You are currently browsing netburns’s articles.

So, I’m almost done reading the Falk & Dierking paper about creating museum experiences and I felt compelled to write this blog post about my feelings towards it. Before I even stop, let me first pay my respects to these museum curators and apologize, once again, for my narrow-minded view on museums and the arts. I know in a past blog post, I admitted my wrong for believing the arts were a useless field but now I must say that I now realize that I didn’t really pay much attention to the care and love that museum curators put into making museums an experiences, especially since they are dealing with a very broad audience that they want to cater to. Just reading this paper gave me a headache. I didn’t realize that museum curators had to take everything like these elements into consideration in order to give the best possible experience to their customers. Even if they aren’t following these elements down to the letter, I can understand how frustrating it can be for you to have a vision in mind for an artifact; but your visitors disclaim it and form their own vision. So, kudos to the curators!!

But getting to the actual passage of the paper, I wholeheartedly agree with what was said in this passage. A lot of things that Falk & Dierking pointed out really sat with me in a deep way, but one that I completely felt like needed to be highlighted, italicized, bolded, and capitalized would have to be on page 141, PDF page 4 where it says,

“Museums need not try to compete with
Disneyland, but they should accept that they are competing
for visitor’s leisure time and they need to be attuned to the
needs and desires of their consumers.”

True, museums are in competition with places like Disneyland and I understand that in order for them to face up to them, they have to make the necessary changes to their exhibits to pull in visitors. But there is a fine line that is set between the fun you have strictly for fun and the fun you have strictly for education. When I have a museum in mind, I don’t picture an arcade. That, to me, would be a waste of my time because I’m there to get something specific such as an educational piece for me to use in my daily life. To me, I believe a lot of people think like this and if museums try to compete with a fun activity in another spectrum, that could lead to ruin. Personally, I feel that museums are the one with the advantage versus Disneyland. Disneyland is seasonal, tickets are expensive to get in, you must pay to get on certain rides, if you’re hungry you can expect to pay an arm and a leg and let’s not factor in gas money and travel fees. Museums are the places that people go to when they know they don’t have the money to indulge in the reckless fun so they go for the fun they can afford and get something out of it.

 

So I finally get a chance to say what I feel about this subject. Yay me! Where to start? I guess I should start with my stance on the combination of horror and humor as genre’s, especially now and today and that stance is…don’t do it anymore. Seriously, please don’t do it anymore. Perhaps I have a different feel of what horror is compared to others but I am a horror movie fan to those movies that I deem worthy. Nowadays, horror is just consisting of a killer going around, mutilating everything in their wake, a main character that somehow ends up coming across said killer, and them trying to figure out how to escape while trying to kill the killer. Sadly, horror nowadays isn’t the genre it used to be. It’s completely watered down. When I think ‘horror’, I think of something that frightens me. In fact when I watch a so-called ‘horror’ film nowadays, I don’t find myself scared but rather I laugh out loud hysterically seeing blood and guts splatter everywhere and a more expensive showing of ‘1000 Ways To Die’. In this retrospect, I guess you can call me experiencing the comedy side of horror versus the fear. Horror films nowadays are just that: a joke. They are constantly repetitious and some of the elements that happen in horror movies have just become cliched. For example, why–TELL ME WHY!!!–there is always a dumb character that walks in the woods by themselves, ends up lost and with a broken car, starts running with the killer behind them and decide to slip and fall, the one and only black character dies protecting everyone (truthfully, most black people get highly offended by it because they would end up abandoning their own mother to survive, let alone a friend or comrade), the killer walks at a slow pace and no matter how much running the main character does, they end up getting killed; and somehow they manage to squeeze in a sex scene between characters right before the man then the woman (most times but it can be vice-versa) gets killed by the killer. Personally, I feel that in order to experience horror and humor first one must fix the horror side, at least to my standards. In fact, Gore needs to have its own genre to keep people from being confused about what is true horror.

