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bill ritchie

EmeraldaWorks - A proprietorship

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Online Art Education - Shifting away from a view of prehistoric art and seeing the sea change caused by printmaking.

30,000 years ago two people practiced their art in two different ways. One used a stick, some pigment, and her vision flowed from her through the hand holding a tool.

The other got her results by spraying pigment against her hand flat on the stone wall and, as variation, painted her hand and smacked it to leave a hand print.

The line from the former led to what we call visual arts. The line from the latter led to what we call media arts, and this one is not a visual art at all, and it has made all the difference in the world.

I took the line of thinking less traveled in the art world, the line that says media arts are not visual arts, but they are performance arts.

And that choice has made all the difference.

This would seem like a good thing for a person like me - 70 years old and still coming up with new ideas to offer students - but, no.

Not until now, when ONE speaker in the TED series has said "humanities" in the same context as free online education alongside science, math, etc.

The time is coming when I will see my 1980 approach to sharing what I experienced in printmaking - the ancestor of all the media arts and useful for the transferrable skills associated with it.

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    Aug 26 2012: "Throw"? Throwing an egg would likely break it! "Put" an egg, and all one's eggs, that would be less likely to break them. Eggs in baskets, breaking eggs, etc. makes me think of several things by way of response. "Too make an omelette, one must break some eggs." In other words, to achieve anything, you must break some rules, sometimes. To "think outside the box" in education today means to abandon the old frames of reference, break out of systems that are not apposite to today's problems facing Earth's human life sustainability. Another "egg-sample" is what Henry Ford advised: "Put all your eggs in one basket and WATCH that basket!" Focusing on the fine art of printmaking, as I have done, watching all my resources put into this domain, has allowed me to keep learning new things for fifty years; my colleagues, on the other hand, in the institutional framework, the "basket" of the university, were unable to do so and are quite useless in education today. By comparison, I know I have something worth considering by cutting-edge strategies for learning, such as the course I begin tomorrow - Gamification, a MOOC produced by Coursera. So, my anonymous friend Myf E, I differ in my opinion as to the best way to use one's eggs. Thank for you for the opportunity to reconsider it, but I will WATCH my basket, full of golden eggs, product of 50 years in art and teaching.
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    Aug 19 2012: I am in favor of online art education in part because I watched the Shock of the New when it was broadcast; I thought Hughes was a good teacher, and I watched it "free" insofar I couldn't buy the printed book, it cost more money than I had. I rededicated myself to any kind of non-paper-based education I could get access to. The university A/V department came to my aid. Meanwhile, the university administration and faculty, wholly dedicated to the University Press, effectively censored my lessons because it wasn't suitable for print; peer review meant everything had to be on paper. I almost had to sue them to release the reasons I was censored; it turned out they mininterpreted a graph-they didn't know to read the print on their very own printed material, so lazy and hidebound, print oriented as they were. Now I disiminate my "legacy" all over the whole wide world, and for many people it is "free" as that of Robert Hughes'. Maybe not as sophisticated, high production quality, but it is there. Plus, and you must study my material to understand this, I make the etching presses an art-educated person needs to make prints on paper, the oldest-fashioning way, just the same as Rembrandt did, but on a miniturized, portable and beautiful etching press www.printmakingworld.com is my site. And to bring my legacy full circle, I now imbed my lessons and links to more information (also to those who own my presses) in the hardwood of the press itself. All during the time - about 35 years - I was accomplishing this, I watched so-called educators turning out pages of reasons not to "go virtual" and - on the diseducation side, the deconstruction side of human affairs, innumerable game companies wholeheartedly embraced the electonic media and almost completely dominate the attention and time of our young people. Currerently, even many mature people, who should know better, are spending inordinate amounts of time on games. Sorry for this bombastic entry, but I am so frustrated today.
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    Aug 19 2012: Hey Bill. thinking about legacy there have been two very good letters in tthe English media this week. The first was about the impact of political policies on the competitiveness of the nation in sports and the loss of the talent pool in state schools. The second was about the reading 'eco-system' that a paper book supports that a virtual e-book doesn't. Can't type them out due to copyright but you can see them at http://www.theweek.co.uk Edition dated 18 August 2012 page 27. In same magazine under Obituaries was Robert Hughes 1938-2012. 'The Shock of the New' was an Australian t.v. series and book from the 1980s about modern art. Going to get some of his other books e.g The Fatal Shore. This is why I have a bit of an issue about e-books or virtual material, it is too much like a form of censorship in that you only ever own it if you physically print it out. In U.K. a copy of all published books goes to the British Library - is there anything like that in U.S.,A., or even in each state ? On line education is a bit like the old way of learning i.e,. a slate. You need a really good memory and a really inspiring teacher. Music would also help embed information in a mind but that is not a new idea either.
