Author Archives: JTRobinson

About JTRobinson

Artist and Business Professional working to build a stronger community for the Arts.

My First Response to the beauty and the sublime

The most interesting thing about this chapter was how to interact with this form of literature, and this experience helped me learn more about my approaches to art in general. I was not completely sure what exactly you were planning, nor asking for, in this assignment aside from wanting to know our responses and reactions to the literature. In this context, my honest response is my enjoyment in understanding how philosophers really think and how philosophy is cognitively pursued. More particularly, by understanding the way in which philosophers think, perhaps my communication skills, or just the communication between me and any other academic instructor, can improve from this experience. To clarify, the paragraph below is an excerpt from a previous attempt to writing this response :

“Immediately in the beginning sentences, I tried to comprehend exactly what the author’s point was and took several times reading over the first two pages. In the first couple of times, most of my thinking of this selection was focused on decomposing the content, much like most philosophical literary works I have previously encountered. Soon, I found myself summarizing what I read, as it appeared to be just a sea of historical information and definitions. I felt lost, as though I was merely seeing a collection of words without a point, nor a goal. It starts just by  stating the historical references of the ancients gendering art, using the Greek column designs as an example. Then it mentions Sharpiro’s thoughts and I wasn’t sure what exactly was being said. I consulted my mom, who is more adept in literary structures than I, to take a look into the selection and help clarify what is really being discussed in the text.”

After we both read the first few pages together, we then had a long conversation discussing what is happening. I found out that there was a little bit more than just a sea of information. Sharpiro was suggesting that that is not the case. Instead the contrast between femininity and Masculinity was to help illustrate the diversity of  art and its characteristics. This is the understanding mom and I had reached when we were working together on this. So now there seemed to be some direction, so I continued reading, shortly enough, it seemed like the selection went back to producing just a stream of facts and information and I began to get lost in the content. I looked back into the beginning pages to understand what is the main point of this piece, and I looked at Shapiro’s rhetorical questions, “What -and how much- should be made of such expression?” and thought that was the main idea to explore. In short, I was struggling with “What is the goal here?” Was it an informative, essay and I didn’t recognize it? but then why would you want our thoughts on it?

To get a better idea, I look happened to find some help on YouTube, which gave insight on how to write a paper for your philosophy classes, but it also had something else that helped me the most, how to wonder. Wondering, in philosophy, is the art of asking questions to open up new ideas in an already existing concept. In the explanation, one of the things to avoid is asking questions to find an answer. This contradicts the nature of wondering and there is no progression. I have ran into several similar situations with making art. My awareness to my mentality with art became more clear. I have looked at art, as well as everything else, as a mechanic. Everything seemed like an equation and the challenge is to find its missing components. Much of art, from what I have seen, has more so been the wondering described in the video. This I find more interesting because perhaps that is what my approach should be to my senior exit. Instead of imposing answers, I could also try wondering with my concepts. This mentality could also be used in other projects I come across, or at least other research projects.

In light of this revelation, I then thought of what you mentioned in the announcement on blackboard,

 “It fascinates me how inspired you all are with art and I believe you want it as a part of your lives. But, there seems to be an attraction and a fear associated with its creation and presentation. The making of art is admittedly full of failure but those failures are what make it so rewarding”

And I agree, except with the attraction and the fear. Comparing what you had stated, with the description of Sublime, I have not considered the thrill in the danger, or pain, in art making. In a video I am making, in reaction to the pechakucha critiques, I mention liking art because I could escape a perceived reality and just enjoy the adventure. When I began to think of design, I took that out and switched to the “mechanic” mentality I mentioned earlier. This later just made it seem like work; a math equation that needed it’s missing parts; and when I thought I found the parts, something seemed to change and not give me an answer I was expecting.

