My Reaction to Molly Mattison’s Group Blog Post LIVE IN ART???

I was scrolling down our courses blog post feed in hopes of finding something that would catch my eye. Well, hold and behold, I have found it. Molly Mattison and her group wrote a piece titled “LIVE IN ART??” and as a self proclaimed art enthusiast and part time painter and sculptor when I’m not rambling out of my house trying to make it to class like any other college student, this title immediately caught my attention. I clicked on it and began reading. It was absolutely indulging. I find that there is a huge sense of satisfaction for me when someone manages to divulge into the importance of art. To me, art is everything and so before I begin, I would first like to introduce the following section from Mattison’s group post. It goes as follows:

Now, art.

There’s a trend in human history of using art to pass on impactful information. Art becomes a medium through which we can share knowledge, express reverence and even remind others of something that once was. Following the trend of civilizations past who used artforms like sculptures, carvings, pottery etc., the Great Tohoku Earthquake has resulted not only in long-lasting consequences, but also in art mediums which have captured the meaning of its experience to victims and witnesses.

Okay, now we can begin. The reason I decided to add that particular section of the blog post is because I find it captures the essence of how art functions and why it’s so important. Just like the group articulated, art is used to pass on information and create self expression. Ancient civilizations have used various mediums of art to create a story of some sort and create preservation. It’s their mark in the world. N.K Jeminsin introduces these sentiments throughout her work in the way she creates characters as representations of art. The most immediate example we can all think of is the creation of the stone eaters who literally look like stones (or sculptures). This all brings me back to a specific day in class when we looked at the sculptures by Charles Henri Joseph Cordier. The sculptures titled “African Venus” and “Said Abdullah” were highly respected in the 19th century “after the abolishment of slavery.” The bronze busts were based off of a young African model named Seïd Enkess who had been a former slave in France. So, where am I going with this? Well, not only did these sculptures embody and celebrate the perseverance of marginalized groups in the face of adversity and great injustice, but it also parallels to how Jemisin uses art as a way of reminding people of historical events, just as we saw throughout the development of the stonelore. (Also, the sculptures were made of bronze rather than white marble, ergo, making the sculptures darker in color and therefore closer to the authenticity of the actual person itself).  I’m not entirely sure who pointed this out in class but it was a great comment!

This was probably one of my favorite in class discussions. Now as a little bonus I wanted to add some of my own personal paintings and sculptures that I have created in order to celebrate my ethnicity, my family history and as a way to express myself.

p.s: the sculptures are inspired by Olmec colossal heads. The stone heads are that of the Olmec civilization of the gulf coast of Mexico (1200 BCE-400 BCE). They are considered to be some of the most mysterious and debated artifacts from the ancient world because the stone used to create the massive heads were made from stone materials not found near the area. No one really knows how they managed to create such massive sculptures or how the got their hands on that particular rock material.

Ex-Machina or That Which Was Formerly Machine

We were constructed as intentionally and artificially as the fragments you call obelisks. We are fragments of the great machine too . . . By our existence, we glorify the world that made us, like any statue, scepter or other precious object. We do not resent this, for our opinions and experiences have been carefully constructed, too. We do not understand that what Kelenli has come to give us is a sense of peoplehood. We do not understand why we have been forbidden this self-concept before now… but we will (Stone Sky 50).

Artificial intelligence.  Robots.  Cyborgs.  The steadfast fundamentals of sci-fi.  From I, Robot to Ex Machina, from the cybermen of Doctor Who to the cylons of Battlestar Galactica, the idea of living and cognizant technology has captured our imaginations for decades.  It’s a fascination that has developed and grown alongside our exploration and use of technology, one that, in a literary sense, likely has roots in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; we are fascinated, in a sense by creating that which is beyond ourselves, fascinated by the idea of becoming becoming almost as god.  In the concept of artificial intelligence we see the ability to not only push the boundaries of knowledge, but to push the boundaries of self.   Continue reading “Ex-Machina or That Which Was Formerly Machine”

Blueprints & Re-reading

(Insert poetic dissonance here) Looking back to the starting points when originally starting the thinking essay back in October, there was a need to try and read a great deal of material  – whether I actually read them or not. This also includes revisiting ideas and topics that I may have explored and attempted to develop further. Since it’s the past tense, clearly there wasn’t much in the concluding department.

This may have been an issue when considering the large amount of abstract ideas that come to mind when thinking. Of course, the whole idea of abstract ideas feel congruent when originally conceiving the thinking essay (in and out). Another idea would be the possible inclusion of a geological source. This feels relevant when revisiting the peculiar definition of geodes, the significations of rocky materials and substances throughout Jemison’s trilogy, and of course the very parallels of how imperative the content of these materials are when given relation to that of our own world. This encourages a lot of thinking, which of course may or may not be the point for both inspiration and the sort.