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    Aug 18 2012: Bill I do understand what you are trying to achieve and I wonder if Emeralda works is a business name or you have a large premises. I want to share with you another memory from when I was a child in the early 1970s. There was a big community art weekend in a large industrial premises, some kind of warehouse I think. I had the opportunity to create a work of art by pouring paint through a sieve onto a piece of card that was rotating at speed. It was really thick acrylic paint in plastic tomato ketchup squeezy type bottles or a washing up liquid type bottle. I was thrilled that I could create something beautiful from something seemingly random and chaotic. My sister was there and my Mum, Dad was at work. Yes music is important to invigorate and bind together in a common purpose, dancing is important, drama gives permission to vent feelings that might otherwise be locked away and damage people. If you have access to such a building perhaps you could canvas the local artists/musicians etc. It might be better if there were no electicity supply available. Sometimes it is in the moment that a person may be inspired. The moment and the person may move on but think ripple effect. Remember most people still believe 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. The Golden Rule plus an awareness that kindness to others is superior always.
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      Aug 18 2012: Emeralda Works is a business in name only, and I have premises to work and live in 600 square feet (downsizing to 300 sq. ft. in December) for the former and 950 Square feet for the latter. My past experience with the university and also a co-operative studio involved spaces in the tens-of-thousands of square feet and, as I look back on this, I see that "small is beautiful" is more true than ever. Large spaces without a clear vision for those who occupy them, and a vision in balance with the task, proportional, tend to be derelict now. The name for Emeralda is part of my life-game, the full title of which is "Emeralda: Games for the gifts of life," and I used to think I could share this game with other people, but I haven't been able to communicate it because it is based on asset management and legacy transfer as a core principle. In my country, legacies are being wasted, not transferred or even recycled, I believe. In small part it might be the error in the Golden Rule, which in my opinion relies on what you think other people would have you do unto them. The Platinum Rule, which I try to follow, is "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them." I enjoy your message, Elizabeth Muncy.
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    Aug 17 2012: Not sure if I said this before but will say it again. A visual image is far more powerful than a written one. Words are social constructions. In a society like U.S.A. where there are so much cultural diversity words are too open to misinterpretation. I believe Bill that some kind of software package that could be used at home is very relevant to today's fast moving media industry. It is a great way of introducing the idea of creativity to a very wide audience. It is also important to have balance hence all my references to artists like Rolf Harris. Family workshops might be a way forward for what you want to achieve, there have to be boundaries to protect the vulnerable. Anyone working with children and vulnerable adults in this country has to undergo a rigorous C.R.B. check and rightly so even though the argument is that it is out of date aa soon as it is printed. What about printing some colouring in books for the youngest of the children and then talking to the parents about the transferrable skills to be gained from creative workshops. As I said before not at all linked to Elizabeth Muncey, actress. Not even related to her.
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      Aug 17 2012: I apologize for asking abou the theater connection. Printmaking is a performance art, so it has a historic relationship to video games and TV, and those businesses have done a lot of damage to families and the children show it. I like coloring books of course, and I wanted to make them one time; graphic novels, too, I like a great deal. A visual image is powerful, yes, but aural dimensions, as music, are examples of time-based dimensional arts. Theater, opera, ballet, dance - all time based but, in live performance, site dependent and very costly. Add to that the tremendous generation of emissions going into the atmospher. Yet artists who are not educated to the extent that they can join with scientists to work on, and communicate possible solutions, are usually working for the corporations responsible for rolling ahead with yesteday's premises, such as that we will never run out of resources, that global warming is a natural cycle, etc. Music and movies, TV, video games - all are more powerful than a visual image, if the condition of today's world, etc. are an indication. I used to teach in an institution where the visual image reigned supreme, and if you dared to bring up the subject of aural dimensions and the interaction with performance artists and scientists, you were ostracized. That's why I'm attracted to free (truly free in both the sense you don't have to pay tuition and the professor is free to express the results of his or her work).
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    Aug 17 2012: Yes, the range of unemployed people covers a wide spectrum of skills, knowledge and attitudes. From this spectrum select those who want to work, not only for employment but to feel usefully employed on the task of educating people who are not given experiences in creative problem solving at the same time they pursue expression and communication of beautiful ideas.

