Reminders:
  • Have you done your homework?
  • Have you submitted your assignments?
  • Have you drank water today?
  • Have you taken your medication? 
  • Have you eaten?
  • Have you stretched and straightened your back?
  • Have you been outside for at least ten minutes?
  • Have you been wearing your binder too long? 

Take care of yourselves, my sweetlings, you’re wonderful and I love you and I’m proud of you getting through another week, you’re great <3 

2

Keep Track! Self-Gradebook

I am the type of person that likes to keep my own tally of grades and dates so that I am reliant on someone else. Also, not all of my professors post all grades to the online gradebook we can view. So, anytime I turn in an assignment I write down what is was, what date it was due, and what my grade was once we get it back.

I also do the same with exams and papers. I keep a running total so that I can easily calculate how well or poorly I am doing in a class. Professors make mistakes, but if you have all of the information, they can easily corrected. Example being, my Shakespeare professor lost out midterm objective tests, but I had written down everything when she gave them back (before losing them), and the problem was easily fixed.

Assignment/Exam Logs are a great way to monitor yourself. You will always have a reference on hand. I put my logs in my Erin Condren planner. In the back, there are blank pages which I taped the printable template into. They are cute and functional! 

If anyone cares for the templates, shoot me a message and I can email them to you. They’re basic ones I made real quick in word, so they’re nothing fancy!

Keep studying, midterms are among us!

Draw It with Your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment

Two of my favorite writers, Rob Walker and Dwight Garner, wrote about this book much more smartly than I could, and, in fact, it was they who pointed me to the book in the first place.

By far, the most interesting assignments were John Baldessari’s long list of assignments and Paul Thek’s Teaching Notes.

A few favorite bits below:

“Assignments are sort of like folk songs.”

George Rush:

They’re retold and adapted from generation to generation of teachers, tinkered with, misheard, brought up to date. Even when I think I’ve come up with something new, it always ends up being a version of something else.

How printing is like making pizza:

Claes Oldenburg, as told to Richard Axsom in 1996:

You start with a white sheet of paper—that is, the “dough”—to which you add layers of images: cheese, mushrooms, sausage bits, tomato paste, immersed in overprinted inks. In the end, the “pizza” is “editioned”—that is, sliced and distributed for consumption.

“It is in the doldrums that our talents are most needed.”

Dan Torop:

The best training for desperation is to know early the feeling of no guidance. In photography the squeak of intention destroys serendipity. Don’t summon the demon of overdetermination. Stand there, present in the world, and make work.

On art as education:

Anna Craycroft:

…the studio is a classroom, the classroom is an exhibition, the museum is a curriculum, the lesson is a social experiment, the artwork is a teacher, the artist is a student…

On constraint, and why Project Runway is better than Work of Art:

Kamrooz Aram:

I think some of the most interesting assignments I’ve seen were on Project Runway, and some of the least interesting assignments I’ve seen were on Work of Art. Perhaps this is because Project Runway assignments typically give the designers a set of limitations and let them run wild with it, whereas the Work of Art assignments attempted to give the students a vague and often banal idea to work with, such as “make a ‘shocking’ work of art.”

Sometimes, it’s easier to define your tastes negatively.

David Levine, on having his students present on artists they hate:

How much easier it is, as a first step, to define your own position negatively, and how the beginnings of articulating taste are almost always through discovering what you don’t like.

cf. The band Wire’s rules of negative self-definition

“Don’t be yourself.”

My favorite story was from Julie Ault, who became a Republican and got internships just to see how the other side of the system worked:

I decided to play with my identity and impulsively assigned myself an experiment: don’t be yourself, adopt another perspective and profess political views you disagree with.

“Make an autobiography with books from the library.”

Perhaps a variant on book spine poetry, from Helen Mirra:

Using the Library of Congress classification system, choose books with call letters which are part of your name. Photocopy the stack of books, showing the full spines, so your name reads across the bottom of the page of the photocopy. If needed, scale the image to fit on a single sheet of paper. The titles of the books form the autobiography.

