VVP: Art 434 & Engl. 410

Website for Vision Voice and Practice: An Interdisciplinary Course in Art and Creative Writing

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Constriction, Limitation

From an interview w/ Jack White, of the (now over) White Stripes:

AVC: Does a White Stripes song have certain parameters?

JW: Oh yeah, lots of them do. There’s an overall structure of simplicity, and it revolves around Meg’s drumming style. And it can’t be beat. We can’t do those structures in The Raconteurs. We couldn’t do them if we wanted to, and that’s the beauty of Meg. In The Raconteurs, there’s so many more components, so many more personalities involved. If you get another person in the room, you’re dealing with something else. It’s a different kind of collaboration, you know? The parameters of The White Stripes… you know, 70 to 80 percent of what we do is constriction, and the other 20 to 30 percent is us breaking that constriction to see what happens.

From Infinite Jest:

The point about not crunching serious stats is that Schitt had clued Incandenza in, all the way back at a B.S. 1989 U.S.T.A. convention on photoelectric line-judging, that he, Schtitt, knew real tennis was really about not the blend of statistical order and expansive potential that the game's technicians revered, but in fact the opposite--not-order, limit, the places where things broke down, fragmented into beauty.

Paul, to the Corinthians:

So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I beat my body and make it my slave, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

And So We Begin Again

It's taken a week and a half after the class has begun, but we're finally here, updating our class blog. Last week (the first week), we read Chapter 1 of Eagleton's How to Read a Poem, in which he calls for an integrative approach to rhetoric, in the service of connecting our reading and analysis to the rest of human life: "Forward to antiquity." Yesterday, we discussed Chapter 1 of Berger's Ways of Seeing, a book that, like Eagleton's, takes a Marxist approach to examining (in this case, visual) texts. There's a great concern in each about how words are used to soften reality, manipulate it, or divorce art from it. I'd mentioned the way such a concern is also manifest in Christian students, and brought to my mind was a panel at the 2010 AWP, "God and the Workshop: Accommodating Religious Students," which called attention to this same phenomenon, as experienced by various professors of creative writing. (Disclosure: It was led by my friend and mentor, Cal Poly Professor Kevin Clark.)

But I don't want to make this blog a mere--and boring--accounting of what we read. The students also made--spontaneously and in collaboration--some really cool stuff, photographs of which we'll shortly publish. And we listened to some great music. (The song-of-the-day updates will be posted on the right side of this blog.)

Finally, as I shared the pastiched / collaged / limited-by-record-industry-convention-but-forward-thinking / highly disciplined / mono / number-1-smash-hit-from-1966 Beach Boys' song "Good Vibrations," I highlighted one of its many great, deceptively simple lyrics:
I don't know where but she sends me there.
Re-reading Eliot's "Burnt Norton" this week, I came across this line:
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
Who knew what Eliot was onto would be echoed by a song one day used to sell soda pop?