Awakening the aesthetic sense, not ‘teaching rz

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Paper presented at UNESCO’s second world conference held at Seoul, Korea on awakening aesthetic awareness

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Awakening the aesthetic sense, not ‘teaching rz

  1. 1. Awakening the aesthetic sense, not ‘teaching’ art An enquiry in to the biological basis for beauty
  2. 2. Statutory warning Reasoning short circuits self organizing capacity of human beings. Be awa r e awake and imbibe immerse
  3. 3. Becoming whole again Re integrating art science and language Re integrating intuition and reasoning Re integrating the mind and body Re-integrating the feminine and masculine. Becoming PRESENT to the moment
  4. 4. <ul><li>Human beings are born holistic </li></ul><ul><li>The world outside is integrated </li></ul>
  5. 5. Cognitive damages of schooling Alienation from the true self and inner nature. The holistic being is fragmented in several ways. Self organizing capacity is replaced by conscious reasoning. Natural capacity for remembering is replaced by conscious memory Openness to unknown is replaced by static notions of ‘knowledge’ Various qualities of humility and innocence is replaced by pride and arrogance Trust is replaced by fear and control
  6. 6. The real issue is to understand how culture is formed and how cultural diversity is retained . Culture is the result of how aesthetic sensibilities of people get manifested in the things they make and how they live. the aesthetic sensibilities are awakened naturally by engaging with their contexts. Culture and cognition
  7. 7. Biology of cognition Modern education not only kills cultural diversity but also kills the natural authentic process of making sense of the world as it ignores the two most important aspects of knowledge creation, which is the biological process involved in making sense of the world and the need to connect with the space in which they live.
  8. 8. The biggest threat of modernity is homogenization of the human cultures. The visual experience of modern spaces all over the world is beginning to look alike- Architecture, artifacts, life style. About a century ago we had diverse cultures with distinct way of life and aesthetic sensibilities. What is wrong with teaching art?
  9. 9. Aesthetics and Culture A community's aesthetics makes its’ culture. When a community loses its’ aesthetic sense it  loses its’ cultural identity. Modern schooling has removed all traces of the sense of aesthetics from us. A pre-determined theoretical version of aesthetics takes place in higher education through the subjects like art, architecture and design.
  10. 10. Awakened sense is the basis for all art forms. Rather than teaching skills to sing, paint, draw etc what needs to be done is to awaken the sense to see, to hear, to observe, to feel, to touch, to move…
  11. 11. Sensitizing the senses
  12. 12. In a way it is absurd to ‘sensitize’ the senses. Awakened senses are the natural quality of all living beings. But schooling replaces the natural cognitive process. The autonomous sense making capacity in human beings is replaced with ‘knowledge’ of ‘experts’.
  13. 13. The only solution left for the ‘educated, textualised, distorted ‘ mind is to deliberately re engage with the world, with awakened senses, with out intellectualising , erasing all theories and concepts like starting all over again- fresh Just like a child gaping at the world, full of wonder and awe, Allowing knowing to happen as and when the puzzles come together on its own, remaining in doubt with out forcing an intellectual answer.
  14. 14. Senses are our doors to the outer world And the outer world, the source for the awakening of our senses / our inner world.
  15. 15. The work shop on sensing nature is for providing space to come together to listen, to see, to taste, to touch, feel, to make etc. There is no teaching.
  16. 16. Around 60 children gather near my house around 9 am and all of them sit in silence listening to what ever is around. Silence/ Listening
  17. 18. After this the older children, 13 to 16 year olds work with the younger ones on various activities that will enable attention, seeing, doing etc. Some of the activities are looking at objects and drawing, collecting leaves with various colour, making various things with that, making pookalam with mud, stitching, making things with sand, clay modelling. All activities are children directed. No teaching nor interference from adults.
  18. 19. Children in the process of engaging with the world awakens their senses and makes sense of the world.
  19. 20. Colour in Nature
  20. 21. Colour scale Children mix and make the matched colour from the 6 poster colours- white, black, red, Green, Blue and yellow. It is obvious that children are not using the regular reason oriented adult mind to come to the solution nor it is mere trial and error. I suspect they use what could be called as spontaneous reasoning.
  21. 24. Left side is original leaves and right the painting of it Sunil 13 years
  22. 26. Reproducing colorful leaves Colourful leaves are collected and painted as it is. Children mix and make the matched colour from the 6 poster colours- white, black, red, Green, Blue and yellow.
  23. 33. Scenary with dry and colourful leaves Leaves with various shades, stages of drying are collected and sceneries are made with it.
  24. 41. Scenery with old magazines Old colorful magazines are collected and children make sceneries with that.
  25. 45. Observed Drawing Drawing is the best tool that enables observation and also helps to convert 3D in to 2D
  26. 46. Lines and shapes in Nature Children collect different types of leaves and draw then in detail. Children are also given twisted leaves. Looking at various objects does drawing. This includes simple objects like brush, chair etc. portraits, posture, and also the village scenes, houses etc.
  27. 53. Free Hand Drawing Drawing is the best tool that enables observation and also helps to convert 3D in to 2D
  28. 56. Using stones and soil, sand children make pookalam Pookalam is done during the onam celebrations using flowers. We improvised the idea and children made several new types of pookalams using stone, mud, ash etc
  29. 62. children making the village in clay Children observes the village activities and make their village in clay.
  30. 67. stitching The act of threading demands attention and concentration and children needs to take care while stitching which would in turn awaken the quality of ‘care’ in them.
  31. 70. Made from ‘waste’
  32. 75. The only solution left for the ‘educated, textualised, distorted ‘ mind is to deliberately re engage with the world, with awakened senses, with out intellectualising , erasing all theories and concepts like starting all over again- fresh Just like a child gaping at the world, full of wonder and awe, Allowing knowing to happen as and when the puzzles come together on its own, remaining in doubt with out forcing an intellectual answer.
  33. 76. Bibliography The paper is based on my research and the following researchers have also come to similar conclusions regarding the biological foundations of aesthetic sense. Semir Zeki , professor of  Neuroesthetics  at  University College London . Ellen Dissanayake, Affiliate Professor,School of Music, University of Washington Vilayanur Ramachandran  Director of the  Center for Brain and Cognition , Professor in the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the  University of California, San Diego , and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the  Salk Institute for Biological Studies . Dr. Humberto Maturana. Of the Chilean School of Biology of Cognition. The Biological Theory of Cognition
  34. 77. Web sites www.kumbham.org work with the potters community in Aruvacode, Kerala [email_address] www.re-cognition.org the aspects of knowing and being [email_address] www.enableartisan.org enable artisan project [email_address] www.rediscoveringchildhood.org workshops/ retreats being offered [email_address]
  35. 78. Contact details KB Jinan 09447121544 09995495325 [email_address] Surabhi, S N Park, Thrissur, Kerala- 680004

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