1. We covered a lot of material in our Intro to Visual Thinking class since the last posting. We talked about how the usage of time began and how it is affective in pieces of art from the readings by G.J. Whitrow. In class, we played Pictionary in groups of three using words that were mostly conceptual like expression, culture, emotion, etc. so it was pretty difficult to draw in such a short amount of time before anyone could figure it out. Even though my group tied for first place, it was not about winning. We learned that efficiency in Art may not necessarily be a good thing. For instance, if you walk into a gallery to look at a painting and figure out the meaning too quickly, it would not be as interesting and you would just walk away and find another painting to analyze. It is much more fun when things are less obvious and when there is something mysterious to figure out; beginning with what the artist was trying to portray.
In addition to that, we did some studio activities such as How You Got Here and 20 Lines activities. For How You Got Here, we were supposed to sketch how we got to class that morning. It may seem really simple, but the topic was very broad which allowed more room for individuality. After time was up, each student had a different interpretation of the assignment. Some drew maps, some drew images of objects they passed as they walked to class, and even some went way back to graduating high school to show how they got to college. The 20 Lines activity was similar where everyone made a variety of lines portraying various genres of music.
The most interesting and confusing thing we watched was the film, Memento. This was the first movie I had ever watched that went backwards. It gave away the ending in the first scene, but it was cool to see what had developed before then to cause the murder. Once you think you know what exactly is going on, the movie throws another twist or flashback that will make you think twice. After the movie was over, we did not really know who killed Leonard’s wife even though we saw him kill Teddy in the beginning. The truth of the murder is up to the viewer to decide, which kind of makes a parallel to the movie where Leonard’s condition is partially controlled by what Leonard wants to believe or create in his mind: his own identity. So in other words, he manipulates his own reality.
For homework, we were assigned to sketch our earlier memories or dreams that we have had recently. Unfortunately, I do not usually remember my dreams after I wake up so I drew earlier memories instead of my childhood. My first memory was dream-like and I am not exactly sure if it really happened or not, but I remember lying down facing up and I was looking at some bright lights in the ceiling. Then I saw my Aunt Cindy, who lost the fight against cancer when I was one year old, hover over me. Then it felt like I woke up, but after that my memories were clearer by the time I had grown up. It is really hard to explain, but I think it might have actually happened because I saw a tape of my one month birthday party (chinese custom) where the same scene happened. I was in one of those baby carriers just waking up and there Aunt Cindy was talking to me. It was very odd because that memory lasted since I was one month old, or it could have just been a big coincidence. Guess I will never know, but I do wish my Aunt was still here since I never got the chance to know her.
Aunt Cindy and I
2. For this week’s reading, we read G.J. Whitrow’s What is Time?. Like the week before where we talked about What is Art?, the discussion about time was also very open. It is very hard to put a finger on Time because it is so broad and has so many meanings like Art. No one ever thinks about how time is constructed but yet our world is controlled and affected by it. For instance, time is very significant to trade and marketing. Time is the dominant feature of our world-view. The hard part is determining where time came from or how it started. According to the reading, churches were one of the first to ring bells to tell time and scientists believe that time is cyclic. Time has different meanings depending on the culture. Some societies are more religious than others so it could also mean the “cyclic life” or rebirth. In the reading, some say that time is structural or built-in. Without having clocks, people still know to wake up in the day and to go to sleep at night. In class, we also discussed how long periods of boredom seem to drag where memorable moments go by faster. In the reading, the block of wax analogy explained that we will remember more the harder we press down on the wax rather than the smudges. So in other words, we remember the striking details in life. I agree with this analogy because when you are watching a basketball game on T.V., all you remember are the highlights and most impressive plays in the game.
3. We briefly talked about how calendar came to be, but how exactly did we come up with the idea of mashing together calendars from the Mayans, Christians, etc.? I have seen how effective the element of time can be for a film, but how can you make it effective for other works of art such as painting, drawing, or sculpting?
4. In class, we talked a little about lucid dreaming. To be honest, I have never heard of it before so it interested me right away. I have learned that it is when the sleeper is aware that he or she is dreaming and can somehow manipulate his or her actions while in the dream. I never really thought about this before, but it has happened to me a few times, especially when I dreamt about flying. So when I am floating in the air, of course I am dreaming but the hard part was controlling it; like how high or fast I could go. It was a really weird feeling, but by the time I started to think too hard about it I wake up. I have also had dreams where I am playing basketball and am totally aware that I am dreaming, but cannot seem to get a grasp of the basketball. Every time I dream about playing, it is like I have butterfingers and cannot catch or make a shot. So it makes me wonder what determines the level of control you have in a lucid dream.