Friday, August 26, 2016

your turn #1: in the beginning was the mark


hi kids: welcome to my arh 346 class.

we started this course talking about the importance of the mark. 

first, the anthropological need to make marks. then the many instances of marks:
the social ritualistic (paleolithic ancient cave murals, egyptian dead rolls, the willendorf venus, etc), the psychological (the "i love you" on a wall),
the political (graffiti),
the rule oriented (hammurabi code, confucius' analects),
the economic (ancient coins),
the semantic (as in alphabet development),
the scientific (early mathematics), etc.

now, write a 120-word minimum comment addressing any particular angle that you find interesting of this first class. again,

to make a comment 

click at the bottom of this post where it says "post a comment." you will get a box, after you are done, write down your full name at the bottom of your comment (even if you have a google alias). click "anonymous" (unless you have a google account with your alias). i advise you to write your comment first on word and then copy-and-paste it to the comment box in case it gets lost (this has happened to students). click i'm not a robot and click "publish your comment." by the way, you can preview your comment before you publish it.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The most interesting work of art or “angle” that we discussed – to me – was the Hieroglyph of “Scribe”. One could argue that by leaving their handprint, like in the Altamira designs – they’re being narcissistic. Although we discussed that it was a pseudo hand signature, this individual felt that it was important enough to be recognized. I found the “Scribe” interesting because of its contrast to even more modern self-portraits. For example, any of Pablo Picasso’s many self-portraits are clear headshots of his face turned at ¾ view. This hieroglyph is a clear portrayal of the artist at work. The only painting that distinctly comes to mind, to me, where one can see the artist at work is Diego Velazquez’s “Las Meninas”. In Velazquez’s painting, the audience sees Diego with the pallet and paintbrush in hand. Rather than only painting the subject - the meninas – Velazquez narcissistically includes himself in the painting. Although I cannot say Diego Velazquez drew his inspiration from the “scribe” painting, the comparison is ostensibly visible.
- Bryan Vargas

Anonymous said...

Within the first class period the most interesting angle that stood out was the multiple viewpoints addressing graffiti. Before this class I was only taught, that unless the graffiti is a piece of visual art, it would otherwise be considered vandalism. Knowing now that if the marks have a purpose, they no longer make it vandalism opened up my vision to the possibility that there is more to think about when looking at graffiti on the streets. It also opened up my eyes in seeing that there was motive to all the graffiti I looked at through the years. This further explains the abundance of graffiti in poor neighborhoods and broken economies, and the absence of it in wealthy places and striving communities. Hence, subliminally proving the correlation between graffiti and its presence, a purpose to prove an idea or express a current problem at the marks location or timeframe.

- Liliette Ferro

Anonymous said...

One of the things that I found very interesting in the first class was that we talked about the importance of the mark in so many different aspects, like social, political, scientific, economic, etc. That shows how art and design are connected to almost everything and can have a huge impact on every aspect of people’s lives. The aspect that impressed me the most was the scientific aspect because I would never relate art to math and science and the fact that there is an important connection between the two is very interesting. Just like art began with a mark, math did too and that proved to me that everything did begin with just a simple mark.
-Anat Sterental

Kelly Brody said...

I find it interesting how the word "mark" can represent so many different forms of expression, from the more extravagant and opulent, such as Trajan's Column, to the more simplistic cave markings in Altamira. In my previous Art History classes, I never considered pieces like the Venus of Willendorf to be "marks,", but after the 8/25 class I have more of an understanding on how a small sculpture that doesn't possess any textual element can be a mark. The common thread that marks need to possess, given my understanding of the last class is to serve a means of communicative expression. This is best represented with the currency markings during the Bronze Age, to differentiate the monetary value, as well as the Hammurabi Code, which served as a listing of the crimes and corresponding punishments of the Babylonian society. Thus being said, marks can vary in type, but all serve the same purpose to communicate a message, whether textual or symbolic.

-Kelly Brody

Anonymous said...