    I choose the media arts' ancestor - printmaking - because still today people get a great joy out of making prints by hand even though there is no market for their prints as consumables. They would give away their art, happy more for having a printmaking experience and learning how it is a performance art, something for viewers to watch in process.

    The kind of printmaking I favor uses an etching press, and I designe an etching press that is versatile, beautiful, lightweight and requires people with art and craft abilities to manufacture. This is not intended to be a mass-produced consumer item, but geared to cottage industry scales.

    All the time i work by myself, I know other people can master what i have mastered if given training and practice; I want to establish the form of teaching companies that do this. So, yes, since the people who have been buying my presses for eight years have disposable income, they are employed or newly retired, and they want the press and they want my knowledge.

    So, even though I am in my retirement years (but not retiring) I have walked my talk, putting education before everything else; it is what Americans need now, since the governments have found it impossible to unite for education.
  • Aug 17 2012: Can all the unemployed people get together and organize themselves to propose different projects that the government has neglected or has not thought about it and the rest of the employed people would sponsor those projects, so the people would be active and getting paid?.
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      Aug 17 2012: I saw this last night on another computer, and I replied. Yet it didn't appear this AM on this screen. In a word, yes. My favorite proof of this is the Mondragon Cooperatives that formed in Spain in the 1930s I believe. On a personal note, if Beatrice Siliceo is the fine Spanish teacher I saw online, I was impressed; one time I had a plan to teach Spanish to US students in a kid's TV series. I notice an Oakland artist taught a printmaking class at Stanford University, underscoring the political and social power of hand printmaking. But remember, printmaking is the ancestor; video games is the child.
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    Aug 12 2012: Hi Bill and everyone. Hope you don't think I am some kind of Luddite or communist. I like the ideas of John Maynard Keynes for economic modelling and the ideas of William Beveridge regarding social responsibility of the state and how the little people can be re-integrated into a free market type economy. Brilliant new talk about Revising the Words on TED today, about how new knowledge can be synthesised from old but also about the need to credit the sources otherwise it looks like magic. New ideas are not always popular, look at the problems Galileo had. Good reseach and ideas have always been stolen, look at what happened when Jason and the Argonauts found the golden fleece and brought it home. Trying to update my TED profile but keep getting stuck, it tells me to wait while the page is loading but then freezes. Am a person so want to update my Avatar at least.
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      Aug 17 2012: Dear Elizabeth - TED did not forward your message, so I didn't know. You talk about the major contributors to what we believe were good things to change society, and I am no Luddite, either; however, there is a catch in that the machine can take over, take command as Siegfried Gideon put it. Galileo was a scientist. Jason et. al. is a mythical character, production of an early Disneyesque piece of theater. I wondered when I Googled you if you are an actress? Not my business, but performance artists are close to my field, which is printmaking, and were I to take on the task of continuing my education/teaching online, I would help close the gap, this "hole" in the understanding of media and why the media, taking command and control of human beings, will further deplete Earth's human life sustainability.
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        Aug 17 2012: Not an actress just love cultural products like books and cartoons and films. Grew up in N.Z. First llive performance events attended were a vituoso violinist who came to my primary school and a troupe of Maori dancers. Skippy the bush kangaroo was a very popular t.v. programme and I was thrilled to see 'Skippy' when he visited a theatre in Wellington in the 1970s. These things make a big impression on small children. Wanted to say to you not to lose the origins of the craft and there have been further comments along the same lines on other TED conversations. Not saying technological innovation is a bad thing just that sometimes the creativity is in the actual gathering of people. One TED conversation was about whether young people would be able to understand body language and facial expression if they spend most of their time at home using technology to communicate. I do have a problem using words that can be misunderstood by someone who does not have the same (as you put it history) or cultural heritage. Do know my ancient greek legends and Grimms' Fairy Tales etc. There have been some interesting TED talks lately. I favourited them on my Profile (which I still haven't been able to get into to update.) There is an Elizabeth Muncey in U.K, who is a very successful actress. I am not her. In group gatherings there are hormones and pheromones at play which simply do not exist in virtual gatherings. Particularly I am thinking of the multiple roles of the hormone oxytocin. In particular as an anti-oxidant and in male/female bonding. I believe it is why women love a male singer. He is safer and therefore a more suitable long term partner than a violent man who could endanger any children with the company he keeps or people seeking vengence for what he might have done. Sorry if you find my language a bit strong, an quite well educated but sometimes struggle to say things gently and get misunderstood. Look at Derek Young's profile and threads, brilliant