From the reading, it seems to suggest that we are, or maybe should be; considering the definitions and descriptions of sublime and beauty given in the reading, afraid of what we admire, but love what submits to us. Your statement, however, admitted that the failure is necessary to achieve the goal in. To me, it doesn’t seem to be an issue of fear, but more so an issue of “why?”. Why make certain decisions, and why go about this approach? Ultimately, I wonder why must I make a series of failures if I could skip them?, along with, could I skip them. From there, other things encountered before began to connect and make more sense.

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Entry #3

TuesdayMarch 3, 2014

 

For a while, I felt a little stuck with the research. I looked into the ideas and redesigning them, I don’t know if that is necessary. After speaking to all three mentors, it seems I need to do the logistics, costs, materials, etc. Professor Drake gave me the name of a sculptor in Riedsville named Brad Spencer, who could give me advise on constructing the clay trays. He also mentioned of a red Terra Cota plant that use to be functional. It was called Pomona, and t was by Wendover. I’m not sure how that will help but I’m sure it’ll appear clearer to me later on.  Considering Dr. Reye’s replies, I will look into which edible plants to put in the trays. I also need to talk to him about the permission to build the sculpture on that plot of land. Evidently, I was informed that Development needs to approve of it. Perhaps this will be something between me and Dr. Reyes. The major thing with Professor Carter, is the quantity of quality work. I have to step it up, but how? I originally planned technical drawings, perspective drawings and at least three miniature models of….of course, the miniature models, and do the technical drawings of the trays and the area, duh. ok well along with that, I should make another design packet specifically for setting up an argument for which types of plants to put and the creatures they attract, or repell. Below is a list of tasks (reiterated)

 

3 3D Models of the sculpture area.

 

Technical Drawings (in inches and feet) of the full sculpture and its parts.

 

At least one Perspective drawing, illustration, and digital rendition of each idea.

 

Design packet, on the plants and animals to attract to the site.

Entry #2

Thursday February, 13

During my snow day, I looked more into the resources I collected from Professor Drake. I read some of Maya Lin’s work and her goals. She guarantees that the viewer  becomes aware of his, or her, surroundings.  According to her, she “creates places in which to think, without trying to dictate what to think.”. I also looked into more of the minimalist works to get a better understanding. All of this  has some value to them, but I seem to get lost in all of it. So I sat on the couch contemplating “What are my goals with this project?” and “What am I trying to say?” The major theme is re-wilding our relationship with nature, or at least have a better relationship.

Afterwards, I drew blanks until the idea came  to me; “maybe if I start by being outside, then maybe I can get clearer ideas.” So I sat outside and looked at the snow fall throughout the neighborhood and wrote down my goals. In my notebook, I started with the extremely vague theme of Man’s relationship with nature. Then I wrote down the subthemes I wanted to relate. They are the following:

  • Human Arrogance
  • Apathy and Empathy
  • Humility/Modest
  • Modest & Modern

Human Arrogance

Earlier in the semester, I spoke to my mentors and one of theirs concerns was that my thesis seemed flawed. My thesis suggested we need to allow nature to come into our space and give back to us what it had to provide, such as food and some shelter. With this idea, I looked into minimalist architecture that could be used to support vegetation, but can also be the outer shell of existing architecture in urban spaces. I also revisited the stacked plated buildings as well, suggesting the notion that our cities should have buildings dedicated to plant life, like in the project in Milan. Intellectually, the work itself was interesting, to let plant life live in a building of its own, but the reason for it seems off. The truth of the matter is that nature has power over us, and regardless of how we treat it, it can still last longer than us. The extinction of the dinosaurs, and nature’s survival is living proof of that. So, I had to re-think my direction. At a show that recently opened up at Greenhill, I met Mark Iwinski, an artist based in Western North Carolina, and April Flanders. Iwinski made an interesting comment while we were at dinner. I told him about the project, and he replied, more or less in the following words, “Here is the problem is knowledge. As you learn and collect more knowledge, there is this assumed responsibility that you must do something with it. The other issue is when you make decisions based off the knowledge you have. If others do not have the same knowledge, your decisions could be misunderstood. People can also react negatively based off that misunderstanding.” After speaking with him, I had an idea. Through multiple forms of media and stories, such as the remake of Clash of the Titans; The day the earth stood still; A.I. Artificial Intelligence; and so on, there is this theme of “power struggle”. Whether it is a struggle between man and their creation, with nature, or with God/the gods, the overall message of those stories seem to revolve around the idea “There are things ‘out there’ that are still greater than man” and I find it important, as we progress; in technology; culture; physically; mentally; Spiritually; etc, that we still show some respect to the forces that once humbled us in some way. For this project, it makes sense for us to give back to nature. Instead of viewing Nature as just a resource, it is better to view it as the “host” of this planet that is letting us stay for a while, and by destroying so much wildlife, we are messing up the furniture, the walls and anything else in its house.