Any design begins with a mark... As an architecture student who trains to design day and night, this overall theme of this lesson struck me as gold. It is true that we make marks for ourselves and other people. It is in our nature. Such as the example with the need to vandalize a white wall in design, it is our physiological need to mark it. The numerous examples of different type of marks only solidified the idea that marks are always around us and can be a broad range. The examples that immediately comes to mind is Hammurabi Code and Trajan's Column. To think that these two "art" pieces have such historical importance yet to have never viewed them as marks is baffling. Finally, getting the insight of how social, political and economical are all different aspects that influence the evolution of marks within our society was a good way to highlight the importance of marks and also graphic design.

-Adrianna Rivera

Alfredo Triff said...

In my previous Art History classes, I never considered pieces like the Venus of Willendorf to be "marks,", but after the 8/25 class I have more of an understanding on how a small sculpture that doesn't possess any textual element can be a mark.

good point kelly, which made me think that most sculptures in art history begin with a drawing, and a drawing is a mark.

don't mind me, kids, go on.

Anonymous said...

After this week’s discussion of the mark, it is clear to me that this word can encompass a multitude of art forms. Personally, I found the most intrigue in the rule-oriented angle – pertaining to the integration of graphic design in the function of social code. In the example you provided, in the Hammurabi Code, the series of marks were able to create a set of laws and rules available to the masses-albeit not an entirely literate group. However, the ability of the glyphs to create a sort of order for the Babylonians almost amazes me. With such simplistic markings, they were able to educate people, even as the glyphs evolved to be less iconographic. The small slab became a corner stone for the civilization solely because its markings elicited meaning.
-Tami Lake

Ana Gonzalez said...

In the first class we discussed various marks, the most interesting to me would be the one involving graffiti. The lecture made me have a different view on graffiti and mark making. Is it a mark of vandalism or is it a political statement? After researching the other blog posts, specifically the one titled “ Is Graffiti Art a Crime”, I concluded that Graffiti art with purpose, or rather to evoke some type of feeling or emotion is considered a mark. Art should make you question and bring about emotions, graffiti art does that, leaving a mark on the viewer. An example of this would be the “No Hero” Graffiti on the pedestal of a confederate patriot. The Artist wanted the public to know who the person being idolized really was in his era of history. Showing the Public the truth, or rather, the artist’s view of the truth ( the artist's mark) , is art.
-Ana Gonzalez

Anonymous said...

The most interesting thing I took away from our discussion of the mark was importance that marks played in the development of written histories and the dissemination of scientific truths. I thought that the Dresden codex was particularly interesting because it showed the importance that the Mayan society placed on preserving knowledge and therefore passing that knowledge on to future generations. The mark is essential in this process because it allows the scribe to speak across generations in a clear manner that won’t be misinterpreted because the language and marks used are standardized and known. Similarly, the Egyptian Book of the Dead also shows that society’s wish to preserve instructions for a ritual that was extremely important to them, and which book would not have been possible to produce without the use of hieroglyphics – the standard Egyptian mark.

-Will Uelk

Anonymous said...

The difference between Vandalism and Graffiti was fascinating, even more so considering graffiti and vandalism are used as synonyms in popular media. In the lecture, vandalism's definition is the wanton destruction of an object or place, without having some sort of political and or cultural message, while graffiti, still an act of vandalism, has an intrinsic purpose, sending a message through defacement. The word graffiti is often thrown about and in the media could either mean street art, gang signs on buildings, or vandalism. The comparison between graffiti and Wynwood led to the realization that the public understanding of a term can be used for censorship and to label certain things as unlawful while ignoring the meaning behind a mark. The meaning of Graffiti has changed, skewing away from inner city gang violence to street art gawked at by the upper/middle echelons of society. Vandalism and graffiti “destroy” the original artifact, with the major difference in the meaning. The advent of graffiti “artists” such as Banksy or the ones that made naked pop up statues of Donald Trump led to the allowance of graffiti into the art world. This acceptance has led to “graffiti” becoming apolitical, without any meaning and without destroying a surface. The permeation of graffiti artwork into the mainstream has vandalized graffiti, subverting it, and having graffiti become street art palatable for the middle class rather than the act of violence against an object to send a message.

