Questions, Intuitions, Revisions:
Telling and Re-Telling Stories About Ourselves in the World
A College Seminar Course at Bryn Mawr College

Forum 7- Tell the Story of a Picture

Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Tell the Story of a Picture
Date:  2003-10-20 15:37:01
Message Id:  6923

Dear Questioners, Intuitioners, Revisioners--

Welcome back from Fall Break! Hope your enjoyed yourselves, and are ready for more... questioning/intuitioning/revisioning.... During the first 1/2 of the week, we will continue telling one another why we are inclined (and disinclined) to revise the public stories we tell about the nature of the world....

During the second 1/2 of the week, we will turn our attention to the third section of the course, on the Unconscious. To get the conversation going...pick one of these two paintings by Sharon Burgmayer,

and tell us the story of what you think it represents.

Anne and Paul


Name:  Anne Dalke
Subject:  Heads Up Re: Reading
Date:  2003-10-22 14:49:13
Message Id:  6951

When you open the packet tonight, you'll find that the Lakoff and Johnson reading from Philosophy in the Flesh seems to stop on p. 17. If you dig a little deeper into the packet, though, you'll find the missing pps (18-59) of that text pick up after the Vygotsky piece on Thought and Language. Sorry to be so...


Name:  Gillian
Subject:  Pictures, pictures everywhere
Date:  2003-10-22 17:55:17
Message Id:  6955
...but not a drop to drink.
Or something like that.
Okay, I know that a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, but maybe that only applies to the picture taker, or drawer, or to the overly verbose and annoyingly intelligent because, for the life of me, I can't write a story about either of these two pictures.
Sure, the first one speaks to me in a way, but it's a pessimistic, sardonic, unappreaciative way that doesn't motivate me to say much on its behalf.
In short, I stared at the first picture for an abundant amount of time. An almost criminal amount of time. And, other than hearing the X-Files theme play in my head and muttering "I swear I've seen this episode before..." I wasn't moved. In fact, these pictures, if anything, seem like a flash-job at artistry, that wasn't meant to motivate but, if anything, to mollify. In truth the picture tells a story of several couples in the dark, afraid of what's in those shady corners, but too terrified by what's outside the door in that bright hallway to do anything but cling to each other and cower.
The first thought in my mind isn't "What are they thinking?" or "Why are they hiding?" It's "If I had one of those flashlights I'd hit them over the head with it, tell them to stop cowering and being afraid of the Boogie Man, and get back into the real world that's outside the door." Pathetic, but true.
These figures are hiding in the dark, but scared of it. They're like tiny children, afraid of what's under their bed, but too scared to leave the bed in case a monster jumps out and attacks them while the try to get away.
My suggestion? Dump the flashlights and go back into the light.
Or, at least, get used to the dark.
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  The Door
Date:  2003-10-22 20:16:19
Message Id:  6956
Why doesn,t someone open the door? Do they choose to move around in darkness with just a hint of light? You might as well close the door.
Name:  ginny costello
Username:  vcostell
Date:  2003-10-22 20:28:01
Message Id:  6957
I saw this painting in several different ways, but I like this version the best.
My impression of the two-scene painting is that the forward scene with the four colorful people depicts one woman and three men. They are doing the dance of life. The red figure is a woman. The blue, green, and purple figures are men. They are a very happy group, although the purple man seems a bit serious. The woman is particularly vibrant, red is a powerful color. They inhabit a brightly lit open space. The overhead lights are shinning down on them as they dance. She is in charge and can have her pick of the men. (Or she could continue to dance.)
In the second scene the far-background is darker,it is the color of cement. It has a boxed-in feeling. The colors of the people are pastel and the image is subdued. The woman has selected a man and fallen in love. The forward image of the couple kneeling is the first stage of their union. They embrace lovingly and passionately and are happy. As they move further along in the relationship they are the couple to the left, and they are closer to the dark wall. Their embrace is comforting but not passionate and a blandness seems to be settling in. The last image the couple is closer to the wall their expectations have not been met and they feel trapped.
Name:  Jenny Barr
Subject:  Flashlights
Date:  2003-10-22 21:17:30
Message Id:  6958
I've gotta say that "clinging together and cowering" is not at all what I got from the first picture. And the blues and grays might make you think "oh -- must be sad." Yes the room is dark, shadowy and lacking in knick knacks, but I don't see anything sad or scary here. It looks to me like these people are comfortable in each others' embrace, and that they (at least the two couples on the right) are searching for something. The couple on the left looks like they may have gotten distracted by the dark room, naked companion thing.

