21 December 2008

An Artist's Story

Mel Alexenberg lecturing on the Talmud and the Internet at ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe in November 2008

Holistic Integration of
Multiple Fields, Multiple Roles, Multiple Identities

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, in her book a/r/tography: Rendering Self Through Arts-Based Living Inquiry.

Biography as an Art Form
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."

One Word for Artist and Education
When 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. Furthermore, the biblical artists Betzalel and Oholiav received the divine gift of artistic talent coupled with the ability to teach others (Exodus 35:30-35).

Spectrum of Learning Through Art
The following realms of learning through art 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

From Awesome Immersion to 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.

Postmodern Journey through a Blog
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.

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