Practicing Interdisciplinary Practice: Embracing Multiplicity and the “Both/And” Through The Art of Steve Prince

When one considers the meaning of interdisciplinarity as the bringing together of two or more academic disciplines into one coherent project or activity, it might seem obvious that this kind of learning and thinking would demand that a person engage with multiplicity on several levels. That is, interdisciplinary work always requires the involvement of multiple disciplines, and often involves the collaboration of multiple people across those disciplines. As it rejects the long-standing and systemically-encouraged notion that disciplines and their respective scholars ought to remain separated, interdisciplinarity calls up the term practice as both noun and verb: as a noun, interdisciplinary practice involves “the actual application or use” of this method of inquiry and study, “as opposed to theories relating to it.” This kind of interdisciplinary work relates directly to another definition of practice, too, meaning as a verb “to exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.”

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Final Reflection: A P.R.O.C.E.S.S

A process meets no end. I feel like throughout the INTD 288 course this is an idea that has been contested, stressed, exemplified, and challenged repeatedly. If there is anything I have taken away from this course, it would be the importance and significance of processes. Process is interdisciplinary in that it can be found in almost any subject as well as applied in almost any field. In class, we applied process in many different disciplines including art, philosophy, literature, and mathematics. In each discipline we were able to both analyze and debate the ways in which process applied in Steve Prince’s work. Steve Prince himself often stressed the importance of process when creating his works. He once said, “It is not so much about what is being made— it’s about the process. It’s the community working together.” But what constitutes a process? Process, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is a “continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner”. The reason I chose this definition above others is because it says nothing about the end of a process. Many believe that a process leads to an endpoint, but as we discussed in a class with David Levy, this doesn’t always hold true. Almost anything one does involves a process, and the process of getting to a point, literally or figuratively is almost always more significant then actually getting there. Continue reading “Final Reflection: A P.R.O.C.E.S.S”

Reading Pictures

On February 22nd Professor Cope gave a lecture about the spread of information in early modern Europe. This connected to class in many ways, one of which being that modern viewers have to learn to read the the information-packed woodcuts, similar to how we have worked to “read” Steve Prince’s woodcuts. Often in the woodcuts there is a circular flow of the eye. My favorite woodcut of all time is John Derrick’s “Image of Ireland.”

It is meant to show how the Irish people are savages with no understanding of proper manners, but it is so funny to a modern reader. These woodcuts were useful in the 1500’s because people had “different” literacy skills, ie analyzing pictures. I think in today’s world, since print is dead, the equivalent is video content, so I guess you could say that the need for different formats to spread information is a recursive trend.

From an ecological perspective, many of the concerns that Cope mentioned the English dealing with will increasingly come to affect us too. Displaced people will have to migrate to new places not destroyed by climate change, and so far we have made their existence without a home illegal, like under the Elizabethan laws. Personally what I found most interesting from this lecture was learning about morality before capitalism, where violating the sense of community would be punished in the moral economy. Communities like the ones Prince’s work nurtures used to play larger parts in everyone’s life, and I wonder if that will be part of the ecological solution.

Perspective of Nostalgia

February 15th’s class with Professor Nicodemi blasted me back into ninth grade geometry class. We used algebra to calculate where one should stand when looking at a painting to get the intended view of it. I had never heard this concept of proper distance to a painting before, so the combination of mathematics and art will prove useful during future museum visits. This technique mainly applies to Renaissance artists who were interested in lines and geometry. Prince borrows the checkerboard seen in many of his works from the Renaissance era, and often draws using an extremely skewed perspective. Continue reading “Perspective of Nostalgia”

Urban Garden Experience

The Urban Garden Experience on February 1st 2019 created powerful energy in the Kinetic Gallery, that I and many others in the room felt. Steve Prince and the jazz band and all of us gathered there together created a unique moment in time and space, and I keenly observed the ephemeral temporality of it all. This performance was just for us, but also open to anyone who happened to hear the music and poke their head in. Steve Prince was sketching the band in green and purple sharpie markers in front of us, and it was cool to see the layers of his process build on top of each other as he made his illustration in time to the music. This process of drawing that for him was so normal appeared to the audience as a live performance the same as the jazz. It seems like magic to watch a professional make art out of nothing in front of you in a few minutes. Steve Prince said he let the Holy Spirit move through him as he drew, and in his picture the Holy Spirit emerged out of the trumpet. Steve Prince was the focus in that moment, but the event was not about him. The crowd of people watching were also a participating community in the artwork surrounding Mr. Prince. I was very intimidated by the excellence of Prince’s figures and leaves, and hesitant to add something at first, but was convinced by other students that everyone is good enough to contribute. I drew a small figure climbing up a mountain, which represented exploration. I’m glad I made my mark I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for, but that day was a really great introduction to the spirit of the class.

