Art- In garbage? Journal 2

          Yes, my next art journal is one that explains how I believe the garbage I saw in the streets of Greece this weekend, can be considered a form of art. Many people would consider a pile of garbage sitting on the side of the road, repulsive and sickening. In fact, the garbage I saw decorating the streets of downtown Thessaloniki was, indeed, just that. However, what many people wouldn’t consider is the meaning behind the mounds of rotten food, old tennis shoes, and dirty dippers. One of my goals for this class is to broaden my mind; to consider certain perspectives and ideas I would normally simply dismiss as nonsense.  Seeing art in garbage is my first step to this process.

          Upon walking onto the streets of the huge city, my first observation was the awful smell coming from the pile of garbage sitting next to me. As we continued our day, shopping, and site seeing, the piles would pop up around each street corner. I thought of how disgusting and unsanitary it was to have trash laying out on the streets for days on end. However, I quickly forgot  the mess I saw, as I got sidetracked taking pictures, eating, and shopping. Once back to the hotel in bed, I recalled what I had done and seen that day. Suddenly, the piles of garbage I had seen that day popped into my head. Art- I thought instantly. I looked beyond the disgusting scene, and forgot about the awful smell, and I thought of the reasoning behind why the garbage was there in the first place. Yes, the sanitation workers had gone on strike, but why? So…what does any college student do when they want to know more about a certain topic…we Google it! After a little research, I came to understand, at least somewhat, the motive behind the strike. Yes…we all know Greece’s economy is in the hole, and I could go on for pages talking about why and how Greece needs to get out of its awful depression. However, that is not what I am interested in, what I am concerned with is the people. I will refer back to my definition of art I gave in my first journal:

“My definition of art: expressing my inner self, in whatever way I find best; that is being able to accurately communicate my essence to others, who I am as a person, and what I stand for, whether it is in what I draw, say, write, do, or even wear.”

         Protesters sitting peacefully on the streets getting sprayed by teargas, men standing in front of Greek Parliament holding signs, while getting pummeled by riot police, rioters throwing tear gas canisters on police, sanitation workers going on strike, leaving all of Thessaloniki’s garbage out for the world to see, it is all a form of art. These people are trying to communicate their essence to the Greek government, they want a say, they want a voice, and they want to be heard. They are trying to express their inner selves and, although their methods may be objectionable to some, their opinions deserve to at least be acknowledged. Perhaps if more people kept an open mind, and came to recognize outbursts of deviance, such as this, as a form of art, the world would become more composed.

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ENG 315-Journal 2

       When I initially read Umberto’s “The Name of the Rose” I noticed the numerous and lengthy descriptions Umberto wrote in his novel. The face of the abbey and the abbey itself were a just a couple that stood out. At first, I was confused as to why Umberto dedicated so many pages simply to description and detail and, to be honest, when I got to these points in the book I would skim right over them thinking they were of little importance. However, as I read further into the novels plot, and read back over these descriptions, I began to realize exactly why Umberto emphasized these descriptions. “The Name of the Rose” is filled with symbolic imagery and events that, to some people (me), may seem meaningless upon first glance.

        The way in which Umberto depicts the abbey and its door, makes the setting a symbol in itself. Adso’s first impression of the abbey was the sight of bold columns standing on either side of the abbey with sculpted pillars dividing the entrance, guarded by oak doors and reinforced with metal (pp 40). The flying buttress, which Umberto describes, in European Gothic period was used in an effort to force the abbey closer to heaven, and to structurally allow the abbey to be large in both length and width. It also allowed large windows to be built; “capped by a pitched roof and pierced by severe windows” (pp 40), these windows allowed the light of God enter into the building. Umberto’s illustration of the abbey left me feeling as though the architectural features it contained served as a symbol to protect the people which resided inside, and bring them closer to God.

         Despite the enormous size of the abbey, Adso was even more amazed by the intricate carvings engraved on the oak door, “the silent speech of the carved stone, accessible as it immediately was to the gaze and the imagination of anyone (for images are the literature of the layman), dazzled my eyes and plunged me into a vision that even today my tongue can hardly describe” (pp. 41). In my opinion, the door is meant to be a symbol of security and protection from the heresies, sins, and disturbances which were apparent at that time. It is protecting, or trying to protect, the sanctuary of the library, and also the holiness of the monks living within the doors of the abbey. He went on, also, to describe fearsome creatures with twisted bodies and sharp talons. These creatures, though alarming, were creatures of heaven and surrounded the Holy One in adoration (pp. 42). I think these grotesque creatures convey a message of seriousness to any person who lays eyes on it, it certainly did for Adso!

       Umberto’s use of symbolism throughout the plot gives the novel a great sense of depth. It can be read on many different levels, and viewed from several angles depending on the reader.

