Proposals

Ecology

Ecology focuses on the relationships between organisms and the environment. Traditionally I think of the term “ecology” in a living sciences way. I think of scientists doing experiments and research to gain a greater understanding of the way that our world works. I think about the relationship between living organisms and how they coexist. I think about how some organisms dominate others. I think about the balance that is maintained.

However, when we look around us or environments are not always lush and filled with nature. Living in the city, we are surrounded by buildings and paved roads. The man-made environment poses new issues in the study of ecology. How fast do humans create? Can we maintain a balance? Are we destroying the natural environment and disrupting existing relationships in nature? Our current environment is vastly different from the environment that existed several hundreds of years ago.

I believe that ideas about the human relationship to nature vary between different world cultures and time periods. I recall societies that have a strong connection to nature. They believe that humans should respect the land and preserve it instead of destroying. I also think of the Industrial age when the goal was to create and progress without any attention to the harm we were creating. Skies were dark with pollution and everything was covered with grime. A world culture that still has several natural landscapes is likely to have a strong conviction to preserve it. Other cultures that have become highly populated may now be more motivated to move towards facilitating a restoration.

I feel that balance is a really important concept in ecology. There must be an ability to coexist successfully. This idea, as well as others in ecology, has been expressed in a wide variety of methods. Messages have been expressed in music, dance, artwork, theatre, film, writing, etc… It seems that our current focus is to find new ways of harnessing nature for energy. Our society desires to find more efficient ways of creating energy without harming nature. There has been research that has proved the harm that humans have caused to nature. Over-development has led to a wide range of problems. We must find a balance between humans, all living organisms and nature. As artists, we must share the message that there is so much that we can do to maintain a balanced relationship. We need to inform others of the current issues concerning ecology. By bringing awareness, we can motivate others to act. We must also highlight the effects of our actions upon the existing environment. Through education, we can come together to ensure that we can coexist in our environment without further harming our surroundings.

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Play

Fantasy, imagination, and the unconscious are integral to art. This can be seen in over the last few decades in a wide variety of medias. All art stems from the mind of the artist. It is the individual’s perception that forms their work. Artists see things in a way that is truly unique. The artists share their perceptions with others. They create environments for others to experience. This is visible in the fine arts, performing arts, literature and design work. Some of the most recent examples can be seen in films. A collaborative effort, films display a combined, unified vision. Recent films like Alice in Wonderland, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and Avatar had wonderful scenes that came from the imagination of the filmmakers. For nearly two hours, viewers are held captive by the stunning visuals. Their explorations give the viewer an opportunity to immerse themselves into the imagination of the filmmakers.

In terms of the creation of art, some artists need a plan, a vision, before they create anything. Art should be made as the artists want it. Some require an idea but I believe that there does not have to always be an intention behind the creation. Chance can be very liberating and terrifying. A plan can facilitate the process. Once the artist has an idea, they have an understanding of how to best create their work. When art is left to chance, anything can result. Artists have an opportunity to experiment with different processes without necessarily knowing what the outcome will be. They can leave their artwork to chance; let the cosmos guide them.

Incorporating both chance and play into an art class can give students an opportunity to see what happens when things are left on their own. Through play, students can reflect upon earlier memories of play. They can recall some of the games that they used to play. They can create  a game out of a process. The entire class can engage in a game of exquisite corpse and see how the drawings change. I always felt that contour drawing was drawing by chance. The artist placed lines, hoping they were proportionally close the actual dimensions. An instructor can encourage chance and play when they introduce a foreign material to the students. Instructors should  let the students explore the materials without any explanations. If the students do not have any preconceived notions, they will not fall into typical patterns when creating artwork. I feel that the art room is one of the best places to let student’s imagination reveal itself.

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