Educational Responses to Stress - Emotion and Arts

I mentioned a recent study about stress and poverty earlier today. In summary, there appears to be a link between allostatic load (a psychological and physiological measure of stress) and average performance with working memory tests. So how could we respond to this? Drake Bennett has a story at the Boston Globe about teaching emotional intelligence. Since Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence in 1995 there has been a growing chorus of educational researchers and reformers calling for emotional education.

Art, Harm, and Interpretation

A long and interesting discussion about art and interpretation at last nights Understanding Philosophy Meetup. We started with Susan Sontag’s essay “Against Interpretation” and went from there. One of the issues that came up was the potential for harm caused by art or interpretation. Since Plato philosophers and critics have acknowledged that art can be dangerous. For Plato this was a major reason to banish poets from the republic; art could only distract us from real world of truth and forms.

On Dieter Roth

Some notes on Dieter Roth for a Walker Art Center tour. Roth was born in Hannover, Germany in 1930 and he died in 1998 in Basel, Switzerland, at the age of 68. During WW2 he moved to Switzerland to avoid the war while his family remained in Germany. After the war his family moved to Bern where Roth began studying commercial illustration. Roth was a very talented illustrator. During the 1970s he produced a number of books that were based on ambidexterous drawings he would do in a very rapid style.

On Barnett Newman

Barnett Newman was born in 1905 and died in 1970. When he was 40, at the end of World War 2, he destroyed all of his earlier artwork and began to develop a new visual language to express his hopes and fears for humanity. He strove for an art that was Sublime and “which through symbols will catch the basic truth of life which is its sense of tragedy.” By 1948 he had developed a mature style of large fields of monochromatic colors interrupted by narrow bands, called zips, of different colors.

The Middle East, Empire, Etc.

I don’t have much to add to the current discussions in the blogosphere about the crisis in the Middle East. So instead I’ll link to some of recent reading: Matthew Yglesias on the Green Lantern theory of politics in action Michael Totten tries to sympathize but gets eaten by the conservative undead. Stirling Newberry on the violence tax It’s all about sex and violence, read the Update II part especially.

Emusic Rocks! - a long tail success

I was listening to Siamese Dream today by the Smashing Pumpkins while out running errands. It’s a perfect piece of early 1990s sugary pop music. A quick search on Google convinces me that others agree. I think ‘sugary’ is the perfect world to describe the music; it’s overdriven and overlayed guitar insanity. I first heard it from a friend who brought the CD home from college during summer break and played it for me while we were hanging out.

The Inspirations of Film

The American Film Institute released another one of it’s top 100 lists a few weeks ago - 100 Cheers. It’s supposed to be the most inspiring 100 films of all time. I’ve recorded my progress on the list at Lists of Bests. 80 out of 100 movies seems pretty good to me. The presence of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at number one makes me imagine an alternate world in which the copyright on the movie hadn’t expired during the 1980s and the movie hadn’t become the holiday movie staple that it became.

On the Qualities of Fiction

At this weeks SF/F reading group meeting the question was raised: what really makes a good book. So I’m trying to describe, at least to myself, the dimensions in a work of fiction that I enjoy and consider when trying to decide wheteher some book is good. So far here’s what I’ve come up with. Sympathy and empathy for characters. There should be some connection between me and the characters of the book.

Taking the Long View

As someone who occasionally tries to take the long view of time but seems caught in a cycle of temporary obsessions the news of Matt Haughey’s Ten Years of My Life photo project looks very interesting. Inspiration The initial inspiration for this site also came from a few similar projects. Diego Golberg’s Arrows of Time captures his family on the same day, every year, for 25 years. The 12hr ISBN jpeg project has been running for nearly ten years already.

Cool Archive of Wired Illustrations