Icebergs, Climate Change and Art Lesson

What is the purpose of art? What knowledge can we acquire through art? These questions can be addressed in many ways. In light of all the attention climate science and climate change have gotten, there are many interesting questions that are raised about why scientists have not been more effective in communicating with the general public issues surrounding climate change and why skepticism and inaction are abound. There are many great TOK connections to these issue. There was an interesting work of public art a few years ago that tried to take the issue of melting glaciers and make it real by lugging giant broken off chunks of ice and bring them to the Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. I learned of it from a recent episode of the Netflix Show Abstract. This lesson has a couple of minutes from the show along with a worksheet and article. You can download the handouts I have made here along with the episode of the show.

Download Iceberg Art Climate Change Article

Download Iceberg Art WS

Download Abstract episode (File is 2gb. Relevant section is 34:30-38:00) Alternatively you can find news clips on youtube that establish the same context.

Here is a link to more ideas and plans I’ve put together on the Arts.

Here is a link to more arts related resources I have found around the web.

How Lil Nas X Took ‘Old Town Road’ From TikTok Meme to No. 1 | Diary of a Song

Though I could never stand this song, I think the story of the song is a pretty fascinating one and a great topic for TOK. Elements worthy of discussion:

  • This song was essentially a collaboration between people who never met, facilitated by the internet.
  • The DJ who made the beat sampled part of it from another artist (originality)
  • The song made it onto the top of the country music charts but was then removed because it wasn’t “country” enough. (Definitions and categorization of art).
  • The artist wrote a “country” song about experiences he didn’t have and culture he wasn’t a part of. Is this an example of cultural appropriation? Does it matter whether the song is about authentic experiences?

Art and reality: How accurately does “Euphoria” portray real teens’ lives? Does it matter?

The central point here is that the show Euphoria inaccurately portrays teenagers’ lives which raises the question: Is there a responsibility that comes with creating artwork? Must it be accurate? Who decides?

The claim that the show is inaccurate is backup with statistics raises the question: How can math/statistics help us acquire knowledge? (or understand reality?)

People’s perceptions of teens’ behaviors seems to be generally inaccurate beyond what this show. If presented with this article and appropriate statistics would people change their mind or perceptions of these issues? I’m not sure that it would which leads us to the question: What is the role of intuition in acquiring knowledge? Can mathematical knowledge overcome intuitive beliefs?

This reminded me of an earlier article from the New York Times:

“The Kids Are More Than All Right”

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/the-kids-are-more-than-all-right/

“This is not a pipe” because the map is not the territory

Screen Shot 2019-06-01 at 11.35.49 PM.pngThe initiator of these observations was the Polish-American scholar Alfred Korybski. He most likely influenced Magritte’s art. Korzybski said “The Map is Not the Territory”. What he means is that the territory is the world and the map a generalization we use to make sense of it. It also proposes that we don’t have unmediated contact with the external world/reality (Expand your World). Korybski saw that language was at the same time the thing that made possible cultural development of the human race and at the same time the one that harmed it’s perception (Expand your World). When we communicate an experience, we often use generalizations in our words, and those generalizations leave out the things that made that event unique; they leave out the concrete experience, which results in a small abstraction of things out of a whole.

http://www.fusionmagazine.org/why-this-is-not-a-pipe/

For more on the concept, “the map is not the territory”

The Map Is Not the Territory

This Crappy, Virus-Infected Laptop Just Sold for $1.3 Million

Screen Shot 2019-06-01 at 11.16.40 PM.png“The piece emphasizes that [the] Internet and IRL are the same place,” Guo tells artnet News. “Placing these pieces of malware—which we ordinarily think of as remote processes happening somewhere on [a] network, but surely not to us—into this one crappy old laptop concretizes them.”

https://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/web/a27615547/virus-infected-computer-art-project/

 

Debating the history of the Stonewall Riots

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the famous New York riot that is credited with having given birth to the modern LGBT rights movement in the US, much has been written about the popular history of the event and how it is remembered. In addition, there was a 2015 movie about Stonewall that drew a lot of criticism because of its portrayal of the event. This issue raises a lot of interesting questions about history, how it is written and how it is remembered. It also raises interesting questions about the historical accuracy of movies and what responsibility artists have to being historically accurate.

Who Threw the First Brick at Stonewall? Let’s Argue About It

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the internet can spread misinformation, but why had this particular fantasy of Stonewall taken on such importance in the queer imagination?

To find out, I interviewed people who participated in the Stonewall uprising, historians who had devoted years to studying L.G.B.T.Q. history and contemporary queer writers. It turns out that it wasn’t just the question of who threw the first brick: Apparently no one can agree on almost anything about Stonewall.

Gay rights activists give their verdict on Stonewall: ‘This film is no credit to the history it purports to portray’

Roland Emmerich’s film about the 1969 riots has been labelled an offensive whitewash by many critics and campaigners. So what do some of those who were actually there at the time make of it?

Promoting the film, Emmerich defended both his narrative decisions and choice of lead, saying that he’d made the movie for as wide an audience as possible, and that “straight-acting” Danny was an “easy in” for heterosexual viewers.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/sep/25/stonewall-film-gay-rights-activists-give-their-verdict

I was at the Stonewall riots. The movie ‘Stonewall’ gets everything wrong

But “Stonewall” is uninterested in any history that doesn’t revolve around its white, male, stereotypically attractive protagonist. It almost entirely leaves out the women who participated in the riots and helped create the Gay Liberation Front, which included youth, trans people, lesbian separatists and people from all other parts of the spectrum of our community.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/stonewall-movie

Can silence be music? “The Story Behind John Cage’s 4’33″”

Knowledge Questions: What is art? What is the role of the artist’s intentions when interpreting art?

Discovering uncharted sounds became Cage’s trademark. Where other composers heard noise, he heard potential. Pots. Drum brakes. Rubber duckies. It wasn’t provocation; it was necessity. The world was brimming with sounds musicians had never used before—it was as if all the world’s painters had agreed to restrict themselves to only a few colors. Cage heard every squeak and honk as a possible ingredient for music…

People thought 4’33” was a joke or some kind of avant-garde nose-thumbing. During a post-concert discussion, as Cage biographer David Revill notes, one local artist stood up and suggested, “Good people of Woodstock, let’s drive these people out of town.”

https://mentalfloss.com/article/59902/101-masterpieces-john-cages-433

In the Maverick that night, one could likely hear the sound of the breeze in the trees, rain pattering lightly on the rooftop, the chirping of crickets, a dog barking aimlessly somewhere in the distance, the sound of bodies shifting their weight on creaky pine benches, the sound of breath being drawn and being expired.

This was music for John Cage. And unlike compositions designed to make the outside world fall away, here was a music that, when it engaged you, made the present world open up like a lotus blossoming in stop-motion photography. It was all very much in keeping with Cage’s Zen world view, which emphasized the power of unmediated experience and direct perception of what Cage called the “isness” of life.

https://www.npr.org/2000/05/08/1073885/4-33