In my opinion, the movie exemplars given by Carroll to me isn’t horror. Many of them are comedy movies/sitcoms (<– and that’s stretching the word ‘comedy’ too much for some of the films)  with horror movie elements. I can’t order a large sized meal from Burger King then get a diet Coke and say that it’s a healthy meal just for the diet Coke (<–that’s intentional. ‘Healthy’ is stretched a lot for diet Coke). There may be some elements like tomato and lettuce on your sandwich and the Coke but speaking realistic, it’s not healthy at all. That’s what I see with many horror/comedy movies nowadays. It’s not done right. Heck, sometimes I question the comedy aspect just as much as the horror.

I agree with Stuart Gordon when he states that ‘The thing I have found is that you’ll never find an audiences that wants to laugh more than a horror audience.’ but the only reason I agree with him is because I’m already biased as to how horror movies should be. To me, horror movies are to test someone’s will to survive when they have absolutely nothing and the situation seems totally desperate. That’s right, NOTHING! No guns, no shovel, no laser gun, no army, no knife, taser, mace, or brass knuckles. You are naked as an individual to protect yourself. That’s how horror movies should be, it should portray helplessness to the extreme. You can’t fight the enemy, all you can do is run, hide, and hope that they don’t see or hear you. THAT’S horror. None of this bullcrap nowadays can make me feel the fear of the character lost in a place that they’ve never seen before, surrounded by multiple enemies that when spotted, they must run for their lives. In that retrospective, I can’t say that comedy needs to be in it. True, I do want to laugh when seeing how pathetic the character is and that they are screwed with absolutely no hope of making it out alive; but laughing takes away what makes horror so awesome in the first place. There is no relief, there’s only suffering and no hope for getting out of the situation.

The only two names that come to mind when I think of these are in fact videogames. Honestly, it makes it much more scarier because you ARE the character that’s helpless. This is interesting because all last night, I watched the walkthroughs for both titles after looking up the top 10 scariest games of all times list on YouTube and a reference from a friend for a more recently released game. Both of those titles are called ‘Outlast’ and ‘Amnesia: the Dark Descent’. After hearing how scary these games were from my friend and knowing how much of a Boss I am, I was like, “Man, grow some hair on your chest and quit being such a punk!’. First I watched Amnesia, without any commentary (usually I hate hearing people talk while the game is being played) and found myself screaming more than watching to the point where I couldn’t even watch the first 10 minutes. It was too quiet and had me on edge so I had to find a video with commentary to make things easier. Needless to say, I didn’t finish it. So when my friend said ‘Outlast’ is scarier, I didn’t believe him…until I watched the first few minutes of it then called it quits. Those are true horror genres. When grown men with deep voices are so frightened that they scream out 6 octaves higher, that’s real horror. People truly forgotten what it’s like being caught off guard and surprised then realize that you have no means of protecting yourself. You can’t laugh at that. But with my sense of crude humor, it is possible to instill comedy in it to my liking, but like I said before, it’s got to be done right.

Sorry for the long post! You can tell I’m passionate abut this subject. 🙂

So I just got finished with the reading for today and I felt compelled to write a thought that I had of the reading, so here it is! So the reading talks about how people avoid skin to skin contact with everyone other and the movie Crash signifies how people miss that touch. I want to offer another way of thinking about skin.

Think of skin as a barrier, something to protect your inner self, a test to pose to other human beings before you open up to a person. If someone cannot accept your outsides as they are, then how can they accept your insides? Your skin poses the question, “Can you accept me as I am physically before I show you who I am spiritually?” Think about it. When you accidentally bump into a person, you apologize. Why? Especially if you do not know a person, it is seen as offensive; but if you know a person and bump into them on accident, you can make a joke out of it and there won’t be any offense taken. Unlike a friend, a stranger does not know or accept you whereas a friend accepts who you are on the outside and inside and can tell joke to humor who you are on the inside.

