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You will find all assignments here. The list is organized by the date the assignment is due.

March 12-19:

Evaluation conferences, to be scheduled with your seminar leader - Chuck, Thad, Nancy. Please bring a draft of your self-evaluation to the conference, as well as your faculty evaluation.

March 11:

9-12pm - Arts presentations

Finish Pattern Recognition, pp. 200-356

We will discuss the last half of Pattern Recognition in seminar before proceeding with program wrap-up.

March 10:

Lecture on Sunless, followed by a film. We will have a potluck lunch if we find a suitable place.

March 9:

Read Pattern Recognition, pp. 1-199

Writing assignment:

Pattern Recognition
presents a heroine on a quest for knowledge. Pick something you've gotten interested in during the course of our work together. Write about where this came up in the readings, films, writing, work in biology (and maybe your life). What light has been shed on this interest so far? How might you pursue it in the future?

March 8:

9am - Essay (5-7 pages) on your winter quarter arts project is due. This applies to everyone, whenever your presentation is scheduled.

1-3pm: Poster session - poster making guidelines

March 4:

9am-12pm - "Lisbon Story" by Wim Wenders

1-3pm - Arts presentations: guidelines and schedule

March 3:

In addition to watching a video on the collaboration of John Cage with Merce Cunningham, we will do a workshop on writing an self-evaluation. Gather your thoughts: What have you learned from your work in "Perception"? - How can you tell? - What difference will this make in Life-After-"Perception"?

March 2:

Read Silence, pp. ix-82, 86-97, 109-145, 260-276

Write a page or two arguing there are important ways in which John Cage and Robert Irwin differ in their approach to the role of perception in the arts.


Make an art piece on a theme in Doctor Faustus, and bring it to the LH rotunda for a critique session at 9:30 am. (Others are welcome to join the critique.)

March 1:

Read Sensory Exotica, chs. 12-15 (pgs. 201-239)

Feb. 26:

Read Mann, Doctor Faustus, through the "Epilogue" (p. 534)

Exercise - The terms “breakthrough,” “liberation,” and “freedom” arise in relation to Leverkühn’s compositions, German politics, people’s psychological states… [See pp. 323-325, 339, 512 for examples, but there are others you can find.] In a page or two, discuss a specific episode where one or more of these terms arises, showing what are the costs, dangers and accomplishments encountered.

Feb. 24:

Read Mann, Doctor Faustus, through Ch. 34 (p. 398)

Essay - In the course of this "biography" connections are made between music and theology, mathematics, the demonic, death, and the erotic. Say something, in 3-5 pages, about two or three of these relationships with music.

Feb. 23:

In Sensory Exotica please read pgs 32-84 (ch. 3 and 4). If you have time, it might be useful
for you to also read ch. 2 - it's an easy read and quite interesting.

Afternoon lab time is for your biology project work.

Feb. 19:

Read Mann, Doctor Faustus, through Ch.25 (p. 265)

Exe(o)rcise - Write a page or two about one of the following questions:

What does Adrian Leverkühn's laughter or tendency to laugh have to do with his making a pact with the devil?

What choice(s) does Leverkühn confront when he comes up against the devil in Ch. XXV?

Feb 18:

We will be listening to examples of music that Schönberg wrote early in his career (before 1914) and also examples of what he found "old," too old to be imitated, the kind of works others were composing but he found uninteresting. In terms of labels, we will explore Late Romaniticism and Expressionism.

If you have any inclination to draw, bring your materials. This music invites visual analogies (as Kandinsky claimed).

Feb. 17:

On the 17th at the latest, go to web-x and post your biology project plan. You will find a folder labeled "Winter" and a discussion site inside it for this posting.

Feb. 17:

Critique session for those who have made a collage -- Lecture Hall Rotunda at 9:30am.

