Archive for the ‘Response Assignments’ Category

For next week, please read:

Thinking back on all that we’ve talked about so far, as well as the reading assignment for this week, explain your position on art in cyberspace. While doing so, think about some of the questions below . . . to help you form a thoughtful response.

  • Is cyberspace art even art? Why or why not?
  • How would you determine what is “good/bad” art in cyberspace? Should there be a certain set of criteria for what is called art online; and if so, what should that be?
  • What do you think is the purpose of art? Must art carry a message? Or must it be aesthetically pleasing? And if so, does art do this in cyberspace? How effectively?
  • How do you view the relationship between art and its audience? Does art have a greater responsibility to its audience than the audience to art? And how might art in cyberspace either weaken or strengthen your views on the way art and audience interact?
  • When comparing cyberspace art to “real life” art, what might be some of the benefits of art in cyberspace? What might be some of the drawbacks?
  • What expectations do you have when going to see a play, movie, art gallery exhibit (to be informed? entertained? to engage in a personal experience? etc.). How does your typical experience with or of art coincide (or not) with your experiences of it in cyberspace?

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* First off, don’t forget that you’ve got a great extra credit opportunity (below this post – response to Trixie Minx).

For next week, please read: Take 2: Culture Paper by Andrew Parks.h3_wsj_chief.jpg

Consider the following questions and respond to one:

  1. Do you agree with Parks’ assessment of video games? Why or why not?
  2. Can you think of any examples that defy the stereotyping he describes?
  3. Can you point to other instances of racial, ethnic, class, gender and/or sexual stereotyping in video games?
  4. In what ways do these images inform or reflect one’s sense of identity, culture, and power?
    • If you chose a game with people in it, think about the following: were you given an opportunity to choose a person (did you get to choose a body/face to go with your character?); if so, what were your options? What did you choose and why? What kind of people were in the video game?
    • Think about roles: were the people in the game baseball players, boxers, soldiers, etc.? What about ethnicities? What ethnicities did you identify? Who seems to have what role? – what color or gender, for example, are the “bad guys”? Who is the hero of the game? What did these people look like? – fat, skinny, muscular, tall, short . . . and what roles did each play? And how does any of this reflect ideologies around race, class, and/or gender?
    • What was the goal of the game? To kill all your enemies? To get the gold? To win the race? What obstacles did you have to overcome in order to move from level to level or to win the game? How might any of this reflect contemporary culture (our ideas about success, what it takes to win, the “American” story or ideal, etc.)? In what ways was the game NOT like life?
    • In what ways was the game totally fantasy-like or had elements that were not at all realistic of modern society? Perhaps these elements were of a past that no longer exist. And if so, how might that reflect a particular ideology; and if so, what?
  5. THEN, choose some video game (either one you rent, one you or a friend already have, or simcity.jpggo to a video game outlet), play it for a while, and then discuss, in your blog response how it reflects issues of gender, class, ethnicity, or culture.

    Below are some questions that you may ask yourself (feel free to ask different ones – this is just a guide to get you started):

    ** Always, always back up your thoughts with some example, quote, or explanation.

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You don’t have to write on these readings/viewings, but be prepared to discuss street art next week in class, and be sure to read up on the last two entries so you will be prepared when our guest comes into class to talk about his writing about Hip Hop (as a follow up to last week’s discussion).

However, I do want you all to respond to the Vodou Tou exhibit we saw downstairs. Choose one piece to focus on and describe how it both aesthetically and intelligently responds to the original Vodou Riche exhibit. If you were not in class, go see the Vodou Tou exhibit sometime during the week (downstairs in the Congress building). Post your response reviews here.

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No questions from reading this week (but reading/viewing is posted below). Instead, I want everyone to write a cogent, thoughtful short review of the exhibit we just saw – Vodou Riche. Please edit it as best you can. The post with details about reviews is above.

For next week, read and view the following:hip_hop.jpg


While you do not have to respond to the questions below, please at least think about some of them, so you are prepared to have a thoughtful discussion of this material in class the next time we meet (October 23rd).


  • What are the major arguments (or ideas/concepts) being put forth by both bell hooks and Patricia Hills? How do any of the hip hop videos presented in this blog for viewing (or that you find) exemplify any of these larger concepts/arguments?
  • In what ways does bell hooks and Patricia Hills’ arguments seem to reflect one another? In what ways are they different (in other words, what, if anything, might they seem to disagree on)?
  • When Patricia Hills talks about the “contradictions of a new racism,” what does she mean by this? In what ways is this “new racism” contradictory and/or paradoxical? And how might Hip-hop be implicated within this “new racism”?
  • Patricia Hills provides several quotes at the beginning of her introduction; in what ways do these quotes “demonstrate the contradictions of the value system of the Black hip-hop generation”? Does bell hooks point out any of these contradictions, as well? If so, what are they?

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NOTE: The due date for Review # 1 has been pushed back to Tuesday, October 23rd.fdtmarcia_fan.jpg

Reading/Viewing for next week: Responses are due by 8:15 a.m. on October 16th.

