For my final project I made a Prezzi presentation that will take you on a virtual tour of the Bryn Mawr campus via everyone's observation sites. The tour moves cylclically through campus, beginning on the outer edges of the campus and resolving right in the center. However, feel free to move about it in any directino and order you wish. This is meant to be my personal interpretation of the campus and the semester, but that does not mean you have to limit yourself to my view.
At each location on the map, I have included one of the images each class memeber used to visualize their sites to the rest of us, as well as two photos I took. One is from very far away from the spot, and the other is much closer. I would sit in each spot until I found a shot I could take that i believed captured an element of this specific location that had previously been unseen. By doing this, I hope I challange your preconcepts of the observations spots we've come to know so well this semester.
Here's the link to the Prezzi. Please view before continuing to read!
here are my images from today's activity. Thank you so much for playing this game with me. I really really enjoyed having this day to just relax with all of you and play some fun games, listen to a soothing serenade, eat some yummy lemon bars, and appreciate everyone's writing. I loved listening to everyone's guess at location. I was a little worried before class that my activity wouldn't go over well; that y'all would think it was too simple or dull. But it seemed like eveeryone enjoyed the guessing game, especially when they thought the picture might have been taken close to their site-sit spot. I'm not quite sure where I came up with the idea- I was originally planning on blindfolding everyone and having them smell different plants I had taken from around campus and guessing what they were. From that idea the concept evolved to explore how much we miss visually, even though we consider it one of our more prominent and neccessary senses. I think my project interacted very well with Sarah and Sara's because it challanges our comfort with our perception.. We think we know an area well, but we are constantly missing so much of our surroudings. I also think my project was align with Grahm, Sruthi, and Hira's work, because it questioned our ability to visually associate and represent. Overall, I think everyone's projects fit together very well. Thank you, everyone for giving me an very open and honest semester, summed up in such a wonderful class.
It is really hard for me to write this week. Not just because it is cold, or my battery is dying, or because I don’t want to. But because coming here, for the “last time” this semester (I say “last” because I may visit on my own before I leave) forces me to think about how this semester has gone so far. In a way, Rhoads Pond has really reflected the way this semester has gone for me. In the beginning of the year, everything was beautiful. The pond was green and lush, absolutely gorgeous with life. Now, it’s different. Sandy had strewn the pre-existing shrubbery away, leaving a barren and brown landscape. Geese still stay on the water, and the reflections on the ripples are still mystically magnificent, but the tones are duller, muted. That’s how I’ve been feeling as the semester draws to an end.
So I'm finally posting the poem we wrote collectively as a summation of Monday's exporations at Ashbridge Park. I attempted to scan in the poetic product of Monday's wandering, but due to both my inability to work technology and the failure of Canaday's scanners, I was unable to. I thought it would have been really cool, though, if we had all been able to see eachother's handwriting and marks upon the paper. I might still scan it in later and attach it as a comment to this post, but we'll see. For now, here it is:
Stagnant water breeds oily residue
Slowly moving water
a plastic bottle, caught by a branch in the stream
Washed up against a bush with berries like polished red glass
What would it take for that sound to stop?
New experiences and knowledge
History, biology, and poetry swirling together to create this knowledge
A knowledge we have always had-just perhaps forgot.
What fuels the remembering? The air of the trees, the seeds, the mud?
All I remember now in detail is that there were minnows in the water so the rocks looked lovely.
Water trickled, running like thoughts.
Man cuts, stabs at the drumb. The water rolls and heals.
As the sunshine melts the frost on the grass, I breathe.
I was listening to the most recent This American Life, which centered entirely around the theme of animal sacrifce, and I wanted to share one of the stories from the show because I feel like it directly relates to our dicussion of Coetzee/Costello's beliefs. The journalist, Camas Davis, periodically holds classes that teach people how to raise and butcher animals for food. These classes somehow, counteractively to popular perception, actually tend to prevent people from eating meat by introducing them to the complexities of home-butchering/the meat industry in general. II really loved the story, and thought alot of Davis's quote directly responded to Costello's desire to realize the consciousness of animals.
Hope you guys like it!
