Harmony, Conspiracy, Serendipity – a tale of three great things in TOK

Posted on Dec 11, 2013 in Featured Content, Front Page, TOK
image: A. Clark

image: A. Clark

Three great things have happened over the past 24 hours.

1) Yesterday Emi Tamaru (YIS class of 2008) came in and spoke to my TOK class about her work as an artist in LA. This was completely unplanned but turned out to be an opportunity not to be missed. She has been involved in some amazing projects including a gallery installation about the very human narratives of sex workers and the societal judgements placed upon them, three months as art director for Asa Soltan Rahmati most known for her role in the Bravo cable series “Shaws of Sunset”, and a project that explored and developed the therapeutic potential of “cute art-forms” following the earthquake and Tsunami in Tohoku. While this may not sound profound at first glance when you consider the deeply embedded nature of “cute” in Japan along with the therapeutic objectives that follow severe trauma this is truly incredible. Much of our discussion in class focused on the social functions of art and that art can create meaning without relying on propositional logic.

2) Last night I went to the Yoga class offered in the drama room on Tuesdays and the instructor, in typical Yoga teacher fashion, played relaxation music replete with night forest sounds of crickets and owls. At the end of an hour-long Yoga session and in the dimly lit studio space the relaxation it fostered was a welcome break from this frantic time of year. Oddly I remember really zeroing in on the soothing impact of the cricket sounds. Coincidentally, I went home to find Feraille Cowan who taught Humanities at YIS but now teaches in Cairo, had shared a link about a composer’s work that involved cricket sounds slowed down. As crickets live approximately 1 month and humans can live 1000 months, the speed of the slowed audio is reported to be approximately equivalent of 1/1000 of the actual sound to parallel an experience we can relate to.

3) Pulling this all together, in TOK this morning we re-visited the themes from Emi’s talk yesterday, and listened to some crickets chirping and then gregorian chants as my students wrote a short blog reflection. Then we listened to the slowed down cricket sounds and considered all three in the context of knowledge in art, knowledge in religion, and knowledge in natural science.
While there are many possible angles from which the cricket sound track can be interpreted, I personally love the possibility that the crickets are out there participating in something truly beautiful and an artist saw this and shared it with us in a new way – AC

For a more balanced deconstruction of this recording and it’s significance, please also listen to the second audio file entitled “Do Crickets Sing Hymns?” on the post.

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