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[basics] Instructional Material for Art Faculty By Alexandra Novik

Humanities are the creative and intellectual expressions of each of us in the moment of inspiration. In other words is joy of being alive. The humanities offer a safe heaven, a quiet harbor where we can moor our vessels and, at least for a time, confirm who we are. Each of us is more than a gender, an age, an address, an occupation. Each of us are thoughts, expressed or not, the capacity to be moved, the need to laugh or cry, longing for things just beyond our reach. The humanities gives us the ideas to stimulate our intellect, musical sounds to excite our passions and knowledge which we can use to create something beautiful and inspiring. Humanities provide us as well as teach us moments of critical thoughts and aesthetic pleasure. In other words humanities are Techniques for living for the people who wants to do more with their life. The key to richer life is to be as open minded as possible. “We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane”. -Kurt Vonnegut

The recourses of the humanities are unlimited, but all too often our wants are meager. In the economic world you can’t always be rich by choice, but in the world of humanities you can be “poor” by choice. The pleasure that beauty inspires in us is called aesthetic. The humanities can be enjoyed for both theirs aesthetic and communicative functions. Learning to distinguish one from another is an important part of critical thinking. “The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating”


-Debora James

ART

Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, photography, sculpture, and paintings. The meaning of art is explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics, whereas disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and psychology analyze its relationship with humans and generations. Traditionally, the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery. This conception changed during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science". Generally, art is made with the intention of stimulating thoughts and emotions.


Purpose of art Art has had a great number of different functions throughout its history, making its purpose difficult to abstract or quantify to any single concept. This does not imply that the purpose of Art is "vague", but that it has had many unique, different reasons for being created. The different purposes of art may be grouped according to those that are non-motivated, and those that are motivated. Non-motivated functions of art The non-motivated purposes of art are those that are integral to being human, transcend the individual, or do not fulfill a specific external purpose. Aristotle said, "Imitation, then, is one instinct of our nature." In this sense, Art, as creativity, is something humans must do by their very nature (i.e., no other species creates art), and is therefore beyond utility. 1.Basic human instinct for harmony, balance, rhythm. Art at this level is not an action or an object, but an internal appreciation of balance and harmony (beauty), and therefore an aspect of being human beyond utility. "Imitation, then, is one instinct of our nature. Next, there is the instinct for 'harmony' and rhythm, meters being manifestly sections of rhythm. Persons, therefore, starting with this natural gift developed by degrees their special aptitudes, till their rude improvisations gave birth to Poetry." –Aristotle 2.Experience of the mysterious. Art provides a way to experience one's self in relation to the universe. This experience may often come unmotivated, as one appreciates art, music or poetry.


"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." -Albert Einstein 3.Expression of the imagination. Art provide a means to express the imagination in non-grammatical ways that are not tied to the formality of spoken or written language. Unlike words, which come in sequences and each of which have a definite meaning, art provides a range of forms, symbols and ideas with meanings that are malleable. 4.Universal communication. Art allows the individual to express things toward the world as a whole. Earth artists often create art in remote locations that will never be experienced by another person. The practice of placing a cairn, or pile of stones at the top of a mountain, is an example. (Note: This need not suggest a particular view of God, or religion.) Art created in this way is a form of communication between the individual and the world as a whole.

5.Ritualistic and symbolic functions. In many cultures, art is used in rituals, performances and dances as a decoration or symbol. While these often have no specific utilitarian (motivated) purpose, anthropologists know that they often serve a purpose at the level of meaning within a particular culture. This meaning is not furnished by any one individual, but is often the result of many generations of change, and of a cosmological relationship within the culture.

Motivated functions of art Motivated purposes of art refer to intentional, conscious actions on the part of the artists or creator. These may be to bring about political change, to comment on an aspect of society, to convey a specific emotion or mood, to address personal psychology, to illustrate another discipline, to (with commercial arts) to sell a product, or simply as a form of communication. 1.Communication. Art, at its simplest, is a form of communication. As most forms of communication have an intent or goal directed toward another individual, this is a motivated purpose. Illustrative arts, such as scientific illustration, are a form of art as communication. Maps are another example. However, the content need not be scientific. Emotions, moods and feelings are also communicated through art. 2.Art as entertainment. Art may seek to bring about a particular emotion or mood, for the purpose of relaxing or entertaining the viewer. This is often the function of the art industries of Motion Pictures and Video Games. 3.The Avante-Garde. Art for political change. One of the defining functions of early twentieth century art has been to use visual images to bring about political change. Art movements that had this goal—Dadaism, Surrealism, Russian Constructivism, and Abstract Expressionism, among others—are collectively referred to as the avant-garde arts.