Dante Petersen Stanley

Anonymous said...

One thing that really stuck out to me about our first class was when you talked about the purpose of leaving a mark. The purpose of the artist is to leave a mark behind, a trace of presence. I thought this was interesting and definitely hit on how people, since the beginning of time, have had the urge to communicate with others. This was mentioned in the first class with the paleolithic marks. I just thought the overall start to the class was also interesting. When I think of graphic design, my mind automatically thinks about current graphic design and how advanced it can be. So to start out the class with you saying that any design just begins with a single mark was really interesting to me. I also thought your definition of type face style was unique. Alphabet + time + costumes. I also have never heard of the Dresden Codex so that was a new and interesting topic to learn about.

-Emily Warren

Anonymous said...

After the discussion of the mark in class, I think that the invention of mark could be considered as the origin of glyphs and art. Mark is a visible impression on something. It could be a line, a cut, a dent, a stain, or anything else. As a graphic designer, mark plays an important role in my design career. A great design piece does not need to be very complicated. Sometimes a simple clean mark makes a great design. The image we discussed in class with the hand pressing on the wall impressed me. It is a simple mark, and it could be considered as a good design as well. For me, the human hand represents life and energy. It is a quite intuitionistic way to indicate the idea. Mark is essential in any area. As for design, a mater piece sometimes develops from a simple mark. There is another thing that caught my attention as well. When people write some big letters on the wall, the society considers them as vandalism. I do not agree with this view. The writing on the wall express people’s feeling. It is reflecting the social life and the people themselves. So I think it should be considered as art rather than vandalism.

-Yiming Zhou

Anonymous said...

One of the most interesting parts of last class’ discussion was the importance of marks and marking for humans. As simple as the idea may seem, it was not something that I had ever really thought about, and now that the idea was presented, I keep seeing different examples in my life and in art. The first thing that came to mind was how as a child, when my classmates and I learned to write it was almost immediate that we collectively had the urge to write our names on every inch of empty space. However, now that I have had more time to reflect on this, I have noticed that my 3-year-old sister and her friends behave very similarly, except that they do not write, but rather mark the different areas in a way that is recognizably their own mark. This, of course, is something that to someone that is not familiar with the group would just see as something any child could have done. This brings up the idea of how markings as a system of communication developed between communities that understood what each one meant, except that my sister’s case in a very primitive way but they can still recognize each other’s work. As the professor explained, marking IS a deep part of human nature that we cannot get away from, and that through time we have adopted it, worked with it, and grown because of it.

Martina Sandoval

Anonymous said...

Despite not being in a frame, graffiti is a type of art that should be appreciated. Graffiti is a mark that enhances cities by adding a greater depth of character. Although the architecture of a city provides character, it is unable to capture expression on the scale that graffiti does. For example, graffiti is able to capture political expression, while architecture cannot. Unlike many works of art in galleries, graffiti is unpretentious in the sense that it does not require viewers to be erudite in order to appreciate it. Graffiti originated on the subway trains of New York City during the 1960s. For individuals that society viewed as talentless, graffiti served as an outlet to express creativity. Graffiti was created by individuals from all ethnic backgrounds, and thus it represents New York City’s diversity. All in all, graffiti deserves the same respect that is given to other types of art.

http://csdt.rpi.edu/subcult/grafitti/Birth_and_Evolution.html

http://csdt.rpi.edu/subcult/grafitti/Creativity.html

http://csdt.rpi.edu/subcult/grafitti/The_Two_Today.html

-Emily Griffith

Yaoli Wang said...

It seems like the beginning of art in history is mark-making. From the lecture, professor listed several ancient human “art works” to explain what early art is. In Paleolithic age, human usually used their hands to make hand-print and abstract lines on the wall by smearing ochre and water. We couldn’t know the reason of making these early graffiti. It could be recording their daily life, could be their religious belief or carelessly leave their hand-print. However, I found human being is naturally creative. Early graffiti is not too complicated which ancient people tried to describe what they can see by simple lines, even colors. In addition, early human were not only have 2D concept but also 3D, such as Venus of Willendorf. The most interesting angle I found from the first class was that art derives from human inside, art is magic.