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    Aug 10 2012: I have visited the U.S.A.in the 1970s and stayed in Los Angeles I think. I remember the airport control tower, very futuristic. I went to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm. I am very interested in the spiritual traditions of the world from the Maori stories I grew up with to the Native American traditions which are currently being disneyfied. Pocahantas is actually buried just down the road from me in Graves End, just down the river from me in Greenwich. I also know my ancient Greek, Roman, Indian, Chinese and African stories because I like that sort of thing. Anyway I want you to watch the talk on here by A. Mojadidi and also watch the advert afterwards. Be very afraid of what that advert is trying to say. Good ideas resonate through a society if you know how to hear them, the young man is talking about the importance of patterns and then using technology to produce artefacts. Listen to the word artefacts. What happens if there is no power to run these devices. How wil people be able to communicate if they have lost the original knowledge of how to produce prints. Screen printing is an ancient art form. It is used in India and Africa to print on cotton fabric. Have you ever seen the pictures of African elections where supporters of a particular politician literally dress in fabric with the politician's face on it. The visual and colours communicate so much more than the word because words are social constructions and effective communication is only possible between people who have a shared history. The economic model which has really helped U.K. is Keynes cyclical model plus a social security system. It is very unfortunate for U.K. the 'heirs' of mad Kiing George that is the aristocracy are now back in power and trying to rip great holes in the security safety net created by William Beveridge. Got some more to add, running out of characters here. Time delay is a bit awkward as well here GMT, you Eastern seaboard time ?
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      Aug 12 2012: Respected Elizabeth, We are forgetting another type of art that is present day Tatto. We here in India call it 'Gothna' means pricking with needles. My mother who i now 76 is having tatooed ,her name in her hand.Many tribal and common people are still following this tradition today. Another form is Mehendi drawing different curves on palm and hand. The color are made using Mehendi leaves. It is now fashionable in any festive occasion in India. Though the tatto has come back to urban areas in different commercial forms. The community who were making 'Gothna" are decreasing. The pasting by coloring palm is still prevalent in our villages as it is linked to many religious practices. We in Western Part of Odisha India still having the process of tie and dye method of making dress material , which is famous as Sambalpuri Koshli Saree and dress material. This saree got fame in India and world over because our late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi used wear it, even today the her daughter in law Sonia Gandhi is also wearing it. In India we have both printing and weaving forms are used to make dress material by hand by machine. We in in Western Part Odisha are have many caves and hills with both the carving, painting with stick and coloring with palm is present some are disfigured many are still intact.
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        Aug 19 2012: Dear Sir. When I was a child the Maori ladies in my community had tattoos on their chins, it was an issue of immense pride to them. I did not understand why they would want a beard, being a child. As an adult I hugely respect the Maori patterns and signs. Tattoo in U.K., used to be to do with sailors and criminals and 'non-respectable' people. The situation was made much worse by the tattooing of a number onto the arm of every concentration camp victim in World War II. Recently I have spoken to somone about the Nigerian tradition of 'tribal marks' started when slavers took people away so they could be identified if later found. The idea of scarring the face is much. much older and mentioned as a practice for certain ethnic groups in Ancient Eygpt. Cutting and piercing the skin is still carried out in so many cultures around the world and does have significant cultural and religious significance. I was really saddened to hear in some countries people are literally having their personal details like name tattoed into their skin because they cannot guarantee someone else will not steal their identity papers. I like the idea of studying cultural traditions for information lost to immediate community recollection. The Polynesian people including the Maori are thought to have originated from India and I speculate it might have been to do with the huge asteroid hit India took at some point in the past. I also like the idea of the bhindi as it actually marks the site of the pituitary gland which produces important social bonding and antioxidant hormones like oxytocin. As Bill says later in this conversation, people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I always want to know what the social and economic implications of a cultural practice might be about, no matter how different to what I might have already experienced. Namaste Jay Kumar Pradhan
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    Aug 10 2012: Your lost book must have been inspired in order that it's "voice" is still sounding through the ages. No doubt it is in a universal language. The present-day technologies have given voice to many things that, before recordings, depended on text and pictures. Music was always a universal language, as the aural dimension of our experience is powerful. It may be more powerful than the visual dimension. I have long believed the blind among us can teach us a lot because they live in the aural dimension and are not distracted or confused by what is to be seen with the eye. Thus I came to conclude that printing is a performance, and because it is a performance it is carried on in the time dimension, which is the dimension shared by all performers and the oral AND aural traditions. We must be aware how mechanizing the procedures, while they have so many good attributes, mechanization may take command if we are unable to balance human interaction and that of machines. We must not transfer our intelligence to the ownership of the machines and, in turn, to irresponsible owners of those machines. The blind people may educate us, I think.
