Thursday, April 20, 2006

Education and inspiration by presence.

In a past post I showed a picture of an Amy Cutler piece with a short bit of comment following. I had never seen the piece in person, just on the web. Recently I saw the actual piece, and spoke to the gallery owner about the oddness of the physical power that an origional piece holds, that does not come through in a representation - especially on the web.

And then we reflected that at times a representation of a piece may be more agreeable in the smaller format.

Then we reflected on the amazing ability with modern technology for images to be duplicated, and the value of the image might become how recognizable it is - regardless of the fact of how many people have actually seen the original. Those that have seen a reproduction might well argue that they `know' the piece.

I came across this interesting antidote about Frost - that somehow fits into this contemplation, but not directly:

When Robert Frost read a the institute of Modern Literature at Bowdoin College earlier in the year he suggested, in passing, a new method of instruction, employed by him at Amherst, which he would like to see in more general use in the colleges and which he has taken with him to his new post at the University of Michigan. "Education by presence," he called it, pausing then only to emphasize the obvious effects upon university students of the mere presence among them (upon the campus) of leading scholars in major lines, even if those leaders never took textbook in hand to conduct ordinary courses of classroom instruction.

"My greatest inspiration, when I was a student, was a man whose classes I never attended. The book that influenced me most was Piers the Plowman, yet I never read it."

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