4.Art for psychological and healing purposes. Art is also used by art therapists, psychotherapists and clinical psychologists as art therapy. The Diagnostic Drawing Series, for example, is used to determine the personality and emotional functioning of a patient. The end product is not the principal goal in this case, but rather a process of healing, through creative acts, is sought. The resultant piece of artwork may also offer insight into the troubles experienced by the subject and may suggest suitable approaches to be used in more conventional forms of psychiatric therapy. 5.Art for social inquiry, subversion and/or anarchy. While similar to art for political change, subversive or deconstructivist art may seek to question aspects of society without any specific political goal. In this case, the function of art may be simply to criticize some aspect of society. Graffiti art and other types of street art are graphics and images that are spraypainted or stenciled on publicly viewable walls, buildings, buses, trains, and bridges, usually without permission. Certain art forms, such as graffiti, may also be illegal when they break laws (in this case vandalism). 6. Art for propaganda or commercialism. Art is often utilized as a form of propaganda, and thus can be used to subtly influence popular conceptions or mood. In a similar way, art that tries to sell a product also influences mood and emotion. In both cases, the purpose of art here is to subtly manipulate the viewer into a particular emotional or psychological response toward a particular idea or object.[27] The functions of art described above are not mutually exclusive, as many of them may overlap. For example, art for the purpose of entertainment may also seek to sell a product, i.e. the movie or video game.

Critical Thinking Critical thinking is the process of thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, false; sometimes true, or partly true. The origins of critical thinking can be traced in Western thought to the Socratic method of Ancient Greece and in the East, to the Buddhist kalama sutta and Abhidharma. Critical thinking is an important component of most professions. It is a part of the education process and is increasingly significant as students progress through university to graduate education, although there is debate among educators about its precise meaning and scope. Critical thinking calls for the ability to: 1. Recognize problems, to find workable means for meeting those problems 2. Understand the importance of prioritization and order of precedence in problem solving 3. Gather and marshal pertinent (relevant) information 4. Recognize unstated assumptions and values 5. Comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discernment 6 .Interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments


7. Recognize the existence (or non-existence) of logical relationships between propositions 8. Draw warranted conclusions and generalizations 9. Put to test the conclusions and generalizations at which one arrives 10. Reconstruct one's patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience 11 .Render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life.

Literature Literature (from Latin litterae (plural); letter) is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources (although, under circumstances unpublished sources can be exempt). The word literature literally means "acquaintance with letters" and the pars pro toto term "letters" is sometimes used to signify "literature," as in the figures of speech "arts and letters" and "man of letters." The two major classifications of literature are poetry and prose. Literature is usually differentiated from popular and ephemeral classes of writing, and terms such as "literary fiction" and "literary merit" are used to denote art-literature rather than vernacular writing. Texts based on factual rather than original or imaginative content, such as informative and polemical works and autobiography, are often denied literary status, but reflective essays or belles-lettres are accepted. In imaginative literature criticism traditionally excluded genres such as romance, crime and mystery and the various branches of fantastic fiction like science fiction and horror, along with mainstream fiction with insufficiently elevated style, but the idea of genre has broadened and is now harder to apply as a borderline.

Poetry A poem is a composition written in verse (although verse has been equally used for epic and dramatic fiction). Poems rely heavily on imagery, precise word choice, and metaphor; they may take the form of measures consisting of patterns of stresses (metric feet) or of patterns of different-length syllables (as in classical prosody); and they may or may not utilize rhyme. One cannot readily characterize poetry precisely.


Typically though, poetry as a form of literature makes some significant use of the formal properties of the words it uses – the properties of the written or spoken form of the words, independent of their meaning. Meter depends on syllables and on rhythms of speech; rhyme and alliteration depend on the sounds of words. Some poetry uses specific forms. Examples include the haiku, the limerick, and the sonnet. A traditional haiku written in Japanese relate to nature, contain seventeen onji (syllables), distributed over three lines in groups of five, seven, and five, and should also have a kigo, a specific word indicating a season. A limerick has five lines, with a rhyme scheme of AABBA, and line lengths of 3,3,2,2,3 stressed syllables. It traditionally has a less reverent attitude towards nature. Poetry not adhering to a formal poetic structure is called "free verse". Language and tradition dictate some poetic norms: Persian poetry always rhymes, Greek poetry rarely rhymes, Italian or French poetry often does, English and German poetry can go either way. Perhaps the most paradigmatic style of English poetry, blank verse, as exemplified in works by Shakespeare and Milton, consists of unrhymed iambic pentameters. Some languages prefer longer lines; some shorter ones. Some of these conventions result from the ease of fitting a specific language's vocabulary and grammar into certain structures, rather than into others; for example, some languages contain more rhyming words than others, or typically have longer words. Other structural conventions come about as the result of historical accidents, where many speakers of a language associate good poetry with a verse form preferred by a particular skilled or popular poet. Works for theatre traditionally took verse form. This has now become rare outside opera and musicals, although many would argue that the language of drama remains intrinsically poetic. In recent years, digital poetry has arisen that takes advantage of the artistic, publishing, and synthetic qualities of digital media.