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Hum 225: Art Journal 1

        I’ve never really had a good understanding of the concept of “art”. It is not something that came naturally for me; so unfortunately I never took the time to even try to understand it. In school we are taught the obvious; art is painting, drawing, or sculpting something into a beautiful masterpiece. While this is one type of art easily absorbed as children, there are many more different types of art I am able to recognize, now that I am older. I have found that art is universally indefinable, the only true definition, in my opinion, can come from what you personally believe it to be. Though it is obviously valuable to consider other definitions of art, in order to strengthen our intellectual minds, the definition you create, will always trump all.

       My definition of art: expressing my inner self, in whatever way I find best; that is being able to accurately communicate my essence to others, who I am as a person, and what I stand for, whether it is in what I draw, say, write, do, or even wear.

       Like we discussed in class, art can be conveyed in a variety of ways, from graffiti on the side of a train, a random guy playing guitar on the side of the road, Italian food, or even Italian romance <3. One of my favorite ways to express art is through fashion, so what I have noticed most from being here is the eye-catching Italian fashion. Skinny jeans, of all different colors, with leather boots, paired with a sharp jacket and of course a trendy Italian scarf.  Despite only being in Italy for four days, I can already tell that elegance runs in the blood of Italians, pain is sacrificed for style, with leisure chic as the end goal. It has always been a major force in Italy; making up a huge portion of the Italian economy, employing over 80,000 workers. It greatly relies on the success of the fashion industry to support its economy and international position (http://www.findingdulcinea.com/news/business/2009/march/Italian-Government-Offers-Boost-to-Fashion-Industry.html. 2011).

       As stated in The Italians, Italians see tourists as looking all alike, such to a point where we are indistinguishable among one another. It goes on to describe our daily “touristy” apparel; “They dress in garishly -colored clothes, much as the members of the ancient barbaric hordes…They perspire freely in the heat, under their nylon shirts. They wear barbaric sandals….Their heads are bare or covered with cheap straw hats on whose brims are printed the names of cities, sanctuaries, beaches, islands, or other famous landmarks” (pp. 4). This is also another example of the different opinions on the definition of art. While Italians may not consider the style of American tourist’s “art”, but rather unattractive and tasteless, American tourists may have the opposite belief, dressing in a way to express their foreign and “traveler-esque” appearance.

        Regardless of your specific opinion on art in the form of fashion, I think it can be agreed upon that one form of art is fashion, and Italy is the perfect place to appreciate this art form.

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ENG 315: Journal 1

       After reading of Brother Williams seemingly miraculously detailed description of the horse’s appearance, breed, location and name, even I was impressed! It was not until after I had read the logic behind his conclusions when I realized he simply used a quality we all readily posses; reason. We are intelligent beings by nature therefore all have the virtue of logic (more or less). However, we posses another characteristic which often times obstructs our logical mind, that is emotion. This difficulty can be seen with the monks, many let their emotion dictate their decision making process, often times resulting in serious consequences. The way in which Brother William thinks is starkly different from his time period, instead of using superstition and religious beliefs to guide his decision making his way of thinking resembles that of modernism. He is an exceptionally observant man, with vigilant, perceptive eye, and an incredible ability to analyze a person, or a situation.

       “…recognize the evidence through which the world speaks to us…” (pp.23). This particular line, when Brother William scolds Adso for his youth, struck me on a personal level. In my free time one of my favorite hobbies is climbing. This past April, I had the pleasure of climbing in Utah with my brother and godfather. This quote emanated the theme of the entire trip; recognizing reason as your most valuable tool. It also reminded me of something my Uncle, a wise, logical, and experienced climber would say to me; a young, inexperienced, and often times emotionally driven, climber. Throughout the trip the three of us went on several climbing/hiking outings in which the only proof we were on the right path, was that which the” world spoke to us”. Whether it was as obvious as seeing foot prints, or as vague as watching the direction of the clouds we had to “…recognize the evidence through which the world speaks to us…”.

       The day before I was to fly home, we went on a three to five hour hike into a canyon, with a few short rappels into the canyon, and an easy scramble back out of it. My Uncle was unfamiliar with this particular hike, so once to the trailhead we had to decide which direction to begin walking. I soon became nervous about choosing the wrong direction, “what if we pick the wrong direction and get lost from the very beginning of the hike?!” However I was quickly relieved when my uncle said “take the form of water, follow where it would flow, and you will never be lost”. My godfather had me lead the remainder of the hike into and out of canyon, taking the form of water and leading us to our destination. When looking at the situation from a logical standpoint, water will always take the easiest route. It will flow down avoiding any diversions from the trail, and right to your destination.

       Though it seems simple to think about, letting your emotional mind dominate, fogs your logical thought which in turn leads to irrational decisions. I have found this concept to be true in both the book, with the monks, and in my life, with my adventure in Utah.  “…recognize the evidence through which the world speaks to us…” are wise words said by a Brother living in the medieval period, but can still be applied to modern day life.

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