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Re: [biopoet] Is Postmodernism Really Dead?

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  • Jeff Turpin, Supervising Archeologist, T
    Thanks, Stephen. On that note, though, I am using Shakespeare and other writers in a Spring class for generic students to try and convince them of the utility
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 21, 2006
      Thanks, Stephen.  On that note, though, I am using Shakespeare and other writers in a Spring class for generic students to try and convince them of the utility of Humanities courses, from a cognitive standpoint.  The argument that Shakespeare stimulates the mind in unusual and progressive ways has been made, and the same claims have been made for Mozart, but I would like to be able to use some graphic artists in the class, people whose paintings provoke alteranate neuron pathways in the brain.  I can think of a few (Escher, Van Gogh, etc.) but would love to have some recommendations from someone more conversant with the field.  Also, poets in the same vein.  All suggestions welcome. JT
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 12:54 PM
      Subject: Re: [biopoet] Is Postmodernism Really Dead?

      Dear Jeff,
               Thanx for lightening things up. I get carried away sometimes, to no one's great benefit.
               And I have always believed that sex and drugs and rock & roll are very good indeed!
               Again thanx.
               smb

      I always preferred the "jes tryin to git laid" explanation . . . JT

    • Stephen Berer
      Dear Jeff, As you might imagine, this is a subject of enormous interest to me, and coincidentally, my wife who is an art historian. Allow me, please, before I
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 21, 2006
        Dear Jeff,
                 As you might imagine, this is a subject of enormous interest to me, and coincidentally, my wife who is an art historian.
                 Allow me, please, before I get into art and graphics, to mention a couple of remarkable texts that might also serve your interests. Richard Moore is a wonderful poet and critic. His little book The Rule that Liberates is brilliant and delightfully readable. I would suggest, as *must reading* his essay "Seven Types of Accuracy," which includes one of my favorite quotes of all time (in the context of a discussion about language and meaning): "When some future generation decides that Milton's Lycidas is a recipe for meatloaf, then we may safely conclude that Western Civilization has come to an end." 
                 At the intersection of math, biology, and art is Darcy Thompson's On Growth and Form.  A quick scan thru the images and plates in that book should be enough to convince you that it's not just biology and math, but art as well (altho Thompson himself may have objected), especially as compared to some of the Islamic imagery I will be suggesting below. And of course, the relationship to fractal imagery should also be striking, especially in some of the middle and later chapters. This is for your edification, however; I don't think you'd have your class read Thompson, except perhaps a short excerpt. 
                 Finally, I think you might also be greatly impressed and filled with ideas by the stunning, Le Ton beau de Marot, (no, it's not in French), subtitled, "In Praise of the Music of Language," by Douglas Hofstadter. This text explores the intersection of multiple languages, via translation, and, in my reading, the borders between consciousness and language. This too, like Moore, is gorgeously written, altho again, I doubt you would assign this to your students; or maybe just one chapter.

                 As for the arts, golly, I drown in ideas, but first, it is no coincidence to my way of thinking, that, beginning with the pointillists (say, Seurat) to the abstraction (neo-plasticism) of Mondrian et. al., up thru some abstract expressionism, the visual and conceptual, if not mathematical foundations for digitizing imagery (the pixel) was established. First in art, then in math, and finally on your harddrive.
                 Enough theorizing. One of my favorite compilations of "neural provoking" images is The Waking Dream: Fantasy and the Surreal in Graphic Art 1450-1900, by Edward Lucie-Smith.  Art Forms in Nature, by Ernst Haeckel is a fascinating look at the borders between life forms, fractals, and art. Haeckel was a biologist and philosopher; the book is all images, no text.  At another edge of geometry and art is Arabic Geometrical Pattern and Design, by J. Bourgoin.  This too is all image, no text. I use this book to challenge my students to figure out how to reproduce accurately some of the images in this book. (It comes down to geometry, parallel lines, and erasing little line segments.) If you want to know more, let me know. These last 2 books connect pretty directly to Darcy Thompson.  Finally, Image Object, and Illusion, with an intro by Richard Held, is a compilation of articles from Scientific American, some of which might address your needs quite directly.
                 To quote Blake, "enough, or too much."
                 smb