-Yaoli Wang

Anonymous said...

The history of mark is probably as long as human’s. Marks existed at the very beginning when human lived on the earth. Making mark is a way to communicate with others and to present one self. It is a part of human nature that we, as human being, have the urge to express ourselves and to make a connection with others. Or, making mark is not exclusively a human thing, even animals make marks in some circumstances and have this longing of connection and belonging. One thing particularly interests me is that if there is a blank wall in the city soon it will be filled with graffiti and words. And those words are not necessarily pleasant or lovely. To some degrees, the making of graffiti not only demonstrates people’s desire for expressing, but also, meanwhile, shows people’s real reaction to the society, politics, and life. Interestingly, in a way, images linger longer in people’s heads than words. Hear something we might forget, but see something we will remember.'

- Emma Fu

Annasjoukje Runia said...

In our first class we talked about the history of the first marks made by humans. The most interesting thing to me was that the people had the urge to make marks. It is so interesting that the people from the Paleolithic time looked for things like ochre and water to make their marks by smearing the "ochre paint" on the walls by using their hands. Later they started to make tools specially for making marks. All the writings, paintings and sculptures we found, tell great stories and tell us a lot about lives , communications and cultures from the people from different time ages. They captured from their daily live activities to rules and economic systems.
Not only in the past people had the urge to make marks, nowadays, people still want to make marks. Not only just because we want to make marks, we still use it for example to communicate and capture things. Making marks already starts from a young age when we start drawing and writing down are names and we keep on making marks our whole lives.I think we all have this urge inside of us and it is part of our instinct in our species.

-Anna Sjoukje Runia

Anonymous said...

The most interesting perspective that I found in the first class was that we could see “marks” in many different aspects. I have never considered some art works as “marks” and thought about the meaning of “marks” before this class. The lecture opened up my eyes in seeing that marks are everywhere, and each one of them has a meaning. As we talked in the first class, “The community understands the meaning of each mark”. What impressed me the most is the example of coins. I have never considered those busts can be seen as marks. Once they were put on coins, they are symbolic and valued. Marks are original forms of words. However, I think marks are more significant than language in some degrees, because marks are easier to spread. Furthermore, marks can present information more directly. They present the core parts of every culture and economic entity around the world. Therefore, we could not only see marks as artworks by unknown artists, but also as crucial elements of promoting human civilization progress.
-Jane Zhang

Anonymous said...

For our first class, we discussed different kinds of urge that led humanity to “leave marks”. Prehistoric men paint murals to pass the time. Some vandals left graffiti to gain voices. Other marks were recorded to impose unchanging rule among people. Functions of the marks also differ by the intentions of the mark-makers and also the social and historical contexts. One of the mark that stood out to me the most was graffiti. Graffiti is often considered illegal and discouraged. Urban architects abstain from leaving blank spaces to decrease the chance of graffiti. However, the act of banning and discouraging graffiti itself encourages the graffiti, as nature of graffiti is to stand against the imposed rules. It is impossible to eradicate graffiti and marks survived throughout history in the same way graffiti did.
-MinA Jang

artisticagi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

This was a really good way to start the class discussion. Marks have been and always will be a part of humanity. When we make marks, no matter what form it is, whether social, political, rule oriented or so on, it becomes a way we can observe ourselves. And then the beautiful thing is that it can be compared and contrasted to other marks. Every culture has their own code, their own marks that they make. Just as we were created, we share that similar impulse to create. In the case of Hammurabi’s Code, which I found very interesting, it was a code of law, of conduct. Of course something like this would arise eventually in a group of humans. To be able to get along, there has to be some way of governing your society as a whole, and also yourself as an individual. When most people in a society do this, we live in harmony with each other.
-Agnes A