Entry #1

So far, I am off to a good start. I knew my thesis would revolve around the relationship with man and nature.  It seems as though it is obvious that we need to take more care of the planet we live on, and there are a number of ways to do so. I did research in the issue of climate changes due to our carbon footprint, which happens to be from the energy consume. It lead me to the awareness that about half of the energy consumed in homes were for heating and cooling spaces. By reducing the need to heat and cool our spaces, housing electrical, nor energy of any kind, we would reduce our carbon foot print significantly. The question was how? I then looked into materials and studied wind and wind patterns. I only went as far with this topic as present three ideas to experiment with to make the building more adjustable to temperature changes and microclimates. The last part of my research was  about the benefits of prefabricated houses and exploring the concept of a “self-heating” \ “self-cooling” houses.

 

Revisiting the situation, many other opportunities are arising and there are some interesting ideas I am coming across. In Milan, one of the most polluted cities in Europe, two towers are being erected as apartments capable of supporting life inside, and outside of it. The concept so fare is to use trees and plants as an outer wall. By doing this, radiation is reduced in the concrete, asphalt, used for building. This may create a microclimate, a small area in which the atmosphere of the area is slightly different from the majority of the climate in the region. This microclimate may range from the size of a garden bed to the size of a city. One example is the major cities or city hubs. Most urban areas absorb the heat during the day and re-radiate during the night, making summer incredibly ho and winter season heat from the sunlight could heat p the spacing. Purhaps I could fuse this concept with the idea of a heating room dedicated spwcifically to generate heat withour using electricity, nor natural gasses.

 

Going back to the point about plant life engulfing buildings, the plants would also consume the CO2 output, significantly reducing the damage we are doing to the ozone layer, and may actually restore it. All of that is tsaid to say this: Similar to “Rewilding guy’s name” “just be re-introducing certain life forms into a space, could change not just the vegetation or the animal population, but could change the entire ecosyysstem and even the geography of a space. In his example, he mentioned some interesting information regarding wales and thier important role in the ecosystem that lead to the support of sabing endangered whales. In this description he mentioned about the photoplankton that consumes the co2 in the atmosphere and returns it to the water for fish and other aquatic life to consumes inside other plankton.

Progress 1 – Natural City

Journey to better Living is progressing fairly well. I have made some progress with the research. Below is a packet containing information regarding my Original Design, The Natural City, and the ideas that have progressed afterwards.

The PDF Version: Progress Packet

Intro – My Proposal

    After reflecting from my personal interests, and the work I have done in the past three and a half years, I’ve come to realize my few passions. I have a strong desire for social, and spiritual growth in people, and I have an appreciation in architecture. After working towards understanding my passions, and how to apply them in my work, I finally have an idea of what to do.