With regards to the example of the woman being sexually assaulted by the police officer, I want to also state my opinion about this predicament. To me, I think of sexual assault as being someone trying to force a person to expose their inner self. This action looks to break away the ‘skin’ aggressively, making you show who you are by using fear. This is why I believe sexual assault to be as horrific as it is. Who would want to expose their soul to someone who would be as vain as to break away your barrier that protects your most vulnerable self?

But this is just my personal interpretation of this concept.

Before I begin, I would like to confess that being without internet for a month and a half really tested my sanity for a bit. So if I sound a bit ditzy, just know that it’s not really me talking, it’s the time I had to deal without my anime, manga, and YouTube. So instead of being caught off guard at me, applaud me for withstanding the time I had to be a sage on the verge of enlightenment.

 

So as far as the reading goes, for the most part, it makes sense to me. There really isn’t any part of the reading that left me with more questions than answers, so I assume that that’s a good thing. But I do have one comment that I would like to make with regards to the 3 qualities of an interpreter. For those of you who haven’t read or have yet to read that part, it states:

1) understanding a painting. picture or diagram requires that the interpreter understand the convention that
marks. lines and shapes on a two-dimensional ground represent something the world.

2) a potential interpreter must possess the ‘kinds of interpretative skill … that
the mind brings to a picture or a painting

3) one brings to the picture a mass of information and assumptions drawn from general experiences

As I said before, this all made sense so I’m not confused or anything, however I will say that I believe that these rules are a bit too vague. In essence, I can replace the word “interpretation” with multiple other words and the 3 statements would make sense. I’m not sure if these guidelines are in fact supposed to be universal to apply to anything since interpretation doesn’t have to necessarily be applied to the art field. I’m just saying it because it somewhat bothered me a bit. For example, let’s say instead of ‘interpretation’, I decide to say ‘Pokemon’ (Don’t judge me. Like I said, a month and a half without Internet…I rest my case). To have the qualities of a Pokemon Master, you must understand that:

1) A Pokeball is understood in the Pokemon World that it is an object to capture Pokemon with (<– This is an example of some of the conventions that as a Pokemon Master, you must understand and abide by)

2) To be a Pokemon Master, you must develop a set of skill to help your Pokemon to develop (<–skillz, skillz, skillz)

3) Past experiences and information help shape you to be a master of all Pokemon (<– Gotta catch ’em all!)

Like I said, I’m not saying I disagree with what they are saying and perhaps what I am saying is the intention of the author, but I will say that if it isn’t the intention and interpretation must have a set of unique guidelines, then perhaps some constraints is required so that someone like me doesn’t try insert Pokemon into it.

I’m writing this blog post after reading the in-depth discussion of the 5 claims that Jeff makes about the role of art and criticism in human knowledge production. My thoughts are derived from claim numbers 1, 4, and 5; in essence, my thoughts are centered around art and my general perception of it. When I came into this class, in truth, I didn’t think that art was something I respected. I have seen people do the most outrageous things that I consider deplorable, but yet they call it ‘art’. Art to me at first isn’t a form of expression, it’s giving a person an excuse to just do something out of the ordinary, give a deep meaning, and have everyone agree with you and call it ‘art’. Perhaps seeing some of these people bastardize the actual practice made my outlook of the artistic ways become negative, but for whatever the reason, art isn’t something I felt that needed to be in the world.

Not just after reading this section, but reading Danto, Carroll and other readings that dealt with art, I reflected on how I saw art in the past versus how I feel about it now. Not just as a designer, but as a human being. I don’t know if this is Jeff’s evil scheme to change my outlook on life and have an artistic reflection as a designer; but now I see pretty much everything around me through an artistic view. I hate to admit it, but when I now critique things, I do so in an artistic manner–or maybe it’s because I’ve always done so, but I’m just now realizing it. This blog that I’m posting is a way of realizing how important art is to a designer. I’ve never really seen anything that I have designed in the past as works of art. I felt that design in general is something that we do as a way to meet the needs and desires of a user. Art to me is expressing the needs and the desires of the artist themselves versus others. I’ve never really thought that art can be used to express for others. Now that I think back to all of my designs and I look at them as an artist, I do see the underlying messages that I unconsciously embedded in them to express a point or a need that must be fulfilled.