Filed under: teaching

Are you feeling overwhelmed and anxious? Take a deep breath and read this.

Today I felt very overwhelmed and anxious with the assignments I have and their due dates. I decided to find a good article to read in order to calm myself down. I felt much better while I was reading it, and then I thought one of you guys could be needing this too. Below is a copy of this article as well as its source. I hope this article helps you feel better too. 

13 Questions To Ask Yourself If You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

" You skipped breakfast, your boss moved your deadline to the end of the day and you forgot to wear deodorant (again!). What do you do when it all feels like too much? Start by taking a deep breath and asking yourself a few of these questions.

1. Why Am I Overwhelmed?
"Overwhelm" is increasingly common as demands on human attention increase exponentially. The human brain just wasn’t designed to handle the environment we inhabit. For the vast majority of world history, human life — both culture and biology — was shaped by scarcity. Food, clothing, shelter, tools and pretty much everything else had to be farmed or fabricated, at a very high cost in time and energy. Knowledge was power, and it was hard to come by; for centuries, books had to be copied by hand and were rare and precious. Even people were scarce: Friends and relatives died young (as late as 1900, life expectancy in the United States was approximately 49 years). This kind of scarcity still rules the world’s poorest regions. But in the developed world, hundreds of millions of us now face the bizarre problem of surfeit. Yet our brains, instincts and socialized behavior are still geared to an environment of lack. The result? Overwhelm — on an unprecedented scale. 
— Martha Beck

2. Am I Really Busy Or Does It Just Feel This Way?
Most of us judge how busy we are by how much we have to do. When there are too many things to do, we think we’re busy, and when there isn’t much to do, it feels like we’re not busy at all. But in fact, we can feel busy when there isn’t that much to do, and we can feel relaxed even when there’s a lot going on. The states of “busy” and “not busy” aren’t defined by how many things there are to do. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as multitasking; the brain can tend to only one thing at a time. Being too busy or not being busy is an interpretation of our activity. Busy-ness is a state of mind, not a fact. No matter how much or how little we’re doing, we’re always just doing what we’re doing, simply living this one moment of our lives.
— Norman Fischer

3. What’s The Priority Here?
Think about it: Humans are the only creatures in nature that resist the pattern of ebb and flow. We want the sun to shine all night, and when it doesn’t, we create cities that never sleep. Seeking a continuous energetic and emotional high, we use everything from exciting parties to illegal chemicals. But natural ebbs — the darkness between days, the emptiness between fill-ups, the fallow time between growing seasons — are the necessary complements of upbeats. They hold a message for us. If you listen at your life’s low points, you’ll hear it, too. It’s just one simple, blessed word: Rest.
— Martha Beck

4. What If I Don’t Have Enough Time?
There are two problems with time. The first one is that after a certain number of hours fatigue inevitably sets in. After that, you make more mistakes, you get into more conflict with co-workers, you’re less creative and you’re less efficient. The second problem with time is that it’s finite, and most of us don’t have any of it left to invest. Our dance cards are full. For example, in an effort to get more done, one of the first things we’re willing to sacrifice is sleep.

But consider this disturbing fact: Sleeping even a single hour less than our bodies require reduces our cognitive capacity dramatically. Much as we try, we can’t fool our bodies. Consider this statistic: Even a single hour less sleep than you need to feel fully rested takes a significant toll on your capacity to think clearly and logically when you’re awake. Sacrificing sleep is self-defeating. So, what’s the solution? It’s not to manage your time better. It’s to manage your energy. 
— Tony Schwartz

5. Am I Surrounded By Energy Suckers?
Energy Suckers (a.k.a Negative Nancies, Debbie Downers and Sad Sids). These are the people who find the cloud around every silver lining. If you can’t cut them out of your life entirely, turn your interactions with them into a game. When my neighbor says, “I hate this horrible weather!” I say, “Isn’t horrible weather great? It means I don’t have to wash my car!” 
— Donna Brazile