Questions for consideration:

  1. Considering some of the points that Emlinger brings up in her article, as well as those made by Minx, where is the boundary line between what can be considered art, erotic art, and/or porn?
  2. At what point, if any, does a particular piece of art move into “victim art”? Is there such a thing as victim art? Under what circumstances might someone become a victim under the auspice of art? Back up your discussion with textual evidence.
  3. Emerlinger suggests at one point early on that it can be near impossible separating art from morality; what does she mean by that? And how does that play out in the context of this particular performance?
  4. Describe the differences in approach between Emlinger and Minx. Are each talking about the same kind of performance art? Why or why not? What is different about their discussions of this type of performance, and what kind of arguments do each make about it?
  5. How does Emlinger represent the stripper in her article? As a pioneering transgressive artist? a victim? something in between?
  6. The video that you watched – is it stripper art, victim art, or burlesque? Explain your reasoning, and be sure to back up your thoughts with a thoughtful discussion that includes reference to the readings.
  7. Reflecting upon Emlinger’s article, how might social context change the meaning of art? And must we know or understand a performance or art piece’s background, history, and other implications in order to appreciate it as art? How might we understand the stripper performance in Emlinger’s article before versus after she speaks to the dancer and learns of her HIV status?

Feel free to write about any other issue, concern, or interesting point that you noticed; just be sure to connect it to the readings.

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Blog Response DUE ONLINE by 8:15 a.m. on October 9th: stillhere_f02.jpg

Reading Due:

  • Croce, Arlene. “Introduction” and “Discussing the Undiscussable,” Crisis of Criticism (handout given in class).
  • “Confronting Head on the Face of the Afflicted,” Crisis of Criticism (handout).

You must address BOTH readings in your blog response. Your response must also be thoughtful and critical, not merely a restatement of what you read. Also, when you provide textual evidence (quotes or summarizations), be sure to explain HOW that quote or reference further illuminates the point you are trying to make. DO NOT let the quote speak for you!

  • In Croce’s essay, she says that she has not seen Bill T. Jones’s “Still/Here” and doesn’t plan to review it. According to Croce, why will she not review the dance performance? What is your response?
  • Croce brings up the term “victim art” within her (non)review of Jones’s dance performance. What exactly do you think Croce means by the term “victim art”? Do you agree or disagree with Croce’s term “victim art” and why?
  • Croce’s essay brought on a slew of critical responses, some suggested that while Croce’s essay was understandably controversial, Croce also had some good arguments. What might those be? What did Croce argue about art and/or our ways of perceiving it that actually have logical merit?
  • Discuss Oates response to Croce with a focus on the term “victim art.” Does Oates take primary offense at the use of the term “victim art” or Croce’s claim that such art is “beyond criticism”? Why? Explain your response and provide textual evidence (quotes, paraphrases and/or examples from the text) to back up your conclusion.
  • In what ways are Oates’ arguments both convincing AND unconvincing? Where are the strengths in her arguments? Where are the flaws? Again, explain your response and provide textual evidence (quotes, paraphrases and/or examples from the text) to back up your conclusion.
  • Oates utilizes multiple examples in an attempt to argue that history is full of art that points to painful and authentic experience, but we do not render it “beyond criticism” as did Croce with the Bill T. Jones’ dance. However, what is the primary (and perhaps the most significant) difference between Oates’ examples and the Bill T. Jones’ dance (not)reviewed by Croce?

EXTRA CREDIT question (you must answer this along with one above to receive extra credit): In Croce’s essay, she argues a certain point of view in regards to what she believes consitutes art or makes it valuable as art. In what ways does each author reflect (however explicit or subtle) one of the main arguments of either Plato, Bell, Tolstoy or Winterson?

** Always, always back up your thoughts with some example, quote, or explanation.

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Blog Response DUE ONLINE by 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 25th.

* Please write a one-two page review for next class (on the Jeff Wall Art Institute exhibit) – to turn in, typed, double-spaced. Using your own style, tone, and voice, try to be as creative as you can in your overall review of the work. Don’t forget to address aesthetics (composition, style, lines, colors, etc.) while discussing the work and how these aesthetics help support your response to the overall collection. You can focus on the collection as a whole or one piece (though I then expect comparison/s to either other pieces or the collection).

Then read/view the following:

Then, answer any one set of questions below, incorporating your understanding of at least two of the three readings/viewings into your response:

  • According to Winterson, what makes art valuable? Must art carry a message? Must it demonstrate technical expertise? Or must it simply be aesthetically pleasing? How do we, as a society, typically place value on certain art items?
  • According to Winterson, must art do something to be worthy of being called art? And if so, what must it do? Elaborate and explain your response.
  • If Winterson had seen the Jeff Wall exhibit that we saw last week, how might she respond?
  • How does Winterson seem to view the relationship between art and its audience? Does art have a greater responsibility to its audience than the audience to art? And in what ways does this either directly contradict or support some of the authors we’ve read up to this point?
  • When considering the value and/or significance of art, do you think a piece of art stands alone (or should stand alone)? Or do you think knowing something about the artist is important and/or necessary? What do our readings thus far suggest?
  • Winterson suggests that art is not a luxury, but rather a need. How does she support this idea? Why, according to Winterson, do we need art?

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