Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Student Reaction to Gilane Tawadros' Lecture

Reaction to Gilane Tawadros':
 Women and Creativity Lecture on November 26th

Piece by Katey-Ann Hurley

I have to say I feel extremely lucky and privileged to have been able to sit
in the talk with Gilane Tawadros. It was certainly my favorite talk that we’ve had so far
and I was so happy to be given the opportunity to gain insight from such an intelligent
woman in the arts. The pieces that she showed us were all beautiful in their own way, and
they tied together in such a subtle manner that I was astounded by how they resonated
within all of us. I especially loved the pieces by the artist Shen Yuan as well as her words
regarding her own pieces. The topics we discussed: discourse, boundaries, the
complexities of speech, and being a prisoner of your own language intrigued and inspired
me. These are paradoxes that I often mull over in my own bewilderment and it was
relieving to finally be able to put reflections into words and bounce my thoughts off of
Gilane as well as my peers. It goes without saying that the pieces of art that she shared
connected so powerfully within all of us. I was captivated by each and every work, and
furthermore enthralled by what Gilane had to say about her interpretations of the pieces.
It made me think about things in numerous different ways all at once and also reflect on
my own experiences with some of the issues represented within the works. Gilane
Tawadros’ presentation opened my mind to many new ideas, and I am grateful for the

Piece by Kara Hushon

"We buy things we don't need, with money we don't have, to impress people we don't like"
I loved this quote that Gilane Tawadros showed us. It was painted on a sign outside of Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, which had some of the world's wealthiest art connoisseurs attending. In my opinion, this is everything that is wrong with our society. But then we realize that it isn't just a problem with Americans since this idea was displayed in Germany as well. To me, this displays the ideas of not really thinking for yourself and simply keeping in line with social norms and what is expected of you. Just like in class, someone asked Gilane what one of the paintings was supposed to mean or represent and she responded with something like, "I don't know, I'm in the same boat as you, what do you think it means?" That was a tough concept for us to grasp because we are so used to being told what each and every thing means and what is right or wrong. I often find myself thinking one thing about a piece and then someone else says that they think something completely different so I automatically assume that I am wrong. Which always makes it hard to voice my thoughts about works of art. Like with many of the works that Gilane shows us, not once was my first thought about the things she mentioned, like language and it's barriers, which I found very interesting. As someone who is trying to become fluent in Spanish, I often think about language and the words that get lost in translation, like she spoke about. I have always been interested in how people learn languages. You can go from attempting to speak causally in Spanish class to their entire brain switching over to Spanish during an exam back to forgetting everything while trying to speak for an oral portion of an exam then to almost impeccable Spanish when needed in an emergency. I was always intrigued by this transition and the words that are simply untranslatable. The more I think about it the more I realize how similar that is to art. It's like seeing the perfect piece of work in your head but then you just can't get the concrete product right, the feelings you felt about the work are simply not portrayed to the viewers or when you just can't describe why you are doing a piece. Mastering both language and art is time consuming, tedious and requires dedication.

Piece by Elena J. Georgopoulos

Gilane was quite interesting. She speaks exactly how one would expect someone constantly surrounded by art would speak-poised, formal, receptive to new interpretations but fully organized and coherent when speaking her own. It was quite enjoyable to listen to her, and the pieces she showed us were great.
I think the word “occupy” has come to mean so much lately. Occupy obviously brings up the “Occupy Wallstreet” protests, and others like it from around the world. In relation to art, occupying space has always seemed to be an innate concept of it. All art occupies some sort of space: a painting takes place of a blank canvas, a sculpture the place of unrefined materials, a blanks piece of paper fills with words and a story forms. Occupying leads to creation, because by something new being in a previously un-occupied space, it is a creation (or sorts).
It was really impressive to see and talk about artists that push the limits of what it meant to occupy space, from comparing language gaps to class gaps, both of which create large (figurative) spaces. Filling in physical space to represent filling in figurative space? And/or calling attention to it? Brilliant.
It makes me think a lot about how I occupy space, and how I want to occupy it.  I think about it in a physical sense- am I happier living in a minimalist style, or a cluttered one? Then in the abstract sense-how many lives do I want to be a part of? What do I want to make of my abilities? There is just so much to think about, so much space to fill. Or, so much space that needs to be emptied. I have not decided which is the answer yet.

Piece by Cristina Porzio

I found her presentation to be very interesting. I was surprised to discover the true meaning behind the art she showed us. Part of what made it so interesting was discovering what the artist was truly trying to represent. The ideas that she talked about, such as, art being able to express things that words cannot or time and the viewer being an important component of the piece, were really interesting to me. 
When she said that art is able to express things that words can’t, I suddenly thought about the proverb “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Wouldn’t this count for art too, or more specifically the pictures of art pieces she was showing us during the presentation? Maybe art can express more then what words can, because it metaphorically consists of more words. Also (if my notes are correct), Tawadros says that words can’t translate experiences. I disagree. Words can carry specific emotions that as a result have the potential to give a precise translation of the experiences. 
This type of strong emotion cannot always be incorporated in the art and that leaves it to interpretation. For example, the crack in the ground. Without having the words to explain its meaning, its true significant was left to the interpretation of viewer, which I am sure would have not been able to make the right guess at its emotional and powerful significance.

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