6. Do I Have to Do It All By Myself?
Insisting on doing everything yourself burdens you and prevents others from feeling valuable and needed. Delegate more at home and at work, and free your time for things you love and excel at. 
— Julie Morgenstern

7. What Would It Take For Me To Just Say No?
Most people claim they give in to sudden requests because they hate letting others down. I say it’s more about not disappointing ourselves: We’re hooked on feeling needed. If we take a hard look at ourselves, we might see that we unwittingly encourage people to come to us for every little thing. Interruptions can also be a welcome distraction. Faced with an unpleasant task, we’re more than happy to turn our attention elsewhere. Finally, we often don’t say no because of simple disorganization. In a choppy and shapeless day, we handle disruption immediately because we figure, if not now, when? While it’s important to be reasonably accessible to the people you live and work with, you don’t want to spend most of your waking hours in helper mode at the expense of completing your own critical tasks. Even if you’re in crisis management or, for that matter, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you need to prioritize requests. Otherwise you get trapped in a whirlwind of multitasking where you start many things and finish nothing. 
— Julie Morgenstern

8. Is My Stuff Taking Over My Life?
Every single person I have met tells me not only about their own clutter problems but about those of a family member, or those of a friend. Nobody seems immune. The stories are not dissimilar — papers and magazines run amok, garages overflow with unopened boxes, kids’ toys fill rooms, and closets are so stuffed that it looks like the clothing department of a major retailer is having a fire sale. The epidemic of clutter, the seeming inability to get organized, and the sense that “the stuff” is taking over affects us all. We are at the center of an orgy of consumption, and many are now seeing that this need to own so much comes with a heavy price: kids so overstimulated by the sheer volume of stuff in their home that they lose the ability to concentrate and focus. Financial strain caused by misplaced bills or overpurchasing. Constant fighting because neither partner is prepared to let go of their possessions. The embarrassment of living in a house that long ago became more of a storage facility than a home. This clutter doesn’t come just in the form of the physical items that crowd our homes. We are bombarded every day with dire predictions of disaster and face many uncertainties — some real and many manufactured. Think about the perils that we’ve been warned about in the last decade alone — killer bees, Y2K, SARS, anthrax, mad cow disease, avian flu, flesh-eating bacteria… the list goes on and on. We are also faced daily with reports of war, an unstable economy and global terrorism coming very close to home. Surprisingly, this endless barrage (its own kind of clutter) inspires many of the families with whom I work to finally take control of their own clutter. In an unpredictable, dangerous world that is out of their control, they look to their homes for stability — to get some degree of organization back into their closets, their garages, their home offices, their lives. This quest for organization is a deeply personal response to the feeling that the rest of the world is out of control. 
— Peter Walsh

9. But, I Want So Much. Will I Ever Be Enough?
When we are busy focusing on what we don’t have, we don’t pay attention to what we do have. Wanting is different from having. Wanting is in the future. It is based on an idea of what might make you happy in five minutes, tomorrow, next week. But having is here, now. Most of us don’t let ourselves have what’s in front of us, so we’re always wanting more. When you don’t let yourself have what you already have, you are always hungry, always searching, always restless. 
— Geneen Roth