Feb. 17:

Read Mann, Doctor Faustus, through Ch. 14 (p. 135)

Writing or Art assignment:

A number of Italian words return again and again in Don Giovanni; we want you to write a three to five page essay about the effects that are produced by the shifts and changes in the meanings, contexts, and tone with which *one* of these recurring words and the closely related words (including that word's different grammatical forms or alternative terms for the same thing) are used in the opera. You can choose one on your own if you like, or one from the following list. There's more material to work with in some of these than others - pick one that gives you enough occurrences so you feel comfortable.

occhi [eyes] and ciglio [eyelashes]
tradimento, tradito, traditore, etc... [treason, betrayal]
pieta [pity, mercy]
amici [friends], amico/amica [friend (m)/ friend (f)]
cor, core, corragio (heart, courage)
crudele [cruel, ruthless]
cavaliere [lit. horseman, knight]
credere [to believe, to trust]
fuggire [to flee, to escape]
ciel, cielo [sky, heaven]
onore [honor]
mano [hand]
giuro/giura/giuramento/guiranmenti [I promise/ (you) promise! (imperative)/ a promise/ promises]
sangue [blood]
sposa/sposo [bride/husband]
libertá [liberty]
liberamente [freely]
morte [death]
amor/amore [love]
briccone/bricconaccia [cad, rascal.../minx, slut...]We want you to locate the repeats in the Italian.

(Sometimes the translation is faithful to the repeats, sometimes not.) You may have to guess about whether some words in the Italian are really related to your family of words - go right ahead; just tell us when you're guessing. You may find using an on-line version of the libretto and searching for words in your browser a convenient way to help locate your material. (On my Mac, you do a Find, and then just hit the Apple/Command key and G together to find the next occurence of the word, and then the next. If you search for the beginning of a word, like cor, you also get some related words, like core (feminine form) and corragio (as well as some junk that's not related to hearts at all, like "ancor".)

OR -

You can do the following art assignment. Imagine that we are going to publish a version of Don Giovanni. It's to have a series of illustrations, one about each of the recurring words on our list above. Your assignment is to produce an 11X14 (or larger) collage, suitable for inclusion in our edition, exploring the meanings and emotions the opera develops through one of these words. (You can figure the word's the title for the piece.)

(If you have sufficient technical control and the materials to work in some other medium besides collage that's all right.) This assignment *requires* your participation in a critique group from 9:30 to 11:00 on Tuesday morning before seminar, in which everybody will put up their piece, we'll look at all of them, and talk about some of them. If you haven't ever done serious collage, it also *requires* your looking at some serious collage work first. If you weren't there Thursday
afternoon and you want to do this, go look at the three collage books on open reserve for our program to give youself some sense of what's possible... (Ask a the circulation desk in the library if you can't find them.)

Feb. 12:

In the morning session, Don Giovanni, Act II, will be shown.

Post on our web-x site a brief description of your independent project. At this point, identify three works by your subject that you will work with closely, and list the resources you have found about this person's work, some of which you have discovered through library research (not just web stuff).

Write a page or two on what you have concluded about one of the principal characters in Don Giovanni. Say as much as you can about how your conclusions are supported by what you hear in the music.

Here are .mp3 files of most of the principal arias (solo numbers) you can listen to for this exercise.

Feb. 11:

Don Giovanni, Act I, will be shown. Discussion to follow.

Feb. 10:

Read the libretto of Don Giovanni for seminar.

Writing: Before our trip to SAM, choose one of the following images and write a page or two about the image and how it works as an image. Witte--(also B&W), Gorky, Pollock, Frankenthaler, Toby.

Four of these are on display in the exhibition entitled "International Abstraction," which is found on the fourth floor. The fifth painting, by Witte, is part of the regular museum collection of European art.

While you are at the museum, find the painting whose image you have written about. Spend at least 15 or 20 minutes looking at this painting. Make notes (and perhaps a sketch). Write an addendum to your earlier pages in which you compare the experiences of seeing the image with seeing the painting.

Turn in both the original pages and the addendum (and your sketch, if you made one).