HOW TO ANALYZE A POEM 1. TO BEGIN Read the poem all the way through at least twice. Read it aloud. Listen to it. Poetry is related to music, so the sound is important. You listen to your favorite CDs many times; the principle is the same. It takes time to fully appreciate and understand a work of art. Make a note of your first impressions or immediate responses, both positive and negative. You may change your mind about the poem later, but these first ideas are worth recording. 2. LITERAL MEANING AND THEME Before you can understand the poem as a whole, you have to start with an understanding of the individual words. Get a good dictionary. Look up, and write down, the meanings of: • words you don’t know • words you “sort of know” • any important words, even if you do know them. Maybe they have more than one meaning, or maybe they can function as different parts of speech. If the poem was written a long time ago, maybe the history of the word matters or maybe the meaning of the


word has changed over the years (“jet” did not mean an airplane in the 16th century). As you pay attention to the literal meanings of the words of the poem, you may see some patterns emerging. These patterns may relate to the diction of the poem: does the poet use “street talk” or slang, formal English, foreign language phrases, or jargon? Your goal, now that you’ve understood the literal meanings, is to try to determine the theme of the poem – the purpose the poet has in writing this poem, the idea he wants to express. In order to discover the theme, however, you need to look at the poem as a whole and the ways the different parts of the poem interact. 3. TITLE Start your search for the theme by looking at the title of the poem. It was probably carefully chosen. What information does it give you? What expectations does it create? (For example, a poem called “The Garden of Love” should cause a different response from the one called “The Poison Tree.”) Does the title tell you the subject of the poem (ex. “The 2 Groundhog”)? Does the title label the poem as a specific literary type? (ex. “Ode to Melancholy”; “Sonnets at Christmas) If so, you should check what characteristics such forms have and discuss how the poet uses the “rules.” Is the title an object or event that becomes a key symbol? 4. TONE Next you might consider the tone. Who is peaking? Listen to the voice. ? Is it a man or a woman? Someone young or old? Is any particular race, nationality, religion, etc. suggested? Does the voice sound like the direct voice of the poet speaking to you, expressing thoughts and feelings? Is a separate character being created, someone who is not necessarily like the poet at all (a persona)? Is the speaker addressing someone in particular? Who or what? Is the poem trying to make a point, win an argument, move someone to action? Or is it just expressing something without requiring an answer (ex. A poem about spring may just want to express joy about the end of winter, or it may attempt to seduce someone, or it may encourage someone to go plough in a field. What is the speaker’s mood? Is the speaker angry, sad, happy, cynical? How do you know? This is all closely related to the subject of the poem (what is the speaker talking about?) and the theme (why is the speaker talking about this? What is the speaker trying to say about this subject?). 5. STRUCTURE How is the poem organized? How is it divided up? Are there individual stanzas or numbered sections? What does each section or stanza discuss? How are the sections or stanzas related to each other? (Poems don’t usually jump around randomly; the poet probably has some sort of organization in mind, like steps in an argument, movement in time, changes in location or viewpoint, or switches in mood.) If there are no formal divisions, try breaking down the poem sentence by sentence, or line by line. The poet’s thinking process may not be absolutely logical, but there is probably an emotional link between ideas. A very controlled structure may tell you a lot about the poet’s attitude toward the subject. Is it a very formal topic? Is the poet trying to get a grip on something chaotic? A freer poetic form is also worth examining. What is appropriate or revealing about the lack of structure? 6. SOUND AND RHYTHM Poetry is rooted in music. You may have learned to scan poetry-to break it into accented/unaccented syllables and feet per line. There are different types of meter, like iambic pentameter, which is a 5-beat line with alternating unaccented and accented syllables. You can use a glossary of literary terms to find a list of the major types of meter. Not all poems, however, will have a strict meter. What is important is to listen to the rhythm and the way it affects the meaning of the poem. Just like with music, you can tell if


