Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Residency 4, Day 29: 'Our life is half natural and half technological. Half-and-half is good.' - Nam June Paik

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Photo Credit: Sam Sung
I was thinking about a not-uncommon approach to discussing another person's art work, whether in pedagogical settings or not. Though it would be hard to avoid the practice completely, there are issues with it. Say, you have been asked to give feedback or critique someone else's creations or findings. Related phenomena include too-quickly linking to contextual examples you happen to know, or citing thinkers of unlikely relevance, but the main irritating habit is to make, not one, but numerous suggestions to the other person, as to what they might do, or could do, or should do. At a certain level there is value in a modicum of this, and if ideas are provided less formally, and with people not caught up in the art-game, that can be wonderful, but, too much of it is not fruitful, not helpful, and arguably even (passively) aggressive. 'Showing off' one's apparent creative abilities in order to help out, surely arises from a kind of insecurity. It is bad in educational settings, with pupils or students, and it is bad with peers. Even when, and maybe especially when, ideas and concrete tips are sought - students sometimes want to be told what to do for example - vigilance is advisable. Work can be discussed without making numerous mini-proposals or egging someone on in a direction of your own interest. Resisting this urge, results in a finer creative and intellectual challenge and is more useful to the other party. Or new lines of inquiry might arise organically out of the dialogue, as opposed to being prescribed by one party. The over-giving of ideas, ironically, often merely closes off possibilities for the receiver because, if they were to carry out those actions, then the work would not be theirs. Of course, as I think about this, it seems obvious that a highly interesting strategy could be to operate in yes-clown mode and appropriate all concepts, ideas, and practical suggestions made by these keener than keen, sometimes patronising, creative-boss-people. 'You could do this', or 'You could do that', or 'Have you thought of this?' 'Thank you, thank you, thank you...'

I'm gone! Four residencies completed. The System Interference Exhibition will open on Saturday 17th September. Professor of Digital Humanities and Director of Cambridge Digital Humanities, the brilliant Caroline Bassett, and I will converse live at 2pm, right herehttps://goo.gl/maps/rXvcSgYoWTMjYovt5.



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