Summer ’20 – Week 11

Hello!

It’s the 11th of our 12 weeks of Artful Summer!

Art Idea #11 – Artists Like Choice?

Everyone loves freedom. I’m pretty sure we all have pretty different definitions for what it is that freedom is, but whatever the definition, people love this “freedom” thing. Probably everybody does. Or many do anyway. You could say that being part of a family or community is more important than freedom. That fitting and belonging are more important than the chance to go it alone. Or go in your own direction.

People everywhere love some notion of Freedom. But maybe no one loves freedom more than an American. We are often over-confident. Sometimes under-qualified. But one thing Americans, on average, do have, is confidence. Nobody likes to be tread on, but America is the nation whose origins include a bold yellow flag proclaiming “don’t tread on me.”

Cake or Death?

The freedom to choose. Do we actually want it? I think the idea of freedom has to include the idea of choice. If I say that you’re free to do as you like, but you only have one choice… are you free?

Deer in the Headlights

What if I give you 20 complex options for a life path? Or a career? Or a partner? Each option has many strong, positive qualities. And each has challenges and frustrations. How do you choose!? You might be paralyzed by having to choose between so many complex options. I’ve heard marketing research that if you put 6 samples out on a table in a supermarket, a good percentage of shoppers will buy one of the 6. If you put 20 out, almost nobody buys anything. They seem paralyzed by too much choice.

Come with me if you want to live

Cake or Death is a really easy choice. It’s funny because it isn’t really a choice. If you learn that you have cancer, and that surgery has a good chance of saving your life, but that no surgery will end your life in a few months, that’s a really easy choice.

Children’s Miracle Network

I used to be an Art Director at Disneyland. I handled all the television and radio broadcasts from the park. Each year we’d host the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon from what, back then, was called Videopolis. The CMN team would come out from Utah for a couple of weeks to do all the pre-production and then the telethon itself.

One day I invited them all to dinner at my place. They very politely told me how good the food was. But after a week-and-a-half of eating in restaurants, they said the thing they liked best was not having to look at a menu. Not having to think about a choice. Just being able to sit down and enjoy a meal.

The Illusion of Choice

Glenn’s cooking dinner, we’ll eat whatever it is. Cake or Death. And life-saving cancer surgery are all easy choices. The magnitued of the issue obviously varies widely. But they’re all choices that don’t require that much thought. Those 20 complex life choices I gave you, that requires a lot of thought. It’s painful and you’ll never know for sure. That is real choice, and it kind of sucks!

No choice, no freedom, is no fun. And too much choice, complex, nuanced choice, is hard. I think what we like best is the Illusion of Choice. Situations where we get to pick, but where it’s nicely laid out to not give us too much mental pain.

Student Choice

I’m thinking about freedom and choice because… it’s Student Choice week in Art 110! For the past 10 weeks I’ve picked the activities for you. This week, you get free will! Choice! Freedom!

Pick any media you like. Something we haven’t tried in Art 110. Or, something you want to try again. Or, do it Intermedia style and come up with your concept first and then consider what media best expresses that. Define your project and do it.

Obviously, the design of this week makes it pretty easy for you to come up with something quick and lame and just collect your points. I want to encourage you to go deeper. Take this moment to come up with a project that really means something to you. Take this moment to create something that you will remember and be proud of as time goes by.

Blog it

  1. Come up with an art project
  2. Perform your project
  3. Come up with blog questions to answer about your project
  4. Answer your questions
  5. Name your Medium post: Week 11 – Art Activity – Choice

Useful

How “useful” for your life & career your specific project will be is up to you this week. As for the concept of Choice, I think it is useful to make real choices in your life. Often we follow a sort of default path because it is what we know or what those who came before us did or what seems available. If that’s your true path, great. But every now and then step back for perspective and ask if your choices are fulfilling your life? Or should you make different choices? We don’t get to make all that many choices in our lives. Once you pick a college major, or buy a house, many other “choices” unfold automatically from that choice. So it’s worth considering how our choices shape the experiences we have and the people we become.

Artist OTW

  1. Pick an Artist #1 of your choice
  2. Pick an Artist #2 of your choice
  3. Write some questions about your artists
  4. Answer your questions
  5. Name your post: Week 11 – Artist – Choice

Classmate Feedback

Yes, you get your choice between Text feedback and Video feedback.

Text:

  • 5 classmates
  • Text Feedback
  • 1 week’s work
  • Email Glenn how many comments you posted

Video:

  • 1 classmate
  • Video Feedback
  • All summer’s work
  • No email, just do a 3rd blog post with the link to your video and leave a comment on the person’s Medium so they can see your video

Optional Potluck Final

It’s optional, of course! But if you’d like to have something to eat or drink with your cool summer classmates and I, swing by our Zoom room! Come any time, leave any time. All good! It’ll be nice to see you if you have a chance to drop by.

Have a good week! Be safe. Be well.

LMK if I can help with anything. Email me at glenn.zucman@csulb.edu or LMK if you’d like to meetup on Zoom some time.

~ Glenn

students creating plaster casting projects in the sand at the Seal Beach Pier
Back in the F2F era we used to go to the beach for a “Plaster Casting” activity. Here’s Erica Lander & Audrey Resella doing a few cartwheels at the Seal Beach Pier while they wait for their plaster castings to set.

Comments? Questions? What great art did you see, make, or experience today?

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