What's outside the door (daylight, tree, greenness) is easily accessible, containing tangible things and lots of natural light. Since the door is open, and it's right there, I think they're inside by choice -- what they're after isn't the stuff they can find easily. They're searching for something internal and harder to understand.

I think there's something very positive in the fact that they're doing this search in pairs. That could be either literal -- people who know and love each other both working on finding something together, or less literal -- people feeling that they have some kind of human support in the work they've undertaken.

Of course, it could just be that they're helping each other find their clothes.

Name:  Tamiyo Britton
Subject:  The light
Date:  2003-10-22 22:23:03
Message Id:  6960
There is a world of light outside the door, yet instead of opening the door to bring the light inside, couples are using the frashlight to light the darkness. They are facing the upset of the door which make them unaware of the light coming through from the door. To me, this picture represents the dynamics of light coming from the outside and the light frashing from inside are emerging.
Name:  Christine Lipuma
Subject:  Flashlights
Date:  2003-10-22 22:33:46
Message Id:  6961
Looking at the painting with the flashlights, I really don't know what it means or what message it's trying to convey. However, the story that I personally get from it is that these people have all found someone to love. They are still in the dark though in the search for the rest of life beyond human relationships. All humans at times focus on their social needs while ignoring the bigger picture of life. This is represented in the painting by the open door to the world. The people know that they are searching for something, but they're not sure of what it is. Therefore, they don't know where to look for it, even though it is right by them all the time.
Name:  Steph Hunt
Date:  2003-10-23 09:24:13
Message Id:  6966
Although the room is dark, it is not scary. The dark is usually a terrifying thing for me, but that picture gives me a sense of serenity. Also the people don't seem to be afraid; there is an affectionate quality between each of the three couples. The sense of calmness probably comes from the blue used instead of a grey or black to show darkness. Also,the door is open with a tree showing just outside, so the people cannot be far removed from the beautiful, outdoor, light world. I'm unsure as to why each man carries a flashlight. It implies that the darkness is unwanted, which leads me to question what they are doing. Are they searching for something? If you completely try to pull meaning that's not there, you could interpret the picture to be about couples searching for truth (or some other big intangible aspect of life) in the dark. Obviously, they're not searching for a dead body or something because instead of appearing frightened, they're embracing.
Name:  Olivia
Subject:  several
Date:  2003-10-23 09:35:03
Message Id:  6967
Pertaining to darwin, I grew up in the South. My own experience is fairly similar to that of Kristen's. The first time I remember ever talking about evolution in a class was in 8th grade. It wasn't that up until then teachers had questioned the subject, they simply ignored it's existance. I didn't have the same shock as Kristen, but I can relate to coming from a place where Evolution is still not readily accepted.
OK, to the paintings, Prof. Grobstein said to go with stream of conciousness so that's what I did. I apologize for how disjointed it is and how it doesn't really tell the story of the painting (as I think I read in an earlier posting).

For some reason it reminds me of Chagall, and this book I bought in San Francisco with an e. e. cummings poem, May I Feel. All the couples have a flash light. The door is open-it's so dark. Only visible face with features is that of the seated figure in the front, I think it's a child and parent. Why do they need the flash lights--well, b/c it's dark, but why is it dark? Why'd they leave the door open (ever heard that phrase relating open doors to being raised in a barn? I never fully understood that connection, I guess it just referes to manners, but why is leaving a door open rude?) I don't like how pale they are--kind of like spilt milk puddles on a dark surface. Isn't there a book with spilled milk shapes? Watercolor? My grandmother wanted me to be a watercolor painter. Somehow it relates to her granfather being a watercolor painter. Funny story about him and Darwinism in the south. look and the water sploches on teh floor--hot or cold press paper? I always preferred hot press. There are little pink flowers by the base of the tree. The painting makes me sad--a melancholy mood-some how from the dark and pale. The open door and tree are slightly redeeming though.