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      Aug 12 2012: I do agree with you Ritchie Jee. Yes blind people can teach us many things. I was working All India Radio, Sambalpur.I was presenting youth & children programme. One day we had been to a blind school nearby to record the interviews of blind students. When I stated a interview with a blind girl student she touched my neck and said you are Jay ji na !!! I was dumbfounded, then she added, sir I have listened to many of your programmes and I like all of them as I like your voice and I believe that you must be a man with good heart. When I asked how do you know it ? She said its through your voice. Your voice emanating some good soothing feeling in me. I returned to my house after the interviews was over. From that day on wards I am questioning myself , how does she knows that I am a good man. My voice may be good like other presenters but how it is linked to good or bad character of man. Now I see the point through you comments its the Aura of Voice which a blind person can only feel or see it in his / her brain.
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    Aug 10 2012: Mankind has traveled from from cave painting to ePrinting and eBook. The future is endless now, as you said "The time is coming when I will see my 1980 approach to sharing what I experienced in printmaking - the ancestor of all the media arts and useful for the transferrable skills associated with it" Possibilities are endless. Here is one of my idea to recreate lost book by using internet websites and collections from memories of people who have read it. We can not get the whole story but we can get some information. Like wise we recreate lost ancient books through extensive research in field and in the web.Presently I am involved in creating an eTEXT book for blind people of our state Odisha , India where the written and spoken language is Odia. Because making of text books for so many languages and so many students is not possible in braille language. This technology will go a long way for education of blind people.
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    Aug 10 2012: I could check Wikipedia, but I think of matrix as being any set form, physical or alphanumeric or in musical notation, that serves unlimited replication of an image, a sound, a human motion, etc. A robot with mechanical or digital controls moves according the gears, springs, etc. that comprise a matrix. A stencil, a rubber stamp, a printing plate, a musical score, a map - all of these might be considered to be matrices because they control actions or results more or less the same through repetition. A human hand placed on a sheet of paper, and with a pencil traces around the fingers, serves as a matrix to draw many hands on many sheets of paper, almost all alike. In the example of cave paintings, there are no drawings of human hands like the drawings of buffalo or penguins. All the images of those humans' hands are the result of using the hand as a matrix; the hand becomes a matrix. Thank you, James Zhang, for helping me elaborate my meaning.
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    Aug 10 2012: Yes Bill, really sad when art is just a commodity, an asset to be locked away in a bank. We have a National Portrait Gallery in London. Often the artist is trying to get a message across but the only people who can read it are those with the appropriate learning and vocabulary. I would like to use the metaphor of the works of Leonardo da VInci in this. A polymath who used visual images. As they say a picture is always worth a thousand words because psychologists have discovered the human brain assimilates colours and patterns and images much faster than words. You could think of advertising as a kind of brain-washing and I was having a conversation on another thread about the use of elevator music and mall music in lulling people into a zombie like state where they make decisions they might not have done if they were more alert. It is the same with colours, apparently colours like red and orange and yellow make us want to eat more hence use by fast food outlets. I've been trying to have a similar conversation on one of my own debates about symbols and the cultural interpretation of them. I was trying to use the idea of a pattern from Maths language called Fibonacci's golden sequence of numbers. It is not a binary code more a tertiary code. It does not go 0,1,2,3 but 0,1,0,1,1,2,3. It has stalled the conversations because most people hear the word Maths and run a mile. I was thinking about the Islamic tradition where they refuse to worship any image taken from nature, i.e. animal or human (not sure about plant). All the information is encoded in patterns in the mosques etc but most people do not know how to read it and just think it is pretty patterns. Fibonacci found his pattern repeated in many natural structures like the structure of a flower head and it has been applied to the structure of a beehive. These are not my research or ideas just what I have found in a big 'literature search' in my own quest for ideas to help me understand the world..
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      Aug 10 2012: I thought about the commodity aspect you mentioned, and the use of music, color, etc. to control consumer habits. As a teacher of art, but now seeing an opportunity to realign art education, I see the correction that need to be made in art education is the control rendered by machines over the teaching of art. The elevator music, the colors of advertising, the TV commercials during the Olympics are wholly dependent on artists to make them happen. The unbounded creativity of individuals who can compose, paint, do CG and animation seem limitless, and all of them consider themselve artists. Yet their intelligence is owned by their employers. Today's technology allows artists to pick up a few bucks doing whatever is available online. Much of it has been commodified, with the artist getting royalties. This sounds awful until you stop to think artists COULD be working to save Earth's human life sustainability as much as to save the growth curve of commodities that further reduce Earth's human life sustainability. Another thing I observed is the commodification of the earth's resources (natural and human, not that they are separate) is the artists are part of a team in most cases. If you don't have the book, you would enjoy Gyorgy Doczi's book. (title?) It may become different, this commodification cycle. I'm not sure what the tipping point might be, but artists will be there, for better or worse.
