Monday, November 8, 2010

The actual experience

See the product site HERE but this post isn't as much about that.

          I have always been a big fan of innovative designs especially when they are so simple.  I stumbled across  this one the other day and it brought up some funny thoughts about recent conversations relating to experiential replacement.  A number of these conversations have centered around the notion that some in current culture see no real difference between the a representation of an experience and the actual experience, or they actually only see the positives to the representation.  Do you think that with so much knowledge and investigative material at our disposal we are any further along, smarter, more experienced?
         I often run across the scenario of fear in students, students that say they stopped making something or threw it away, or didn't do something because they are "perfectionists", stating that since they couldn't do it right they wouldn't do it. I personally think this is a intersection of the act of doing with a mentality that they "know it" because they have seen it. When in actuality they...
"know of it" since they have never come to a point of interaction but rather a point of viewing (cant really call it observation).  Like most american students that are exposed to art they are shown slides of prepared views (and point of perspective) of work like the mona lisa the size of a wall from straight on with no reflection from glass. When if you experiecnce the work in person it is in no way a similar experience. I wonder if instead of viewing prepared slides if we studied art works from a different format if we would be able to gain anything more.  (Don't get me wrong we could never have been exposed to so many of the things that affect us and educate us if it were not for the format in which we view and learn about works of art.)
         I remember being taught by my father how to drink water from my hands out of the sink when I was a little kid.  It kinda makes me sad that we as a culture are creating youtube videos and clever products that replace experiential education and in someway take away from the privilege of investigation.  If I want to learn how to fix a leaking sink there is a video somewhere that tells me how not to mention a book (that is a whole different discussion).  I wish you could google search "how to fix a sink" and it would only give you an address where you would have to go talk to someone, see it, do it, and hear stories as you get your hands soar and dirty.  I spent a year and half restoring a vintage vespa. I spent countless time looking online to find answers to fix my problems. But the best experiences and the most growth I had was when when I sought people out, went to them and spent time getting to know them and their craft. In the same argument some of the best growth also came from me spending 4 hours on something a professional could do in 15 minutes.
            I think there are a lot of things missing from our culture of making things and one of the main ones would be making things off of the influence of actually seeing things that were made versus reproductions only. I am thankful that I work with faculty that take students places to see things.

No comments: