Unthinkable Mind Student, Natalie DeCheck [AKA Brain Stem] with her book in the form of a board game. She’s graduating this week with a major in both genetics and creative writing.
Students in The Unthinkable Mind wrote over 40,000 words this semester, by hand, and drew hundreds of pictures, but everyone in the class knows that Natalie went beyond all expectations, and this is why Professor Old Skull has crowned her class valedictorian. Because. She. Is. AWESOME.
Photo by “What It Is” alum, Angela Richardson
Some photos from the Counter-Factual Campus Drawing Jam hosted by Lynda Barry at The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on the University of Wisconsin Campus during ‘Science Saturday’ on April 6th, 2013.
Kids and adults were asked to draw pictures of what schools will be like in one hundred years.
Photos by Angela Richardson, who is a genie and a wonder.
Dearest “What It Is” class alumni (UW-Madison, Spring 2012)
Here is our classmate, Angela Richardson — (better known to us as the Four of Hearts)—- using salt, handwriting, and the word ‘remember’ to create her piece during a group show of new media and time-based artworks at the Art Lofts Gallery, on the UW-Madison campus.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of memory and this piece helps me wonder about it.
I miss all of you very much,
More images of this piece are here on Angela Richardson’s Flicker Page
150 lbs of sea salt, performer, tools
“I created a text drawing from a large pile of salt for my performance, Curing. My body in motion through a room full of people, I danced the drawing during an exhibition event. For two hours straight, I repeatedly wrote in cursive script the word “remember” with salt on the floor of the gallery. The work expanded throughout the course of the evening. I moved through and around reception attendees as they viewed the show. The trails of text left behind were later swept back into the pile. The salt and tools were put away for safekeeping. Curing was performed at Too Many Dinner Parties, a group show of new media and time-based artworks at the Art Lofts Gallery, on the UW-Madison campus. The exhibition featured live performances, experimental and documentary video, animation, interactive sculptures, and installation work from artists in UW-Madison Art Department’s 4-D area program, as well as other areas of study. November 5th, 2012 Photos by Paul Andrews and Angela Richardson, performance by Angela Richardson
The pictures above were drawn by two students in Lynda Barry’s “What It Is” class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison while doing something else. The first image was drawn by a student listening to ‘Yid Vicious” a Klezmer band that walked into the classroom playing their instruments one day. The other may have been drawn while listening to other students read their stories. Students were encouraged to draw or doodle during class.
Why? Doodling can help us pay attention and remember more.
“If someone is doing a boring task, like listening to a dull telephone conversation, they may start to daydream,” said study researcher Professor Jackie Andrade, Ph.D., of the School of Psychology, University of Plymouth. “Daydreaming distracts them from the task, resulting in poorer performance. A simple task, like doodling, may be sufficient to stop daydreaming without affecting performance on the main task.”
“In psychology, tests of memory or attention will often use a second task to selectively block a particular mental process. If that process is important for the main cognitive task then performance will be impaired. My research shows that beneficial effects of secondary tasks, such as doodling, on concentration may offset the effects of selective blockade,” added Andrade. “This study suggests that in everyday life doodling may be something we do because it helps to keep us on track with a boring task, rather than being an unnecessary distraction that we should try to resist doing.”
Last Spring Semester, Lynda Barry taught a writing and picture making class called “What It Is” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each student in the class made a book that incorporated both visual and written elements. Angela Richardson’s book, “Into the Dunes” is housed in an old metal box. Here’s a picture of one of the pages. See more of the book here
Professor Lynda misses her “What It Is” students very very much.
Work in progress by the Four of Clubs
All Photos by Angela Richardson
What It Is class works in progress
All photos by class documentarian, Angela Richardson
On April 26, 2012 during the last hour of class, students in Lynda Barry’s “What It Is” class at the University of Wisconsin- Madison were asked to get ready to draw something together for half an hour. What were they going to draw? What if you have to draw a klezmer band that just walks into the room and starts playing. How about a klezmer band called Yid Vicious?
Yid Vicious was formed in 1995 in Madison, WI in order to ameliorate the woeful dearth of klezmer in America’s otherwise pleasant heartland. Klezmer is Yiddish folk music, music for dancing and celebrating, and no band has caused more dancing and celebrating than Yid Vicious. Except Kool and the Gang, when they had that hit single about celebrating good times, come on; that caused lots of celebrating. But Yid Vicious is next, right after Kool and the Gang. —-From the Yid Vicious Website
All photos by Angela Richardson
Three times of day are represented in these pictures. Three sets of color choices. Without ever speaking about it, ideas about how to watercolor images are transferred from one student’s mind to the next just by seeing the work. The trick, of course, is seeing.
If gazing, glancing, peeking, staring, regarding, eyeballing, glimpsing, glaring are ways of looking, what are ways of seeing?
The difference between looking and seeing is……. what, exactly?
Images by students in Lynda Barry’s “What It Is” class, 8.5” x 11”, watercolor on photo copy of coloring book page. All photos by Angela Richardson. Taken March 15th, 2012 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
The class uses a Koi Field Watercolor set. You can find it here