Well, congrats Jeff! Your class poisoned me to have a better view of art! I hope you’re proud of yourself. Now I got to get back to reading this paper before class.

I forgot to post mines, but mines was on gendered items. I decided to do 10 things that shouldn’t be gendered in the first place. What do you think? (all pictures came from: http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinchack/pointlessly-gendered-products)

Men's and women's tea.

Women's toolset.

Yogurt for men.

Men's and women's face masks.

Boys' and girls' M&M's.

Girl and boy gift cards.

Girls' clear tape.

Beer for women.

Men's tissues.

So Jeff, I gotta give you brownie points for catching me off guard with the Type Reviews paper. Me being brutally honest, I was lost for the longest and did not know exactly how to react to it. I was a nice short read, but it confused me since we’ve done so many readings about critical design so I expected it to be another piece about it. Then too, I must thank you also because I am able to look out of the Brillo box and see that criticism doesn’t have to only engulf critical design and film, but a whole array of things. I honestly did like this reading, but it sounded more like an advertisement than an actual in-depth critique compared to the other readings that we have done in the past. But I will have to disagree with what he says about the ‘Emmy’ font. To me, it looks sophisticated and neat; as if someone wanted to take their precious time and make sure every stroke placed down had a certain meaning and form about it. Something like “Sweetheart Script” is too glitzy and too (for the lack of a better word and wanting to steal one of Jeff’s words) foofy. It’s too many loops and hurts my head every time I glance at it, like someone was trying to hard to hit that ‘graceful’ goal. But as I always say, this is just my personal belief.

As for the Tears, Time, and Love critique–um, yeah…more confused than ever. Maybe it is perhaps since I’m reading a movie versus listening to someone tell me about it, I cannot grasp all of the great points that was listed. A movie is something that I have to see rather than hear about and honestly, I’m not into romance movies. Too gushy and no bloodshed, but putting my personal feelings to the side, I will state that what had me confused the most is when the author was listing many examples of how the director used time over the course of the movie. To me, there seemed to be TOO many instances and if I were to watch the movie, I probably wouldn’t catch it all. I understand that as a critic you must look deep into the work and not just focus on the top layer. But me personally, an artwork, movie, or design is something that I first have to experience before chipping away at the underlying meaning. To give proper critique you must first look at it as a user. For this movie, I would first watch it then give my critique, but seeing all of these symbolisms and hidden messages, it would turn me off, especially if I have keep in mind about many of them I spot out. Also, I agree with Brunette about the hidden motif when he said,

“…his specific political microreadings of the various relationships and characters seem, as usual, rather strained and unconvincing.”

The argument about having a political subtext withing this movie does not seem to stand out much. There doesn’t have to be a big neon sign saying ‘THIS IS WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO DO’. Something as simple as the characters doing or saying certain things that spoke of the political standpoint that the director had could get the point out. People are too focused in finding all these symbols with time that perhaps they cannot focus on the stance.

Weird articles, but at least I was entertained!!

So this blog is going to be combining both readings we did into one since it was in the same book and by the same author. Plus, I felt that I got a lot of gratification by reading both so here it goes!

Honestly, with this reading, I felt like I was reading nothing but excuses that critics were dishing out in order to support their laziness. I do agree with the author, evaluative criticism is a must. Just saying something is good or bad is just an opinion and cannot be seen through just one person’s eyes. However, as I was reading, I noticed, especially when she quoted Danto about why he doesn’t do evaluative criticism then corrected him to say that he in fact does it, that there seems to be either a misconception or uncharacterization of what exactly ‘evaluative criticism’ is in the field. In Danto’s case, he does it without realizing while others see it as a waste of time, when in my opinion, it can open so many other doors. This affirmed to me as to why the author only wants to emphasize what it is instead of introducing a new method or theory to the field.