Feb. 9:

For the 9am session, read Ch. 11 in Sensory Exotica, ""The Sun Compass of Bees and Ants."

In lieu of workshop, the in-class portion of the exam will be given. Meet in Lab II as usual. Hand in the take-home portion of your exam. Review sheet ; Biology Practice Problems -- (answer sheet)

Feb. 5:

Be at the Library Loop by 8:15. We will leave for Seattle at 8:30, and we plan to return not later than 5:30. Bring your drawing materials. Bring your signed Field Trip Waiver: no slip, no trip.

Feb. 4:

Bring your drawing materials. We will meet as usual. The take-home portion of the exam will be handed out at the end of our session.

Feb. 3:

For seminar, read Weschler, Seeing is Forgetting... The minimum assignment is pp. 3-157, 168-175, 182-187. Better is to read everything through p. 187. Best, by far, is to keep on going and finish the book.

Writing assignment: Pick two or three different sentences that interest you from Weschler's book about Irwin and his work and write a few sentence explaining your interest. See the writing assignment due Feb. 10. You must begin that assignment before our trip to Seattle on Thursday, Feb. 5.

Feb. 2:

Read the handout on depth perception and art that Nancy circulated last week. If you need a copy, look in the box near Nancy's and Chuck's offices in Lab II. Read and print out the lab assignment for the week. Prepare your lab notebooks for lab.

Jan. 29:

Read for seminar: Woolf, To The Lighthouse, Parts II and III.

Writing – pick a theme introduced in Part I and show (in a 3-5 page essay) how Woolf develops it in Parts II and III.

Jan. 28:

Bring your drawing materials and your completed contour drawing. An approach to contour drawing
Also, please bring the Mozart/Blake Song Cycle handout from last week.

Jan. 27:

Read for seminar: Woolf, To The Lighthouse, Part I.

Writing – pick a couple at least one generation older than yourself and write a piece about their relationship. Your parents’ or that of another family pair you know well might work, or you could choose a fictional couples’, such as the Bartletts’ from "West Wing." You could also invent your own couple (but be sure to locate them in an earlier generation, not your own).

Here are two ways of going about this: (1) use story and point of view to illustrate how they are with one another. In a couple of pages, show rather than tell who they are, as individuals and as a couple. Don’t talk about their relationship - represent it concretely; (2) write a short essay about the couple, relying both on story and commentary.

Given our focus on artistic representation, (1) fits our current work more closely than (2). We think of the second approach as a fallback, something you might resort to if you can’t make the first one work.

Jan. 26:

Please print out and read “Spectroscopy” before our morning session. Bring to lab your notebook already prepared for the work of the day: identify the tasks, the point of carrying them out, and create a layout for recording the results and your initial analyses.

Jan. 22:

Read "The Sick Rose," and "The Clod and the Pebble;" study the plates on the web.
Spend some time looking at the different copies of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell in the web archive, using the Compare button and menu at the bottom of the pages and the left and right arrows, starting here.

Read The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and study the plates in the book. For seminar, write a two page exercise in which you do a close reading of one or both of these two poems from Songs of Experience ("The Sick Rose" and "The Clod...") focusing on how these speakers perceive and on the world that the details of the speakers' languages create. Try to work out, as precisely as you can, how the world each speaker sees or creates reflects the mind he or she sees with. (If you can say two pages worth of interesting stuff about one of these poems, great. Stop with that. If not, talk about them both.)

Jan. 21:

Bring your drawing supplies

Writing for Jan. 20:

Until the End of the World is about desire, and images, and the experience of seeing. It's about women’s autonomy and beauty and the impossibility of possessing them and men's complicated responses to that. It contains at least one figure of the artist (Sam Farber and his father's machine are making movies of a sort). Snow says in various ways about a number of Vermeer's works, "The experience within the painting... mirrors our own experience as viewers." (p. 154); some people might say things like this about watching Wenders' movie. In these and other ways it shares themes with Vermeer's paintings (as Snow reads them.)

