Tuesday, November 13, 2018

os181112 Hayter’s book for a back story 

Having collected in the time of three days – November 9-12 – numerous responses to my Hayter Game concept, it’s time to take the next step toward making the game part of STEM to make STREAMS – Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, Math and Sharing.
STREAMS is augmented STEM – the process of bringing arts and sciences closer to ensure the humanities are part of STEM. Printmaking is a sure way to achieve this augmentation because printmaking is the ancestor of all the STEM elements. Without printing, there would be no civilization.
For better or worse, printing has brought about the world as we know it. Young people today require knowledge of innovation and printmakers who have both STEM and arts (poetry, literature, visual arts, music, etc.) can work with STEM leaders and students through sharing their innovations in platemaking, printmaking and history of printing arts and technologies.
I am encouraging people to add to the mix, and to make this effort part of printmakers and STEM leaders’ experiments and experiences I propose gamifying printmaking, games that teach and games that harmonize printmaking, reading and sharing with STEM.
Games often have a back story. One idea for printmaking games is to write back stories that celebrate the pioneers of printmaking as a fine art form (Rembrandt, Durer, Picasso, Hayter, etc.) may be based on back stories. Other back stories might focus on the heroes of STEM history.
One way to get back stories going is take the steps to collect stories and vignettes. It is tempting to launch myself into the task of inventing a game on my own, but as I am myself a student of STREAMS, the S at the end requires that I Share the task.
Three days ago, I posted a photo of Hayter with the following challenge:
The Hayter Game: Sounds like “hater” but spelled Hayter. To play, printmakers and STEM educators tell what Hayter means to them. Anyone want to play? As one said in the movie, "Blind Date," to win you must invent the game!
Part way through I noticed several people referred to Hayter’s book, New Ways of Gravure whereupon I went to my bookshelf and took down mine - the 1966 edition. It was a birthday gift from my wife on my 28th birthday in 1969. She knew – ever since my graduation in 1966 – that I wanted this book.

Now I am offering to “pass it forward,” give it away as a prize to someone or a school library. As I’m now 76, disseminating my library seems like a good idea. My book for a Hayter back story!
Will people play? Will people send me a back story on Hayter? Will someone come up with a game concept for student-aged (and grown-ups) people that connects prints, printmaking and printmakers to the basic STEM concept? Will this extend STEM to be STREAMS?
If enough people respond with back story ideas and/or printmaking games-that-teach concepts, I will give someone the book plus a signed impression from my family’s remaining impressions of an intaglio commemorative print I made for the Seattle Print Fair in 2007.
A game MIGHT result based on backstories that come out of this process. The Hayter Game might be one of numerous printmaking games. In other words, there might be a Rembrandt Game, a Picasso Game, and so on that all involve elements of printmaking that can be woven into a STREAMS program.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

ri181017 If I had a laser cutter

There is a great deal more to learn about the laser cutter and 3D printer that are important to teaching printmaking online, and I cannot learn and practice these alone. It will take up to a dozen people to make it happen, and these people would expect a guaranteed return on the investment of their time and money.
I have the space. I have the time. What I lack is a team.
In today’s economy, the entertainment value would have to be included, because the experience economy and creative economy have made it so.
However, if such a team did come forward with a commitment, what I would do is make the STEAMR Trunk a reality, a teacher-in-a-box.
With the laser engraver/cutter I would re-design the Wee Woodie Rembrandt press, so it could be made with lighter-weight wood and paper combinations.
With the 3D printer I would first print one of the plastic presses designed in Germany and begin re-designing the appearance.
Third, I would combine the properties of the two – certain parts for the laser device and others for the printing device, as appropriate. This strategy might yield a mixed-media result, presses of different materials.
Concurrently I would be designing the curriculum on a story-based plan, augmented by the space/time network I call Proximates to encourage international exchange among students of as many nations as could be served.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

