LANGUAGE vs SENSE PERCEPTION (Art and the Theory of Knowledge)

A picture - worth a thousand words? My visual arts blog this month has a Theory of Knowledge element. I’m in the happy position of teaching both DP Visual Arts and DP Theory of Knowledge. There is a lot of Art/TOK overlap, but one activity that I recently had with ToK and Visual Arts students was very much in the ToK mode of questions... Sight and Sound (The limits of language) The ToK starting point was a discussion of Ways of Knowing: how do ...

Lost for Words? You’re not the only one.

The seminal 1970s concept album Tales of Mystery and Imagination by the Alan Parsons Project begins with the recorded voice of the legendary Orson Welles. In his inimitable voice Welles reads out an extract from Edgar Alan Poe’s Marginalia (1844 – 1849) in which the idea of ineffability is given an evocative and powerful expression. The ineffable is that which cannot or should not be expressed in words. Poe writes, “For my own part. I have never had a thought which ...

Exercise exploring film making techniques – Shot selections

The following is one in a series of simple exercises to encourage film students thinking about the mechanics of film making, and reflecting on creative choices made by film makers as conscious and intentional. My intention is that these exercises slot into the first semester of IB Film. Hopefully they will be a useful resource towards discussions leading to production portfolios, oral presentation and introducing the basic idea of supporting analytical ideas with actual examples of film language, the lingua franca ...

Poppies and remembrance: symbolism and perspectives

Controversy again over poppies and remembrance – or in TOK terms, over symbolism and shared knowledge! In Britain, a headscarf with a poppy pattern has been sold to Muslim women to “raise awareness about the 400,000 Muslims, most of them Indian, who fought alongside British troops in the First World War.” Condemning this poppy scarf, one Muslim woman calls it one of "the most ill-conceived of the recent spate of 'we are not extremists' initiatives. I also take issue with ...

So who needs language?

:roll:   Can we write more directly and more effectively to each other by chucking out all those words and using emoticons or emoji instead?  Three social networks are offering images to bypass text altogether.  Could this be, at last, a universal language? Emoticons are not new.  But till now they've stayed in place as an adjunct to text. What's new is the advent in the past two months of emoji-only apps that claim to replace text and still achieve communication. To ...

An interesting topic for discussion or research

Recently my group have been exploring the relationship between documentary and propaganda films. One of our key points of reference has been Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the will 1934. And our discussions has raised the problematic of the amorality of formalism as a means for constructing or reading movies. It seemed to me that the main evidence against formalism is the distortion of apparent narrative economy and elegance by racist and morally bankrupt ideological perspectives. The films which spring most readily to ...

The most eloquent of cuts

By Wednesday, March 19, 2014 , , , , 0

My students were asked to comment on which of the areas of film language they found most attuned to and which they found most difficult to get to grips with, many remarked on how difficult it seems that lighting is to read, others editing.. The truth is that even your teachers will also have difficulty with some texts. Textual analysis requires closely focused attention, and one has to be in the right frame of mind to do it. While it is difficult to ...

Genre evolution/history in the Holywood studio system

Genre offers a enormous range of approaches in critical studies, so much so that once one begins to study this area, one can begin to question whether genre itself is indeed relevant any longer. One thing is clear, audiences believe a films generic location is one of the key determining factors in whether they'll pay the admission price at the cinema or stream the movie to their equipment. Genre as a concept is certainly of historical importance, as film production in ...

Understanding science requires a science

Natural Science Natural Science is a fascinating area of knowledge. You only have to start scratching the surface of  science before you come across a litany of examples of its awesome nature, especially in regards to its impact on our lives. We also very quickly realise that there are many myths to do with science. I suspect that your TOK classroom has involved a discussion about the ‘basic scientific method’ (BSM). This is a very good starting point for understanding the ...

The Language of Mathematics

I often sit with students during breaks or after school, as most of us do, teaching and re-teaching concepts and skills that are not well understood. For some students it takes 5 minutes to clear up commonly held misconceptions while others require much more attention. In either case, I am always amazed how misconceptions are generated as a result of not understanding the language and notation of mathematics. Case in point: I was working with a math studies student yesterday on ...