Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Space and Place

Sorry this blog post is a little late and thank you for allowing my sister to sit in class. She very much enjoyed our discussion and told me afterwards she kept wanting to comment but was too shy. So silly! I'm sure we all would have appreciated her input!

Anyway, without further ado... My reaction.

The first thing that came to mind during the reading and our discussion in class was a concept we had discussed after reading The Ways of Seeing, and that is how experience not only affects artwork, but also affects words in artwork. I noticed how the author pointed out that "I see" also means "I understand" in the English language which is not it's literal definition... This is similar to how he treats the words "Space" and "Place" giving them a meaning beyond their practical definition. These definition can only be created with experience. Artwork has the power to change the definition of a word like that. By pairing a word with a piece of artwork -giving it a title- you change the idea of the piece and the definition of the word. For example, Colby brought up the urinal that an artist tried to show in a gallery and that he named it "Fountain". The definition of "fountain" has changed, and so has the idea of the urinal.

Another thing that piqued my interest was later on when he was discussing how infants learn the world around them. I wonder if an adult goes through the same process upon discovering a new "space" and through that process it becomes a "place". I'm sure you could compare the two. For example he pointed out how when you ask a younger child, "Where do you like to play" they answer simply, "Outside" or "Inside" and when you ask an older child they will get more specific, "in my room", "in the basement". I'm sure that adults act similarly to unfamiliar and familiar places.

For example someone could ask a St. Mary's student, "Where were you today?" and a first year might reply, "I was in the campus center." but after a couple of months they will most likely get more specific, "I was in the grille/quiznos/bookstore/cole cinema/etc."

And of course, last but not least, the vantage points. Along with where you are standing I feel this also has to do with everyone's personal experience. For example, I am short, my mother is tall. If I am standing in the backyard of the house she grew up in, I am not only seeing it from a different angle than her because I am physically different but I am EXPERIENCING it differently from her since she grew up there and I did not. It made me realize that everyone looks at a space/place differently. No two perspectives are the same.

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