a poem is sad or happy if you listen carefully to the rhythm. Also, heavily stressed or repeated words give you a clue to the overall meaning of the poem. Does the poem use "special effects" to get your attention? Some words take time to pronounce and slow the reader down (ex. "the ploughman homeward plods his weary way" echoes the slow plodding pace). Other words can hurry the reader along (ex. "run the rapids"). If you are unfamiliar with the terms alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia, you can look them up and see if they apply to your poem-but naming them is less important than experiencing their effect on the work you are examining. Does your poem rhyme? Is there a definite rhyme scheme (pattern of rhymes)? How does this scheme affect your response to the poem? Is it humorous? Monotonous? Childish like a nursery rhyme? Are there internal rhymes (rhymes within the lines instead of at the ends)? If you read the poem aloud, do you hear the rhymes? (They could be there without being emphasized.) How does the use of rhyme add to the meaning? Certain poetic forms or structures are supposed to follow specific "rules" of rhyme and meter (ex. sonnets or villanelles). If you are studying a poem of this type, ask yourself if the poet followed the rules or broke them-and why. Different parts of a poem may have different sounds; different voices may be speaking, for example. There are lots of possibilities. No matter what, though, the sound should enforce the meaning. 7. LANGUAGE AND IMAGERY Every conclusion you have drawn so far has been based on the language and imagery of the poem. They have to be; that's all you have to go on. A poem is only words, and each has been carefully chosen. You began by making sure you understood the dictionary meanings of these words (their denotative meaning). Now you have to consider their visual and emotional effects, the symbols and figures of speech (the connotative meaning). Look for the concrete pictures, or images, the poet has drawn. Consider why these particular things have been chosen. If an owl is described, does that set up a mood, or a time of day? If a morning is called "misty", what specific effects does that have? Are certain patterns built up, clusters of words that have similar connotations? For example, descriptions of buds on trees, lambs, and children are all pointing toward a theme involving spring, youth and new birth. 4 Symbolism is also often used in a poem. A symbol is an event or a physical object (a thing, a person, a place) that represents something non-physical such as an idea, a value, or an emotion. For example, a ring is symbolic of unity and marriage; a budding tree in spring might symbolize life and fertility; a leafless tree in the winter could be a symbol for death. Poets use techniques and devices like metaphors, similes, personification, symbolism and analogies to compare one thing to another, either quickly and simply ("He was a tiger") or slowly over a stanza or a whole poem (an extended metaphor like this is called a conceit). Work out the details carefully. Which comparisons are stressed? Are they all positive? How are they connected? A description of birds flying could have any number of meanings. Are the birds fighting against the wind? Soaring over mountains? Circling a carcass? Pay close attention and pick up the clues. Poems, like music videos and movies, employ a series of images and symbols to build up mood and meaning. You need to take time to feel the mood and think about the meaning. Now that you have considered some of the key elements of the poem, it is time to step


back and decide what the poem means as a whole. To do this, you need to synthesize (combine) the separate parts of your analysis into one main idea-your idea about what the poet is trying to say in this poem. What is the poet trying to say? How forcefully does he or she say it and with what feeling? Which lines bring out the meaning of the poem? Does the poet gradually lead up to the meaning of the poem or does he or she state it right at the beginning? The last lines of a poem are usually important as they either emphasize or change the meaning of the poem. Is this so in the poem that you are analyzing.

One Art The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster, Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn't hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three beloved houses went. The art of losing isn't hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster. -- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster. Elizabeth Bishop


"One Art" Analysis The poem begins rather boldly with the curious claim that "the art of losing isn’t hard to master" (1.1). The speaker suggests that some things are basically made to be lost, and that losing them therefore isn’t a big deal. She suggests that we get used to loss by practicing with little things, like house keys or a little bit of wasted time here and there; the idea is that if you’re comfortable with the insignificant losses, you’ll be ready to cope when the big ones come along. The losses mentioned in the poem grow more and more significant. First it’s the things we try to remember, like names and places, then more specific items, such as a mother’s watch or homes one has loved in the past. As these things begin to pile up, we wonder how much the speaker has actually mastered this so-called "art of losing." Is she really as glib (that is to say, smart-alecky) as she sounds, or does she still have deep feelings about all of these things? We’re not so sure. However, the last stanza reveals a whole lot to us. We discover that the loss that really bothers her is that of a beloved person (friend, family, or lover, we don’t know). She attempts rather feebly to claim that even this loss isn’t a "disaster," though it appears to be one; at this point, though, we see that she really is still sad about the loss, and hasn’t truly gotten over it.


Glossary

Figuratist - A critical thinker, whose use of language is characteristically colorful, often playful, filled with metaphors that suggest a greater interest in the general rather than just the particular . Literalist -The non-critical thinker, or a person who is opposite of a figuratist. Context-A framework of circumstances and relationships, which can be an entire historical period or just a sentence Assumptions-The beliefs, often buried, upon which opinions are based and conclusions are drawn [expected] Empathy - the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings (such as sadness or happiness) that are being experienced by another sentient or semi-sentient being. Alienation - unfriendliness, person not become so emotionally involved Aesthetic-beautiful, satisfying to senses Popcorn syndrome - an all-inclusive term for every aspect of the enjoyment of watching a movie, tvshow strictly for pleasure with no desire to think about it afterward. Blank verse - poetry that has rhythm but not rhyme. Perceptions - understanding, idea. Pluralism/multiculturalism - doctrine acknowledging contributions and interests of many cultures.


Humanities Basics