Monday, May 4, 2009


During the course of Human/Nature/Image I learned many new things about the topic concerning human nature, but the few that affected me the most were certainly the topics about nature photography and politics, biophilia, and the inventions and ideology from Buckminster Fuller. I think in general though, the class has made me a little more wiser in the background of topics concerning man's relationship with nature - whether he/she's a part of it or not.

Of the topics that affected me the most, I think the one that has still left me thinking about it more often than not is the question of how my work needs to be political or... should it be political. This semester Subhankar Banjeree and his work made an impression on me in ways few others have. It wasn't that I was blown away by the formalism of his compositions and conceptual framework. It was that I felt compelled to analyze what was really going on, the political nature of work like that, and his intentions as an artist. I'm still in awe of how someone quits a career to take up a hobby full time, ends up in the smithsonian and then, gets famous for work that the smithsonian didn't really want. There's something to be said for that.

On another note, I was listening to NPR this weekend and there was this story about a bird named Snowball that learned how to dance to the Backstreet Boys. They tested him and he could adjust his dancing to the tempo of the music if it changed. So, this has further implications... like doing more experiments with birds (cockatoos) to determine how exactly it is that human brains evolved in the ways they did. We can't ethically deprive babies of human interaction for the first years of their life but we can do those type of experiments with birds. And we can make conclusions from those experiments about how it is that a brain learns to mimic sound and make movement that's coordinated with that sound. So far, according to the NPR story, only elephants, birds and humans are capable of doing that. But anyway here's the video. I don't like backstreet boys so much so I'm gonna put up the Queen version :)