Some creative people make it easy for us, the “ordinary folk”, to put our toe in the water with them. This often involves keeping us engaged with a spectacle of unpredictable twists…just as you may experience today.

Image: Solipsist

Source: woblog


[Preface by Dr. Lynda]

This is the case with today’s video-share, sent to us by a new guest writer to Ever Widening Circles : Dee Christie.

She is the kind of high school art teacher who loves to see people (artistic and non-art lovers) expand in ways they never dreamed possible.

Here’s a piece she’s written for us about a fascinating, fun web-find…


Growing our Comfort Zones

As an art teacher in a small city in Northern Vermont, I am constantly looking for art that evokes an emotion. I look for works of art that are outside my student’s comfort level, and novel enough to be completely new to them.

When I happened across the YouTube video, SOLIPSIST, I was instantly engaged and wanted to share it with whoever was around me at that time!

That’s what the best art does. It makes your heart sing in a way that must be shared.

I wasn’t sure of what I was feeling when I watched it. That’s another component of the best art: it leaves you with questions particular to your own experiences.

No two people react the same to the best art!

So give yourself over to this flight of creativity and then we can compare notes on the feelings it evokes. Take a look…

What do you think?

Part of me was enchanted by the colors and the movements, and another part of me was repulsed by what some of the imagery was reminiscent of. These inanimate objects that slowly grew,covering these bodies were creating some discomfort for me. Why? Was it the movement of these things like worms, and snakes, was it similar to suffocation, after their entire being was covered?

My first impulse is to rationalize the abstract imagery, and when I talk to my students, the questions that come to mind are:   “Didn’t it look like something?” and “What does it remind you of?”

Then I catch myself and say: “Can we look at a piece of art like this and just let it be. Is that part of what this piece offers us: the opportunity to just sit in wonder, without judgment?”

Image: Solopsist painted face

Source: Fubiz

I recently showed this video to a high school class of about 20 students with various levels of artistic passions. I turned down the lights, and they watched distracted. Some were as engrossed as I was, others thought it was too weird to be engaged. Most expressed that it was weird, but cool. All seemed to experience some emotion which confirmed my instincts about the piece.

Here’s what the director of this work had to say about it:

“Solipsist” is meant to be a purely visual film built around the idea of convergence and unison between living things. The title comes from the philosophical theory of solipsism in which the self is the only thing that one can know or prove to exist. The isolation of this theory inspired me to imagine a counter-hypothesis – a world in which living beings are not constrained by a singular experience. Rather, the characters in this film are constantly merging into one another, forming a collective consciousness through unison of their minds and bodies.”- Andrew Haung 2

I think I’ll keep helping my students start with a clean slate, letting them have opinions about the work, whether it’s “good or bad”. I want them to open their minds, absorb artworks from the inside, and craft their own art from what they are being exposed to.

They may not like what I share, but at least they have been exposed to it.

Instead of judging before viewing, what would the world look like if more opinions were supported by a brilliantly wide range of actual experiences?

– Dee Christie


Thanks to Dee Christie for bringing that point to our new list of better questions at EWC.

What if we could get comfortable with more quiet wonder when it comes to the things we don’t understand? What possibilities would that leave open for each of us?

Instead of saying, “I don’t like sports.” or “I don’t like art.” or “I hate science.”, what if we could stay open, view some aspects of things we don’t know much about, and keep allowing them to expand us?

We hope we are doing that each and every day at Ever Widening Circles.

And in the end, even the things that don’t make our hearts sing, can still inspire wonder, hope and creativity

 


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Notes:

  1. Huang, Andrew Thomas. “SOLIPSIST.” Vimeo. Andrew Huang, 3 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <https://vimeo.com/37848135>.
  2. Huang, Andrew. Kickstarter. Andrew Huang, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/570714959/solipsist-an-experimental-fantasy-film/description>.

Dee Christie has taught art at BFA High School in St. Albans, Vermont for more than 25 years. She is passionate about everything she engages. She loves art, creates arts, and teaches art in a studio built in her backyard. Dee likes to say, “My life is infused with art, fun, and too much dog hair!”