ps181016 An Indian blog to remember 

I would like to go beyond the boundaries of traditional printmaking and explore more possibilities.” These are the words of Dimple B. Shah, an artist living and working in Bangalore, India. Her essay on the Top Printmaking blog was good reading for me because she captured a point about printmaking most people haven’t experienced.
Printmaking is partly a performance art. Ms. Shah knows this, and her essay brings this into focus. I sent a friend request on her Facebook page and she responded in 3 seconds! Eight-thousand miles away from Seattle, she is near enough to a computer or mobile device, which makes it possible to send a signal of recognition and appreciation.
Her essay shows she has experienced firsthand examples of what troubles human kind worldwide. The increasing pressure of over-population and inadequate resources, the political crimes leading to inequity among people and between genders and other situations which may lead to the extinction of our species.
Still she works on large-scale prints and elaborate performances. Thanks to her skills with technology, now I know about her and I have a friend – at least of the Facebook type – to think about and who gives me hope. Her wisdom and putting her action into print and forms of new, communicable technologies shines through and gives me hope.
“I would like to go beyond the boundaries of traditional printmaking and explore more possibilities,” she put in her words. I like this, but I wonder, how can I help? I am aware that traditional printmaking means the type of printmaking she has access to, and in the last five years she has added multimedia to her work.
By use of digital and video camera systems linked to the Internet, she is going beyond traditional printmaking already, either consciously or intuitively adopting art forms beyond traditional printmaking. I want to add to this a missing factor, and that is to reach back to the youth in the world. Where many young people are playing online games and other kinds of game-playing, they are missing out on printmaking.
That is because of the mentors and artists in printmaking are looking backward at the hero image of the artist. Traditional printmaking is the outcome of painters who “hijacked” technology to meet their economic needs. To make a living at painting, printmaking comes to their aid, and there it stops.
Painters I have known in positions of influence and power in institutionalized art courses tend to cut printmaking from its root, like cutting down a fruit tree to harvest the fruit instead of letting the tree grow and provide fruit season to season.
The fruits of print come from long ago. The impulse by human beings to impress their hand on the stone walls of caves and overhanging cliffs is the beginning of the use of a template to express something human, as simple as, “I was here” or “This way of making an image is easy and fun.”
It is template-use, a faster and easier and more universally-accessible way to express something. It was trivial compared to the arduous and demanding painting of a creature or symbol, but it remains as the root of all subsequent technologies because it solved the problem of high-demanding painting and drawing.
Printmaking is the root of the algorithm, simply put, a method to solve a problem. Mathematicians have elaborated on the problem-solving nature of math to yield the digital applications which have become the tools of human beings all over the world, enabling human welfare and human destruction concurrently.
Now I have completed my thought but for on remaining thing. In Bangalore it is thirteen hours later than here in Seattle, where it is 6:45 AM, Pacific Daylight time – or 0645 by the 24-hour clock. Where Ms. Shah is, Bangalore, is somewhere about 12.58 North, 77.34 East in the Global Positioning System.
From this distance we have date-stamped the beginning of the Facebook definition of “friends” at least, a mere stroke or two of a finger on a mobile screen or desktop mouse. If my idea of Proximates had been true by now, my entry of my moment number would have triggered a similar keystroke-effect and if I were printing this early in the morning, and printing, and if Ms. Shah also entered the moment number and image of her print, we would be Proximates.
By means of the TOP PRINTMAKING page it has served a similar purpose only less connected, I think, than if our meeting had been by the chance occurrence of printing at the same time but in different places. The effect is the same, however we are equally privileged to have already learned printmaking, whereas the young people of the earth can only watch.
Ms. Shah’s hopes, her message, and her work is important, and she is doing a service by telling about it in words and pictures. I think for her hopes to be realized they must reach the young people as soon as possible, and the way to go beyond the boundaries of traditional printmaking and exploring more possibilities,” is in this direction.
This will be realized by joining with programmers – the same programmers who make video games and applications like Facebook – to make Proximates a reality.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

