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[BKARTS] the art of communication and the communication of art



It is with great interest that I have been following the outpouring of
commentary since the Drucker article. Many of the wisdom bits have honed
my own thinking for which I thank you all. It has been my intention to
add to the thread since its inception. However, as more and more
articulate observations have already been made, I only want to add
underscore to one idea.
 
Linguists and anthropologists question whether "man" could think about
abstract ideas prior to having symbols (eventually an alphabet) to
communicate. Clearly the labeling of items hurries the process of
understanding. A baby learns "nose" by pointing to everyone's nose. In
book arts, we learn foredge to facilitate locating the part of the book
to which we refer. 
 
Creating a language for communicating concepts is no different. Setting
standards for what is "good or bad" within conceptual language is
subjective, unlike the object, nose. A nose by any other name is still a
nose. (Sorry.)
 
I applaud anyone who tries to make communication clearer. It is the hard
work and study that sharpens the mind and the resulting outcomes, not
the academic degree. It is the reason some people receive honorary
doctorates. This does not disparage academia, it just does not make it
the only road to clarity. 
 
What I am after in this bit of chatter is suggesting that we should
consider our audience when speaking, if we are interested in having
people understand us. A blackboard filled with physics formulas means
nothing to me. Obviously, this does not make it meaningless. It is the
outcomes of the formulas that may be meaningful to me, especially if
they are communicated in a way that prods my intellect and opens me to
new ideas or ways of thinking.
 
Therefore, it is possible that "weekenders, scrapbookers, crafters,
etc." may provide this prod as much as full time artists. It depends on
the recipient as well as the maker. We see very different things in "The
Catcher in the Rye" when read at 15 than when read at 50.
 
"Art speak" is not a comfort zone for many talented people. I suspect it
is one reason they "speak" with the product of their hands. Having said
this, it is still our great good fortune that some people are gifted in
art speak and can create the words the rest of us may have been looking
for. Lack of verbal articulation should not be seen as limiting the work
of those who are not gifted in language. In the end, it is the
communication with others that is important. R. D. Lang says that it is
a wonder we can communicate at all since what I hear may not be what you
have said. I respond to something other than your intention and the ball
continues to throw back and forth, sometimes going wide of the mark.
 
Visual communication suffers the same potential outcome. However, it is
less about meeting some artificially set standards of excellence than it
is about prodding the mind and the soul. This should not be used as an
excuse for poor technique. Rather, it is a hope for an open door policy
to explore the fullest reaches of our capabilities.
 
A.

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