10. Am I Breaking Out Because I’m Stressed Out?
As the mind-skin connection gains credence, beauty companies have seized on the new marketing opportunity, launching serums and balms that they say cater specifically to the effects of stress on the skin. Without any independent clinical trials to back up these product claims, dermatologists are skeptical about how effective they might be. But doctors do advocate paying extra attention to your skin during tumultuous times. “If you already use acne products, increase the frequency of application when you’re entering a stressful period,” says Fried. And because skin’s immunity is impaired when you’re under stress, making you more susceptible to sun damage, he says, it’s even more important to apply (and reapply) sunscreen. A bonus: Taking special care with your daily beauty regimen may help soothe your spirits as well as your skin. Fried conducted a study in which 32 women used an alpha hydroxy acid lotion on their faces for 12 weeks. Their skin felt smoother in the end, but the participants also reported feeling happier in general. “As soon as these women saw an improvement in their skin, it fostered a wider-reaching sense of optimism,” says Richard Fried, MD, PhD, a dermatologist and clinical psychologist. “Their feelings of stress or depression also decreased because they felt more in control — over their skin, their bodies, their world.” 
— Jenny Bailly

11. Is All Stress Bad?
Short-term stress triggers the production of protective chemicals and increases activity in immune cells that boost the body’s defenses; think of it as having your own personal repair crew. “A burst of stress quickly mobilizes this ‘crew’ to damaged areas where they are likely to be needed,” explains Firdaus Dhabhar, PhD, director of research at the Stanford University Center on Stress and Health. As a result, your brain and body get a boost. A quick surge of stress can stave off disease: Studies suggest that it strengthens the immune system, makes vaccinations more effective, and may even protect against certain types of cancer. Small amounts of stress hormones can also sharpen your memory. In 2009 University at Buffalo researchers found that when rats were forced to swim — an activity that stresses them out — they remembered their way through mazes far better than rats that chilled out instead. The key, of course, is balance. Too little stress and you’re bored and unmotivated; too much and you become not just cranky but sick. “It’s important to pay attention to your stress thermometer,” and to stay below the boiling point, explains life coach Ruth Klein, author of The De-Stress Diva’s Guide to Life. 
— Melinda Wenner Moyer

12. Is It Better to Fight Anxiety or Is It Okay to Be Nervous?
Accept that you’re having an anxiety moment — trying to squelch or deny it will only make it worse — and just focus on what’s in front of you, says David Barlow, PhD, founder of the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University. If you’re at an interview, meeting or party, listen intently to what the other person is saying. Make eye contact. When it’s your turn to speak, be conscious of every word you say. If you’re at your desk, respond to overdue e-mails or tackle the pile in your in-box. Whatever you’re doing, take a few deep breaths to help let the anxious thoughts and feelings float on by. 
— Naomi Barr 

13. How Do I Stop Focusing on the Clock?
The elimination of time from your consciousness is the elimination of ego. It is the only true spiritual practice. Here are three exercises to help you move in this direction:

  • Step out of the time dimension as much as possible in everyday life. Become friendly toward the present moment. Make it your practice to withdraw attention from past and future whenever they are not needed.
  • Be present as the watcher of your mind — of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react.
  • Use your senses fully. Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing. Be aware of the space that allows everything to be. Listen to the sounds; don’t judge them. Listen to the silence beneath the sounds. Touch something — anything — and feel and acknowledge its Being. Allow the “isness” of all things. Move deeply into the Now.
— Eckhart Tolle”

(Source)
6

January 25, 2015

Dearest DrawBridge Class,

Here are two photos from our first day in the Image Lab which included a visit from some of our “Co-Researchers”.  The comp-book drawing was done from memory by Woodstock. And another set of pictures of ‘Bootsy-Eyed’ DrawBridge co-researchers taken last semester.

I hope that you’ve been thinking about the nature of pretending, and your history with it since our last class.  Sometimes when we try to remember something on purpose, like what sort of things we pretended when we were children, we may find that our minds go blank.  A few images show up but not as many as we know must be there.

 However, if you keep this question alive in your mind as you go about your day you may find other images that come to you, and when they do it’s a very good idea to write them down.

Here is a question: What is the difference between pretending and lying?