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        Aug 10 2012: We beat you to it already. We had John Lennon, we have Bob Geldof and Live Aid, we have David Bowie, we have Annie Lennox, we have Richard Branson and Jamie Oliver. We have an educational institutional called Goldsmiths College, I studied there but was unable to continue because I was getting divorced at the time and had a very small child to look after. That is where I got the book 'Ways of Seeing'. U.S.A. has forgotten to 'thank' all the countries who gave their poor and disposessed. We've given you Super Nanny. Now trying to help you personally because what you know is so important and want to help you get it out into the real world. Do realise you are operating in an economy that is object obsessed. Technology is only useful up to a point. Look at poor old Data in the Star Trek series. An android desperately trying to be a human and not quite getting it. Look what happens when he meets the Borg. It is not artists versus scientists it is about working as a team. Evidence based science is great but it is very mechanistic, we need all the colours of the rainbow in this. When I first came on the TED forum I posted 4 ideas. What I did not realise is that vocabulary is so important and I used the wrong words. I am a child of the globe, I was born in N.Z. There has been a minor volcanic eruption in N.Z. I am devastated at the impact of the free market liberal economic model because it excludes so many people. You know a pyramid selling scheme only works for as long as the people at the bottom feel wanted and have the resources to participate and you know how bady they get hurt when the scheme collapses. Do not want the Ponzi's of this world to destroy what we all rely on ie the planet. Unfortunately when someone talks in terms of the global and the personal other people stop listening. So want to encourage you in your venture because it is important. Hope you will keep thinking and keep chatting to me.
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          Aug 10 2012: I am happy to hear from a New Zealander and British person. I feel the kinship I supposed through the language and also through the economic theory we inherited from Adam Smith and others who framed the enlightenment. If it hadn't been for "mad" King George, we would have even more in common today I believe. Yes, the USA is object-possessed as a consequence of the feudal system of ownership - what you can build a fence around is yours. The native American Indians and the indiginous people (Australians) find this to be a peculiar way to relate to Nature. Mechanization takes command, but we humans may still extricate ourselves from the grip of machines if we are brave enough to try walking our talk. As for the British entertainment industry, yes, we love 'em and I am so embarrassed to be the nation where Lennon was killed, and so many others. We are probably the most dangerous nation in the world. Someone wrote the book, "Why they hate U.S." and he was right. It is education that matters now, we have the hindsight and we need the poetry and art to reach young children everywhere, but especially USA children. I feel so weak in the face of video games that own the minds of the majority of young people; the artists who have teamed up to gain control of the young people and are paid to steer them toward a life of war and imprisonment. As long as I can put time in countering this, and perhaps getting a company of producers together to augment art education online, I will not lose hope and faith there is good here.
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          Aug 10 2012: Elizabeth, I think TED is a great place to discuss global issues and to find not only listeners but also contributers. As a practical matter I think more people engage with you on TED, probably, if you open one thread at a time rather than four at once.
          I could be wrong in this assumption, but I know with limited time, many people might want to spread out their attention among several people's ideas rather than concentrate time responding to lots of ideas put forward by one member of the community.
          But don't avoid global issues!
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    Aug 9 2012: Are you saying we need art as a way of expressing abstract concepts? I have read a book of visual essays called 'Ways oif Seeing'.
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      Aug 9 2012: I'm not sure about art being a utility, as a way of expressing, although I suppose I was expressing something when I made an etching or a sculpture when I did that, but by and large it was in the context of Western ecnomics, education and "what you did." Role-play, in other words, and this harmonized with what was expected of an artist, a teacher, a US citizen, etc. But times changed and it was necessary to question "Ways of Seeing" because seeing is a visual fact. So I read books that were about printing and ways of seeing. Wiliam M. Ivins is the best for this. I went through the era of political challenges (1970s) so it was necessary to ask if printing and TV (all the media arts) mattered in this regard, and Walter Benjamin was best for this. Then I had to see if computers mattered, and ___ Shannon was best for this (information theory) and also Norbert Wiener. The final outcome was that seeing was not enough, no matter how many ways you list it. The question I work on now is how can my legacy in printmaking/media arts serve to help sustain Earth's human life sustainability in the educational endeavor. You are helping me, EM, in this endeavor as I work on ways to teach printmaking online, based on my tenet that printmaking is more a performance art than a visual art. TED is helpful.
