Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Clairity's blog

Clairity's picture

[Re-write] Being A Participant in Art -- Discussing with Kaprow And Sontag

       Before my trip to the Old City, I thought it was the spectator that made the picture. But this recent experience helped me realize that it was not that simple. It is not only the audience makes the picture, but also the performer, the creator and the artwork. These elements together make the "participants", who are actively engaged in the art or playful activities and jointly infuse dynamics and diversity into the work. The art is not complete without either the artist or spectators. A work engenders its true meanings with its participants. This also corresponds to Sontag's article on Against Interpretation. We should learn to "see more, to hear more, to feel more".

Clairity's picture

Reading the Barnes Foundation: Deep Play and Critical Play

       Standing in front of all the paintings and artworks in the Barnes Foundation, I feel like everything has changed, entangled with the conflicts and issues of the move of Barnes Foundation. Being here is not as simple as appreciating renowned works by distinguished artists any more. A deeper meaning has been added to my presence... As I re-imagine my first experience in the Barnes Foundation after watching the movie, the Art of Steal, about the considerable disputes of Barnes' move to the center city of Philadelphia, and reading several articles regarding Barnes' background, I start to see different things and find that ignorance actually makes an art experience more enjoyable.

Clairity's picture

Today's final trip

After several changes of plans, I planned to go to see the Dream Garden in the curtis center and Washington Square around there, and also go to the "free" "PECO Family Jams: Recycled CD Ornaments" in the Magic Garden to make small ornaments today. My schedul was tight because my work ended at 12:30. Because the train got delayed, I decided to only go to the Magic Garden. It was apparent that I was the only one who showed up at the event. Even though the event was still on, I realized it was "free" with admission. So I left for the Dream Garden instead. On my way, I had this feeling that it might be closed and I forgot to check. And unfortunately, the security guard in the Curtis center told me it was closed for today.

Clairity's picture

My final trip

I'm planning to go to the Love Letter Train Tour on Saturday morning. I've passed so many murals on the train, but I haven't noticed their connections and meanings. Although the tour sounds like a tourist thing, I'm really excited about the new perspective it's about to bring to me. After the tour, I'm going to see  The Dream Garden since it's really close to where I'll be. And I'll stop by the Washington Square around there. I feel like it'll be a deep play experience for me, and I want to be open to all the ideas, feelings and thoughts the city gives me. I'll play the believing game as I see all the love letter murals.

Clairity's picture

Re-reading the Barnes Foundation

I went to the Barnes Foundation without any previous knowledge about its background, and I'm gratified that I didn't watch the movie or read the articles about its "move" before I went there. Because then I wouldn't be ablt to enjoy any of it with a pure mind, since there would be so many conflicts going on in my head. Reading the background materials entirely changed my way of seeing Barnes Foundation. I felt a little guilty about going there, but I'm also glad that it was moved there so that I could visit. The sacred feeling it gave me originally about the building and the collection was crushed. From my perspective, it used to be a fabulous place for amazing artworks, but now it seems like a scandalous conspiracy. It surprised me that additional information could alter one's opinion so much and reminded me of the power of knowledge and education. I was also given a clearer outlook regarding Barnes and his collection, which is not only valuable financially, but also in terms of its original goal to educate.

Clairity's picture

Reading a painting at the Barnes Foundation

            Walking amongst the collections of Barnes Foundation gave me such a sacred feeling about art work and the amount of attention and care we should always keep towards these treasures. Security guards in black suits everywhere kept reminding me that we should treat these works of art in awe. Those strict rules and restrictions, such as no crossing of the dark line and no drawing or sketching, built an invisible wall between the art collection and the visitors. However, the settings of each room and the arrangements were classic and even a little bit "homey".

            I sit down in front of a painting above the doorframe in Room 11. The relatively small painting in the inconspicuous corner of the room immediately grabbed my attention when I laid my eyes on it. It's called The Departure of the Six-Meter Boats (La Sortie des six mètres), by French artist Raoul Dufy in 1936.

Clairity's picture

17 Border Crossings

"Reading" 17 Border Crossings was an interesting experience that surprised me with its creativity and expressiveness. I feel that I was experiencing deep play during the performance, and the performer Thaddeus Phillips, in the other hand, was playing critically.

I felt engaged  in the play and imagined myself being as a part of it as if I was the person that was going through all those things. Thaddeus used "you" as the narrator, which seemed like an invitation to us to actually participate in the play. To me, it was "an alternate reality". I was focused and had high consciousness and realization, which was a part of my definition of "deep play."

As for the performer's part, I could imagine that he was playing critically, in the preparation of the performance and during the performance, since he was thinking about how to tell his story in a condensed version by using simple stage settings, but to also express his point behind the story.

Clairity's picture

Deep Play

"This is much worse than what I thought it would be!" "Why is nobody else on the road?" "But it's actually better if no one is here. A stranger walking behind me would creep me out even more..." "No, this is too scary! I don't want to do this any more..." "Come on, you can do it!" My mind was playing wildly as I was walking alone down the downhill street, beside the stone wall, and below the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on my way to the "17 Border Crossings" performance. Since my printed Google map walking route included walking across the highway, which didn't seem accessible, a nice lady showed me the "real" way to Race Street Pier. Excited for the unknown and playful journey ahead of me and nervous for being alone, I set off my own little adventure, assuming the show was at the Pier and might be outdoor.

Following the lady's instructions, I found walking on a path with nobody around at night was terribly terrifying, especially because the other side of this down-sloping road was a high stone wall separating the highway. A voice was screaming "No" inside of me. But nothing kept me from walking ahead. Finally seeing the big "Race Street Pier" sign, I cheered for the almost end of my "misery". I didn't realize how courageous I was until on my way back to the train station with Tessa and Taylor, when they said "I would definitely go back if I were walking on this street by myself. How did you even do it? "

Clairity's picture

Life in Eastern State Penitentiary

    Prior to Eastern State Penitentiary, prisoners used to lock their prisoners together in a big, appalling and filthy room, and leave them to fight with each other. At the time, prisons only served as a place to hold the prisoners temporarily, but rather than a halfway house or workhouse that actually help to deal with their problems. Therefore, in pursuit of creating a more effective and helpful system for both inmates themselves and the society, Quaker reformers came up with an idea that they thought would definitely lead incarceration situation in the United States to a much brighter future. In 1829, the opening of Eastern State Penitentiary introduced their brand new way of incarceration -- isolation. Instead of staying in the same room, prisoners would go into their individual cell, which includes a bed, a desk and chair, a flushing toilet, heating pipes and a glass skylight. Since they couldn't have any visitors, they only had a Bible to keep them company. Their heads were covered whenever they went in or out of the cell, because in this way, it could prevent them from knowing where they were, and could ensure that their faces wouldn't be recognized once they got out.

Clairity's picture

Eastern State Collage Essay

Eastern state will be a new kind of prison, one where the prisoners will spend time alone to contemplate their action, and learn to reform their ways. ESP was a place where they believed prisoners in solidarity would be able to repent for their sins, so that upon their release they would live more wholesome lives. The idea of reforming prisoners rather than just locking them up was revolutionary and enlightening, even though it tended not to work in the practices Eastern State used.

Solitary confinement was not a situation to be accepted without a fight. From the POV of Samuel Brewster, "Eastern State cannot change me or control me, the “new prison” is just like all the rest and I will defeat it." He had to be uncooperative to give himself something to do. It is a place where prisoners try to fight against isolation, which is meant by the builders in order to make the inmates contemplate and reflect towards reformation. Prisoner’s lack of communication and isolation did not aid in improvement but rather inspired rebellion.

Syndicate content