    One previous project was to develop living sculpture for the Biological Engineering Program, under the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design at North Carolina A&T State University, that is cohesive to a vision Dr. Manny Reyes shared with me and several other artists. This vision was for urban environments to support agriculture capable of producing edible, and healthy, food in these areas for its’ inhabitants. One concept he shared to help achieve this goal was the idea of a sofa bed. This device is a miniature Greenhouse to support plant life and can be applied to various parts of urban environments. After his presentation, and his request for building a living sculpture, I immediately thought of living architecture. My Senior capstone and current project, is to research into methods and ideas to produce Green architecture and structures that match our standards of living but also helps the natural world as well. During this project, I will research, and produce a concept to fabricate and use as the living sculpture Dr. Reyes request. My full body of work will be either Illustrations, or scaled models of these concepts. Included in my body of work will be a life scaled living sculpture that will be built by an open space near Sockwell, or any location Dr. Reyes chooses. This Life scaled model will be my legacy, and my first step to exploring living architecture. In total, this life-sized model, at least four smaller models, and all their illustrations, will be my body of work for the senior show at the beginning of April.

    Professor Roy Carter is my mentor and the class professor who will be monitoring my work and giving feedback regarding my design decisions. My Advisor, Todd Drake, will aid me in researching materials and artist who have worked in this field of living sculpture, green building, and Humanity’s relation with Nature. In addition, I will receive any, and all advise from him, as well as the professors I have on my board.  Finally, I asked Dr. Reyes to be on my board as a committee member and I will work with him on constructing the life-sized living sculpture. I may also work with him as well for researching methods to construct the living sculpture.

    Living sculpture and Green Architecture will be my focus for this class. I believe this project has the right ambitions and enough work to suffice as an adequate project, and will serve as my first step in making a statement about this topic. The materials for constructing the full-scale model will vary, but I do intend to use as much natural materials as possible to build the models In addition to that I will also use traditional drawing materials and a digital rendering software, to produce illustrations of these design ideas.

    I chose this project out of other topics I want to explore because it seems more practical. I already have work exploring these concepts, artists/architects in mind to research and this will open more opportunities for my development as an artist.  Dr. Reyes mentioned the potential this project and could be presented in the Earth Day Symposium that is hosted by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design on the 17th of this April. There are other presentation opportunities Reyes mentioned to me that would help my CV. My goal is research solutions already found, make any necessary changes to improve them; or apply them to existing structures, and choose one of the concepts I have researched to fabricate into the full-scale living sculpture, leftover materials will be presented and re displayed for my part of the Senior Show Exhibition.

    With the scholarship money I received last semester will be used to acquiring necessary materials, such as wood, soil, seed/plants, and clay. Additional funding will be acquired through possible grants from the Foundation Community in the arts, which funds projects for the arts up to $10,000 Dollars,  or by receiving Grant money from the honor program. Other grants may be used to help fund it. The materials, as stated before, will vary but are all used in producing small models of the concepts researched with the potential of supporting life. From this point on, I will begin research and developing models addressing the idea of a natural city and supportive structures. By March 8th, I should have all the developmental materials, and have chosen a solution to make into a full-scale model. Then I will begin construction of the living sculpture.

    As stated before, my desire interest is growth and progression for humanity and myself through architecture, and other media as my medium to serve the communities. From high school, I remember Mr. Harvey Gantt’s advice to me to this day. More or less, he stated, “Architecture reflects culture, and by understanding the culture and its ‘health’. The infrastructures an architect designs must respond to Society’s health and current state.” I have taken this to heart and with the help of “good people” I have encountered in my budding career, I am maturing  and look forward to designing for good.

Introduction – History of Project

Modern Modest Footman Cover-01 This Projects originated from an assignment in a fashion class in college. The goal was to take an accessory, or garment, and modify it. Initially, I chose the collar to serve both and practical, and intellectual, functions. In cooler regions in the United States, especially in urban places like Boston; Manhattan; and Chicago, the wind can be unforgiving and harsh on those who traverse there. In the coldest part of the season, the winds can even cut skin and make scars. The face is the most treasured part of the body for several reason and thus, are taken great care of overall the other components of the body. Scarfs are one option to help shield the face from wind damage, as well as ski masks, wimples, cowls, and face wraps, but no one seems to have used he collar.

With this model, the footman, the main feature is giving the collar the function to work as a wind-breaker and/or face wrap. Its primary function is protection from the winter cold