27 February 2007

An Artist's Story

From Awesome Immersion to Illuminating Darkness

Mel Alexenberg מנחם אלכסנברג

This blog explores my quest along the virbrant interface between
mutliple fields - art/science/technology/culture
mutiple roles - artist/researcher/teacher/writer
mutiple identities - jewish/israeli/american/global.

It is an autoethnographic narrative that highlights episodes in my life that explore these multiple fields, roles, and identities. My methodology is derived from a growing literature in art education that Canadian professor Rita Irwin calls a/r/tography, recursive autobiographical inquiry of an Artist/Researcher/Teacher.

The book, Art Works: Autobiography, by Barbara Steiner and Jun Yang, explores and documents autobiography as a contemporary art form. They write "Autobiography in art has certain features in common with the literary autobiography. Both claim a link between the narrating subject (the author), the life or episode of a life described, and the work that describes it."

When I am speaking Hebrew at home in Israel, the integral link between art and learning is obvious since the word for artist oman אמן as a verb means to educate l'amen לאמן.

The following realms of learning coupled with artistic expression are woven together in my artiststory:
awesome immersion
playful exploration
morphological analysis
interdisciplinary imagination
semiotic communication
cybersomatic interactivity
global connectivity
polycultural collaboration
ecological perspective
responsive compassion
spiritual emergence
moral courage
holistic integration
appreciating irony
revealing beauty
invisible dynamics
national revival
peer collaboration
spectral encoding
down-to-earth spirituality
illuminating darkness

My a/r/tographical inquiry begins in my awesome childhood summers in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York and leads six decades later to illuminating the darkness of Mumbai murders in celebration of Hanuka with my family in Israel. It is in the nature of a blog to tell a story in a reverse chronological order where it begins at the end. If you feel more comfortable with a narrative that starts at the beginning, go to the end of the blog and start with "Awesome Immersion" and work your way up. Or if you feel in a postmodern mood, journey through the blog in no particular order at all to create a holistic collage juxtaposing diverse episodes in a dance of the mind.

After posting these sections, I added visual images and other episodes from my life that fit conceptually but not necessarily chronologically into the narrative. I also inserted episodes derived from my books, The Future of Art in a Digital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness and Educating Artists for the Future: Learning at the Intersections of Art, Science, Technology, and Culture (both published by Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press) and my Hebrew book Dialogic Art in a Digital World: Four Essays on Judaism and Contemporary Art (Jerusalem: Ruben Mass House).

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