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        Aug 9 2012: O.K. think I get it now. I remember watching real time performances of art on T.V. here in the U.K. One artist was Rolf Harris, hugely talented and a fast enough worker for T.V. He would have huge domestic paint brushes and would always say 'can you see what it is yet'. He is hugely respected and has also paiinted the Queen. Some argued because he produced works so quickly they weren't true art but he had to understand the concepts behind the art he produced, such as the use of light and shadow and form and shape. Another famous artist was Tony Hart, the programmes were pitched at school age children but were incredibly effective. He invented another plasticine figure called Morph. You may have heard of Aardman Animations. You can look them all up on a search engine like Google. Rolf was more spontaneous than Tony Hart but maybe these programmes could give you some pointers.
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          Aug 9 2012: Yes, that is the general idea. Very close. The "shift" I refer to in my profile is the way learning printmaking (not painting, not sculpture, not ceramics) is the basis for thinking about media art. To me it's important to make the distinction between painting, which is a kind of product-oriented art form, and the media arts, starting with printmaking, which is a "process" oriented art, like its sister arts, music, dance, theater, etc. By setting this stage, you then open channels of communication - much of it nonverbal - among people who think art can save the world. The product oriented arts, sadly, tend in some ways to reduce Earths human life sustainability, usually through the political process, as W Benjamin believed in his essay, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
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    Aug 9 2012: O.K. in the good old days books were written by monks and beautifully embellished, literally works of art as another way of informing. The books were only useful to those who could read, for the rest of the population the information was in the sermons of the priests, the paintings on the walls of the church and the stained glass windows and in the music that was played and the hymns sung. Printing came about because some people wanted to spread some rather subversiive ideas. It is not either visual or media art, it is not fine art and craftsmanship, it is both. Australian aboriginal art is not just a series of colourful dots but some rather complex instructions about how to get from useful place to useful place and useful resources. It is hugely regrettable that no-one seems to know how to read them anymore as aborigines were regarded as heathen savages who needed educating. Strangely enough it is the aborigines who can go walkabout in the interiors of Australia and survive. It is hugely important people get to play because it is in the what if possibilities of playing that ideas are formed. Do have a sense of humour too just want to get some ideas across and join the conversation.
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      Aug 9 2012: In one way I disagree with EM. First "it" cannot be both things in this day and age, as we have adopted a digital form of communicating, i.e., binary, and abandoned for the most part the "digits" of the human hand (except for keyboarding and smart devices of course). It would be nice if we could suspend the issue of whether it is visual OR media art that needs resuscitation, but we cannot suspend the difference if we want ot restore the arts to an important place alongside math and science, music and PE, for example. Which is my goal, BTW. Another disagreement of mine is that printing did not come about by conspirators, but by chance, in caves and on the walls of stone all over the world, when a matrix and a performance were one. This comes close, but does not overlap, what I think I know about Asian calligraphy where maker, making and made are almost unified.
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        Aug 9 2012: O.K. I don't know enough about the many strands that have led to media art as a separate entity to visual art and I really don't know enough about the binary language of digital communication. I do very much support the idea that the arts are just as important as the other subjects you list. Was thinking of what I know about the role of Caxton in printing in U.K. history which is not what you are referring to. My understanding of what you might be saying is that it is important the subject is offered as part of the curriculum as another way for an individual to communicate ideas and possibly communicate ideas that are not sayable in other languages such as Maths. Am I getting closer to what you mean ?
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          Aug 9 2012: I sense that you are, EM, getting closer, and I will have to lookup Caxton, thank you for the reference. What I experimented with in my good old days was bringing video into my printmaking (media art of the antique kind) studio/classroom and handing over the cameras and recording systems to the students. I went ahead with my printmaking in the old ways, and pretty soon students were making old-style etchings from special effects they got when they edited the videos. Circular, it seemed, and then someone played a Canon and explained the form (they were music students in the printmaking class). There we were, standing around an etching press discussing musical form, humming to make ourselves understood and, from the engineering student there came another valuable lesson. Oh, it can be great, but ONLY if the actioni were seen as an art, in and of itself, like what they called "happenings" in those days. It is performance art and, yes, something happened that was not sayable, in kpelle, ifa mo - "cannot be spoken." Thanks, EM.
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    Aug 9 2012: Hmm, what exactly do you mean by "visual arts" and "media arts"?
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      Aug 9 2012: Visual art meets the eye, is designed on visual principles, what this organ - the eye - is good at perceiving. The arts devoted to the eye define everything in terms of the visual light spectrum and most often they follow the discoveries of light, optics, and social, economic, political and religion history. Visual arts build on the two dimensional communications and are taught in art schools on the basis of visual design, flat drawing boards and flat canvases but they allow for three dimensions, such as sculpture, so long as these can be shoehorned into visual medie.