es181012 Cornered  

Short-term thinking results when one is forced into a corner. Instant behavior, reflex action is demanded at the expense of everything long-term. That’s no way for a sentient being to behave, and not for me.
Fifty years ago, scientists were expressing long-term effects of environmental change.
Likewise, seventy-three years ago, scientists expressed concern over the bombing of Japan compared to a demonstration of the power of the atomic bomb.
It is not for a nation that is in a corner to consider long-term effects of one’s action to day – October 12, 2018. Such a nation is at the mercy of another nation or a coalition which spends entire days at whole-hearted work on long-term effects.
Now that some Facebook awareness of the proximity of what has been predicted for fifty years is coming about, the measures to be taken seem closer at hand. In scientific fact, it is not fifty years. It is now.
Where are artists in this? So far, I have not found any artists who are not busy working on their next art show or contract, or who are blindsided by political shenanigans. In fact, many so-called artists are slavishly designing more problems – not working on solutions at all.
As for me, I am thinking of the people in STEM programs with hopes that my “artistic” ideas may be used to help get the young ready for helping solve the problems facing all of us.
What can I do?
Long-term, it would be to divert the money that that is going toward destruction to the aim of the Second Great American Reconstruction era.
How can I do this?
It will not be a linear process. I think it will be a concomitant process, a circular, nonlinear process where the artist, the art, and the making of art are concurrent. For the long term, it is the children who must be in the forefront of solutions.
Art is good for children, but only if it is in the form of concurrent science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics and reading all happening at the same time.
That’s why I design presses and methodology for young people, their parents, and teachers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

vp181010 Reversing art in the 21st Century 

I received notice of an event in January 2019, from the MIT Enterprise Forum – Northwest. This is a group I’ve followed for over twenty years – ever since I began working with Carl Chew on our ArtStudent project. ArtStudent was supposed to be “everything an art student needs” on a CD/ROM platform.
Tom Lopez, who was hired by Microsoft to design their CD/ROM publications when Microsoft Press was still active, introduced me to the MIT Enterprise Forum. He was trying to help me with our project, I think. His wife, Margaret Jacobi, introduced me to Tom when she saw my students’ project, a laser video disc, displayed in an artist’s book show at Carolyn Staley’s gallery.
When I saw today’s calendar for January and read they were going to have a presentation, I smiled at their wording describing the event:

“The rise of the digital economy has taken the art world by storm. Even the sacred cow of visual arts, dramatic arts, and music are being infiltrated by the disruptive nature of technologies. How far will these disruptions extend and what sort of disruptions will they be in the next 20 years?”

In my mind clicked the response, “You got that backward!”
It was art that rose out of the limitations of the hand made via printing that gave rise to the digital economy. Art took the technology world by storm; human innovation found its voice through art and re-shaped human kind in its own image. Now people are the puppets of artists, craftsmen and designers. People go around their lives benumbed by the artists’ designs, songs, movies, games and news – every form of mediation made possible by artistic use of technology.
The sacred cow is not visual art and the rest – the sacred cow is technology. MIT Enterprise Forum authors got it wrong.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

