Sunday, February 13, 2011

Right Brian Use it or Lose it?

1.           Since my last post I believe we finished “Memento” and discussed it. We also made our own pieces of art out of simple shapes and attempted to portray either “calm” or “unnerving.” This was an interesting exercise. It was cool to hear all of the class talk about what they think each individual artwork meant, and explain why they though that.  Hearing what the class thought and what the artists intended was a good exercise and really showed how different people interpret art in many different ways.
2.           There have been several readings since the last blog post. The “Right side of the brain” reading was a concept that I was moderately familiar with. While I am no art major I did take a drawing class last semester. We did several exercises with negative space and even drew the same upside down man drawing in the reading.  What surprised me was how difficult these drawings were a second time. I was thinking “ aw negative space, no look drawing, upside down drawing while not labeling what I am drawing, I’ve done this before this will be a piece of cake.” Not so much. I found that I reverted back to the logical labeling side of my brain much faster than I thought I would. I struggled to not think about what I was drawing as an “arm” or an “eye.” This caught me off guard because I was familiar with the concept.  The no look drawings I did a little better at than my first ones last semester. My hands that I drew I think can be identified as hands, while the same cannot be said for my no look drawing of my girlfriend that I did last semester.
      The other reading, by John Berger I believe, was one that brought up some really great points I think. The part that intrigued me the most was the discussion of art duplication and the advent of photography. I had never really thought of the impact that photography and the ability to reproduce artworks had on art and the way that we think about art. The discussion about how artworks are now judged on their market value was a good one. I enjoyed the way in which the author showed how an artworks worth and how that worth is defined has changed over the years. This was also linked in to the discussion of a particular artist’s works and how critics thought that the paintings showed contempt for its subjects, while the author talked about how the subjects were held in high regard by the painter. This reminded me of the class artworks that we did and how many different opinions people had about them. This really got me thinking about how people all think so differently and how hard it must be to create a piece of artwork that will mean the same thing to everybody. This is probably impossible now that I think about it but that is a discussion for another day.
3.       Do you think it is possible to create a universal artwork (one that means the same thing to everyone)? Why or why not? Do you think it is ever possible to completely block out the logical side of your brain? Explain.
4.         I tried to do research on losing skills or abilities over time, but none of it really applied to what I was hoping. I was hoping to look into how I reverted back to my logical right brain while doing drawings, when I have been trained otherwise. I mean it is totally possible that I have not been trained enough. In fact this is most likely the case, but I just thought it would be interesting to see how long abilities like that last. I wonder if you took a talented artist and made them not make art for 10 years, if they would still make art the same way and think the same way they did before they had to stop. Is the ability to think creatively and block out the label making portion of your brain already there or is it learned, and once it is learned or manifested can it be u

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 2 Post

1.             In class we discussed the reading and started to watch “Memento.” Class started with a warm up activity that I found to be particularly interesting. I enjoyed seeing how different individuals interpreted the question “How did you get here?”
2.            The reading was a good one in my opinion. It really got me thinking about the ways in which humans perceive time, more specifically past events. The discussion of memory and forgetting was probably one of the most interesting to me.  The argument between loss of a memory or lack of recall was a great argument. While I do not know where I stand on this issue, I think it is a tough thing to prove either way.  They did present evidence where a person with an electrode inserted into their brain was able to recall memories they thought they had lost. I am not entirely sure about this evidence. I am no psychology major, but I do know that our nervous system runs on electricity essentially. I do not know if this occurs, but I can see how the addition of electricity to a system already using electricity to carry signals, could potentially distort ones memories. Perhaps the electrical current is connecting items already stored in the brain and forming them into a false memory. Us as humans already make fake memories without realizing it, and I think that this sort of experiment leaves too much wiggle room for errors.
      The discussion of the brain as a ball of wax and a birdcage was slightly lost on me. I can definitely see how the brain is not a ball of wax and why it was thought of that way, but the bird cage is not too clear. I thought the bird cage analogy referred to a cage with multiple birds but people in class told me it was one bird so I am now all confused, but it’s ok because I think the brain has been proven to be a bit more complex than a bird cage  so I’m good. 
3.       Do you think that animals have the same capacity for memory as we do? Why or Why not?
What do you think time is to non-humans, do you think that non-humans (on earth) have a similar concept of time as us, or do you think it is different, do they have one at all?
4.            I looked into the part of the reading about the flatworms. This experiment didn’t seem right to me at first. Flatworms are primitive organisms and it surprised me that they were able to learn at all. I am not a psychology major, thus I am not sure about the exact parameters that need to be met for learning to take place. These organisms do not have a brain, but have two clusters of nervous tissue near their front called ganglia. When the worm was spilt and both halves showed the learned response it would seem that these ganglia somehow passed along the conditioned “memory” to the other half. I do not know if this is the case however, because when researching the Planarian nervous system I found a map of their nervous system. Planarians have light sensory nervous tissue running the length of their body. If this light sensory nervous tissue was where the learned response was “stored,” then when the worm was cut in half the response would have already been learned on both halves. This also does not necessarily mean that the response was a chemical form of memory, but could have been electrical in nature due to the presence of light receptor neurons on both halves of the body. While this experiment was really cool and interesting I think it is a poor example of memory, especially for a book about human memory and human perception. These worms operate very differently from humans and their nervous system is far from analogous to our own. While the mention of this experiment made for good conversation and was really very interesting I think that it was irrelevant and potentially erroneous and used only to try and shatter the reader’s concept of memory but this was done out of context. The author took human ideas and emotions and applied them to a very primitive organism, which does not normally work out.