Start in class, finish for next week.
Now return to the act of writing the word, using ONLY the single word and its letters, this time with a visual search to broaden the meaning of the word via visual qualities (cf. concept map). Begin in simple ways: to write the word with some adjective in mind to harmonize writing action and visual form.
During this process become aware of your curiosities, interests, and questions for inquiry, and write these down during reflective periods. Especially note the many ways the visual implicates the various complexities of expression embedded in the word. How much of the concept map’s ideas can you integrate via this single word? How does the graphic action and medium “massage” the message (see Quentin Fiore and Marshall McLuhan)?
For next week (Sept 24): Explore this “transcription” process for the visible word and its representational qualities for meaning.
Come prepared to share the results in class. Communicate in a quick, efficient way to help us get into the depth of your work, inquiries and questions to help us appreciate the value of your efforts.
Still in first class, after a brief non-critical review of accomplishments):
Now return to the object and briefly observe/study it anew, as if you have never seen it before.
Then explore the word and its object via the method of a concept* map:
Place your word in the center of a sheet of paper, then add to this other words that represent the nature and characteristics of the object the word represents: features, structures, feelings, qualities, values, relational properties. Minimize your notations with single words/phrases (or simple descriptions, or even quick visual notes) with the goal to become truly aware of your observations and to appreciate this object more intimately. Come back to the map later to expand it, as needed. Note that this concept map represents: 1) words (and other devices) as “signs” that represent ideas or stand for something else; 2) a whole that represents the principle of the many (words, ideas) into that single (central) idea of one.
Reflect on this during your process. Observe your curiosities, interests, and questions for inquiry,
and write these down as you go along or when you take time out to reflect.
* The concept map is a simple method to reveal the relational value of parts to a whole. This represents a fundamental principle: meaning exists only from relationship. To center your consciousness (by having a word in the center) helps maintain an awareness of the interactive nature of parts and wholes (immediate, indirect or hypothetical relationships), vs. a linear path, wherein awareness can loose sight of source and value. The concept map is also often referred to as “mind-map” (popularized by Tony Buzan, British psychologist, in the late 1970s, inspired by Alfred Korzybski’s general semantics theory); but the term “mind-map” is misleading since the system does not map the mind, except to record “thought” as one, albeit limited, characteristic of the mind. Long before Buzan others used the same mapping system for similar purposes (e.g., 3rd cent. Greek philosopher, Porphyry, used it to map out Aristotle’s categories; Ernest E. Wood, 1930s, used it as a means to train concentration skills).
In first class:
First identify your object with single word (preferably short, simple, concrete). Then put the object out of your sight.
Then (for at least the next 2 hours) experiment by simply writing that word using a variety of means to explore the act of “writing” the word. See and feel the word and its parts (letters, form, qualities). Work quickly to experience and explore quantity and variety. Use only the word and its letters (forms, structures). There are no limits to shape, medium, scale, dimension, space, time, etc.
During this process become aware of your curiosities, interests, and questions for inquiry, and write these down as you go along or when you take time out to reflect.