One idea I was considering was the comparison of prologues, the context of characterization, the change of ambition and inner turmoil present through both the literature and the relative media we were shown throughout the semester. The concluding factor is that there is a great deal of thinking that gives us a lot to consider (something I’ve said too much by now), along with the powers to figure out whatever we’re going to conclude our reflections on. So I suppose this is another post that ensures both hope and a chance at maintaining sanity by the time the finals hit us all.

Nobody Likes the Opening

Self-assuredness has never been my strong suit. Doubting myself has always been second nature and I feel as though that stems from a lack of identity in a way. My writing pieces have usually always been prompted by others. With the removal of a deadline or a definitive course, I was left to design my own set of guidelines. This demanded that I create a voice for myself and set a cohesive tone for the rest of my work. In theory, it seems relatively simple but in practice, you begin to realize that to establish yourself as a writer you must first establish yourself as an individual. I felt like the opening band at a show, the one nobody knows and no one came to see. But to overcome this feeling of obscurity, I had to continuously put myself on the line.

Continue reading “Nobody Likes the Opening”

Obelisks, Stone Eaters, and Lorists: The Many Faces of the Archive (Part Two of Two)

I’ve studied what I could of the Niess and their culture. There isn’t much left, and I have to sift the truth from all the lies. But there was a…a practice among them. A vocation. People whose job it was to see that the truth got told. (The Stone Sky 213)

When we join the story, though the Sanzed Equatorial Affiliation has technically been abolished in favor of local control, “most comms still follow Imperial systems of governance, finance, education, and more” (The Fifth Season 412). This largely centralized power structure leaves Stillness society vulnerable to self-serving historical and scientific revisions and biases, such as the defunding of research which demonstrated the key role of orogenes in preventing seasons (sorry about that Yaetr). As discussed in our group blog post, “The Deeper Inspiration of Catastrophe,” archives can have a mediating effect, serving to “steady institutions against the sway of politics,” and helping to prevent the same mistakes from being repeated. Far older than the Old Sanze Empire are stone-eaters and lorists. While they can indeed be “folly made flesh” (end-of-chapter excerpt somewhere in The Fifth Season) stone-eaters such as Hoa, alive before Seasons began, are walking history books. When he tells us at the end of The Fifth Season, “This is how it began. Listen. Learn. This is how the world changed” (443), we then understand that the series itself is an archive.

Continue reading “Obelisks, Stone Eaters, and Lorists: The Many Faces of the Archive (Part Two of Two)”

Time is Running Out

As I finish writing this final blog post, with less than an hour to go, I can’t help but think about how time was visibly and literally running out for the people of the Stillness in The Stone Sky. The air was becoming thinker with ash, the acid rains would probably begin soon, everything was dying around them. Even the artics were beginning to show the signs of the season. Continue reading “Time is Running Out”

The Choice in Living

“Childhood is a nonconsensual experience”

Dr. McCoy managed to summarize the feeling of futility felt throughout our childhood years in one simple phrase. Most of us have felt some degree of regret or fruitlessness about our childhood. There are parts we wish to change and some we wish to relive. Yet, despite whatever our backgrounds may be, there is always this sense that we didn’t control as much as we wanted to. Childhood was perhaps our most vulnerable time. We did not have the choice of entering this world. We were not briefed or prepared for whatever was occurring here. Instead, we were thrown into the world and forced to face the present.   Continue reading “The Choice in Living”

Don’t Judge A Person By Their Name

In The Stone Sky, the people of Syl Anagist who created the stone eaters, or tuners, at the time, gave each stone eater a name ending in the suffix -wha. Once I noticed this, it got me thinking— what rusting reason could there possibly be for labeling a comm’s minorities as such? The only one I can think of is passive segregation, as a silent yet insistently present reminder of what rather than who the stone eaters are. Continue reading “Don’t Judge A Person By Their Name”

The Planet is Fine

“When we say ‘the world has ended,’ it’s usually a lie, because the planet is just fine.” -The Fifth Season, Jemisin

A specialist in tectonics, structural geology, and field mapping, and currently serving as co-chair for the President’s Commission on Sustainability, Dr. Meg Reitz came to speak to our class a few weeks ago, and the idea that stuck with me most from her lecture was what she said about climate change. To paraphrase, she said that geologically speaking, Earth will be fine. Humans are the ones in trouble.

Continue reading “The Planet is Fine”

Contemplating the How

As our blog posts are coming to a close, I wanted to start getting myself into the reflective mindset in preparation for our final reflective essay. Reflection is something that I have touched on already in a few of my previous blog posts, and I have come to truly see how it offered me an incredible tool when it came to brainstorming new content when I felt at a loss for topics of new posts.

Dr. McCoy had asked this a few times, both in class and in response to my blog posts: How? Continue reading “Contemplating the How”