However, the place of images in our world and the relations of men and women are different in many ways than they were in 1675, when Vermeer died. Write a paper (four or five pages) in which you compare and contrast what Snow says about one or more of these themes in Vermeer’s painting with what Wenders says about it in the movie. Take a position and argue for it.

For example:

1. You might explain what Snow says about desire and the gaze in Vermeer and argue that Wenders represents the dynamics of desire and looking quite differently.

2. You might explain what Snow says about how Vermeer's greatness as an artist emerges from his having synthesized the dialectical tensions in his early work in his later paintings, but try to show your reader that Wenders' movie is still all about the "negative identifications" and anxiety and unease of Vermeer's early work.

3. You might try to show that what Snow says about artists’ and viewers’ relations to images in Vermeer has been transformed in Wenders' reflections because of the proliferation of images since the 17th century.

4. Etcetera…

Your essay should be about both Snow and Wenders. It should explain what Snow says about the themes you are working with as well as playing close attention to the details of the movie (like the attention Snow pays to the details of Vermeer’s work). It should have a thesis. Connecting the discussion with your own experience of images would be good.

Reading for Jan. 20:

Read the note about Blake's life and career in the xerox handout. (Optionally, if you want to know more or see some pictures of Blake, other people and places, here is a nice longer biography with a good many illustrations.)

Then look at the illustrations for Milton’s “L’Allegro” and “Il Pensoroso” (1816-20) to see what Blake’s regular work as a painter was like. (This pair of poems is also about contrary states of the soul – “L’Allegro”echoes a musical term for a brisk lively tempo, but here it means something like the cheerful, sociable man; “Il Pensoroso” means the pensive man.) Twelve Illustrations to Milton's "L'Allegro" and "Il Pensoroso" and Descriptions of Designs (If you can't read Blake's handwriting in the plates that show the backs with the passages Blake chose and his comments, use the text transcription item on the Text and Image Options pull-down menu on the bottom left of these pages to see them in print...)

Optionally, if you want to see more of his other graphical work, you could look at the illustrations for the Book of Job.

For seminar discussion -- read Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience (1806), and then The Book of Thel (the rest of the xerox). (Skip "The Sick Rose" and "The Clod and the Pebble;" we want you to write about them for Thursday's exercise, and we don't want you to have to struggle not to talk about them in Tuesday's seminar.) The bookstore has a few copies of the nice facsimile edition, but mostly we're going to all have to make do with the little text version and study the images on the Internet at the Blake archive site.)

For Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience - study the various versions of the later combined edition - there are six or seven different copies in the archive (There are navigation arrows to go forward and back through the pages - and to switch between and compare different copies - at the very bottom of the page.) Look at all the different versions of a few of the plates at the start, just to get oriented. Then pick a copy you like and read all the way through it, making notes in your book about the pictures and poems for seminar and studying the actual plates on the web.

Do the same thing with Thel.

Jan. 15:

Snow, A Study of Vermeer, pp. 91-166 (with end notes). Here is the writing assignment:
1. Pick one passage from the beginning of Snow’s book (up to p. 90), make a copy of the passage and spend five minutes or so marking it up to show the dialectics (thesis and antithesis) Snow says are characteristic of Vermeer’s work.
2. Pick one painting from the second half of Snow’s book and explain in detail (in a page or two) how Snow uses the dialectical quality of Vermeer’s work to show what’s going on in the painting.

Writing for Jan. 13:

You might do this assignment either sometime during or sometime after the reading...
Write an anonymous three to five page piece, typed and without your name on it, about one or more experiences of your own about looking at someone or being looked at or both. We want them to be about experience that matters to you and affects you. You can write this as a short piece of fiction or as an essay; we are going to have you read some of each other's pieces, so you may or may not want to change any details that would make everybody say, "Oh, I know who wrote this!"