        Thanks, Stephen.  On that note, though, I am using Shakespeare and other writers in a Spring class for generic students to try and convince them of the utility of Humanities courses, from a cognitive standpoint.  The argument that Shakespeare stimulates the mind in unusual and progressive ways has been made, and the same claims have been made for Mozart, but I would like to be able to use some graphic artists in the class, people whose paintings provoke alteranate neuron pathways in the brain.  I can think of a few (Escher, Van Gogh, etc.) but would love to have some recommendations from someone more conversant with the field.  Also, poets in the same vein.  All suggestions welcome. JT
      • Jeff Turpin, Supervising Archeologist, T
        Thanks Stephen. I really appreciate the comprehensive feedback. I ll wade through this batch and let you know if I need more references. JT ... From: Stephen
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 22, 2006
          Thanks Stephen.  I really appreciate the comprehensive feedback.  I'll wade through this batch and let you know if I need more references. JT
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 4:03 PM
          Subject: Re: [biopoet] Is Postmodernism Really Dead?

          Dear Jeff,
                   As you might imagine, this is a subject of enormous interest to me, and coincidentally, my wife who is an art historian.
                   Allow me, please, before I get into art and graphics, to mention a couple of remarkable texts that might also serve your interests. Richard Moore is a wonderful poet and critic. His little book The Rule that Liberates is brilliant and delightfully readable. I would suggest, as *must reading* his essay "Seven Types of Accuracy," which includes one of my favorite quotes of all time (in the context of a discussion about language and meaning): "When some future generation decides that Milton's Lycidas is a recipe for meatloaf, then we may safely conclude that Western Civilization has come to an end." 
                   At the intersection of math, biology, and art is Darcy Thompson's On Growth and Form.  A quick scan thru the images and plates in that book should be enough to convince you that it's not just biology and math, but art as well (altho Thompson himself may have objected), especially as compared to some of the Islamic imagery I will be suggesting below. And of course, the relationship to fractal imagery should also be striking, especially in some of the middle and later chapters. This is for your edification, however; I don't think you'd have your class read Thompson, except perhaps a short excerpt. 
                   Finally, I think you might also be greatly impressed and filled with ideas by the stunning, Le Ton beau de Marot, (no, it's not in French), subtitled, "In Praise of the Music of Language," by Douglas Hofstadter. This text explores the intersection of multiple languages, via translation, and, in my reading, the borders between consciousness and language. This too, like Moore, is gorgeously written, altho again, I doubt you would assign this to your students; or maybe just one chapter.

                   As for the arts, golly, I drown in ideas, but first, it is no coincidence to my way of thinking, that, beginning with the pointillists (say, Seurat) to the abstraction (neo-plasticism) of Mondrian et. al., up thru some abstract expressionism, the visual and conceptual, if not mathematical foundations for digitizing imagery (the pixel) was established. First in art, then in math, and finally on your harddrive.
                   Enough theorizing. One of my favorite compilations of "neural provoking" images is The Waking Dream: Fantasy and the Surreal in Graphic Art 1450-1900, by Edward Lucie-Smith.  Art Forms in Nature, by Ernst Haeckel is a fascinating look at the borders between life forms, fractals, and art. Haeckel was a biologist and philosopher; the book is all images, no text.  At another edge of geometry and art is Arabic Geometrical Pattern and Design, by J. Bourgoin.  This too is all image, no text. I use this book to challenge my students to figure out how to reproduce accurately some of the images in this book. (It comes down to geometry, parallel lines, and erasing little line segments.) If you want to know more, let me know. These last 2 books connect pretty directly to Darcy Thompson.  Finally, Image Object, and Illusion, with an intro by Richard Held, is a compilation of articles from Scientific American, some of which might address your needs quite directly.
                   To quote Blake, "enough, or too much."
                   smb

          Thanks, Stephen.  On that note, though, I am using Shakespeare and other writers in a Spring class for generic students to try and convince them of the utility of Humanities courses, from a cognitive standpoint.  The argument that Shakespeare stimulates the mind in unusual and progressive ways has been made, and the same claims have been made for Mozart, but I would like to be able to use some graphic artists in the class, people whose paintings provoke alteranate neuron pathways in the brain.  I can think of a few (Escher, Van Gogh, etc.) but would love to have some recommendations from someone more conversant with the field.  Also, poets in the same vein.  All suggestions welcome. JT

        • Stephen Berer
          Dear Jeff, A pleasure. smb
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 22, 2006
            Dear Jeff,
                     A pleasure.
                     smb

            Thanks Stephen.  I really appreciate the comprehensive feedback.  I'll wade through this batch and let you know if I need more references. JT
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