other voices

To fully understand and appreciate the world in which we live we need to acknowledge the wisdom of voices other than our own.

Many of us cross borders everyday. These "borders" may be physical, but they also may be economic, cultural, psychological, or even sexual. Sometimes we pass unnoticed through invisible walls--like when you as a student enter the privileged space of the University campus. Other times we may feel like trespassers in unfamiliar territory--as if we mistakenly walked through the "wrong" lavatory door. Our reactions can be complicated by conflicting emotions of curiosity, fear, distrust, or secret longing. How can we learn to acknowledge and affirm the unfamiliar ground on the "other side of the fence?" How can we learn to hear other voices? To become conscious about the range of differences that make up our world is to become, in essence, a good neighbor. Listening must be active to be effective. To be an active listener requires energy, empathy, and patience. By listening carefully, we can begin to hear the wisdom of other practices, beliefs, and ways of being in the world.

In art, appreciating the richness and range of visual culture requires that we not only look, but that we listen. We tend to scan with our eyes for familiar patterns and signs. Sometimes similar visual cues have vastly different meanings. As artists, we must learn to listen for the differences.

Inquiry Questions

1) Describe a moment when you felt like a trespasser or found yourself unexpectedly in unfamiliar territory.

2) As visual artists, how can we become better listeners?

3) What are some examples of visual art that cannot be understood with only the eyes?

4) Is it possible to create work that is NOT about yourself?


1. Group Unity Principles (ref., 2D Studio Fundamentals, UNIT III: Unity)

2. Talking Patterns (ref., 2D Studio Fundamentals, UNIT VI: Patterning)

2. Cultural Violation (ref., Color Studio Fundamentals, UNIT II: Emotional and Symbolic Color)

3. Pavilion for the Opposite Sex (ref., 3D Studio Fundamentals, UNIT III: Space Frames)