and comment sharing community open for discussion on topics and ideas. We would be talking about digital images of artwork. NOT the actual artwork itself. This brought me to a key factor to address for the students. They should be aware that we are discussing the image of the work and not the actual work itself. I can only give feedback based on the photograph of the artwork as can any viewer. This is a limitation and a differentiation. This is exactly why all dual enrollment HS students and art school freshmen go why should anybody care about Mark Rothko and Frank Stella? They are looking at little bitty prints inside of a book surrounded by words that are supposed to somehow convey the living meaning and value of a painting that is enormous... 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide... for instance.  I have seen Rothko's and Stella's they absolutely stopped me in my tracks and took away my breath.  Rothko is much more spiritual and Stella is more industrial, yet they are monumentally astonishing in real life. Details cannot be conveyed through secondary means. This brought me to another debacle. Students like to use photo filters and other quick editing fixes to snaz up imagery. SO what I am critiquing takes on a double life. One as the drawing, painting etc. and another as the digital image of the work itself. Now I have to critique both. People, even my family have looked at me funny when I hold up flashcards for my children and they tell me it is a cow... I say no... It is an image of a cow :] It is crucial early in life to distinguish the difference between what is real... A cow in a field eating vs what is an image of something real. Movies, games television and magazines warp the minds of so many children and adults who live without a simple foundation of what is and what is just an image or a video. Videos are just series of images played in sequence. It takes some doing to get people to understand that concept as well. I suppose a whole lot of thought seeded out of the transition into online teaching and learning. Time seems to change but the principles of relevance stand strong. Rene Magritte said it a long time ago... "This is not a Pipe" or "ceci n'est pas pipe"

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