ALCStudies Journal

Advanced Labor & Cultural Studies Web Site & Blog

Tag Archives: Creation Myths

Drawing from Experience

I teach language and write essays, scripts and fiction, so the narrative part of my brain gets a workout. As human beings we are wired for making sense of things through myths and stories. (See everything from The Odyssey to Aboriginal creation myths.) But sense-making through words has it’s limits. We now experience a daily cascade of messages ranging from talking heads on Youtube to news outlets who attempt to explain or comprehend the current convolution of events. At best these provide clarification and reassurance. At worst they scare and manipulate us. Many of the messages follow the same scripts – regardless of the fact that it’s obvious we need to revise them or create new ones.

Drawing for me provides a break from linearity and the compulsion to analyze and organize every of iota experience that literacy promotes, if not requires of us. Images exist for our hearts and brains to perceive and appreciate them as a whole. Like music, they resist reduction to discrete elements. Music is linear and spatial, happening over time and in an environment. But like all art, it creates an experience in our heart and soul, if we are open to it, that transcends our brain’s ability to analyze it.

In my travels, actual and virtual, when my brain feels overloaded, and I remember to take a sketch pad with me, I try to drop the analytical part and just see what’s in front of me. The following examples are from my travels in Latin America.

Above are a few informal examples from my time spent abroad in Latin America. Drawing provides another way of seeing the world. I’m not a professional artist. I’m not especially interested here in creating another commodity for what my friend Chris McGinnis calls the great productive machine of capitalism that turns everything we are and do now into a product. Rather, I’m interested in the process of apprehending the world through the unmediated visual act of seeing and the physical act of drawing. Virtual tools such as Zoom and Facebook have shown their use in allowing us to stay connected. The trade-off is that if we allow them to monopolize our experience, we miss being connected to the immanence of life and the world around us. — CDL

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