Monday, January 19, 2009

"You're not looking!!!" Part II

The previous post was a bit sketchier than I had intended.

Here, very briefly, are the sorts of assignments I have in mind that will build on what I described here (the order subject to change):

#2a--Narration: Relate some story connected to the object you described in paper #1. Some possibilities: the story of how it came to be in your possession; (if it's a photograph) the story of the event documented in the picture, or a story about a person in the picture; (if it's a song) the story of how it came to be meaningful for you, or a narrative suggested by the song's lyrics or, even, melody; (if it's a painting) create a narrative suggested by the scene depicted in the painting. The one requirement is that the narrative you write have the object as its starting place.

#2b--Process: If you made the object in question, describe the procedure for either how you made that particular object or how one would go about making other objects like it.

#3--Compare-Contrast: What are some of the similarities and differences between this object and another, comparable object? This other object, by the way, doesn't have to be in your possession, but you need to be very familiar with it in order to do this assignment well.

#4--Division/Classification: Your object is unique unto itself, yet we're able to identify it as something because it shares characteristics with other, more or less similar objects. Those other objects, however, have attributes that allow us to say they are different in degree from others (as one simple example, my brick is a paving brick; what distinguishes them from bricks used for buildings are their weight and their one large, smooth side). What systems of classification (large groupings within a general area, such as "Visual Art"'s containing the classifications of Painting, Sculpture, Photography, and Film) or division (categories within a classification: "Photography" contains the divisions of daguerrotype, film, and digital) does your object participate in? Describe those classifications/divisions, being sure to provide examples for illustrative purposes.

#5--Cause-Effect: This one I admit to having some troubles with regarding the nature of the assignment. Good thing it comes toward the end of the semester, eh?

#6--Argument: This one could head in any number of directions, some only distantly related to, though traceable back to, the object in question. In the case of my brick, for example: it was part of the fill used for the small levee along the Little Arkansas. Infrastructure issues, such as the merits vs. the liabilities of brick streets in "age-appropriate" parts of cities; the future of water use in the area: those are two topics that immediately come to mind. A family photograph might suggest to someone a course of action s/he (or someone else) might take with regard to some issue that someone in the picture is facing. By this point in the semester, my students will have spent so much time thinking and writing about these objects and things associated with them that they should have all sorts of ideas floating about that can possibly work here. I'm not looking on think tank-quality policy statements here, just some evidence that the wheels are in motion.

As with the previous post, comments are welcome.


Cordelia said...

I may actually fire my blog back up soon, but meanwhile, because I think my copy is lost, that describing a brick thing reminds me of something (very similar ? your inspiration?) in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? It's in there, I know.

Cordelia said...

Oops, yes, sure does. Hadn't read the previous post. See what happens, O Students, when you skip the reading ? Sheepish, I feel very sheepish...

John B. said...