I applaud the author for giving a clear cut definition as to what ‘criticism’ is as a whole (“…a person who engages in the reasoned evaluation of artworks”) then followed up with what isn’t critic (“…I shall not counts as a critic the pundit [I lol’d] who simply pronounces this or that to be good or bad.”). As I said before, people have their own opinions about a work, but to me, a critic looks deeper into the work that we as viewers cannot, will not, or have no desire to. Viewers only look at the top layer of things, dismiss them as ‘good/bad, happy/sad, or beautiful/ugly’, yet it seems to me that if ‘critics’ do not wish to give constructive evaluations, then it is implied to me that they are no more than viewers with a fancy name. It takes the real work of a critic to take off that top layer then dig deep using the artist’s background information or stance in the political or artist world and see what they are trying to contribute to the field.

So why is it that critics don’t do evaluative criticism? Obviously it has great value to the field so why aren’t they actually putting it into practice? When I asked these questions, I thought the answer I would receive would be something on the lines of, “There are better and more effective methods” or “that method is outdated and if it is to be used again, it must be updated”. Instead, I read nothing but what I considered lame excuses by critics. “…not a part of his job description”, “…the least interesting part of the job”, or “…does not like to sit in judgment over others.” The two first excuses are contradictory. One says it’s ‘part of the job’ yet another is saying ‘not a part of the job’. It doesn’t matter if it’s a part of the job or not, your job is it to offer insight using your expertise and help to make an idea better in accordance to your field. Webster defines a ‘critic’ as:

“one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique”

And what do you know? One of the synonyms for a critic is ‘evaluator’. So do your job! And in regards to the critics, who talks of sitting in judgment and it being mean-spirited, oh well, grow up. Whether you like it or not, people constantly judge things influx every single day. From the judging the safeness of the car you drive to the safety of the food you eat. If things are not judge they cannot be better or do the world good.

Another rejection that irritated me was the fact that it is the curator’s job to do the evaluative criticism. No, a curator only oversees and brings in works of art for a museum. There’s nothing in their job description about doing this. And even if we were playing the job association game, a curator cannot do this job, because they’re already somewhat biased because they have to decide what’s good enough to come into their museums. If they decide this, then clearly, they cannot look at things for what they are aside from the beauty. A critic does not just focus on the aesthetics, they focus on the meaning, the value, the lessons that the artwork brings.

Then the notion of art having no rules therefore an evaluative criticism is not necessary. This is a seriously weak notion. A person committing a murder has no type of structures or rules as to how to go about doing so. All they have is the burning desire to do so and not get caught, but there is common sense as to how to do it and how to dodge the law. ‘Don’t commit the crime in public’, ‘Hide the body’, ‘No fingerprints’, ‘No witnesses’, etc. How do they know if they do it well? If the police officer doesn’t provide his ‘critic’ of it but let’s be realistic, is there such a thing as a perfect murder just like there is a perfect artwork? No. There are holes that only critics can fill and inform to the artist about, yet if they do not do so with evaluative criticism, the artist cannot get better and do better work thus hurting them more.

A critic in my opinion is the voice for the audience. The critic speaks to the artist in a way where they can see what the artist is trying to convey and let’s them know if the audience will be able to get that conveyance when they see the artwork. A critic that does not offer evaluative criticism is no better than a person who’s mute. You’re not speaking anything vital, your words are empty. Critics need to stop with the whining antics and realize that even if it’s not in your job description, you should want to do so because it makes you a better critic if you can assist an artist to become better.

In my opinion Jeff, I feel like we should have read this paper at the very start. You go into details that made me have countless ‘Aha!’ moments when recalling all of our class discussions. Really, I love how you make things so simple! I didn’t have to go back and force myself to create subheadings because you nicely formatted the paper to contain a main header and a subheader. Wish most of the authors we’ve read this semester could take some notes, it would make my life 10 times easier! The structure of the paper, I’d say is Grade A. It’s something that I can definitely follow. Simply, it’s ‘what is it, what it is not, what are the components, what are examples’. Short, sweet, simple.