 For example, when I was in the first grade I told classmates I could control bees with my mind. I’d tried to do it quite a lot, but I didn’t feel I’d really ever succeeded.  After I made this claim I hoped it would come true and I doubled my efforts to control bees with my mind. For a little while, before one of the classmates told the teacher what I’d said, I actually believed it might be possible.  My teacher asked me to stand in front of the class and admit that I could not control bees with my mind.  I did what she asked, but didn’t believe what I said to the class.  I still believed it was possible.  What I should have said to the class was, “I cannot control bees with my mind.  Yet. “

 Attached are some of the things I’ll be asking you to read this week. I send them now in case you’d like to get a head start. You don’t have to read them in any particular order.

One is an New York Times article called "What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades?"

One is an introduction to “On Not Being Able To Paint”  written by British writer and psychoanalyst, Marion Milner — about 2 pages (I’ll include it at the end of this post)

 One is an introduction to “The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World”  by Iain McGilchrist about 14 pages (Download)


The last is the original version of Pinocchio, written in 1881 by Carlo Collodi-  about 22 pages.  Collodi first ended his story at Chapter 15. That’s the ending I’d like you to know about.  Later he added more chapters.  All of them can be read here.

 When an idea ‘comes to us’ where does it come from?

 I’d like you to start thinking about drawing as something other than a way to make a pleasing visual image.  Try thinking of drawing as another means of thinking and communication. Think of drawing as a means of communication with other people, but also as a means by which we enable parts of ourselves to communicate with each other resulting in what we sometimes call ‘insight’ — a sudden understanding that seems to ‘come to us’  and arrive whole.

The kind of insight drawing can provide is easily lost when we approach it in a critical way, or try to fix its meaning in speech.

However, when we learn to watch a drawing instead of looking at it, in the way we might watch a living thing, we see that it exists in a changing way that is free from speech and the structure speech brings with it, we may find a new place and way of sorting out things we are trying to understand and problems we are trying to solve.

Speech and written language used in argumentative reasoning structures the way we think about problems we are trying to understand.  I believe that a certain kind of drawing offers us an additional approach, one that sets different conditions for insight and allows us to pay a different sort of attention to the same problem. 

Iain McGilchrist argues that the division of the brain into two hemispheres is essential to human existence, making possible incompatible versions of the world, with quite different priorities and values.

 ”Things change according to the stance we adopt towards them, the type of attention we pay to them, the disposition we hold in relation to them. This is important because the most fundamental difference between the hemispheres lies in the type of attention they give to the world.”

"It is not about what each hemisphere does, as we used to think, because it is clear that each is involved with literally everything. It is about how it is done – an approach, a stance, a disposition towards things. Above all, this is not about ‘thinking versus feeling’. It is about two kinds of thinking."

 Our class is about finding routes to another kind of thinking which may lead to a different understanding of the same problem.

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow and to hearing some of the stories you’ve written since our last time together.

Prof. Hebdo

Excerpt from introduction of  “On Not Being Able to Paint” (1950)

By Marion Milner (1900-1998) British psychoanalyst and writer.

 

After having spent five years in schools, busy with a scientific study of how children are affected by orthodox educational methods, and after the official results of that study had been published, I think found myself free to investigate certain private misgivings. They were misgivings which had begun to emerge during the course of the scientific work but which had not been clear enough or objective enough to have been put forward in a scientific report. They were concerned with the basic principles underlying the educational method, particularly in the sphere of what is usually called ‘moral’ education and also in sex education or the lack of it; they centered around a feeling that I needed a new set of ideas in thinking about these controversial questions. Although I felt there was a good likelihood that such matters were all connected to the problem of psychic creativity, whatever that might mean, I  had not known at all how to take the first steps for studying them or even how to frame the pertinent questions. It was only gradually that a persisting idea had emerged that somehow the problem might be approached through studying one specific area in which I myself had failed to learn something I wanted to learn.

            Always, ever since early childhood, I had been interested in learning how to paint. But in spite of having acquired some technical facility in representing the appearance of objects, my efforts had always tended to peter out in a maze of uncertainties about what a painter is really trying to do. Now the thought became more and more insistent that if only it were possible to find out how to set about learning to paint it should be also possible to find out the basic ideas needed for approaching  the general education problem.

