ETSU talk

I gave a talk at the Ball Hall auditorium at ETSU, Johnson City, TN tonight. I am putting the slides up for a few days, (sorry – this will take a few moments to load) and then ask people to just take a look at the complete folios listed to the right. Thanks to the Slocumb Galleries for inviting me to talk and jury the Positive/Negative 24 exhibition. (Read the Juror Statement

References made during the talk:

“The truth that matters to people is not factual truth but moral truth; not a narrative that tells what happened but a narrative that explains why it happened and who is responsible… The idea that reconciliation depends on shared truth about the past is possible. But truth is related to identity. What you believe to be true depends, in some measure on who you believe yourself to be. And who you believe yourself to be is mostly defined in terms of who you are not.” – Michael Ignatieff, reprint from “Articles of Faith” published in the May, 1996 issue of the Index on Censorship [I think this quote is at the heart of a rather tragic and heated argument between Ignatieff and other Human Rights academics – read more on this]


“The artist is like a tree – he knows how to find his way in this bewildering world, well enough to bring some order into the stream of impressions and experiences impinging on him. This orientation among the phenomena of nature and human life, this order in all its ramifications, that is like the root part of our tree. From there the artist – who is the trunk part of the tree – receives the sap that flows through him and through his eye.
Under pressure of this mighty flow, he transmits what he has seen to his work. His work then, is like the crown of the tree, spreading in time and space for all to see.”- Paul Klee, Jena Lecture, 1924. 


“I came to the conclusion that there is a plurality of ideals, as there is a plurality of cultures and of temperaments. I am not a relativist; I do not say ‘I like my coffee with milk and you like it without; I am in favor of kindness and you prefer concentration camps’ — each of us with his own values, which cannot be overcome or integrated. This I believe to be false. But I do believe that there is a plurality of values which men can and do seek, and that these values differ. There is not an infinity of them: the number of human values, of values that I can pursue while maintaining my human semblance, my human character, is finite — let us say 74, or perhaps 122, or 26, but finite, whatever it may be. And the difference it makes is that if a man pursues one of these values, I, who do not, am able to understand why he pursues it or what it would be like, in his circumstances, for me to be induced to pursue it. Hence the possibility of human understanding.” – Isiah Berlin, ‘The First and the Last’, New York review of Books, 14 May 1988


“The message is not one of simple pessimism. We need to look hard and clearly at some monsters inside us. But this is part of the project of caging and taming them.” – John Glover, “Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century,”


“Emergence is what happens when the whole is smarter than the sum of its parts. It’s what happens when you have a system of relatively simple-minded component parts — often there are thousands or millions of them — and they interact in relatively simple ways. And yet somehow out of all this interaction some higher level structure or intelligence appears, usually without any master planner calling the shots. These kinds of systems tend to evolve from the ground up.” – from an interview with Steve Johnson by David Sims and Rael Dornfest, O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference  – 2/22/2002


2 responses to “ETSU talk”

  1. I was at your talk at ETSU and found it to be very provocative and sometbing I continue to think about. Thank you. One of the best remarks I once read from a juror was (paraphased) that he was asked to choose works for a show but he was aware that the work picked a part of him.

  2. I too was at your ETSU talk and was quite astonished at the range of philosophical ideas you presented. This required me to go home and do a lot (more!) thinking about art and philosophy and how artists look at the world. Thank you for coming to ETSU and I hope you do so again.