Author: Reggie Huang

Preservation or Addition?

Professor Schnapp discussed an interesting project “Bz ’18-’45,” which they modified old monuments and added modern elements. He began his lecture with an introduction of modern monument. He argued that the statute that stimulated our thoughts is the modern monument. Many factors could influence its meaning, including scale, hardness, or duration.

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How and why should we be revolutionary?

Professor Marcos Perez discussed why people become revolutionary from a sociological perspective. Although some of the theories, in my opinion, are too generalized and simplified, it is actually very interesting to study them and evaluate them. Since revolutionaries are a highly ideal puzzle, any of the missing puzzle will result in a failure attempt. Revolution entails high costs and it took a person or a group of people a great deal of courage and preparation to mobilize people and facilitate revolutions. Furthermore, if we look revolution in general, according to Professor Perez, revolutions tend to “eat their children.” Some revolutionary leaders eventually tend into another dictator, such as Mao in China comparing to the emperors in ancient China. However, despite all costs and negative results people still join the revolution. How did that happen?

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“I am not an activist, but a personal advocate to protect people.”

This Tuesday, I had a chance to have a meal LaToya Ruby Frazier and I attended her lecture on Thursday. She made me rethink about the art as a weapon for social change. Her work is amazing and inspiring. She made a model for us to do creative work for social justice.
LaToya a photographer and video artist who uses visual autobiographies to capture social inequality and historical change in the postindustrial age. Her works included self-portraiture and social narratives. Her themes included social justice, environmental justice, and racial conflicts. Her styles include landscape, black and white photos and video works.
For years, I have been thinking about how art can facilitate social change. First of all, arts might not result in direct change. Many policy tools can help, such as executive orders, bills or regulations. However, arts are merely a media to express opinions and positions. Secondly, how can artwork spreads out the message? How many people can have access to these works? Will they be able to understand and absorb the information from them?
After all, as to modern arts, many artists believe that the point of making art is for art itself. There are no limitations for classic styles such as realism or impressionism. The meaning of artworks is decreasing and simplified.
I think LaToya Ruby Frazier provided me with her version of answers. She firmly believed that art is a weapon, which is a catalyst for social justice. Effective documentation and storytelling will be highly powerful if people feel moved and that is the point of doing it. “Indeed,” she said, “art is not the final answer, but its purposes are to ask questions.” Many people have realized social problems, but they couldn’t formulate the questions. Art is to ask these questions in a more concrete and creative way. After a lot of people could perceive these messages,  bottom-up revolutions could begin.
She also describes the expectation of being an artist. She didn’t think herself as an activist, because she is not in the first front line. The camera and lenses made her voice powerful and because of them, she was able to ask questions in a more powerful way.
I believe her story and experiences are inspiring. From what she did, I understand that people can play different roles in social change. Her works gave me confidence to speak out and express my ideas, and allowed me to believe that arts indeed are great weapons. Therefore, in the near future, arts will lead the social waves.

Data’s Power

In this lecture, Professor Hanlon discussed an interesting topic about data revolution. He argues that for a long time in human history, the use of data as a visual proof is a revolutionary approach to illustrate one’s point. His main arguments are since data is visual and seeing is believe, using data is a powerful tool to deliver messages or arguments.

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Typical Thinking versus Evolution Theory

Charles Darwin and his evolution theory made a huge impact on science and society. Before Darwin’s theory, there were many weak evolution theories. Some depicted evolution as ladder-like rather than branching and evolution as moving towards a goal. These descriptions reinforced typological thinking. For example, the conceptual foundation was the great chain of being, which was enormously influential during 1500 to 1700 A.D in Europe.

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Climate Science and Our Curiosity

For a long time, climate change has always been an important topic. Especially in this presidential election, different groups represented different ideas on climate change. However, what is the science foundation of the study of climate science? How did people get to know about climate? Dr. Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science in MIT, provided us with some of methodologies in his lecture.

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Darwinian evolution and Charles Darwin

Every time we hear about Darwinism or evolution theory, we always think about Charles Darwin, who was an English naturalist and geologist and contributed a lot to the science of evolution. His theory was so revolutionary that it not only influenced the world of science, but also the world of business, economics, and even social revolution in modern China and Japan.

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Social Network and Social Movement

When Mark Zuckerberg first created Facebook, his vision was to create a tool and plant form for interpersonal communication online, which could be beneficial for entertainment purposes. However, he might not even think about how influential this tool can be used for many social movements. As more people are starting to use social media, which allows everyone to instantly share their ideas and opinions on certain events, it has become a much more powerful tool in social changes and movement.

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The lack of knowledge of non-anthropogenic power

For years, humans have been influencing the natural world as one single species. With the creation of words such as “untouched nature,” we kind of distinguish ourselves from the environment that sustains us. Although we humans have been modifying the landscape intentionally selecting the species that is beneficial for us, we should not ignore the fact that a lot of non-anthropogenic power has also affected our well-being and social structure.

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The revolution of the language of “science”

When we think about why humans have the power to influence the world in a global scale, one of the most important factors that we should not ignore is the science. For a long time, we had acquired knowledge, made tools, and built civilizations. None of them could be achieved without science. However, if we think about “science” as a word and a kind of languages, we will find that it is also revolutionary.

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