Sunday, April 3, 2016

Kubler and Byrne

These particular readings felt like some sort of breakthrough for me.  This was not necessarily because I gained some spectacular new insight from reading them, but because I feel like I was not left completely confused when I finished.  I particularly enjoyed the Kubler reading.  I thought he made his point rather quickly and effectively without too much "fluffy language."  I think that most problems people face when reading academic articles and excerpts are related to sifting through the elevated language authors employ to make their work fit their academic genre and audience.  Unfortunately, that language usually is not what the typical college student will enjoy.
I really enjoyed reading the entire Kubler article.  I especially liked the beginning when he discussed the way we hail artistic genius.  Fame can be very fleeting, and I am glad he attributed partially to luck.  Art is also very subjective, and just because a very vocal group of people are venerating a particular artist for their work does not mean that their work is seen the same way by everyone.  Similarly, there are many people that are very talented but do not necessarily receive a lot of praise and recognition on a large scale.  They are not hailed as artistic geniuses simply because there are other people are being recognized for the same thing.  For example, I am someone who really enjoys live theater.  Recently, I saw a production of Little Shop of Horrors in Cleveland.  It was put on by our regional theater company, Cleveland Playhouse.  Normally, these shows have much less funding than nationally touring shows and do not have well known casts like Broadway shows do.  These actors receive little national recognition and praise compared to people performing in internationally known theaters on Broadway.  I listened to the soundtrack from the show performed by the Broadway cast, and I did not like it as much as the Cleveland cast.  I thought the Cleveland actors gave the characters more individuality and passion, but that does not mean that they are getting the recognition that I think they deserve.
One point that Kubler made that really struck me was when he mentioned the tendency of people to say that two artists from different schools/movement have nothing to learn from each other.  He says this is an incorrect way to think, and I completely agree with him,  I hate when people act as if different ideas or courses of study cannot coexist and benefit each other.  Especially as an English major, I have heard many people complain about how they have nothing to learn from taking classes on literature.  I truly believe there is something to be learned in all of the different classes we are required to take (but especially in English classes).  Literature lets you learn about the human condition and allows you to see how people interact and relate and think.  I think that is truly valuable no matter what someone chooses to do with their life.

I know I said I was not completely lost with these reading, but I was left with mixed feelings after looking through the Byrne book. As I read the first pages, I thought he was making an interesting point about how mediums like PowerPoint are not completely unbiased because the programming dictates what can and cannot be easily done by the user.  After that, I did not really like it.  The whole book felt chaotic and disorganized.  The minimalist pages with single black and white images were just plain and uninteresting to me.  The pages with a lot of layering of images were so dense that they were difficult to process.  The only section I liked was the chapter/section about faces an the human body.  I thought the close-up pictures of hands and faces looked pretty cool.  Overall, the book was just too much of a mess for me to really enjoy and feel like I gained something from it.

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