Introspectiveness Through Community

On the very first day of INTD 288, I was highly considering dropping it. When my classmates passed around artwork and we were forced to work with one another to try and interpret an artist that I was unfamiliar with, I was scared. I did not truly think I could contribute to anything in the course without having extensive background knowledge about art. However, once I convinced myself to step out of my comfort zone and embrace this unknown territory, I was met with new tools and a new grasp of what a community is. To me, community is created in our class through the process of integrative learning with various professors from different disciplines coming in for lectures and our group discussions of the lectures which occurred with students with various academic backgrounds. Our class is a microcosm of a community that supports integrative learning and helps students to help each other gain new tools to express ourselves both personally and academically. On our syllabus, we have epigraphs to show what this course will cover. Part of an epigraph fits the community-based learning that I experienced since day one. The epigraph is from Mary Rutigliano and she states her goal that as students,we be rooted in a pursuit of growing our understanding, a sense of wonder, and the agreement that we can’t learn anything without one another’s help.” My experience perfectly fits with this epigraph; if it had not been for the sense of community fostered by interdisciplinary lectures and conversations, I would not have succeeded as I did with gaining new tools throughout the semester.

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light source and its forms

Energy comes in many forms and with that there comes new interpretations,“She handed me an AAA battery about as thin as one of fingers. The candle wouldn’t work unless you popped a battery into the handle. I looked back at the folks under the colonnade, reflexive hands over the plastic flame when a breeze started”,(Big Machine, 168). The idea of the light can be confusing because there is batteries being used to light this flame and there is still people having to use their hands to cover a flame that won’t easily burn out.The batteries I would also find a light source because there is fluid inside of them that allow them to connect with other things to produce a sound light or noise. One thing affects the other.


Sometimes drugs are able to make a person think or heighten your abilities which can either help or hurt the person taking them, “Ricky here was a heroin addict for almost twenty years, and somehow he thinks he’s better than you, Martin. I told you that’s how it would be, didn’t I?(Big Machine, 178) This was an interesting line to me because there are times where people seem to do better when medicated/ on drugs as in they feel as though they are able to grasp the concept because their mind is able to roam freely allowing more things to flow in. Light controls almost everything that we as humans use everyday for example the sun tells us day from night. The light source of fire is used to “shoot up” on heroin before it enters the body. Leaving from a job early can have both the positives and negatives,“Every bulb above my head had burst, and because of that every doorway was cloaked. When id left earlier that day, they’d been working fine. I turned around, confused by the change, and one foot ground into the shards of a lightbulb,”(Big Machine,196). This refers to the light bulb being shattered and needing to be used in order to have light for people to do their job the best way that they can.


This light can also have a double meaning because here at first I thought it was meant that the light inspired them by giving them hope and then when it was time to leave the bulbs shattered because they aren’t satisfied with whatever work was done or that they were afraid of not having guidance outside of the workplace. Having some of the workers doubt whether or not their working conditions are good enough throughout the book were questioned, “She said ‘doubt is the big machine. It grinds up the delusions of women and men,”(Big Machine, 205). Both men and women rely on doubt to help push them along to see the light that they all hope to get when succeeding at life trying new things bettering themselves and the people around them.


Dancing Queens

Since being introduced to the Emmy award winning show RuPaul’s Drag Race my freshman year, I have watched it religiously every Thursday night. For those that aren’t obsessed or even familiar with the drag queen pantheon and culture the show has made famous throughout the world, RuPaul’s Drag Race is a reality competition hosted by the 90’s drag superstar RuPaul Andre Charles, based roughly on a combination of the show America’s Next Top Model and the drag ball culture shown in the 1990 cult documentary Paris is Burning. It is revolutionary gay representation on mainstream television. However, as a female fan of the show, sometimes, in the back of my mind I sometimes wonder why it takes men dressing up in drag to celebrate women.

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A Design Challenge

I believe my first experience with Dan Dezarn was when he was in the role of Director of Sustainability. I was part of an environmental club interested in reducing the school’s carbon footprint. At the time I didn’t know he had formerly been a professor of Fine Arts, and it is such an interesting transition in roles. For me I see overlap between designing the transition from a fossil fuel based economy to a carbon neutral world, and the Reconstruction era in the South overseen by the Freedmen’s Bureau that WEB Du Bois talks about in the “Dawn of Freedom” chapter. The design challenge of a whole new way of life as evaluated through some of the art vocabulary we learned in class, as well as the text and paratext of Dawn of Freedom will be the topic of this blog. Later in life, Du Bois became interested in Marxism (as evidenced by his book Black Reconstruction).

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