A couple of weeks ago while discussing social spaces, acolleague introduced me to this video. (The Dreaded Stairs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx_8gxh76iM; 1:48; YouTube)This video got me thinking about responses and interactions with objects within social spaces and ultimately how it related to art.
READ SLIDE**The artist could consider how others will respond to the object by incorporating social needs into the functionality of the object’s design, or as an emotive trigger to encourage further exploration of the object.This made me wonder:What makes someone want to interact with an object? --- And ---What constitutes interaction – is it limited to physicality that can be observed or can it be of a mental and intellectual nature?
Recently, I visited the Strand in Galveston. Though most building and businesses have recuperated, the visible scars of 2008’s Hurricane Ike remain. Several buildings, such as this one are ornamented with badges of survival as the community marked the Ike water line so as to never forget the experience. As I walked around, I noticed other “Tourists” making note of such displays and could see the looks on their faces transform with signs of acknowledgement, empathy, and remembrance.
In my quest for observing social interaction with objects, I was happy to discover that the Strand’s giant brick chessboard was still present. Upon my family’s arrival, the pieces sat still, seemingly unnoticed as if they were only to be looked at and not touched. However, as soon as my family began interacting with the pieces, many on-lookers joined in. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jazzyg07/4298896761/sizes/l/in/photostream/
My daughter, who is three-years-old, did not have a single hesitation when it came to interacting with the pieces. Very quickly she was touching them and moving them around the brick “chessboard”. Soon a family with 3 teenagers began to move the pieces to their respective sides and in what appeared to be the correct order. Though they were open to allowing my daughter to “help” place some of the pieces, they appeared to lose interest once the board was officially “set up”.
Another family with one teenager and two elementary-aged children approached and asked if a game were going on or if their children could move the pieces with my daughter as well. I quickly told her that we were just having fun to which she happily turned to tell her kids to go have fun. Whether or not this family knew how to play chess, they were very interested in interacting with the pieces. Their youngest daughter enjoyed moving the pieces from square to square, while their teenager appeared to be deciphering how to set up the pieces and play. The son contently moved the pieces from square to square and then after about five minutes, realized that he could turn this into a different game by using one piece to knock over another. His mom joyously noted that her family had now turned this into a game of bowling, to which we all laughed.
My daughter is 3, so needless to say it didn’t take long for her to follow suit and turnover all of the pieces…So this got me thinking about the way we interact with an object: seemingly, there is order and chaos.
Read Slide (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/order)In thinking about the two families:The first family who began interacting with the pieces in such a methodical manner by placing them in the correct spots around the chessboard, whereas The second family simply wanted to “play”.I began to wonder how order and rules relates to art education. How does our curriculum dictate the way students view and/or respond to order? The very definition of order makes it sound as if there is only one right answer and that everything else is meaningless.
In an attempt to avoid being party to the direct synonym of order, which is “chaos”, how can art educators bridge the gap? Thesaurus.com had this bit of wisdom, which helped me to clarify the word “order”.Read slide…http://thesaurus.com/browse/order?__utma=1.453813583.1282236739.1282236739.1283965507.2&__utmb=184.108.40.2067718774548&__utmc=1&__utmx=-&__utmz=1.1283965507.2.2.utmcsr=google|utmccn=%28organic%29|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=barraging%20&__utmv=-&__utmk=208798610
So when we, as art educators, approach teaching whether its addressing production, aesthetics, history and culture, or criticism, can we use order to foster growth and meaning making? Can we order something to be done, but allow the individual’s creative personality to determine how they complete the task…how they choose to interpret or interact with something?In other subjects, prescribed outcomes are the norm, whereas in art education we are seeking to measure quality expressiveness and meaning making. By providing an experience related to the 4 themes within the curriculum, we can allow for creative demonstrations of expression and understanding.
By taking my daughter to the chessboard on the Strand, I knew that she would want to interact with it, though I wasn’t sure it what ways. By stepping back and letting her discover for herself, she created a meaningful experience through observing and interacting with others and making her own rules….
Art as social interaction
Art as Social Interaction<br />Implications for Art Education<br />Shaunna Smith – ARED 7315 – Spring 2011<br />
The Dreaded Stairs<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx_8gxh76iM<br />
[in-ter-ak-shuhn]<br />interaction – noun<br />1.reciprocalaction, effect, or influence. <br />2. Physics. <br />a. the directeffectthat one kind of particle has on another,inparticular, in inducing the emission or absorption of oneparticle by another. <br />b. themathematicalexpressionthat specifies the nature and strength of this effect.<br />
How does interaction relate to art education?<br />Interaction implies that there are multiple people involved:<br />The artist<br />Creates the object through self-expression with the intent to communicate an idea<br />Needs to consider how others will respond to the object<br />Other people<br /> Respond to and/or interact with the object<br />“So we come full circle: self-expression in art means nothing if there are no other selves to hear (or see) what we are saying. (Feldman, 1996, p 5).”<br />
[awr-der]<br />order – noun<br />the dispositionofthingsfollowing one after another, as in space or time; successionor sequence: The names were listedinalphabetical order. <br />a conditionin which each thing is properly disposed with reference toother things and to its purpose; methodical or harmoniousarrangement:You must try to give order to your life.<br />Is interaction governed by order and rules?<br />How do art educators deal with order and rules?<br />
Using Order to Avoid Chaos<br />anorderis being told to do something with no specificguidelines<br />acommand is being told to do something in a specificway<br />How can art educators provide order, without dictating commands?<br />
Order in Art Education<br />Provide meaningful experiences that allow for an opportunity to explore the world and ourselves through aesthetics, criticism, history and culture, and production.<br />Maintain expectations for<br />the quality of expression, and <br />the development of meaning making.<br />