“The critical sensibility, at its most basic, is simply about not taking things for granted, to question and look beneath the surface.”

In essence, I can confess that I’ve never really looked at critical designs beneath the surface, mainly because I didn’t know what to look for. When I read the ‘Reading Critical Designs’ paper, I looked back at this paper and realized the definition of ‘critical sensibility’ before I could read this line (I’m reading both papers at the same time). I will definitely applaud you for referencing this paper back to the ‘Reading Critical Designs’ paper over and over again in this paper. It tells me that you are very confident in your findings and see the information you have constructed as valuable and not many writers that I have seen does that (at least in some papers that I have read). Reading both papers side by side, I feel like I’m getting a holistic picture of critical design.

The big thumbs up that I want to give you is for the ‘Critiquing the Critical Design’. That section is definitely needed, especially since I look at a critical design and think to myself, “You’re kidding me right?” In fact, you put it in words the best yourself when you said,

“Without a richer vocabulary for making judgments in a rational
and consensus-driven way, critical design risks being
a cult of personality and a stick to hit people with, rather
than a self- and critically-reflexive professional stance.”

Critical designs definitely need to define ways of critiquing itself. Critical designs, in my opinion are very broad just because there are a large array of cultural and social issues that it could cover . But like good ol’ Marx said, “…the point of critical theory is not to describe the world but to change it.” How can you change it if the field itself does not have a defined meaning as to what it is? The only critique I think I have is that I wish that you would have used the Teddy Bear Blood Bag Radio here just because it represents a good way of how it looks to change the world. The other examples, though critical designs, in my opinion doesn’t have as strong of a disposition for change that TBBBR, though extreme, does. However, this is just a small suggestion from an opinionated person.

Again Jeff, I’m going to say that I wish this reading had been done earlier. We’ve talked a lot about critical design this semester, but we’ve never gotten down to the nitty-gritty about how it is done and why people should care. Also, sometimes when I personally see a critical design, I try to read it as is just because I’m a person that takes everything as it is and doesn’t try to look deep into my soul and figure out what the deep meaning is. Critical designs are a big issue for me because when I see it, I try to interpret it in the eyes of the user, but the design itself could have so much meaning, it hurts my head. When you set up the values for grading the design as ‘critical’–identify, situate, and isolate–I started reflecting back on all of the critical designs that we looked at this semester. Now that I see them, I can appreciate them as critical designs rather than designs for release into the market.

When you incorporated the Porcupine dress and broke down as to why it is a critical design, I really appreciated it. At the start of the semester, I saw it and thought, ‘Eww, why the heck would any sane woman want to buy this?’ Now that I’ve read your paper ‘What is Critical About Critical Design?’ I can actually sit back and contemplate. I no longer see it as a fashion statement, but I see it as a critical design that is trying to tell me something. Even with Teddy Bear Blood Bag Radio, I at first thought that is was a way to start turning into sadists, but from a critical standpoint, it’s like ‘Ooohh!!’. Knowing what it is and knowing how to read it let’s me have great insights about why it’s made rather than what it is. I absolutely loved the breakdown for the Teddy Bear Blood Bag Radio that you give around the end of the paper. You expressed points that on the surface I would have never thought of like ‘Using alternate energy sources is presented as something for children to do; it is not just an ‘adult’ problem.’ This statement could be up for debate, but for the most part, I definitely agree, especially when I don’t see it without the critical standpoint.

Overall, I will agree with your central point in this paper: critical designs needs some kind of structure or form of being able to read into the critical designs. Critical designs need to defamiliarize us with what we see as shocking designs for the market world and introduce us to the critical world instead. Not only does it need to introduce us to this concept, it needs to explain to us what the central argument is for designer who made it for the audience. There are points of TBBBR that I never would have thought of because I used to think that it only brought up one central point instead of have various points to take its shape and form. I, as the audience and a designer, need to learn to be able to read into and receive the message and not let the market obstruct my view of what is being said to me.