ps181006 Illusion of freedom and calculation  

Jacques Ellul’s words are translated as: “. . . technique enslaves people, while proffering them the mere illusion of freedom, all the while tyrannically conforming them to the demands of the technological society with its complex of artificial operational objectives.”
This declaration comes after his considerable explanation of the difference between technique and technology. I read it with interest, as in my mind is my hope to be a great teacher in the domain of my expertise, printmaking.
I’ve written that printmaking is the ancestor of all technology. I’m bound to understand Ellul’s perspective. After all, it was he who advised, “Think globally, act locally.” I’m conscious that everything he said, and others’ lives he touched (I’m thinking of a friend in Hungary who is a multimedia artist, soon to visit me again) has come to me by technique/technology.
Ellul is correct in observing, “Like cancer in a living organism, the systematization of technique pervades every cell of our modern technical and technological society.”
I wonder, thinking to the opening scenes in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” if that cancer was set in motion by the accidental notice of the ape smashing a bone pile with another bone. What happened in the brain of that simian creature was the rubbing together, as it were, of the two halves of a coffee-bean-sized part of the fleshy brain known as the nucleus accumbens.
This little piece of the brain (or mind) may be responsible for the creative process of which humans are so fond of thinking separates our species from other animals. Ellul says it may be our undoing, and concomitantly, the undoing of much of Earth’s sustainability of life forms like ours.
In my nucleus accumbens, I cling to hope that if I read Ellul and other people who came before me and demonstrated their way of “smashing a pile of bones” I might help in Earth’s human and other life forms’ sustainability. Maybe if I read Ellul, his words will help me with skills to turn my creativity to help other people who have the same hope and desires.
It is, I believe, the illusion of calculation at work in the minds of men and women – and children, too. This illusion has its counterpart in the invention of the illusion of 3D space on a flat plane, with equally important long-range effects on Earth’s human life and all life-forms’ sustainability. By the illusion of calculation – gaming probability, in other words – humans may use technology to restore what technique has deconstructed or use it to destroy man’s propensity toward destroying life as we knew it.

Friday, October 5, 2018

os181005 Kicking the art habit 

It’s one of life's luxuries to be habituated to the arts that are designed to disengage people from a society of responsibility to Earth’s human and other life forms’ sustainability.
I have the icky feeling most of the art world people I’ve been associated with for fifty years behave like those alien duplicators in The Body Snatchers.
The duplicates live only five years and cannot sexually reproduce; consequently, if unstopped, they will quickly turn Earth into a dead planet and move on to the next world. One of the duplicate invaders claims this is what humans do — use up resources, wipe out indigenous populations, and destroy ecosystems in the name of survival.” (Wikipedia)
When the United States becomes a nation populated by indifferent people glued to their mobile devices, walking zombie-like past homeless people and dumb to the corrupted government, I think it’s a nation terrified people whose minds have been snatched away. They look away.
My old associates, with few exceptions, carry on their middle-class lives as if they are blessed with royal status, needing nothing but attendance to their next light show or arty party. Their responses to the world’s other nations chagrin over the USA government policy and its increasing friendliness to the enemies of freedom are not as important as their kitty videos, fashion and foibles.
It’s the hardest thing, at my age of 76, to kick the old tired habits of responding to, for example, an invitation to a home art show by a couple of my former students. All that is promising about the image represented is its darkness, which suggests they may be awareness on this artist’s part of the times we’re living in.
Yet, he is indifferent to me, one of his former teachers. I have moved on, but he – like most of the art students of the past century - never left school. They are a reflection of what happened to the institution in the 1980’s – freeze-dried in place and bound by the conventions of the past.
There would be no continuing education and no future for intellectual, liberal arts and scientific exchanges. None of those so-called art professionals would be required to keep up with the times like so many engineers and scientists whose credibility depends on global networks of peer reviews.
Their select status and approval by the rich and politically powerful would maintain for them a comfortable, even luxurious lifestyle. They would never need to support or even talk to an independent researcher and producer like me. They only keep my name on their computer database.
My independence in the old days at the UW helped them with their own unique approach to success in the art world, but when I continued to explore the relation of the arts to science, technology, engineering, math and reading, they dropped me the same as the college banned me from teaching. I am no longer useful to them.
This relationship is mutual. I am grateful because – as it has always been - I continue to learn. Continuous learning, lifetime learning, includes learning from the proof of success and of failure of artists to be part of efforts toward work for Earth’s human and other life sustainability.
Seeing their failure, I will continue a course that is unlike my former students’ – not use up resources, wipe out indigenous populations, and destroy ecosystems in the name of survival – so I will not attend any more art events. Only STEAMR matters now.