            This thought did not emerge out of nothing, it was in fact the result of a most surprising discovery, one of those happenings  which seem to occur by inadvertence but which afterwards are recognized as marking a turning point in one’s life. It was the discovery that it was possible at times to produce drawings or sketches in an entirely different way from any that I had been taught, a way of letting hand and eye do exactly what pleased them without any conscious working toward a preconceived intention. This discovery had at first been so disconcerting that I had tried to forget all about it; for it seemed to threaten not only all familiar beliefs about will-power and conscious effort, but also, as I suppose all eruptions from the unconscious mind do, it threatened one’s sense of oneself as a more or less known entity.  But gradually I had had to force my self to face it, for it was clear that such a fact must undoubtedly have some bearing on those very educational assumptions which had aroused my misgivings. For instance, it might demand a revision of one’s beliefs about the exact role of moral teaching, in so far as such teaching demands willed effort to live up to preconceived standards.

            Not only did the way the drawings were produced seem to have a bearing upon the general educational problem but also their content. I did not at first see this, for although the actual technique of the drawings was often better than anything I managed by deliberate effort, their subjects were usually phantastic, they were more concerned, I had thought, with psychoanalysis than with either painting or school methods. Bit by bit, however, it became clear that they were not only clues to unconscious ‘complexes’, they were a form of visual reflection on the basic problems of living—and of education; and being so, they were intimately connected, both in their content and their method, with the problems of creativity and the creative process.

            In the school study one of the problems raised had been to do with what line the staff should take in order to help the quiet over-introverted child who seems to have insufficient contact with the external world.  It was through study of the experience of the free drawings that I came to understand more about the kind of problem that the over-introverted child is struggling with; and also, incidentally, what the over-extroverted child is running away from.  Also, in the school study, since the needs of large numbers of children had to be considered, it seemed best to concentrate on the variety of ways in which different types of children seek to solve their difficulties.  Thus certain aspects of the basic nature of everyone’s problem in coming to terms with their surroundings had had to be taken for granted; there had been no time to inquire, for instance, into the process by which any one of us comes to recognize the significant reality of our surroundings at all. But through the study of difficulties in painting I was to find that this question could no longer be ignored and that it was in fact closely bound up with a misgiving about something being left out of account in the general school system.

            Although this issue was at first only dimly guessed at, it did seem likely that my inquiry into painting would lead to certain philosophical issues upon which many books had been written. But I decided to make no systematic attempt to read about these. This did not mean making no use of any philosophical writings that I chanced upon, if they appeared relevant, it only meant not making any deliberate excursions into this field.  This was because I vaguely suspected that whatever it might be that the misgivings were beckoning me on to investigate, it was not something that could be apprehended in the first instance by an intellectual approach. For this reason also it seemed best to try to record the stages of the investigation in as simple and a direct way as possible and not venture beyond personal experience.

London, 1950

 

Teachers really need to stop telling us, ‘you can’t finish this assignment the night before’ because I’m 100% convinced my brain takes it as a challenge and nOW I HAVE A 2,000 WORD REPORT DUE IN TWO DAYS I HAVENT EVEN LOOKED AT THANKYOU MARGARET. 

youtube

New assignment! This week we visit artist Bob Snead, who embraces the collaborative nature of art-making and gives us the assignment to produce an ASSEMBLY LINE. Here are your instructions:

1. Make an object
2. Make a template for how to recreate that object
3. Invite friends over and produce an assembly line to recreate that object
4. Document the process and upload with #theartassignment
5. Fame and glory (your work might be featured in a future episode)

Learn more about Bob Snead’s work: http://bob.transitantenna.com/
Bob is the Executive Director of Press Street, an organization that promotes art and literature in the community through events, publications and arts education: http://press-street.org