Monday, March 26, 2012

Gerry Fialka

Having not read the flyer prior to the Gerry Fialka lecture, I didn’t have an idea of what it was going to be about. This turned out okay because I enjoy pleasant surprises.

What impressed me about his lecture was how comfortable and confident he seems to be with his worldview. His thoughts on society, human nature, history, art, the general precedence of things, etc. were quite entertaining. I really liked some points that he made:

·      He said, “Understanding is not having a point of view.” For me, this was the over arching theme of the lecture and a really fun thing to think about. I think that remaining neutral on most things is really difficult (if not impossible) to do; it’s much easier to grab onto a position and understand an issue from there. With that said, despite my questionable abilities to remain neutral, I think that it’s an important idea to consider before coming to conclusions.

·      He talked about how it’s a function of artists to expose the “hidden effects of what we invent” to the rest of society. With new inventions/innovations appearing everyday, thinking about and revealing the “hidden effects” of them is important to making decisions in and accepting our evolving society. In order to do this, an artist satirizes the invention. This theoretically forces a different perspective on it.
 He says that making “value judgments” (grabbing onto a position/opinion) regarding specific inventions is what makes people unable to cope with the “hidden effects” of them.

Before the lecture began Gerry handed out “Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrad,” which is fun to play with. Plugging different inventions into it really allows me to consider them in different ways and even helps to move me toward a more neutral opinion of the invention. The four questions in “Marshall McLuhan’s Tetrad” cut to the core of what the benefits and disadvantages of an invention are.

Overall I thought that it was a great lecture. It was fun listening to what he had to say. I think that Gerry Fialka fits a sort of new-age-old-wise-man archetype quite well.