Name:  Anita Lai
Subject:  Flashlight Picture
Date:  2003-10-23 10:03:34
Message Id:  6969
The feeling I get from this picture is one where people are searching and exploring different relationships. I see in this picture a blue room with a hint of darkness with the color gray. I think the room represents life, with the pairs looking for answers. Relationships with others is an important part of life. I see one couple as a parent with a child, and it reminds me of how we rely on our parents when were are younger to answer our questions and needs. The couple looking away represents the friendships we make and the bond that is formed between people. The couple hugging one another I see as our potential mate, whom we grow old with. By having relationships, it makes the world more safe and secure in a world where you might feel small or insignificant. The door leading to the outside where there is a tree reminds me of the tree of knowledge. Maybe the artist is signifying something greater and bigger than just the room we are in. Maybe it is the search of the couples for something in their lives--like the meaning of their existence.
Name:  Alicia Jones
Subject:  The Drawings
Date:  2003-10-23 11:05:02
Message Id:  6970
OK - I'll step out on a limb here, but while I was doing the reading assignment and was immersed in "The Embodied Mind" I got to the tables on pages 50 - 54 and realized that those "primary metaphors" reminded me of the drawings.

So here goes a synopsis of the colorful drawing on the right:

The drawing on the right with the colors and the "happy" people dancing is representative of the metaphor "Happy Is Up" whereby the body is upright and their arms are up in the air. There is an energy about them that signifies that they are feeling good and happy and generally "upbeat."

The figures that are hugging represent "Intimacy Is Closeness" whereby thier physical closeness is very intimate (plus they have no clothes on). There are also images of sadness in that section of the drawing with a sense of needing support (like "lean on me") so it fits in with the metaphor "Help is Support."

Then there are the spotlights which metaphorically could represent the "Knowing is Seeing" aspect which says that knowledge is "getting information through vision."

That's what I see and that is how I can relate it to what I read. I can't deal with the dark, moody drawing on the left because it was depressing.


Name:  Flicka
Subject:  Pictures.....
Date:  2003-10-23 12:19:48
Message Id:  6971
To me the picture on the left in the dark room signifies the wish to discover things about ourselves, and about others. The darkness of the room is counteracted by the light from the doorway and from the flashlights, so I don't feel particularly happy or sad when I look at the picture. I think that the the couples are searching for something deeper than what is right in front of them (i.e. the open door), and that they are looking for internal answers to life. Maybe the picture is trying to say that when we search the unconscious, we learn things about ourselves and about those we love that we didn't know before, and that although their are simple answers right in front of us, we need to dig deeper to find the true meaning of our actions and thoughts.
Name:  Beverly Burgess
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  Colorful picture
Date:  2003-10-23 22:58:55
Message Id:  6982
This picture reminds me of the days when I used to dance with a small ballet company. We would all spend hours and days and weeks rehearsing for various roles and then came the dreaded audition.

The bright and active people in the front of the photo represent the chosen few warming up to rehearse their coveted roles. (Except for the one with the crossed arms - that is the ballet mistress.) The pale and mourning souls in the back represent those who were told "better luck next time." Notice how they all cling together...misery loves company.

Name:  Kristin
Subject:  Painting on the Right
Date:  2003-10-28 01:22:26
Message Id:  7022
My instinct on looking at the painting on the right is that there are two distinct moods within the picture. There are the people dancing independent of one another, happy and energetic in the spotlight, full of rich, bold colors. Then in the background are those people who cling to one another, with no movement and a sort of sad feeling...also, their colors are less vivid than those of the independents. Perhaps it is this dependence on another which makes them less vibrant.

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