      But media arts meet more than the eye alone because they relie on an intermediate agent, such as this screen. The media arts began alongside paintings in the prehistoric caves, but as handprints, with the hand acting as an intermediary, a stencil or relief print. The hand became a matrix, rather than a system of muscles and nerves to make something for the eye.

      The act of printing with a stencil is a performance, which is different from a visual art. Products of these performances are artifacts, but the matrix may not be noticeable or available. An algorythm is a matrix in this sense, the results of which appear on this screen.

      Media arts encompass all the technologies that descended from the use of the hand as a matrix - all the antique printing crafts, all photographic crafts, film, TV, and even radio - and the current form of media art most people are enjoying, video games.
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        Aug 9 2012: So then, media arts is an even more generalization of the other specific arts (like visual arts) because they were created by our hands or by some other body part. So cave paintings were the most basic form of visual art, in this sense, because it had a more direct relationship from the hand, the human body itself. But people eventually started making tools like pencils, paint brushes, machines, computers, software, etc. that could make achieving certain effects easier and better to do, while also making certain things harder to do. That's why an artist may use like 3 different brushes, each for their own unique purpose.

        Did I get that right?

        But that's pretty interesting to think about, that nearly 100% of all of history's artworks and inventions were a result of an amazing tool called the human hand, which has an opposable thumb and some fingers.
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          Aug 9 2012: I think you got it partly right, JZ, and I don't mean to dictate but I want to say if a computer, a tool, produces a "painting" more easily with a graphics program, and better, than you could do with a can of paint and a brush, it does not change the fact that the computer uses matrices, and not muscle, heart and brain - so to speak. What people accept as a painting whether by brush or graphics, if it addresses the eye, it is a work of visual art in the minds of the viewer, as it is directed to the eye, a tiny opening, the pupil, which about a thousand years ago was discovered by mathematicians and callled resolving three-dimensions on a two-D plane and relies on conic sections. The eye. The eye. The eye, always obscuring the more important lesson to learn, which is the role of performance associated with the media arts, the act of instant results by stencil, etc. (time for lunch, thanks!)
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        Aug 10 2012: Hmm, can you elaborate what you mean by matrices? And what you mean by the hand becoming a matrix?