Reading for Jan. 13:

Snow, A Study of Vermeer, pp. xi-90. First - look as long and carefully as you can at the pictures in the first half of Snow's Vermeer. Then read through page 90 (through "Two Early Paintings" - the end of Section II of Part II - "Art and Sexuality".) Read the footnotes as you are going along - they are an essential part of what he's saying, not just tacked on. Read the book a little bit at a time; keep going back to look at the paintings to see what he's saying about them (the plate of Head of a Young Girl opposite p. 3 folds out of the book so you can look at it and read at the same time more easily.) Don't expect to understand everything he says the first time - just keep going, and mark things you don't understand; go back to them later and/or bring them to seminar for us to work on. Think about how the book relates to the articles for Tuesday and to our readings last quarter, especially ideas about paradox and dialectic in Sacks, the Berger movie, in Piaget, in the conclusion of the Perry article and other places. Also think about the creation of an "other" and its uses in Hickey and in Snow's account of Vermeer and art.

Jan. 12-14: Vermeer and the Camera Obscura

1. First, read the five pages about Vermeer and the camera obscura at this site: The arrows at the bottom of each page take you to the next one. You don't need to worry about the details of exactly how Steadman used the perspective drawing stuff shown on page 3 in figuring out the shape of the room. [Optional - If you think this is cool and want to know more about it, including some 3-D panoramas of the reconstructed room, you can also go look at the website about Steadman's book, Vermeer's Camera, look here. (You need to have a Flash plug-in for your web browser to see the fancier stuff.)

2. Second, try it out yourself. Take your drawing pad and pencil, some tape, and a friend up to the fourth floor of the library (use the elevator or stairs across from our seminar room). If there isn't a chair for your friend there already, you might get one from downstairs (or the room at the end of the hall, if it's open); leave it there when you're finished. There's a camera obscura booth in the corridor there; set your friend in front of it in the chair (she can read a book or something), go in the booth yourself and sit there for a little while your eyes adjust. There's a wheel in the front wall of the booth that lets you go from just a pinhole to different lenses - try them out. (You can turn the booth around to face outside too, if you like - it has wheels.) Tape a piece of your drawing paper up on the wall where the image appears and try making a drawing using the image - you don't necessarily need to trace it carefully - it's probably more fun to use it to help you do some rapid sketching. Just try it out and see what drawing this way feels like.

3. Bring your drawing or drawings with you to our Wednesday morning meeting on Jan. 14.

Jan. 12:

Please read "Color, Ch. 9" in preparation for the second biology lecture and workshop, on color. For the lab, read "Chromatography". (We will meet in Lecture Hall 5, not Lib 1706.)

Jan. 8:

We will seminar on the essays handed out at your evaluation conference: Hickey, "Enter the Dragon: the Vernacular of Beauty"; Hillman, "The Practice of Beauty." Write out three promising and manageable questions for the seminar that are 1) about the reading and 2) that you are actually interested in knowing more about the answers to. Then pick one of these questions and write a page about why you personally are interested in thinking more about it. (Write about what connections it has with your own life and experiences and concerns or with wider contemporary issues...)

Jan. 7:

We are going to do some experiential work with drawing and sound in these meetings. You'll need to bring some drawing tools with you to the first meeting (and to every Wednesday meeting). (If you want to, you can get these at the bookstore when you get here, or at Olympia Pottery and Art Supplies on Harrison. This store is just after you turn left off Division by Rainy Day Records to go downtown; it's on both bus routes.)

You'll need an 14 X 17 pad of cheap drawing paper with at least 50 sheets - check to see if it feels stable enough on your lap and how the edge of the pages will look if you take them out. A soft drawing pencil - 6B. (If you want a few other pencils, you could get a charcoal pencil too - the wood kind with charcoal in it instead of lead, and some others.) A kneadable rubber eraser - about two inches square, not one of the teeny ones. A little pencil sharpener. (These supplies will cost about $12 altogether at the bookstore.)

Jan. 5:

Please read this .pdf file for our work on the first Monday in biology.

The Evergreen State College
Last Updated: 03/20/2004