When I ran across the above image, the text of which is by children’s poet Shel Silverstein, I started thinking about when, exactly, we are able to break down the barrier between natural reality, and human expression of one’s perception of this reality. How do we go about recovering the language of the flowers, as Silverstein puts it?
In Wholeness and the Implicate Order, David Bohm suggests that we may be able to see a defragmentation in poetry. Poetry allows us to “overcome this fragmentation by using language in a freer, more informal, and ‘poetic’ way” (Bohm 34). The accuracy of this statement lies in the type of poetry analyzed.
Sonneteers such as Milton and Shakespeare typically used nature to describe the object of their affections. By attempting to use nature to as a descriptive, they stabilize both nature and the person they describe. They simultaneously define nature and their subject, settling both into a non-existent stability. Take, for example, the infamous Shakespearean sonnet, “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?” In it, Shakespeare exclaims the beauties of his loved one, concluding the poem with the lines:
"I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
~Galileo Galilei (But probably in Italian…)
The city is different during the night than it is during the day. It is the not the same city. Carmen Papalia partially vocalizes this in Caning in the City when he discusses his own night-blindness, but what we all fail to acknowledge is that all our visions are affected by the shift from night to day. Our visibility is impaired, which leads to a whole range of effects that makes night seem so much more inherently daunting than the day, and in many ways it is a very gendered experience. Papalia’s way of seeing is very different, as necessitated by his inability to see during the night. But it’s also beautifully effective and absolutely incredible that his vision has evolved so. I wish we could appreciate our night vision in this way, instead of being so mistrusting of the night.
Once again, I found myself this week struggling to do something new with my posting. This time, though, instead of passively waiting at the water's edge, sitting to see what would come to me, i decided to be a little more proactive. Theoretically, one should be able to walk the circumferance of a pond. That's what a pond is, afterall- a circualr body of water contained in a small space. But as I attempted to do this I encountered several obstacles, many of which entranced me, making the struggle worthwhile.
I showed up, and before beginning to walk to my predesignated spot, I realized I had an oppurtunity to view the water as I had never had before. The storm had pushed much of the surrouding palntlife out of the way, making the water much more visable. I started circling the pond, coming to a tiny bank accross from an obviously man-mad shore of conrete and stones. The amount of water separating me fromt he opposing shore was miniscule. Had I been wearing big rain boots, I could have splashed right through it. In order to get to that bank, my new mission, I had to go all the way around, a proces which involved exssting through the gap in the fence, crashing through dry, overgrown wildlife, climbing over the fence, and carefully navigating down a tricky hill.
Our discussion last Wednesday about responding to Hurricane Sandy in an eco-literate way seemed highly relevant to my spot. We talked a lot about restoring damaged property once the storm was done- whether doing so is worthwhile venture or if we need to take preventative measures instead. Why did this seem so relevant to me and my location? Well, here’s a picture of the pond, taken from exactly where I sit to record my presence there, during the storm:
I didn’t take this picture. It was taken by one of my good friends, Lee McClennon, just as the storm was beginning to hit. To contrast, here’s a picture I took of the exact same location at the beginning of the year:
Since its establishment in 1885, Bryn Mawr has been a place for women to challenge themselves academically. The ability to do this was cultivated by its metaphorical mother, M. Carey Thomas. Her vision for the school surpassed her male colleagues idea of “female Haverford” and helped develop a school where women learned in a format formulated for this intellectual needs and desires. What was essential then, however, may not remain to be necessary now, especially if Bryn Mawr wishes to prosper in the ecological age. By comparing John Berry’s notions of a successful academic institution with Thomas’s long-lasting goals for the school, several differences in both ends and means of the schools mission arise.
Joseph Taylor originally envisioned Bryn Mawr in 1877. However, his vision was radically changed by the time of its establishment in 1885, due largely to the contributions of M. Carey Thomas. Taylor had intended Bryn Mawr to be a “female Haverford;” an institution for orthodox Quaker women to receive higher education. Carey’s commitment to the college became apparent with her ardent attempts to create an institution that gave women the same academic rigor as a male’s institution tailored to women’s needs. She did not want a replica of a pre-existing form; her eventually realized dream was to create an entirely new kind of academic institution.