"We are living a public life on a global stage, the ones who can express themselves best, will be heard." -Laura Hill Timpanaro, Artist, Author, Educator

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Contemporary Art In Education Spotlight

Memes, Dreams and Genes 

The spread of information likened to a virus, worshiped as an art, able to shape opinions and bring down or elevate the great and small alike.  Memes are the voice of a generation and their appeal is contagious.  

We live surrounded by art. It is fed directly to us every day.  We hold it in our hand.  It's allure determines where our attention is placed.  It shapes what we stand for, has changed to way we spend our time and the way we go to business. 

Art is the central focus of our world and as our ability to communicate on a global platform expands we find ourselves increasingly immersed in shared experiences rich in culture, color, sound and tone.  The art we view on visual platforms help determine which experiences we choose to partake in.  More and more the influencers are not large companies but diverse groups of youth and adults drawn together by media such as memes. 

So why is art one of the most diminished curriculum in many schools today?

It may surprise you to learn the term “meme” was first used in biology. It was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his famous book, The Selfish Gene. The premise behind the phrase is that cultural ideas replicate and transmit from one person to another much like the way genes replicate and are passed on through generations. 

Memes reflect our innate desire to not only mimic but to belong and to build upon an idea that is presented adding our own unique twist.    Starting with small pockets of individuals the art mutates and changes as it is shared.  The audience grows and becomes global.

Memes as a learning tool can help students master and build on lessons.

The initial art can be a simple cartoon or an intricate painting.  It can be an everyday object, or celebrity photo.  Often the initial art uses animals or regular people. Regardless of its imagery the art is used to convey an emotional reaction that is tied to a popular statement or situation that is often thought provoking or controversial in nature.  As the meme becomes more popular its ability to deliver information increases rapidly infiltrating many disparate cultures with its message.  

Memes can stimulate discussion on controversial topics.  

Memes have evolved pop art so it is no longer a passive experience, images are no longer created simply to be admired and analyzed.  They take art to a new level of experience in which the audience shares in the role of artist and, as technology continues to evolve and the rules of creation are thrown away to make room for new techniques, the mediums of expression will continue to change promising to bring breathe taking innovations to the art experience and the way we communicate in the future.

Laura Hill (Timpanaro)

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