OUR COLUMNIST MIKE SAYS:
‘Fascinating discussion. It touches on another point that I have felt is often neglected, which is the difference between information and knowledge. To use Sculpturesteph’s example of the Greek muses. To know that Clio was the muse of history is information, and by itself, is not terribly useful. To begin asking why the Greeks felt it necessary to have a muse of history, why she is a she, and why there were nine begin to move the issue from information to knowledge. An exploration into the context of the information leads to something much more useful.
Today media gives information and little knowledge, and the rapid rate of information dissemination creates a false sense of knowledge, which leads to a greater ability by the disseminators of information to manipulate the consumers of information.
The time and effort to convert information to knowledge is considerable. As a teacher, I was often confronted with that. Students wanted to passively digest information about the subject, but struggled with the often confusing next step of making it a part of their body of knowledge, which required effort, experimentation, and critical self-awareness when the results did not seem to be what was desired. This then started the process again, until, ideally, the student developed their own voice.
It’s easy to come up with an idea for art, but much harder to discover which subject, media, process of physical realisation, and technical craft is best suited to the idea and the audience. If you want your art to resonate (give off energy and infect the viewer), then a great deal of energy needs to be injected into the work.
This is a very brief summary of what I feel is a critically overlooked point in art education, where today many professors are spending more time with grading rubrics and course outcome evaluations than in creating the studio atmosphere of making information knowledge. This may also partially explain why there are many artists and students of art who focus on ideas and not so much on the craft elements and processes of art making.
Still, if this is too time consuming and difficult, there is always marketing isn’t there?
How about the “Artist’s Statement”? What do you think of this bit of information? Is it useful? How so? When is it not useful?’