[iDC] IPF09 Conference thoughts
kham at uiuc.edu
Thu Dec 10 05:28:40 UTC 2009
Saul, The story you relate through Bell's work is told in multiple
ways in the films of Adam Curtis, where the liberal (white) self,
following the "dream of freedom," falls into the trap of a game-theory
driven economic system.
On Dec 9, 2009, at 1:14 PM, Saul Ostrow wrote:
> Personally, I believe that this is what is replicated in most cases
> both here and in the class room when we seek to engage in theorizing
> cultural critique and its practices without the benefit of self-
> reflexivity, which leaves them vulnerable to their subjectivities
> and good intentions.
The hardest challenge here is that many of us are apt to mistake the
self-referential for the self-reflexive. "It's just my perspective,"
the student says, and the conversation is supposed to be closed.
This is built in at the visual level through the ways in which gestalt
theory is taught to freshmen in art school. In the traditional
applications of Bauhaus design education, it's enough to recognize the
multi-stable nature of figure/ground - but one doesn't have to
actually acknowledge all the possible perspectives. As Ihde points
out, many of the traditional visual illusions used to demonstrate
visual subjectivity don't ask the viewer to consider her own body in
space. He finds other, overlooked and simultaneous reads in some of
the more well-known multi-stable images and diagrams, ones dependent
on imagining one's feet on the same ground with the diagram.
Toward the end of acknowledging the need for reflexivity in these
critiques, I should add that where I perceive my students as locked
into a cybernetic sensorium, I don't see a way out that doesn't also
require a great deal from me. Instructors will have to perform/adopt
new views as well, and risk living by different rituals than those
which write the limited subjectivities we fight. In the current
economic climate, where more is already expected of those of us with
jobs, and less jobs are available for those of us without, risk sounds
like a tall order, I must admit.
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